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The 13 best spooky titles on Netflix for Halloween season


Ready or not, October is upon us!

2020 has flown by like a witch on a broomstick (or vacuum, if you’re a Hocus Pocus fan). But you better believe it’s already time to start preparing for the season of scary. With social distancing requirements still in place across the country, that means doing a lot of stuff at home. Think pumpkins at the front door, a 12-foot skeleton in the front yard, a haunted house-themed Zoom background, and, of course, something appropriately seasonal cued up on your TV.

To get your fall started off right, we’ve combed through Netflix’s catalogue and selected the 13 best spooky movies and TV shows to stream ahead of Halloween. These aren’t exclusively horror movies (though we do have a best horror movies on Netflix list for that), but rather a collection of titles specifically geared towards holiday festivities. Happy haunting!

13. Goosebumps Seasons 1-4

This brings me back...in all the best/worst ways.

This brings me back…in all the best/worst ways.

Whether you love R.L. Stine or blame him for your lifelong night terrors (guilty), Goosebumps is the perfect pick for a little hair-raising nostalgia. Evil puppets, creepy piano teachers, mud men, and more abound in this ’90s series I still cannot believe was marketed towards children. Here’s looking at that reboot, whenever it gets here. Please be just a little less terrifying. Please.

How to watch: Goosebumps is now streaming on Netflix.

Love the white hair. Mixed reviews on the white eyes.

Love the white hair. Mixed reviews on the white eyes.

Unfortunately, Netflix’s Riverdale spin-off centered on Sabrina the Teenage Witch — as portrayed by Mad Men‘s Kiernan Shipka — never quite took flight like we’d hoped. Still, you can’t ask for a  better spooky show to throw on in the background. The costuming is great, the music is fun, and the plot, while complex, is entertaining enough that popping in and out of it shouldn’t bother you too much. Plus, there’s Salem the cat. No one can say no to a magic cat.

How to watch: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is now streaming on Netflix.

11. Gerald’s Game (2017)

Mike Flanagan strikes again.

Mike Flanagan strikes again.

There are number of Stephen King adaptations now streaming on Netflix, including 1922, In the Tall Grass, and a serialized take on The Mist — but our favorite has to be Gerald’s Game. Starring Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood, this horrifying story of a couple seeking alone time is a totally engrossing (and spectacularly feminist) outing unlike any other in the genre. Good luck with…”that” scene. You’ll know it when you see it.

How to watch: Gerald’s Game is now streaming on Netflix.

Oh wow, you can even that out...right?

Oh wow, you can even that out…right?

Penny Dreadful is ridiculous, and we mean that in the best possible way. Created by John Logan, this over-the-top drama brings iconic Gothic fiction characters, like Victor Frankenstein, Dorian Gray, and Abraham Van Helsing, into a single universe full of frights unlike any other. If you love horror TV, this is one series worth doubling back for.

How to watch: Penny Dreadful is now streaming on Netflix.

9. Insidious (2010)

It's OK, Rose Byrne. Your fictional son will be back from the astral plane soon.

It’s OK, Rose Byrne. Your fictional son will be back from the astral plane soon.

Netflix has some really, really excellent supernatural horror movies to choose from; Paranormal Activity, Sinister, and The Blackcoat’s Daughter are just a few. Still, James Wan’s film Insidious will always hold a special place in my heart — and consequently, on this list! Maybe it’s Rose Byrne selling worried mom so convincingly it’s genuinely depressing. Maybe it’s the Lipstick-Face Demon being one of the coolest makeup jobs to come out of 2010. I don’t know, but it all rocks. Enjoy!

How to watch: Insidious is now streaming on Netflix.

8. Zodiac (2007)

John Carroll Lynch is so good in this it's ridiculous.

John Carroll Lynch is so good in this it’s ridiculous.

Image: paramount pictures

David Fincher’s Zodiac is plenty creepy, but it’s also just a really, really good movie. Catch future Marvel stars Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., and Jake Gyllenhaal as a cop, a journalist, and an obsessed cartoonist in this true story of the multi-decade manhunt for the Zodiac, a serial killer responsible for terrifying the people of San Francisco throughout the ’60s and ’70s. 

How to watch: Zodiac is now streaming on Netflix.

7. The Twilight Zone Seasons 1-3 & 5

That's the signpost up ahead.

That’s the signpost up ahead.

Image: CBS via Getty Images

CBS’s Twilight Zone reboot continues to leave something to be desired, but the original Rod Serling-led series is as excellent as ever. Enjoy classic episodes like “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” “Time Enough at Last,” “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” and “A Game Of Pool” — plus, lesser known gems like “The Long Morrow” and “The Masks.” Any one of these black-and-white horror shows is sure to get you in the mood for Halloween. Then, binge the rest all month long.

How to watch: The Twilight Zone is now streaming on Netflix.

6. Sleepy Hollow (1999)

The 13 best spooky titles on Netflix for Halloween season 2

“Perhaps there is a little bit of witch in you, Katrina.”

Image: paramount pictures

“So, why was the head removed?” Johnny Depp stars in Tim Burton’s 1999 reimagining of Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleep Hollow.” Every frame is like a fantasy book, every graphic detail even more disturbing than you remembered, and Christina Ricci is just heaven. Nothing says “All Hallow’s Eve” quite like this. 

How to watch: Sleepy Hollow is now streaming on Netflix.

5. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)

They've had a doozy of a day.

They’ve had a doozy of a day.

Plenty of the most fun Halloween movies out there are horror comedies — and Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is one of the best. Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine star as the titular morons, two big-hearted dudes mistaken for serial killers by a lost group of teenagers. Come for the promise of some really great sight gags, stay for the way Tudyk says, “You kids have to be more careful!” 

How to watch: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is now streaming on Netflix.

Long live, Queen Erica.

Long live, Queen Erica.

Sure, binging Stranger Things can feel like more of a summer thing, considering that’s when we last got a season. But there’s no reason Netflix’s beloved sci-fi series can’t help get you pumped for fall too. Season 2 has an especially great Halloween-themed episode worth enjoying as part of a marathon or on its own. You know you want to see those little Ghostbusters again.

How to watch: Stranger Things is now streaming on Netflix.

3. American Horror Story Seasons 1-8

'American Horror Story: Cult' sure was...uh, something.

‘American Horror Story: Cult’ sure was…uh, something.

Netflix may not have one of our favorite American Horror Story seasons to choose from (unfortunately, 1984 is only streaming on Hulu). But Ryan Murphy does so much in this ridiculous anthology, we’re certain you’ll find something to like in the seasons the service does have. If you’re new to AHS, consider pulling up some of the seasons’ title sequences on YouTube before diving in. They’re not only super fun to watch, but give a great sense of what each installment has to offer. 

How to watch: American Horror Story is now streaming on Netflix.

Remember the Bent Neck lady? Yeah....we do too.

Remember the Bent Neck lady? Yeah….we do too.

While Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Bly Manor might be all we have interest in come its release on Oct. 9, there’s no reason we can’t revisit the first Haunting anthology while we wait. An updated but still horrifying take on Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel of the same name, The Haunting of Hill House is an atmospheric nightmare as binge-worthy as it is heartbreaking. 

How to watch: The Haunting of Hill House is now streaming on Netflix.

1. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Quid pro quo.

Quid pro quo.

When The Silence of the Lambs is on a list of mine, good luck finding it anywhere but the top! Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster star in this iconic horror outing as Hannibal Lecter and FBI Agent Clarice Starling. Chock-full of undeniably entertaining acting (“Senator, I love your suit”) and more atmosphere than Buffalo Bill’s basement, this Academy Award-winning masterpiece is as flawless as ever. Kick back, relax, serve up the fava beans and a nice Chianti, and you’ll be in business.

How to watch: The Silence of the Lambs is now streaming on Netflix.

Honorable mention: Cam (2018)

Her room is so cool. Ultimately terrifying but so well-decorated.

Her room is so cool. Ultimately terrifying but so well-decorated.

We couldn’t quite justify including Daniel Goldhaber’s Cam on this list over any other given horror film we love on Netflix. (It’s just not Halloween-ey enough!) But what’s the harm in reminding you about this hidden gem while we’re here? Starring the always awesome Madeline Brewer, this psychological thriller brings body-snatching terror to the world of professional cam modeling. It’s so good and so underrated. You’re welcome in advance! 

How to watch: Cam is now streaming on Netflix.

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