31 Horror Movies More People Should See This October

There are plenty of horror movie lists out there that will tell you to watch The Shining, Friday the 13th, and Halloween. You should. They’re classics.

You don’t need a list to tell you about the classics though.

Here are 31 horror movies that you’re less likely to have heard about or seen. Watch one every night this month.

Happy October.

The Strange Thing About the Johnsons (Short), Dir. Ari Aster
Watch free on Vimeo

Everyone’s seen Hereditary and Midsommar. Now explore Aster’s 2011 short film. No spoilers offered. It’s an Ari Aster project.

The House of the Devil, Dir. Ti West
Watch on Shudder

This homage to 80s horror perfects the horror genre. A slow-burning suspense drives this movie about a girl hired as a babysitter for a family. Greta Gerwig’s in it. People dance while eating pizza. Synth soundtrack galore. Maybe my favorite horror film?

It Follows, Dir. David Robert Mitchell
Watch on Peacock

People become a shape-shifting monster’s target if they have a sexual encounter with the monster’s previous target. The monster only terrorizes the characters until they have sex with someone else and pass the horror along. While this seems like a classic “sex is bad” horror movie about STDs, it’s actually much more effective as a tale of surviving sexual assault.

Absentia, Dir. Mike Flanagan
Watch on Amazon Prime Video

He did Doctor Sleep, The Haunting of Hill House, and a bunch of other horror you love. Now watch his low budget movie Absentia. The production design is not great (see: low budget), but the writing keeps up with some of his best work.

Kill List, Dir. Ben Wheatley
You have to buy this one. Sorry!

I’ve never seen a film quite like The Kill List. I’m not even sure if I liked this film. I remember this film having a lot to say about the psychological effects of war though, and it’s closing minutes have stuck with me for years.

Train to Busan, Dir. Yeon Sang-ho
Watch on Amazon Prime Video

It’s like Snakes on a Plane, but good and Zombies on a Train.

The Craft, Dir. Andrew Fleming
You have to buy this one too. Sorry!

They’re making a sequel with David Duchovny that I’m not so sure about, but this cult classic is my favorite movie about witches. Watch some YouTube videos about all the crazy stuff that happened on set after you’ve watched.

Mandy, Dir. Panos Cosmatos
Watch on Shudder

Nicolas Cage stars in a revenge movie that’s wildly cinematic, funny, and gory. Cage fights against a gang of cultists and demon bikers. There are characters named The Chemist, Cheddar Goblin, and F*** Pig. I’m sure you know if it’s for you or not based on just that last sentence.

The Babadook, Dir. Jennifer Kent
You have to buy this one too. Sorry!

This is quickly becoming a horror classic. If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to.

Creep, Dir. Patrick Brice
Watch on Netflix

Mark Duplass plays one of the most memorable horror movie characters I’ve seen. He hires a person to film his life for 24 hours.

Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil, Dir. Eli Craig
Watch on Kanopy (free with library card)

My favorite horror comedy film. Two groups of young adults are terrified of each other. The teenagers think the hillbillies are murderers. The hillbillies think the teenagers are a death cult. Hilarity ensues.

Pontypool, Dir. Bruce McDonald
You have to buy this one too. Sorry!

Pontypool is a zombie movie, but the virus spreads linguistically. Of course a communication scholar likes this. Ultimately about the power of language to shape our world, this movie is unlike any other zombie movie I’ve seen.

Audition, Dir. Takashi Miike
Watch on Shudder

An adaptation of Ryu Murakami’s book of the same name, Audition follows a man who decides to hold auditions for a fake movie so that he can meet a young woman to begin dating. The ending gets intense.

You’re Next, Dir. Adam Wingard
Watch on Peacock

A home invasion story with a truly memorable twist. One of the best of the genre. I heard someone describe it as Home Alone for adults.

V/H/S, Produced by Gary Binkow, Brad Miska, and Roxanne Benjamin
You have to buy this one too. Sorry!

The only horror anthology movie on my list features some of my favorite horror shorts I’ve seen. Not all of the shorts work, but the ones that do are great.

The Strangers, Dir. Bryan Bertino
You have to buy this one too. Sorry!

The first time I watched the film was maybe the most scared I’ve ever been from a movie. Watch it home alone, and you’ll have a fun night ahead.

Annabelle Comes Home, Dir. Gary Dauberman
Watch on HBO Max

This is maybe my favorite movie in The Conjuring universe although it definitely isn’t the best. The movie plays with horrors of all the other Conjuring movies and gives you a fun ride. Not the least bit scary.

The Ritual, Dir. David Bruckner
Watch on Netflix

Creepy Swedish forests and friends arguing make for a more fun yet intense film than I ever expected.

Silent House, Dir. Laura Lau & Chris Kentis
Watch on Amazon Prime Video

A faux-one shot film following a woman home alone in her family’s old house. One of the only one shot horror films I’ve seen, and it really works well for the genre.

The First Purge, Dir. Gerard McMurray
You have to buy this one too. Sorry!

The Purge movies have been extremely hit-and-miss. Mostly the latter. This one decides to make the political commentary of the previous movies the plot. If you like the filmic idea of The Purge movies, go for this one. If not, spend your time elsewhere.

Ready or Not, Dir. Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett
Watch on HBO Max

Another fun horror movie. A girl marries into a family that’s rich from their board game company. On her wedding night, she has to play a game with them. The game is hide and seek but with murder added in. How fun for her! Samara Weaving is a horror movie queen these days.

The Faculty, Dir. Robert Rodriguez
You have to buy this one, but it’s worth the money without question.

Jon Stewart, Jordana Brewster, Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Usher, Clea Duvall and more star in a ridiculous alien invasion flick that’s gathered a cult following since its release. They’re all so young.

Searching, Dir. Aneesh Chaganty
You have to buy this one too. Sorry!

A man’s daughter goes missing. The film follows the investigation entirely from his computer screen. It’s better than most of the movies that try the gimmick. Come for the mystery, stay for the alien invasion subtext that happens entirely in the background of the computer screens.

Hush, Dir. Mike Flanagan
Watch on Netflix

The only director to show up twice on my list, Mike Flanagan offers a great twist on slasher films by having a masked killer break into the house of a woman who is deaf. The movie plays on classic horror fears while commenting on the unique experience of people with disabilities.  

Unfriended: Dark Web, Dir. Stephen Susco
You have to buy this one too. Sorry!

This sequel improves on Unfriended by expanding the world. Still taking place entirely on a computer scene, this movie gets much darker and offers more thoughtful political commentary than its predecessor.

The VVitch, Dir. Robert Eggers
Watch on Kanopy (free with a library card)

A period piece following a family of settlers in New England. The VVItch creates a more tense atmosphere than any horror movie I’ve seen other than The Shining.

Hell House LLC, Dir. Brian Harnick
Watch on Shudder

A found footage horror film that follows the opening night of a horror house. The footage shows the staff creating the haunted house.

The Babysitter, Dir. McG
Watch on Netflix

As stated earlier, Samara Weaving is a horror movie queen . This movie hits every trope possible and knows it. Fun, funny, and a light watch.

The Visit, Dir. M. Night Shyamalan
You have to buy this one too. Sorry!

Your boy M. Night has a return to form with this one. Why’d you give up on him? The Last Airbender? Haven’t heard of it. I don’t think it happened. Block it out if you haven’t.

Bad Ben, Dir. Nigel Bach
If you have a Roku, you can download the app BECAUSE WHY NOT. Incredible. Otherwise you have to buy it.

Okay, before we get really serious for the last movie on the list, let’s get wild. Nigel Bach is filmmaker that my wife and I found a few years ago while scrolling Amazon Video (he’s since taken them down because Amazon lowered their payments to filmmakers). He started a cinematic universe about Bad Ben in 2016. He’s made eight of them since then. These movies probably cost a couple of hundred bucks each to make. They’re the cheapest version of Paranormal Activity ever created. They are incredibly good for their production budget while also being hilarious and awful and everything you could want.

Martyrs, Dir. Pascal Laugier
You have to buy this one too. Maybe go through the others on this list first.

Part of the “New French Extremity” movement of horror, Martyrs is not for the light-hearted horror fan. One of the most emotionally intense and repulsing movies I’ve ever seen. I’d only recommend this for the people looking for something that will really push them. Every trigger warning possible. Oh, and don’t watch the American remake.