13 Halloween Movies to Stream During Spooky Season

published Oct 12, 2020
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We all know that Halloween really starts on October 1. That’s when the decorations come out, the bags of candy come home with us, and our scary movie marathon begins. Whether you lean into campy horror (like “Poltergeist”), acclaimed psychological thrillers (“Silence of the Lambs”) or the magical stories of your childhood (we’re looking at you, “Hocus Pocus” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas”), there’s just about something for everyone on your streaming platform of choice.

1. The Addams Family (1991) on Netflix

In the first live action “Addams Family” film, Gomez’s long-lost brother, Fester Addams, reappears after 25 years spent in the Bermuda Triangle. Except, “Fester” isn’t really Gomez’s brother — he’s an imposter named Gordon, and his adoptive mother, who pretends to be a German psychiatrist named Dr. Greta Pinder-Schloss, partners up with loan shark Tully Alford and the two scheme a way to use Fester’s lookalike to bamboozle the Addams and steal their riches.

2. Poltergeist (1982) on Netflix

In Steven Spielberg’s supernatural thriller, an idyllic suburban family’s life is turned upside down when their young daughter, Carol Anne, seemingly unleashes malevolent ghosts through a static TV screen. As soon as she eerily says, “They’re here,” all hell breaks loose. Glasses of milk randomly shatter, a tree attacks Carol Anne’s brother, and little Carol Anne gets sucked into a portal. In 2020, “Poltergeist” is more silly than scary, which makes it all the more fun.

3. Silence of the Lambs (1991) on Netflix

Silence of the Lambs” follows junior detective Clarice Starling (yes, you’re allowed to say “Hellooo, Clarice” as many times as you want while watching) who is on the hunt for Buffalo Bill, a serial killer who is known for skinning women after he murders them. In order to get inside the head of an extremely disturbed psychopath, Clarice enlists the help of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a psychiatrist and scholar who’s been locked away for, well, eating people. 

4. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) on Netflix

To curate a list of Halloween movies and not include any of Guillermo del Toro’s would be a true horror, but luckily the iconic “Pan’s Labyrinth” is streaming on Netflix. The dark fantasy film is about a young girl named Ofelia, who is lured into a labyrinth created many years before her time. There, she meets a faun who thinks she’s the reincarnation of Princess Moanna, the princess of the underworld who died by visiting the human world and becoming mortal. The faun gives Ofelia a series of tasks to complete so that she can reclaim her rightful throne.

5. The Others (2001) on Netflix

If you love ghosts and twists, then “The Others” should be right up your alley. It’s set in 1945, post-WWII. Grace, a religious and seemingly paranoid woman and her two children with sunlight sensitivities, live alone in a beautiful old house that’s, of course, haunted. She hires three new servants to help her take care of it. Strange events occur, like a piano that begins playing on its own accord, and Grace’s husband Charles, who briefly returns, only to tell Grace that he’s been called back to war, even though the war is over. One day, Grace discovers a photograph of the corpses of her servants. Who are the ghosts Grace is really running from?

6. The Witches (1990) on Netflix

Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, “The Witches” is about the titular group of witches who hide in plain sight as women trying to exterminate all the children by turning them into mice. It’s up to a boy named Luke and his grandmother to stop them. Catch the remake on HBO Max starring Octavia Spencer and Anne Hathaway on October 22.

7. Hereditary (2018) on Amazon Prime

Hereditary” is probably one of the weirdest, most frightening things you’ll watch (aside from “Midsommar,” which came out a year later, another twisted masterpiece by Ari Aster). After the death of Annie Graham’s mother, with whom she had a troubled relationship, she goes through the motions of processing her death. Meanwhile, strange things begin to happen to Annie’s daughter, the reserved and eerie 13-year-old Charlie, who tags along to a party her brother Peter is invited to. There, after eating a chocolate cake with an allergen baked into it, things go very, very wrong for Charlie. And the rest of the family. 

8. Pet Sematary (2019) on Amazon Prime

If you loved Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary” (either the book or film adaptation, or both), then you’ll appreciate its remake, which takes fresh liberties with a story about the undead. Just like the original, a couple’s young child (a daughter, instead of a toddler son) is killed by a truck (although this adaptation takes a different twist on the truck accident). Her father buries her at the pet cemetery, and resurrects her. As we’ve all learned by now, it’s never a good idea to bring the dead back to life. 

9. Texas Chainsaw (2013) on Hulu

A sequel to the original “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “Texas Chainsaw” follows Heather Miller, a woman who unknowingly comes from a twisted lineage. She one day finds out her grandmother passed away, and she and her friends go to her home to collect some of her things. They stay the night, and unsurprisingly, run into Leatherface himself whose weapon of choice is still, you guessed it, a chainsaw. 

10. Shirley (2020) on Hulu

Shirley,” a biographical drama based on horror novel writer Shirley Jackson’s life (she wrote “The Haunting of Hill House” and “The Lottery”), isn’t scary, per se. But it is eerie and weird and wonderful. In “Shirley,” Jackson’s husband invites a young couple in to take care of Shirley, who struggles with mental illness and is unable to write her next novel. While Shirley and her husband, Stanley have their own problems (in real life, he was controlling and unfaithful), they do find joy in turning the young, bright couple against each other. Watching the young bride go “mad,” Shirley finds inspiration for her next novel.

11. Hocus Pocus on Disney Plus

We all watched “Hocus Pocus” on the Disney Channel as kids, waiting for it to return to the screen every single October. And the Sanderson Sisters never did disappoint. In “Hocus Pocus,” a teen boy named Thackery Binx witnesses the Sanderson Sisters absorbing his little sister Emily’s youth, and killing her in the process. Understanding Thackery saw what happened, they cursed him by turning him into a black cat who will feel the guilt of being unable to save his sister forever. Meanwhile, the town learns of the sisters’ terrible deed and hangs them. The sisters put a spell on the Black Flame Candle before they die. If a virgin lights the candle on Halloween night, this will bring them back to life. This was in 1693, Salem, Massachusetts. Fast-forward to 1993, a boy named Max who just moved to Salem, unknowingly lights the Black Flame Candle, which resurrects the Sanderson Sisters back from the dead — and they want revenge. And tasty children. 

12. The Nightmare Before Christmas on Disney Plus

After much debate over whether “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a Halloween or Christmas movie, the feud was settled once and for all by the director, Henry Selick, who agreed that it’s definitely a Halloween movie. After all, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is about Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King who is basically a celebrity in Halloween Town. But Jack gets a little greedy when he learns that there also exists another place called Christmas Town. And he wants to take over Santa’s duties, too.

13. Halloweentown on Disney Plus

Halloweentown,” a beloved Disney Channel classic, follows a young teen girl named Marnie who is super bummed she’s not allowed to celebrate Halloween because her mom is mysteriously against the holiday. But when Marnie’s grandma, Aggie, visits on Halloween, she ignores her daughter’s protests and encourages Marnie to fully embrace the holiday. Because guess what? She’s a witch! Just like her mom and just like her grandmother. Obviously, magical hijinks ensue.