Oh, Halloween. Once called All Hallow's Eve, it's a day that even Wikipedia can't quite define (I would consult my encyclopedia, but it spontaneously combusted when the internet was born). Over the years, the holiday has evolved into a celebration where women dress scantily, pumpkins are lit on fire, and viewing audiences everywhere feel the sudden urge to watch TV shows and movies so scary that they might lead to collective, fright-induced defecation.
For now, let's focus on that last part, the defecation. If you're hankering to scream so hard you pee yourself (or worse), prepare to be instantly gratified: We've scoured the web to bring you the best scary movies and TV shows that you can watch right now, online. So turn off the lights, cuddle up with a loved one, and, uh, consider keeping a chamber pot handy. Happy Halloween!
Notes: A few of these titles require a Netflix account, but don't worry if you don't have one—all the non-Netflix selections are absolutely free to watch online (in the continental United States... sorry, international readers!). Clicking on the source link(s) below the title will take you directly to your viewing experience.
From graphic novel to six-part FEARnet miniseries, this modern vampire saga is set in New Orleans and picks up where 30 Days of Night: Blood Trails left off, with Detective Nick Maguire setting out to find his sister Sara before she is transformed into a bloodsucking enemy. Fans of the Alaskan-set vampire film 30 Days of Night should take note.
From 1955-1962, Alfred Hitchcock Presents thrilled primetime audiences;
Alfred Hitchcock Hour is a continuation of that series, but in 50-minute installments as opposed to its predecessor's 25-minute durations. The single-camera anthology offers plenty of twists and turns, but is perhaps best known for its iconic opening title sequence with the Hitchcock silhouette.
Executive-produced by Sam Raimi in 1995, this CBS series only lasted for one season. It's a story about a corrupt small-town sheriff, Lucas Black, who's a little more deranged than your average corrupt small-town town sheriff. Backed by supernatural powers, Sheriff Black manipulates his townspeople into making evil life-choices, while he commits in rape and murder. Really uplifting stuff.
For those still unfamiliar with this weird twist of television, AHS (from Glee and Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy) is set in modern-day Los Angeles and centers on a married couple who moved to the West Coast from Boston to distance themselves from their rocky past. But new horrors abound as they realize that the house they've moved into has a long history of bloodshed, which slowly but surely begins to damage their psyches. Jessica Lange plays the deranged next-door neighbor who knows the house all too well. Since this is a current show, episodes are posting to Hulu quite slowly, but at least the first two are currently available.
This 6-episode series is brought to you by the UK and features everything you could possibly ask for in a horror series: priests, satanic conspiracy, and exorcism. Each hour-long episode features the epic fight between good and evil, and even the evil that's often mistaken for good. Have no doubt, if you embark on this series, you'll walk away with a PhD in every type of human possession imaginable, as Apparitions manages to cover the whole scope.
This one may not be so "scary," but it's certainly one of the most endearing witch-centric tales on television. An ABC sitcom that aired from 1964-1972, this TV classic starred Elizabeth Montgomery as a simple witch named Samantha who was just trying to live the life of a normal suburban housewife. Her mortal husband, originally played by Dick York, often got caught in the middle of Samantha's accidental spells which usually led to some kind of temper tantrum. What a wuss, right?
Inspired by the anime film Blood: The Last Vampire, Blood+ is a hugely popular anime adventure series about a high school senior, Saya Otonashi, who suffers from memory loss. Saya must uncover the truth of who she really is in order to fend off the droves of vampires who threaten her lover's life. It's like Buffy meets Memento, but anime. In other words, it's awesome.
Oh, yeah, baby! Fans of the comic book and cinematic series, start salivating. He may not be Snipes, but Kirk "Sticky Fingaz" Jones' cheesy rendition of the character was loveable in its own right. Half man, half vampire, Blade: The Series takes off right where the Wesley Snipes film ends. In primetime, Blade is once again forced to fight his own nature to save humanity, and you get to watch it all again online. Fun fact: this was the first TV series to ever premiere on iTunes before its on-air premiere.
If you don't already know and love this series, we have no choice but to assume you're under 12 years of age, or were somehow void of television from 1997-2003. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a cult classic. Centering around the titular teenage vampire slayer dealing with demons while trying to maintain a normal social life, Buffy is tapped as the chosen one to protect the Earth from vampires and a myriad of other supernatural bad-guys who can access our realm through a portal in Buffy's small town. Buffy, along with her team of Giles, Xander, Willow, and more, do whatever it takes to keep the world safe. It's so awesome, and it's online in two different places! Watch it all!
Celebrity Paranormal Project is a 2005 reality series that took celebrities and tossed them in a haunted location. A-List celebrities such as Joe Piscopo, Gary Busey, Olympic hero Picabo Street, and Jackass star Wee-man. The celebrities were given a specific task in the haunted location and were filmed while being spooked by ghosts and ghouls. Just imagine Gary Busey in a haunted house and just try to stay away from this show. Just try. We know, you can't. It's okay.
For those of you who aren't already in love with it, this long-running British sci-fi epic spans almost as many generations as the Doctor, himself. The Doctor, along with his traveling companions, journey through time and space to far off planets and famous historical events. What makes these adventures possible (aside from the cunning nature and limitless intellect of the Doctor) is the TARDIS, an almost magical machine camouflaged as a police box. Doctor Who is filled with wonder and excitement and is sure to delight even the most cynical of viewers. The otiginal 1963 series is also available to stream on Netflix, but you'll have to search through 'movies,' not TV.
Strangely enough, only 19 episodes of this nostalgic classic were produced before the show's cancellation in 1993. It was later syndicated on the Disney Channel, which is where many fans remember watching it for the first time. A combination of urban legends meets small town meets The X-Files, Eerie, Indiana follows young Marshall Teller, a new kid trying to navigate through his very strange, very 'eerie' new home. This series definitely holds up.
A short-lived drama on ABC that revolves around the townsfolk of Haplin, Minnesota and the struggle to solve a string of seemingly related missing persons cases. The mythology behind the disappearances is that they are brought on by the so-called Magic Man, an unknown entity that possesses somewhat superhuman abilities at making people vanish. The primary objective of the residents is to discover the identity of the Magic Man, which has often disastrous results stemming from trust issues, or lack thereof. There may not be much payoff here, considering the show's short run, but who's to say it's impossible for it to catch a second, better wind online?
Think Dick Tracy meets The X-Files. This 1974 crime drama follows a Chicago reporter as he investigates paranormal crimes. Criminals range from werewolves, to zombies, to Jack the Ripper and killer robots. To be honest, this is a likely precursor to this fall's new NBC crime thriller, Grimm. Though I suppose we'll have to watch to find out which series can boast the most legitimacy at the end of the day.
Masters of Horror is a 2005 anthology horror series started by Mick Garris. The original series included short films by such horror greats as John Carpenter, Joe Dante, Guillermo Del Toro, and John Landis. Film buffs with an affinity for the frightening will appreciate this series more than most, though the rest of us are likely to get wowed, as well.
A group of strangers finds themselves in a mysterious hotel in this 2010 television drama. The town they're in is abandoned, the fence around the town is electrocuted, and their only hope for survival is to somehow outsmart the organization keeping them here. With only thirteen episodes, it's perfect for a Halloween marathon.
More like a mini-series than a TV series, this British TV trilogy is another possible precursor to this fall's NBC series, Grimm. Starring none other than Game of Thrones' Sean Bean and cinema's new sweetheart, Andrew Garfield, Red Riding follows the pursuit of reporter Eddie Dunford (Garfield) as he attempts to uncover the mysterious murders of three young girls in the mid-1970s. A fascinating twist on the Red Riding Hood stories, this trilogy is an absolute must watch.
Based on the popular child author's books, “The Haunting Hour” and “The Nightmare Hour," Stine brings thrills and chills to primetime and is thought of as "a Twilight Zone for kids." Darker and more thematic than its partner, Goosebumps, the show brings to life via visuals what only the imagination can do with the reading material. Though geared towards younger audiences, the show packs quite a frightening punch and plenty of eerieness.
Those who get spooked by Paranormal Activity movies while on a quest for truth regarding the paranormal have plenty to be interested in with this paranormal investigation reality series. Airing on ABC Family, this show plants run-of-the-mill families in spooky settings with plenty of documented-yet-unexplained history to examine whether the destinations are haunted or not. Settings include the USS Hornet, Alcatraz Island, and the Winchester Mansion. Quick, get the kids! It's frightening-your-family fun time.
You already know this if you follow our amazing photorecaps of this currently-airing series, but Secret Circle is basically Vampire Diaries, but with witches. A group of teenage witches in a small town discover and experiment with powers that could either destroy them, or be a whole lot of fun. Nothing like a couple of hot-and-heavy adolescents testing the extremes of fate! New episodes stream online 2-3 days after they air on TV.
A WB classic, Smallville is a serialized teen drama based on the life of a young Clark Kent. Kent lives in the small town of Smallville, where he is learning to harness his powers that will later define him as Superman. All the while, Kent has to deal with being a normal teenager, dating Lana Lang, and competing with Lex Luthor. Typical teenage problems. The CW and The WB each stream 5 episode of this series at a time, on rotation.
Why is it that all of these CW shows seem to start with the letter "S?" In this long-running television series, two brothers travel the open road looking for trouble of the paranormal variety. Don't assume this teen series is just for kids, we know a number of grown men just as intrigued by the brothers' creepy discoveries and paranormal investigations.
Teen Wolf is a 2011 MTV reboot of the Michael J. Fox film of the same name. The series follows social outcast Scott McCall after being bitten by a werewolf as he deals with his transformation while attending high school and just trying to have a normal life. Scott is forced to give up everything he loves in order to protect it while he tries to cope with life as a werewolf. Is it as good as the original? Our nostalgia-meter says no, but if you're unfamiliar with the original, it's definitely worth a watch.
Wizard Harry Dresden offers his services to the citizens of modern-day Chicago to assist in problems with the supernatural. This television series is based on the series of best-selling novels by Jim Butcher. Though some fans considered it to be too much of a departure from the books, it's attempt to make a sort of spin-off is worth investigating, especially as it's free to watch online. Also, fun fact: Nicolas Cage was one of the executive producers on the series.
Oh, hellllls yes, this one's free to watch online! The classic science fiction television series aired from 1993 to 2002, and in the 9 years we've been without it, we haven't forgotten it for a second. Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are FBI agents working on the X-Files, a classification for incidents involving the paranormal. Mulder believes heavily in paranomal behavior, while Scully is more level-headed and logical regarding the phenomena they deal in. Forget Bones, this series is the real deal. Seasons 1-9 are available to stream on Netflix.
Breaking Bad fans take note - Dean Norris who plays Hank is a cast member on this former SyFy show. Tremors, the series, picks up where the third film in the franchise leaves off and deals with the residents of Perfection Valley and the struggles involved living with the fictional graboid creature "El Blanco." There is plenty of humor to add to the thrills, as well as some political commentary which stems from the setting of a protected habitat.
A true TV classic, Twilight Zone is an anthology horror/science fiction/suspense series that aired from 1959 until 1964. Many of the stories from the Twilight Zone have become intertwined with the pop culture zeitgeist such as The Monsters are Due on Maple Street, Nightmare at 200,000 Feet, and To Serve Man. True Twilight Zone fans will also get kicks out of its spin-off sequel series, Night Gallery, which was created by Rod Serling and is also available to watch free online. Also, it's in color!
Twin Peaks is a 1990 drama created by David Lynch and starring Kyle MacLauchlan as FBI agent Dale Cooper. The series follows Cooper as he investigates the murder of the homecoming queen of a small town. Twin Peaks features plenty of David Lynch's trademark bizarre imagery while exploring exstistential concepts like dreams' effects on reality.
Vampire Diaries is a supernatural teen drama based on the L.J. Smith series of books of the same name. Elna Gilbert is a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire named Stefan. All is well with their relationship until Stefan's brother Damon comes back to town and wedges himself in the middle. The series follows the tangled relationship of these three characters as well as the other residents of Mystic Falls, Virginia. For a more hilarious take on the series, check out our photorecaps.
Vampire Knight is a 2008 anime series centering around Yuki Cross attending Cross Academy. As a child, Yuki was nearly killed by a vampire before being saved by Kaname Kuran. Now, while attending Cross Academy, has discovered that her long-time friend Zero is becoming a vampire, himself.
We all know The Walking Dead. It's one of the most popular shows on AMC right now, but it's particularly topical because it actually debuted on Halloween night in 2010. The show follows a band of survivors from a raging epidemic that has seemingly wiped out most of the population. They pool together whatever resources can be scrounged up on their desperate journey to find safety and civilization while trying not to attract too many "Walkers" along the way - zombies, not Chuck Norrises, that is. Based on the widely read graphic novel series, the show is clearly influenced by the works of George Romero and such hit films as Dawn of the Dead. Though the current season is unavailable to stream online, the entire first season is on Netflix. So, newbies, start playing catch-up before this series gets too deep.
A horror-comedy web series on FEARnet about a group of unsuspecting college kids who kill the wrong squirrel on the wrong haunted road. When the little critter comes back to life, it becomes a survival of the fittest against the least likely of life-threatening, flesh-hungry foes.
A man must deal with the blob-sized, former siamese twin who was removed from his waist but continues to crave murder. And yes, it's as epic, as bloody, and as deranged as it sounds.
We knew nothing of this movie but figured it was worth investigating when we saw Rob Lowe's name attached. Apparently, Butterfinger -yes, the candy brand- recently produced a comedic horror flick with zero studio funding or involvement. It's only 25 minutes, but it's free and it stars and is directed by Rob Lowe, which makes us think that whether it's terrible or amazing, it will be time well spent.
Christine is a 1983 horror film based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. Directed by master of horror John Carpenter, Christine tells the story of Arnie Cunningham, a social outcast who buys a used car named Christine. Arnie, through restoring Christine, begins to change, himself. His friends then set out to destroy Christine in order to get their friend back. It's one of those movies that will make you forever paranoid of inanimate objects.
This 2008 remake of a classic is, well, a 2008 remake of a classic. While it's arguably horrible when compared to the original, it's one of those films you can't help but love to hate on. An ideal choice when looking for something to watch with friends, drink to, or crack jokes about Ving Rhames at.
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, this 1963 flick is a low-budget thriller about a 'demented' family plagued by secret deaths and morbid rituals. The movie centers around Lady Haloran and her creepy castle. While daughter-in-law attempts to hide Haloran's son after his untimely death, realizing that she'd be cut out of his family's will if he's dead, Lady Haloran is faced with the constant reminder of her daughter's passing years prior, and is visited by a creepy and unwelcome stalker. Talk about a family with problems, this one'll make you feel like your family's problems are a piece of cake.
Based on Bram Stoker's classic novel, this 1931 flick is often hailed as the original (legal) Dracula movie. (Technically, Nosferatu was the original, but filmed without permission.) It also serves as proof that vampires were never meant to glitter in the sunlight. Audiences reportedly fainted in shock upon seeing this, and while audiences these days are a little more prepared for the on-screen surprises, we think it's important to pay homage to the classics.
A 1992 remake of the original, this film stars the names we're more familiar with today, like Anthony Hopkins, Winona Ryder, and yes, Keanu Reeves. As it turns out, waiting 60 years to remake a classic pays off -it's ratings are almost as high as its predecessor's were. For a more modern-day perspective on the traditional rules of Vampirism, this movie is well worth your time.
Pregnant Madeline and her husband are in a car accident. Her husband dies, and her doctors tell her that her unborn child has died along with him. Desperate to carry the child, anyway, Madeline delivers a stillborn child who comes back to life. Unfortunately, it's a demon baby, but the desperate mother will do anything to keep her alive. Including feeding her human flesh. This movie is like a snooze button for biological clocks!
Halloween H20 is set 20 years after the events of the original Halloween films, originally created by John Carpenter. It centers around Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and the stress brought on by her murderous brother, Michael Myers. The film also stars Michelle Williams, Josh Hartnett, and LL Cool J. Awesome cast, Halloween franchise! It's clear this series will (fortunately or unfortunately) never, ever, die.
This Ti West-directed indie film is an exercise in '80s nostalgia but also nonstop tension. Also, it contains one of the most shocking moments in horror history, but you'll have to watch it to find out what that moment entails.
Alright, we know. It's not the original. It's not even close to the original, but it's as close as we can get for free online. If you're looking for a free teen-slasher flick filled with pretty faces and high-intensity suspense, this could very well whet your appetite. Also, it's free; not sure we mentioned that, yet.
If you can believe it, this 2009 film received a rarely ever seen 100% on the popular review site, Rotten Tomatoes, and we think it's well-deserved, if only for the concept alone. Ink is a strangely touching sci-fi story about the spirit world, namely those who exist to give us dreams. A drifter in this alternate dimension, called Ink, steals a young girl's soul, which leads them on a journey through the subconscious that you have to watch to understand.
Jagged Edge is 1985 a courtroom thriller starring Glenn Close and Jeff Bridges. In the story, Bridges is arrested for his wife's murder, and hires Close to defend him in court. As with most court thrillers, dangerous secrets lead to the real killer's identity, but not without putting more innocent lives at risk.
Little Shop of Horrors is a classic comedy horror film that tells the story of Seymour, a down-on-his-luck florist assistant. One night Seymour discovers a plant that feeds on human blood which he names after Audrey, the woman he loves. Things soon take a turn for the worse, however, as Audrey 2 grows bigger and hungrier. Also, Jack Nicholson's in it.
Why, yes, you're absolutely right: This Little Shop of Horrors is a remake of the original but widely argued to be just as good, if not a little more colorful, and therefore better. Also, it stars Rick Moranis and is directed by Frank Oz. Say yes to this movie right now.
Accept no substitutes, this Swedish original contains a chilling, artful take on a childhood romance between a boy and the centuries-old girl next door. Plus this version contains a cat attack scene that must be seen to be believed.
Zombies meet aliens meet B-movie teen slasher flick. This 1986 gem is an underrated treat for horror fans. Jam-packed with just about every scary movie cliche imaginable, it wins us over because it knows exactly what it is and doesn't pretend to be anything more.
The grandaddy of all zombie movies may have been filmed in black & white, but it's shockingly modern in its camera work, acting and go-for-broke terror. The fact that it was made for no money by a bunch of early 20-somethings should be a source of inspiration for any horror fan.
This shot-for-shot remake sets itself apart from the original almost entirely because it's filmed in color. If you really can't handle black & white movies, then sure, watch this version. But if you can handle the desaturated visuals, we suggest you at least watch the original before taking a bite (pun!) out of this remake.
Funny story: This title was also based on Bram Stroker's Dracula novel, but it was filmed in 1922 without permission from the author's estate, and was thusly sued and shamed by Stroker's late wife. Still, it is considered to be one of the earliest and most respected horror classics, and is absolutely worth your time. Do it for history!
This new Kevin Smith horror film deals with evangelism gone awry in the South. A mild 58% on Rotten Tomatoes actually makes this one worth watching, if only to see what side you're on.
Classic old school Sherlock Holmes. Robert Downey Jr can try all he wants, but Basil Rathbone is always going to be THE Sherlock Holmes. It's elementary, my friends! In this brilliant piece of black & white cinema goodness, Holmes and Watson must discover why a gang of thieves is after a set of music boxes -before the next owner is murdered.
Based on the popular video game series, this film succeeds in that it's just as creepy as the games it emulates and spotlights enough of Pyramid Head to keep even his most devoted fans satisfied.
One of Bob and Harvey Weinstein's first attempts at MAKING movies, The Burning is an out-and-out rip-off of the then-huge Friday the 13th franchise. Except this one has a better screenplay and a much better cast (Holly Hunter! Jason Alexander!) Definitely worth watching.
This modern adaptation of the George Romero sorta-zombies classic improves on much of the original, especially in its casting of Timothy Olymphant as the world's most beleaguered sheriff. This is a good remake, you guys.
The original John Carpenter version is ostensibly about pirate ghosts who just want their booty back, but few horror films have the unsettled atmosphere (and array of likable characters) that this one does.
Alfred Hitchcock strikes again. Actually, it was his first big strike. The Lady Vanishes was filmed in the UK before Hitchcock's move to Hollywood, and may have launched his success. The story centers around a young woman riding a train who notices that one of her acquaintances, an old woman, has vanished mid-route. The situation gets spookier when the other passengers collectively deny ever having seen the woman, in the first place. Creepy!
The Last Exorcism is a surprisingly effective mockumentary about a charlatan exorcist who agrees to one last hoax but gets more than bargains for.
When you think about it, the fact that this movie was an English-speaking production directed by a Spaniard and set in a UK territory in the 1940s, this psychological ghost-centric horror flick was a fairly notable triumph. It could have been a culturally-inaccurate disaster! Instead, it's a highly suspenseful ghost story that will keep you guessing until the very end.
This French home invasion movie bears striking resemblance to The Strangers, which was coincidental as the movies came out around the same time. But make no mistake, it's definitely just as scary.
Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale are trapped in a motel room once inhabited by a couple of creepy snuff filmmakers. Sounds like your average weekend away, right? In all honesty, this is just another one of Hollywood's attempts at scaring you away from those creepy mom-and-pop hotels that line deserted highways. It's all just a big high-end hotel conspiracy!