Halloween is fast approaching, that means it’s time to carve pumpkins, shop for spooky decor and go trick or treating! But perhaps the best Halloween tradition is binge watching horror movies! The problem is the horror genre is so diverse that there are way too many movies to choose from. Lucky for you I have complied a list of what I think are the 15 essential Halloween movies to watch this year. I’ve broken down the list between the classics and what I believe to be modern day horror essentials. Whether you’re watching these movies alone, with a significant other or if you’re hosting a Halloween party, I’m certain this list of scary movies will satisfy anyone’s craving for horror.

1. John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978)

You could say this one is an easy choice based on the movie’s namesake, but John Carpenter’s Halloween is a TRUE classic. Before Freddy Krueger, Jason Vorhees and Ghostface there was Michael Myers. An emotionless killing machine, dressed in a mechanic jumpsuit, halloween mask and armed with a kitchen knife, who is driven by pure evil. On a cold Halloween night in 1963, six year old Michael Myers brutally murdered his 17-year-old sister, Judith. He is sentenced and locked away for 15 years. But on October 30, 1978, while being transferred for a court date, a 21-year-old Michael Myers steals a car and escapes Smith’s Grove. He returns to his quiet hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, where he looks for his next victims.

And quite honestly, you could solely binge watch the entire Halloween franchise and be completely content. It only seems fair that if Michael Myers, the embodiment of evil, cannot die, neither should his movies!

Where to stream: Available on Shudder

2. Evil Dead (1992)

Staying in a cabin in the wood sounds like a great time, unless you find an old book that wakes the dead when it’s passages are read aloud. Follow Ash ( and his friends as they inadvertently release a flood of evil and must fight for their lives or become one of the evil dead.

Where to stream: Available on Hulu and Shudder

3. Hellraiser (1987)

If you liked Evil Dead and want to watch another movie about an ancient, ominous artifacts that should not be meddled with I recommend Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. Sexual deviant Frank in his quest for a good time stumbles upon a puzzle box (The Lemarchand Box) that actually opens a portal to hell. The box unleashes grotesque beings called Cenobites who tear Frank’s body and soul apart. When Frank’s brother and his wife, Julia, move into Frank’s old house, they accidentally bring what is left of Frank back to life. Frank then convinces Julia, his one-time lover, to lure men back to the house so he can use their blood to reconstruct himself. Hellraiser checks almost all the boxes for a Halloween horror movie. It has gore, creepy characters and amazing tag lines.

Where to stream: Available on Hulu and Shudder

4. Hocus Pocus (1993)

This one isn’t scary, but no Halloween list would be complete without this Disney classic! Hocus Pocus is one of the few movies that is absolutely timeless, it doesn’t matter if your 5 or 30 years old, it’s just a fun movie about witches who suck the life out of kids to stay immortal, a talking cat and a wicked sense of humor.

Where to stream: Available to rent or buy on iTunes and Amazon Prime Video

5. Ghostbusters (1984)

Who you gonna call?! Ghostbusters! This horror comedy classic is a must watch for any Halloween party. New York City scientists decide to leave their university positions to wage war against the supernatural.

Where to stream: Available to rent or buy on iTunes and Amazon Prime Video

6. Monster Squad (1987)

This movie will be the closest you will ever get to seeing some of Universal monsters altogether, although no affiliation. Five kids attempt to save their hometown from Dracula, Wolfman, The Mummy, Gill Man (a version of Creature From The Black Lagoon) and Frankenstein’s Monster. There are some great monster effects in this film, from The Mummy’s bandages unraveling like a ball of yarn to the Wolfman transformation. If you’re a fan of Stranger Things and have not seen this movie I highly recommend it. According to Bloody Disgusting, Paramount might be entertaining the idea of a Monster Squad TV show.

Where to stream: Available on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video

7. Trick ‘R Treat (2007)

Back to the scary stuff! I think it’s safe to say that Trick R’ Treat has officially hit cult status. This film consists of five interwoven stories that take place on Halloween. A high school principle who lives a double life as a serial killer, a woman who loathes Halloween who has to deal with her holiday-obsessed husband, a college virgin who might have met the guy for her, a group of teenagers pull a horribly mean prank, and a grumpy old man meets his match with a demonic trick-or-treater.

Where to stream: Available to rent or buy on iTunes and Amazon Prime Video

8. Pumpkinhead (1988)

If you’re in the mood for a great creature feature Pumpkinhead is a campy horror movie from 1988. After Ed Harley’s son dies in a hit-and-run accident. With the help of a witch Ed summons a demon called Pumpkinhead to hunt and kill the teenagers responsible for his son’s death. Ed begins to discover a bond between himself and the demon, he begins to have second thoughts about murdering the teenagers, and eventually fights to end Pumpkinhead’s rampage.

Where to stream: Available on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video

9. Innkeepers (2011)

Here’s a pretty scary one! Two New England hotel employees attempt to capture paranormal activity in the hotel one last time before it closes for good. The two amateur ghost hunters get more than what they burgeoned for as the hotel slowly reveals it’s haunted past. This movie is the perfect Halloween date movie, it begins playful then becomes extremely frightening.

If you like this movie I highly recommend you check out Director Ti West’s other work. Most notably The House of The Devil, The Sacrament and You’re Next.

Where to stream: Available on Shudder

10. Pet Sematary (1989)

This Stephen King movie will make you understand why “sometimes dead is better.” Doctor Louis Creed and his family move to a new home in the small rural town of Ludlow, Maine. Everything is perfect with one exception, their new house is near a highway. When the family cat is killed in the road, Louis seeks the help of his neighbor who introduces him to an ancient burial ground that is said to reanimates the dead. The cat returns from the grave, but is not quite the same. The once cuddly cat becomes a feral creature and Louis eventually has to put the animal down. Shortly after, tragedy strikes again, this time it’s Louis’s young son Gage who is also struck by a vehicle. Louis buries his son in the ancient burial ground hoping things will be difference, but the results are even more terrifying.

Where to stream: Available to rent or buy on iTunes and Amazon Prime Video

11. The Autopsy Of Jane Doe (2016)

It’s difficult to summarize this movie without giving away spoilers. All I can say is this movie is truly scary and quite unsettling. At the scene of a brutal murder, the police and forensic team find the body of young half buried woman in a basement. Amid the media frenzy the police enlist the help of local coroners, Tommy Tilden and his son Austin to perform an emergency autopsy. As the father and son duo proceed with the autopsy, they slowly begin to realize that this not an ordinary case. They find themselves plunging deeper in a world of bizarre experiences, the cause of death of Jane Doe raises more questions than answers.

Where to stream: Available on Netflix

12. Candyman (1992)

Get ready for another Clive Barker masterpiece! Candyman is a unique horror movie with stunning visuals,  great suspense and displays a ton of body horror moments. A skeptical graduate student Helen Lyle befriends Anne-Marie McCoy while researching superstitions in a housing project in Chicago. It is through Anne-Marie that Helen learns about the urban legend of a tall figure with a hook for a hand, known as Candyman, who residents believe is responsible for a spree of recent murders. After a mysterious man matching Candyman’s description begins stalking Helen, she fears the urban legend may actually be real.

Where to stream: Available on Netflix

13. Insidious (2011)

From the Saw franchise director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell present their new take on a haunted house movie. Insidious is unique in creating an exciting new twist and atmosphere to a sub-genre of horror movies that has become cliché. The Lambert family have just move into a new house, their son Dalton while exploring the attic is frightened by a figure in the shadows. Shortly after he falls into an inexplicable coma. After months of treatment without results his parents finally take him home. When Dalton returns home the family begins experiencing paranormal occurrences. The Lambert’s believe their new house may be possessed and believe the house may be responsible for Dalton’s coma. The family goes through hell in an attempt to exorcise the demon from Dalton and the house. Without giving away too much information, although the plot sounds standard,  I assure you this film will keep you intrigued.

And if you enjoy Insidious, I highly recommend watching the sequels.

Where to stream: Available on Netflix

14. Train To Busan (2016)

Seok-woo, a father with not much time for his daughter takes her on a trip to visit his mother. They board a train from Seoul to Busan during their journey the zombie apocalypse begins. While the outbreak continues to spread Seok-woo and his daughter are confined to the safety of the train for the time being.

Where to stream: Available on Netflix

15. The Babadook (2014)

The Babadook combines a unique story and amazing cinematography to produce a terrifying and drama packed horror film. Six years after her husbands death, Amelia struggles to pick up the pieces. She has a particular difficult time discipling her 6 year old son Samuel. Amelia’s son has nightmares fueled by a monster he believes is coming to kill them both. Mysteriously a storybook called The Babadook suddenly appears at their house, Samuel is convinced the Babadook is the same monster from his nightmares. Samuel is consumed with this creature that becomes unpredictable and violent, to the point where his mother begins to fear him. Amelia begins to see glimpses of the Babadook and it becomes apparent this creature may not just be a figment of Samuel’s imagination.

Where to stream: Available to rent or buy on iTunes and Amazon Prime Video