Gather around the campfire and gaze upon the terror of the best horror movies on Hulu
Editor’s Note: This post is updated monthly. Bookmark this page and come back every month to see the additions to the best horror movies on Hulu.
Updated for May 2018
Horror can come from anywhere: an unfamiliar European hostel, a remote sleepaway camp in the woods or even just in the comfy confines of the human brain. Every now and then it can be fun to reconnect with that child-like portion of our minds that is truly susceptible to irrational fear. The best way is to merely just hear a good scary story.
But perhaps the best place to find horror is on your friendly neighborhood Hulu. Hulu is best known for its TV comedy offerings but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in pure terror. Here is your list of the best horror movies on Hulu.
The Human Centipede
Supposedly, when German director Tom Six presented his idea for a horror movie to investors, he did not mention the “mouth to anus” aspect of the human centipede. Which begs the question: what the hell did those people think they were greenlighting?
The Human Centipede is almost literally a ridiculous bar conversation brought to life. In this case, it was Six and his friends discussing what would be appropriate punishment for a child molester. Somehow that morphed into a story of a mad German scientist stitching people’s faces to other people’s butts to form a human centipede. This movie is weird. This movie is bad. You should watch it.
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil joins a proud tradition of recent movies like Cabin in the Woods that satirize the horror genre while also presenting a lovingly crafted and well-researched version of one. Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk star as Tucker and Dale, just two redneck friends who want to have a good time in their secluded cabin over the weekend.
Their vacation is interrupted by five young college students who somewhat understandably mistake Tucker and Dale for backwoods serial killers. What follows is a funny, fresh, and, at times, wonderfully gory interpretation of the horror genre.
Children of the Corn
Fun fact: Children of the Corn has eight sequels. Eight! That’s one big drawback of the horror genre. It’s so difficult to come up with an equally original and scary idea that once something sticks, it’s financially prudent to run it into the ground.
Don’t let that keep you from watching the 1984 original Children of the Corn, however. The movie is based off of a Stephen King short story and follows a group of creepy kids and their adventures in ritualistic sacrifice. It’s a good time.
We live in a terrifying world. Sometimes it’s nice for horror movies to acknowledge that rather than resorting to the supernatural or strange for thrills. Open Water is loosely based on the real life story of Tom and Eileen Lonergan, who were accidentally left behind on a scuba expedition.
In Open Water, a couple faces that same fate, only this time the movie adds sharks: because why not? Open Water is not so dissimilar to Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity. The ocean is so vast and sparse that it might as well be the blackness of space. It’s terrifying.
The Babadook is our most recent reminder that horror can come from the most unexpected places. In this instance that place is Australia. It’s a film from Jennifer Kent in her directorial debut that’s about a children’s book monster who you just absolutely cannot get rid of.
The genius, however, is how the babadook is really a cypher for the more mundane fears of adulthood. Am I a good person? Am I doing this whole parenting thing right? Can I keep myself and those I love safe? The Babadook doesn’t have all the answers but it does ask these interesting questions.
10 Cloverfield Lane
And just like that, Cloverfield became an unexpected anthology horror franchise. 10 Cloverfield Lane is a Misery-like story about a woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who crashes her car in rural Louisiana. Upon waking, she discovers that she is chained to the wall in the basement of a reclusive man (John Goodman) who says he has taken her here to stay safe from a massive attack on the U.S. with nuclear fallout.
This guy’s just insane, right? There’s no way any of that really happened…right? 10 Cloverfield Lane has virtually nothing in common with its predecessor but if anything their tenuous connection just makes this newly-dawning anthology franchise all the more interesting.
Anthologies seem to be the way of the future for television. Thankfully, movies are starting to understand the appeal as well. V/H/S is a wonderfully-executed horror anthology film with an interesting setup. The setup is that four criminals are tasked with breaking into a home to steal a VHS tape.
So the gang goes about doing so and in the process they discover more than just one tape. The contents on those tapes represent the short horror films we the audience get to watch. V/H/S is interesting, novel and most importantly: scary.
Heartless could have just as easily been included on a science fiction list because it asks its viewer to make a truly epic suspension of disbelief and pretend that British actor Jim Sturgess is a sullen, lonely virgin just because of a heart-shaped birthmark on his face.
Personally, I think it looks rad. But it is in fact a horror movie, and a great one filled with demons lurking around every corner and a Monkey’s Paw-esque Faustian bargain.
Hey, rhetorical question: How weird does a Canadian horror film about sound tones and waves turning people into violent zombie-like monsters sound? Well, I’ve seen Pontypool and the answer is very weird. Like many other great horror movies, Pontypool does a lot with very little.
The entirety of the movie takes place in one radio studio. This limited setting actually increases the horror exponentially as for a long time the only description of the chaos outside exists in our imaginations. It’s reminiscent of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds radio broadcast and definitely worth watching on a snowy Canadian night.
Inspired by real events in 2000 when a Korean mortician contracted by the U.S. military stationed in Seoul dumped large amounts of formaldehyde down the drain and into the Han river, leading to a small eco-crisis, a political disaster for the U.S. government, and deformed fish, The Host imagines a scenario where ambivalent U.S. officials dump even more of the stuff into the waterway, causing the birth of a giant amphibious monster.
Soon, it attacks the mainland and kidnaps Park Gang-du’s (Kang-ho) daughter, Hyun-seo (Go Ah-sung). What follows is a surprisingly moving and transcendent account of a man chasing a giant monster (designed in the WETA workshop, no less!) to bring his child home.
Bad news. The world is overrun with vampires in Daybreakers, a 2009 Australian horror film from The Spierig Brothers. Even worse news is that a vampiric corporation is attempting to track down all the remaining humans to eat.
The good news is that Willem Dafoe has the cure that will save the entire human species. Dafoe stars as former vampire “Elvis.” He teams up with Ethan Hawke’s Edward Dalton as the two attempt to defeat the vampires and restore humanity to its proper place.
Daybreakers is a fun, properly satiriical vampire movie. It has lots to say about consumerism and societal structures. But most importantly it also just knows that it has two great stars and let’s them enjoy their vampire-killing activities.
Honeymoon is another welcome step for Game of Thrones Ygritte actress Rose Leslie’s tour for world domination. She and Harry Treadaway star in this science fiction horror film from Leigh Janiak.
Honeymoon fittingly begins with a newly-married couple, Bea and Paul going on their honeymoon. Bea and Paul decide that the best honeymoon spot will be a secluded cabin in the middle of the woods (dummies!). Once they arrive, they discover that it’s not so secluded after all.
Honeymoon taps into the (probably mostly male) fears of someone changing forever once you’ve pledged your life and bank account to them. Change is a frequent theme in Honeymoon and the movie knows how to exploit our fear of it perfectly.
Hey Brian Cox looks a lot like Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter in that screenshot above. What gives? In fact, Brian Cox does portray everyone’s favorite cannibal Hannibal Lecter in 1986’s crime horror film Manhunter. Manhunter is based off of Thomas Harris’s very first Hannibal novel Red Dragon and is the first iteration of Hannibal committed to film.
It tells the story of FBI profiler Will Graham (William Petersen of eventual CSI fame) consulting with the incarcerated Dr. Lecktor (yeah they changed the name) to track down a serial killer known as the Tooth Fairy. Manhunter is a wonderfully scary and fascinating film. It helped to jump start not only Hannibal Lecter as a classic multi-media villain but was also many viewers introduction into the world of forensics and FBI profiling.
While Anthony Hopkins would of course go on to win an Oscar for portraying Dr. Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, Brian Cox does brilliant work establishing the character here.
You know how sometimes we call moderately successful movies like say Donnie Darko cult films? Well Puppet Master is a REAL cult film. Rarely has a fanbase for a film franchise with 13 total movies been so small, yet so passionate.
The original Puppet Master is a fun, scary little film about Andre Toulon, an old puppeteer who does what old puppeteers do: creates the most terrifying puppets imaginable and then breathes life into them. Toulon commits suicide in 1939 and then nearly 50 years later a group of psychics have visions of Toulon that make them obsessed with finding his final resting place.
When they do they discover that while the puppeteer may no longer be around, his creations are alive and well.
If High Tension doesn’t sound like an appealing movie to you, try to refer to it as the original French title Haute Tension in your head. I don’t know why, but that makes it seem much more appealing and scary. High Tension is a French horror film that suffers from a common horror movie ailment: weak ending syndrome. But everything that comes before that is absolutely stellar.
The first hour or so of High Tension is among the most intense experiences you can ever spend watching a movie. It’s a simple story about two innocent girls and a psychopath who pursues one of them. The execution (for the first two-thirds at least), however, is remarkable.
Clive Barker’s Hellraiser understands an important thing about popcorn horror. Your villain/monster has gotta look like a badass. Look at ol’ Pinhead up there! In the original Hellraiser (don’t worry, there’s more), “Pinhead” in unnamed. He’s just your run of the mill Cenobite Hell Priest from the Order of the Gash.
Hellraiser follows the Cotton family as various members throughout the years come into contact with a puzzle box. That puzzle box, once solved, opens up a portal to a different, harsher world filled with angels/demons/creeps/whatever-you-want-to-call-them who are inter-dimensional pleasure-seekers, so desensitized that they no longer differentiate between pain and pleasure.
Hellraiser is a fun, creepy, and wildly violent film that goes a long way towards establishing what could be called sadomasochistic horror as a genre.
Friday the 13th
I know you see that screenshot of Jason in all his masked and machete’d glory above, and are feeling a white-hot burning horror movie nerd triggering like never before. “BUT JASON DIDN’T APPEAR IN THE FLESH IN THE ORIGINAL FRIDAY THE 13TH”
I know, I know. He didn’t. And it’s all the better movie for it. The original Friday the 13th is a must watch for horror fans and non-horror fans alike. It features so many hallmarks of the slasher drama that we’ve grown to love. And yes, there is no actual Jason. The screengrab just looks cool.
You know the feeling. You’re on a fun trip with your friends, say backpacking through Eastern Europe or some other exotic locale. You want to find a cheap, no-frills place to stay. No point in staying at a nice, expensive hotel when there are so many other things to do. Then all of a sudden, you’re tied to a chair and a rich German psychopath is taking a chainsaw to your fingers.
Eli Roth’s 2005 horror movie is schlocky and unrepentantly gory. Thank God. Sometimes you just need some gore from your horror movies, and Hostel is more than happen to provide it.
2007’s Paranormal Activity in some respects represents the zenith of found footage horror movie genre that began with The Blair Witch Project in 1999. Paranormal Activity takes that concept of filming paranormal…well, activity, and takes it to its logical extreme.
Micah and Katie are a young couple who move to a new home in San Diego. Katie believes that an evil presences she’s known since childhood has followed them into the home. So Micah sets up a standard video camera in their room to see if they can capture any evidence of it. And catch some evidence they do. Paranormal Activity succeeds becasue of its genius simplicity – and because everything is inherently creepier through grainy VHS footage.
The streaming world is not wanting for Stephen King adaptations. If you’re in the mood for some Stephen King movies, however, you may as well start with the first novel and one of the best adaptations.
Carrie is essentially a grim biography of one girl’s terrible life. Her classmates make fun of her, her religious nut of a mother tortures her endlessly. It’s just pure tragedy. Until it suddenly becomes pure horror.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
It’s here! It’s finally here! A Nightmare on Elm Street is one of the best horror movies of all time for many reasons: the direction, the iconic Freddy Krueger, and much more. But more than anything, it’s the idea that there is no escape.
Sure you can run, sure you can hide. You also have to sleep at one point. And when you do you’ll dream. And when you dream: you’re dead.
Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
But as long as we’re reveling in Freddy goodness, we might suggest you top off your four hours of Never Sleep Again binging with a Wes Craven’s New Nightmare nightcap. Ostensibly the seventh film in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, this knotty film is really so much more.
As Craven’s first crack at meta post-modernism before Scream a year later, New Nightmare is high on ambition and also a little rough around the edges. But that doesn’t change the fact that it knows how to cut deep in its central premise.