Something ominous is permeating the air as the evenings grow shorter. It can only be interpreted in one way. You know it’s Halloween when you’re ready to curl up with a bowl of popcorn (and a pillow to hide behind) and watch a few scary flicks.
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If you’re an avid HBO Max subscriber, you’ll have no shortage of macabre entertainment to choose from. Sleepless nights can be filled with everything from psychological thrillers to comic horrors, vintage movies and recent reboots.
Below is a list of our favorite HBO Max horror movies and TV episodes to watch this Halloween. Lock the door and turn out all of your lights so that you can start streaming!
Is there anything more you’d like to hear? Take a look at what Disney Plus has in store this Halloween!
1. The Invisible Man (2020)
Whannell’s adaptation of H.G. Wells’ 1897 sci-fi novel Saw is a brutally relevant, #MeToo-inspired masterpiece. When rich boyfriend Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) tries to wrest Cecilia away from him, she finds herself and her family in the hands of an unseen foe who is wreaking havoc on their lives.
Instead of entertainingly campy reminiscences of its predecessor, this sleek, muscular thriller is filled with a growing sense of anxiety in which danger lurks just out of sight. Moss, as a lady who goes from being a victim to a femme fatale, does an excellent job of portraying her character’s metamorphosis. H.G. Wells’ tale, though, is perhaps the most striking component of the film.
Now is the time to get started with HBO Max.
2. Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
Trick ‘r Treat is one of the best examples of a loosely linked compilation of horrific tales in the manner of Creepshow.
Michael Dougherty’s 2007 horror anthology film, “Warren Valley,” tells four separate but intertwined stories all taking place on Halloween night in Warren Valley, Ohio. Each section features the enigmatic figure of Sam, who attacks anyone who breach the sacred “rules” of All Hallows Eve by covering his head in a burlap sack.
Featuring a cast that includes some A-listers, this slasher flick is plenty of Halloween spirit. Anna Paquin (True Blood) plays a serial murderer who gets more than he bargained for from a bad-tempered old neighbor, while Dylan Baker (Happiness) is a school principal with a dark secret hidden in his backyard. You won’t believe how delightfully gothic, creepily fascinating, and full of subversive surprises it is.
3. Diabolique (1955)
Two teachers at a shabby Paris school, Christina and Nicole, are bonded by their hate of Michel, the ruthless headmaster of the school. By drowning him in the bathtub and throwing his body in the school’s disused swimming pool, both his wife and mistress plan to get rid of him. But when the corpse doesn’t show up, they’re plagued by the thought that he may still be alive.
Until the release of Psycho in 1960, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s melancholy black and white French shocker was considered the most artistic and frightening horror film ever. Diabolique was a big influence on Alfred Hitchcock, who was known as the “Master of Suspense” for his ability to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
There’s just one way to deal with Freddy: “One, two.” Slasher movies have become stale, but this tale of Freddy Kruger, a child killer who was burned to death by vigilante parents, revived the genre with its razor-gloved, pizza-faced Freddy Kruger.
Heather Langenkamp plays Nancy Thompson, while Johnny Depp makes his acting debut as Glen, a young guy with “knives for fingers” who terrorizes four of his pals in their dreams. After being dragged over ceilings or dragged into their beds, they succumb to sleep one by one, until only the resourceful Final Girl Nancy remains to face off against Freddy in the real world.
Once New Line Cinema (nicknamed “The House that Freddy Built”) became a household name, the success of Nightmare paved the way for six more lucrative sequels, a re-imagining, and even a crossover with Friday the 13th (Freddy vs. Jason). The original’s strange uncertainty between reality and fiction, on the other hand, was captured by only a few of the sequels.
5. The Evil Dead (1981)
Sam Raimi was well known for his horrific Evil Dead movies, the first of which was shot on a $375,000 budget and became legendary as an X-Rated “Video Nasty” before he found widespread success with Spider-Man.
The plot revolves around a group of college students vacationing in a remote cottage in the woods. Here, they find an ancient Book of the Dead and an audio recorder that plays an incantation that exhumes demonic spirits from the woods around them. It’s Ash’s job to protect himself while each of the pupils succumbs to demonic possession. He must do it until daylight, performed by Bruce Campbell with frantic energy.
The Evil Dead, despite its small budget, is still a pulsating thrill-ride. A full-on attack on reality is implied by the radically slanted camera angles used by the “deadites” to hurtle through the trees and rattle windows. A gore fest, yet the over-the-top ridiculousness of the story tempers the crimson gore and severed limbs.
6. Lovecraft Country (2020)
Critics lauded this original HBO Max episode for its vivid depiction of America’s Jim Crow era, with the show’s human characters often worse than the Lovecraftian creatures that periodically appear.
H.P. Lovecraft’s literary legacy provides an imagined geography from which to investigate the harsh reality of Black existence in the 1950s, when racism manifests itself through crooked cops, segregated neighborhoods, and Sundown towns where Black people are chased out after dark..
Tic Freeman (Jonathan Majors) and Leticia Lewis (Jurnee Smollett) are on a cross-country road trip to find out what happened to Tic’s father, who recently vanished. It combines aspects of science fiction, fantasy, and horror in order to showcase more diverse and uplifting narratives about Black existence. Outstanding episode “A Strange Case” riffs on another legendary author to produce an unpleasant, horror-movie metaphor for white privilege and authority.
7. Freaky (2020)
Freaky Friday is combined with Friday the 13th by Christopher Landon, and the result is brilliantly subversive. Blissfield Butcher (Vince Vaughan) stabs one of his high school football players with an enchanted dagger, which leads them to swap bodies after the match. Until midnight, Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton) has a last-ditch effort to save her friends and reclaim her body from The Butcher, who is now disguised as a teenager.
When Josh tells Nyla that “I’m gay, you’re black, we are so dead,” it is in reference to the slasher movie’s ‘rules’ and its tongue-in-cheek speech, which is reminiscent of Scream. When the roles are reversed, Landon is able to show identity, gender, and sexuality in a refreshingly fluid way, making it a progressive horror film. In particular, Vaughan as an insecure kid with a high school crush is a blast to see.
8. The Amityville Horror (1979)
“Based on a true story” only serves to enhance the frights of this ghostly chiller. In this story, a family who moved into a house that had been the scene of a grisly massacre tells their supposed real-life experiences. After 28 days, the Lutz family decided to leave the house, alleging they had been haunted by the paranormal.
Similar to The Shining, this is a tale about a spouse who is driven mad by the building’s terrible past and crushing mortgage obligations. Disturbances here are more frightening because they occur in an everyday suburban setting.
The picture builds to a horrific climax out of a sense of normalcy. George has a hard time keeping his body temperature up. Every night, he wakes up at 3:15 a.m., the exact time the DeFeo family was assassinated. His son’s hand is broken by a sash window. A frightening voice tells the priest summoned to bless the home to “go away!”
Have we not already mentioned that the walls leak with blood? Unquestionably, this flick will give you the creeps.
9. Misery (1990)
As one of the most scary films of the ’90s, Rob Reiner’s adaptation of Stephen King’s 1987 novel remains an engrossing viewing over three decades later.
In large part because of the one-two punch of Kathy Bates, who delivers an incredible, Oscar-winning performance as the frumpy ex-nurse with an explosive temper, and James Caan, who plays wily romance novelist Paul Sheldon, who is held captive in the home of his “number one fan” after his car careens off the road during a snowstorm.
With Kathy Bates’ unhinged portrayal as the psychologically damaged Annie, and with the help of William Goldman’s tight script, it is the only Stephen King adaptation to receive an Academy Award nomination and win this honor. If anyone tells you otherwise, we’ll cripple them to the ground.
10. Wellington Paranormal (2018)
The team behind 2014’s What We Do in the Shadows, Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement, is back with a new comic TV series about a top-secret Wellington police unit tasked with researching the city’s paranormal activities.
While investigating a noise complaint at the residence of the vampires, Officers Minogue and O’Leary, who made their first appearance in the aforementioned 2014 film, were clueless to the vampires’ undead proclivities. Aliens, werewolves, and zombie cops aren’t the only things they deal with here; they also deal with reports of Mori sea monsters, werewolves, and werealiens (like when Satan is accidentally summoned to be a department store Santa).
It’s a jovial antidote to the usual horror movie hysteria. The police sergeant’s caseload includes reports of a ghost sock, spooky umbrellas, and a possessed futon, played by Maaka Pohatu.