Are you afraid of the dark? You will be after you get through our spooky list of the best horror movies on HBO Streaming.
Editor’s Note: This post is updated monthly. Bookmark this page and come back every month to see the new horror movies on HBO Now and HBO Go.
Updated for February 2018
What ever would we do without horror?
So much of our day to day life is built around logic and known, verifiable facts. And that’s great! Still, every once in awhile you need to get in touch with your illogical, terrified animal brain. That’s where horror and horror movies in particular come in.
Gathered here are the 12 best horror movies on HBO Now and HBO Go for your scaring needs.
“In space, no one can hear you scream,” the tagline for Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi/horror epic promised. Well maybe they should have screened this thing in space because I’m sure all that audiences in theaters did was scream. Alien has evolved into a heady, science fiction franchise that has stretched out for decades. The original film, however, is a small-scale, terrifyingly claustrophobic thriller.
In the distant (or maybe not-so-distant) future, the crew of the commercial space ship Nostromo is on their way back to Earth when they receive a distress call from a distant planet. The seven-person crew decides to land on the planet and investigate. This proves to be a very bad idea.
The Blair Witch Project
I honestly can’t imagine a more terrifying movie-going experience than seeing The Blair Witch Project in a theater on opening night. Back in the late ’90s, we weren’t as immune to Internet hype as we are now and it would have been much easier to suspend one’s disbelief for this: the godfather of the found footage horror movie.
Even as things stand now, The Blair Witch Project is a fantastic, truly eerie film. If possible, however, cut the WiFi in your house for a week, pretend you’re in 1999, dim the lights and watch it again.
Ugh, man: children. Even the most innocent of kids are kind of creepy. They’re just little humanoids with a smaller vocabulary than usual and poor motor skills. In British horror film The Children, children are somehow even scarier than usual.
A family goes on holiday to the secluded home of their aunt (ugh of course it’s secluded). When they arrive, the two young children in the family Miranda and Paulie, suddenly become very ill. Then they become very violent. Bastardization of the familiar is terrifying and The Children does an excellent job of turning family members into monsters.
The Exorcist is the best horror movie of all-time. Sorry, The Shining! The Exorcist is truly terrifying because it understands what scares us the most: loss of bodily autonomy, corruption, the existence of true evil, and having to clean up green puke.
Beyond just that, however, The Exorcist is a remarkable film. It presents the battle between good and evil and fundamentally and as creatively as any other film ever made. If you’ve never seen the story of young Regan (Linda Blair) taken hostage to the devil watch it immediately. If you have already, watch it again immediately.
For some, Get Out may be pushing the definition of “horror.” “It’s a satire!” “It’s a thriller!” “It’s a socio-political commentary!” Sure, it is all those things. But it’s also a horror movie, and a great one at that. Jordan Peele’s directorial debut follows Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) a black New York photographer who agrees to go out into the suburbs to meet his white girlfriend’s parents.
That’s an uncomfortable situation for many in interracial relationships but when Chris arrives things seem to go pretty well! Sure, Rose’s yuppie parents lay on the liberal white guilt angle a bit thick (“I would’ve voted for Obama for a third term if I could!”) but other than that things should go fine, right….RIGHT??? Things do not go fine and Get Out becomes the tragically funny, completely entertaining, social horror movie that Peele was born to make.
Lights Out is a film from Swedish director David F. Sandberg adapted from his own 2013 short film of the same name. Lights Out is brilliant in its simple concept. It’s similar to the classic Doctor Who episode “Blink” in which monsters advance towards you when you’re not looking at them – only in Lights Out‘s case, a demonic-looking woman advances towards you when the lights are out.
Horror that is able to corrupt objects or concepts that we encounter in day to day life and make them terrifying are almost always great. Lights Out does exactly that and somehow also wraps it in an extended metaphor for depression.
The version of Mimic on HBO is not the director’s cut that Guillermo Del Toro wants you to see. And that’s a drag as you should almost always watch what Guillermo Del Toro wants you to watch. Still this theatrical version of Mimic is still pretty great in its own right.
Mimic is actually a bit similar to Del Toro’s later work in The Strain only instead of vampires terrorizing Manhattan, it’s little parasites that are hellbent on destroying other living creatures and are unnervingly able to mimic the appearance of their prey. It’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets The Walking Dead all run through Del Toro’s lush and demented visual aesthetic.
Ouija: Origin of Evil
Ouija: Origin of Evil represents one of the very few positive outcomes of when a studio just refuses to let an IP die. The original 2014 Ouija film was a modest success at the box office but was roundly slammed by critics and audiences. Instead of cutting their losses and saying “Phew, we got away with a bad one there,” Universarl Studios, Blumhouse Productions, and Hasbro decided to power through with another film – a prequel to be exact.
And thank Satan that they did as Ouija: Origin of Evil is actually a terrifying good time. Set in 1976, it deals with the Zander family attempting to incorporate a ouija board into their act as phony spiritual mediums. Things take a horrifying turn for the real as they are oft to do in these movies. But what sets Ouija: Origin of Evil apart is its truly disturbing imagery and top-notch jump scares.
Pitch Black is a science fiction movie to be sure and the beginning of one of the most inexplicable film/media franchises of all time. It’s also a deceptively brilliant horror movie. Vin Diesel stars as Richard Riddick, a dangerous criminal being transported to a space prison via a spaceship.
Whilst on route, a comet strikes the ship and Riddick and the rest of the crew are marooned on an alien planet, inhabited by creatures who lurk in the darkness. Pitch Black is fun because the scariest things are the things you can’t see. It’s action-adventure, science fiction, and abject horror all rolled into one Diesel-y package.
Horror is a wonderful movie genre but every now and then it can stagnate. That’s when movies like Scream come along – movies that still terrify and thrill their viewers while at the same time poking fun at the stale conventions of horror movies. Scream 2 picks up where Scream leaves off both spiritually and literally.
It’s a direct continuation of the story of Sidney Prescott (Naomi Campbell) who after surviving a killer wearing a ghostface mask in high school gets to do the same in college. Scream 2 is thrilling and a great commentary on horror sequels.
M. Night Shyamalan had a real rough go of it for awhile there. After a string of poorly-received bombs, he got back to horror basics with the terrifying The Visit and then followed it up with the equally compelling Split. The concept of a man with multiple personality disorder holding three girls hostage for mysterious reasons is quite frankly: kind of silly.
But thanks to the capable hands of Shyamalan behind the camera and James McAvoy in front of it, it’s actually quite great! And just when you think that Shyamalan couldn’t possibly catch you off guard with another twist, he pulls off one of the best of his career.
Stir of Echoes
Unwanted or unexpected “visions” are the rare horror trope that are equally terrifying conceptually and visually. Therefore they are a perfect fit for a horror movie. In Stir of Echoes, Tom Witzky (Kevin Bacon) is a normal working class Joe from Chicago until a chance encounter with a hypnotist at a party causes him to have some disturbing visions.
Tom’s visions are that of a young girl being violently attacked and he soon comes to suspect that they might represent something real.