Spooky season is in full swing, and what better way to celebrate Halloween than by sitting down and watching a few horror movies? HBO Max subscribers, in particular, have a wealth of options at their disposal – including timeless classics like The Little Shop of Horrors and modern hits such as It and Warm Bodies.
You won’t find too many family-friendly Halloween flicks on the platform, but HBO makes up for the omission with a bounty of gory, edge-of-your-seat thrillers. If you need a reason to stay inside as it gets cold out, be sure to check out one of our favorite Halloween movies on HBO Max.
Trick ‘r Treat
For fans of: Halloween horrors, anthologies, serial killers
HBO Max offers plenty of great horror movies, but Trick ‘r Treat (2007) is without a doubt one of the best horror flicks on the platform that specifically revolves around Halloween. Directed by Michael Dougherty, Trick ‘r Treat features five unique stories that all take place on Halloween – each one more terrifying than the last. Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, and Dylan Baker star in the film, and each do an excellent job of bringing Dougherty’s spooky vision to life.
For fans of: Stephen King, Cary Joi Fukunaga, clowns
Author Stephen King and screenwriter Cary Joi Fukunaga are a match made in
Heaven Hell. Fukunaga has no shortage of spectacular films in his portfolio (No Time to Die, True Detective, Beasts of No Nation), but fans of horror films should look no further than It (2017) for a perfect Halloween screening. Set in the summer of 1989, It follows a group of children as they discover a horrifying secret about their small northeastern town. What follows is a nightmare-inducing trip into the sewers, where they come face-face-face with a killer clown that’s been haunting their home for decades.
For fans of: Found-footage films, sci-fi thrillers, kaiju
Told through a found-footage perspective, Cloverfield recounts the tale of an alien invasion in New York. It’s a bit like a horror version of Godzilla – since the invading beast is a skyscraper-sized monster – as the characters frantically try to figure out what is going on in their home and survive the ensuing chaos. The film earned fairly positive reviews when it launched in 2008, but it managed to gain a cult following and spawned two spin-off movies nearly a decade after the original. If you’re looking for something a bit different from killer clowns and zombies this Halloween, be sure to give Cloverfield a moment of your time.
28 Days Later
For fans of: Post-apocalyptic thrillers, zombie flicks, Scarecrow from The Dark Knight
Starring Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, and Christopher Eccleston, 28 Days Later (2002) takes place nearly a month after a deadly virus has spread across the United Kingdom. Murphy, along with a few other survivors, are attempting to find a safe haven to ride out the apocalypse, but must first make it through a variety of deadly – and disturbing – obstacles. The film isn’t for the faint of heart, and it takes a grim look at what will happen to humanity if we aren’t careful with our ambition.
Little Shop of Horrors
For fans of: Classic films, horror-comedies, man-eating plants
At turns terrifying and hilarious, Little Shop of Horrors stands as one of the most iconic films on HBO Max. The quirky story follows a bumbling florist – Rick Moranis – who stumbles upon an untagged plant, which happens to have an appetite for humans. The film is an adaptation of the popular off-Broadway musical from Alan Menken and Howard Ashman… which also happens to be a remake of the original The Little Shop of Horrors from 1960. Despite being translated and remade multiple times, the heart of the bizarre story shines through in this 1986 reimagining.
The Amityville Horror (2005)
For fans of: Remakes, Ryan Reynolds
The Amityville Horror is based on the nightmares of homeowners around the world – that is, finding out your new home was the location of a (very recent) mass murder. Ryan Reynolds stars as George Lutz, and he makes the odd choice of staying in the haunted home with his family despite this bloodcurdling revelation. Soon after moving in, his daughter begins seeing people roaming the halls and George begins acting in inexplicable ways. What makes the tale even more disturbing, however, is that it’s based on real-life events.
Friday the 13th
For fans of: Superstitions, remakes, hockey masks
The iconic franchise hasn’t managed to win over many critics throughout its long and storied career, but that hasn’t stopped fans from flocking to every new release. HBO Max subscribers have access to a newer rendition of Friday the 13th (2009), which follows a group of friends that visit the abandoned Crystal Lake campgrounds. The rest of the film details their encounter with Jason Voorhees – and is one of the best narratives in the entire Friday the 13th catalog.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
For fans of: Classic films, Wes Craven, horror
Whether you want to watch the classic from 1984 or the remaster from 2010, A Nightmare on Elm Street will make it hard to fall asleep on Halloween. Both films (along with several spin-offs and sequels) are available on HBO Max, although newcomers to the series should do themselves a favor and tackle the original before moving on to the remake. Not only was it the film that turned Freddy Krueger into a household name, but it also turned him into one of the most popular Halloween costumes of the past three decades.
The Evil Dead
For fans of: Supernatural horror, cabin-in-the-woods films, Sam Raimi
Before he was the director of Spider-Man, Sam Raimi was the king of horror. Released in 1981, The Evil Dead was a revolutionary film that took the genre to new heights. You’ll watch as a group of friends deal with an insatiable horde of demons while trapped deep in a shadowy, foreboding forest – and not even their cozy cabin will keep them safe.
For fans of: Quirky characters, offbeat storylines, horror comedies
More comedic and romantic than it is horrific, Warm Bodies (2013) is a nice change of pace from most films listed above. It still features plenty of blood, guts, and zombies, but instead of trying to give you nightmares, Warm Bodies tries to remind you that there’s always a glimmer of hope in even the most terrible of situations. Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, and John Malkovich star in the quirky film, and it’s the perfect cure for anyone tired of the usual genre tropes.