With October officially upon us, we all might be scrounging to find the best horror films to watch to get into the Halloween spirit, with finding something on a streaming service sometimes easier said than done. Some of our most frequently used services will see us scrolling through the same content we've been seeing for months, while other services focus on obscure titles we've never heard of. Amazon Prime Video, meanwhile, finds the sweet spot of collecting not only a number of lesser-known independent titles that might have flown under the radar from mainstream audiences, while also having a library of classics you might not have ever caught up with.
What makes the selections on Amazon Prime Video such good films to check out this October is you get to see what a new generation of filmmakers are developing while also getting to look at the past to see the films that inspired them, offering glimpses at the history and the future of genre storytelling.
Scroll down to see our picks for the 10 best horror movies on Amazon Prime Video to stream this October and hit up Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to share your own recommendations and thoughts about the films!
One of the weirdest and most surreal horror experiences of the '70s, Phantasm closed out the decade by creating the iconic "Tall Man" villain, who never quite had the breakout success of Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, or Jason Voorhees.
When a young boy witnesses an older man seemingly exhuming bodies at a local cemetery, he investigates what this Tall Man is getting up to, discovering that the bodies are being shrunk and teleported to another dimension, making the boy a target of not just this figure, but of a bizarre, chrome sphere that embeds itself into victims' faces. As if the concept of the film alone isn't bizarre enough to pique your interest, the visuals, score, and overall nightmare logic of the experience makes it as bewildering as it is memorable.prevnext
We Are What We Are
A remake of the Mexican 2010 film of the same name, this take on the concept arguably serves as an improvement upon the source material.
Set in a rural Appalachian community, a father and his two daughters keep to themselves, which locals claim is due to their devout and bizarre religious beliefs. Part of these beliefs involve fasting for long periods of time, and when they do finally eat, the consume human flesh, explaining why the family avoids drawing attention to themselves for any reason.
The setting and stoic performances feel eerily reminiscent of fringe religious groups that currently exist, with director Jim Mickle capturing an unsettling gothic atmosphere, in addition to featuring a transfixing performance from Ozark's Julia Garner.prevnext
The Hole in the Ground
Chris disappears in the night into the forest behind their house and Sarah discovers an ominous, gaping sinkhole while searching for him. Though he returns, some disturbing behavioral changes emerge, and Sarah begins to worry that the boy who came back is not her son.
Director Lee Cronin captured a story that feels like a timeless fable, able to take place in 2020 or in 1920, creating an eerie atmosphere and mythology that feels like he could be kicking off his own franchise. However, Cronin will next be pivoting to a familiar franchise, as Sam Raimi tapped him to direct the upcoming Evil Dead Rise, with this film giving audiences a taste of the mayhem in store for us.prevnext
Night of the Demons
If you’re going to throw a Halloween party, you better throw it in an abandoned, haunted former funeral home or no one will show up.
Luckily, that’s exactly where the party in Night of the Demons takes place! As far as stereotypical ‘80s characters are concerned, this movie’s got them in spades. Part teen sex-comedy and part The Evil Dead, this film encapsulates everything you love (or maybe hate) about goofy horror movies from the ‘80s. With this year seeing us take unconventional approaches to Halloween, by checking this out on October 31st and fully embracing the party atmosphere, it will feel like you're actually celebrating with these characters.prevnext
Many people would do whatever it takes to make their dreams come true, especially in the cutthroat world of Hollywood where hundreds of fresh faces arrive every day. Starry Eyes, however, will really take that cutthroat mentality to another level in this story of an actress who wants nothing more than to land her breakout role. When Sarah (Alex Essoe) hears that an iconic horror movie studio is seeking fresh faces for a new project, she believes she might have found the perfect role, but when they demand more from her than she's initially willing to give, her dreams feel dashed. For Sarah to get the fame she's always wanted, she'll truly have to leave her former life behind, no matter what toll it takes on those around her.
Sarah's descent into madness is horrifying not only from a psychological level but also in a practical way, with the film's special effects sequences being immensely brutal. With directing duo Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch having scored the Pet Sematary remake from this effort, and director Mike Flangan having tapped Essoe for last year's Doctor Sleep and The Haunting of Bly Manor, the film is a showcase of emerging talent.prevnext
The '80s were dominated by masked murderers in the horror genre, as filmmakers knew all they had to do was throw a creepy mask on a villain to create a horrifying adventure. The decade kicked off, however, with one of the most disturbing serial killers of all time with Maniac, featuring a madman whose face was more frightening than any mask.
Frank Zito (Joe Spinell) can't seem to find a girlfriend, because every woman he starts to date, he ends up murdering. After meeting a photographer, he thinks he's found the one, if only he can put his homicidal tendencies aside.
Few films so accurately capture such a sleazy point in history, with Maniac being a quintessential film featuring late '70s New York City, with the film's deaths being just as grimy as the city streets. The film also notably features a sequence in which special effects icon Tom Savini plays a character whose head is blown off with a shotgun, with the scene also seeing him perform the stunt of shooting the gun, essentially resulting in a sequence in which Savini shoots himself through the windshield of a car.prevnext
Night of the Living Dead
Filmmaker George Romero certainly didn't create the zombie movie, but many would argue that he perfected it in this 1968 classic.
After multiple chance encounters with violent individuals, a group of survivors find themselves in a farmhouse in hopes of avoiding people who seem stripped of humanity as they feast on human flesh. The survivors can barely keep themselves together as conflict emerges within the home, leaving the audience to wonder if the monsters are outside or inside of the house.
Most horror fans could tell you the "rules" to a zombie movie, with Night of the Living Dead surprisingly being a success for the ways in which it manages to avoid those rules. Thanks to The Walking Dead reviving the zombie and becoming one of the most popular series on television, this month marks the perfect opportunity to see the story that helped launch hundreds of imitators.prevnext
We Are Still Here
Ghost stories on film often rely on mood and tone to scare their viewers, showing creaky doors and dark shadows to convey a feeling of unease. This is true of a majority of We Are Still Here, but the film also packs a punch in a blood-soaked finale that is unlike virtually any other ghost story.
Hoping to put their lives back together after the death of their son, a couple relocates to an old house in New England with a fresh start. After a few chance encounters with the local community and one too many bizarre experiences in the house, the couple realizes there's something living in the house with them. Sadly, these spirits not only don't want to
What makes We Are Still Here so effective is its unique blend of classic ghost story tropes while also injecting it with contemporary filmmaking. Additionally, the wintery New England setting taps into the change in seasons as we all begin bundling up just a little bit more to keep away the chill, which this film surely brings.prevnext
The House of the Devil
Desperate for cash to move off campus, a college student (Jocelin Donahue) finds a babysitting opportunity that both seems too good to be true and too bizarre to believe. Rather than supervising a child, she's tasked with staying in the home of an elderly woman so her adult son and his wife can celebrate the night's eclipse, only for a pizza delivery to kick off a horrible nightmare.
Shot on 16mm film, House of the Devil serves as a throwback to the '80s that manages to capture the style, wardrobe, and music of the time without ever winking at the audience while also offering contemporary filmmaking sensibilities.prevnext
The Lords of Salem0comments
Set in the town most famously known for American witch trials, a radio DJ receives a mysterious record that, when played, causes her to go into a bizarre trance, along with any listeners on the radio. While the witch trials of the 1600s might have largely been a hoax, it looks like some descendants of those persecuted aim to enact their vengeance upon the community.
Easily the most polarizing and challenging of all of Rob Zombie's films, Lords of Salem is also his biggest success. As far as narratives go, his previous films were much more direct, due in part to their focus on crazy killers. Once he incorporated supernatural elements into his story, he was able to get much more ambitious and incorporate bizarre and surreal imagery.prev