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The Best Horror Movies to Watch on Shudder


It’s safe to say that the world is a bit weird right now. Much to some people’s surprise, horror movies can often be a way for fans to make sense of things and confront their fears in a safe space. Streaming service Shudder offers a large array of horror movies, TV shows, and even podcasts covering the full spectrum of the macabre. But how do you know where to start?

We’ve put together a guide to some of the best films the service has to offer. The Shudder catalogue is always growing and changing so we’ll keep this updated – head back for the latest additions and new suggestions.

Available In The UK and US

The Transfiguration

The Transfiguration (2016)

Loved Let The Right One In? Check out this similarly arthouse slow-burn vampire-adjacent tale about a troubled teenage boy obsessed with vampires who finds love and redemption through his relationship with an equally damaged girl. It’s set against a backdrop of violent crime in New York and plays like a social realist drama with genre tropes built in.

Tigers Are Not Afraid

Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017)

Issa Lopez’s horror fairytale is also set against a background of violence, this time in the Mexican drug cartels. We follow Estrella, a recently orphaned ten year old, who joins up with a group of orphaned kids. Estrella believes she has three wishes, but in her world wishes don’t often come true as planned. Similar in tone to Pan’s Labyrinth, Tigers Are Not Afraid is a beautiful, lyrical fantasy, rich in imagination, juxtaposed against horrific real world events

Spring still

Spring (2014)

This love story from The Endless duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead is a genre mashup of Before Sunrise-esque indie romance and Lovecraftian horror, as a young man flees the USA and travels to Italy where he meets his dream girl. However, she has a dark secret holding her back. Spring is a somewhat Twilight-for-blokes wish fulfilment (she’s not a vampire FYI) but Benson and Moorhead’s movie is full of sympathy and surprise.

The Witch In The Window

The Witch In The Window (2018)

A creepy ghost story which sees a father and his estranged son attempt to fix up an old farmhouse which is haunted by its previous occupant, a malevolent spirit who only grows stronger as the house gets repaired. A family story with successful scares, The Witch in the Window could be a good pick for anyone craving an old fashioned chiller.


Terrified (2017)

A weird Argentinian horror with some extremely effective scares, Terrified is probably best avoided by anyone shut in alone prone to hearing strange noises in the house. Terrified begins with a couple who hear sounds coming from the sink and rapidly escalates into a story of multiple ‘hauntings’ by otherworldly creatures, and the paranormal investigators who are trying to crack the case. Non-linear and not exactly packed with logic or explanations, what Terrified does have is scares in spades.

Hideo Nakata's Dark Water

Dark Water (2002)

Remember when J-horror was all the rage and you couldn’t move for long-haired, jangly pasty-face ghosts? Dark Water was one of the best of them. Based on a story by Koji Suzuki and directed by Hideo Nakata – the team behind apex J-horror Ringu – it sees a mother and daughter move to an apartment which seems to have haunted water. Creepy but not gimmicky, there’s a family drama at the centre of this chiller. 

House Of The Devil

The House Of The Devil (2009)

Ti West’s authentically ‘80s looking homage to ‘Satanic Panic’-era movie making is a very successful slow-burn indie, which sees a young woman take a babysitting job and find herself in grave danger at the hands of her mysterious employers. Comes with a slightly bonkers ending but the attention to detail and great central performance should please genre nuts no end.

The Changeling

The Changeling (1980)

A classic haunted house ghost story that frequently makes horror best of lists The Changeling sees a bereaved composer move into a creepy mansion that’s been vacant for 12 years. Vacant that is, except for the spirit of a little boy who met an untimely death… An unravelling mystery with a sense of intrigue and pathos that draws you into the narrative, all the way to the sad and disturbing final act revelation.

The Hills Have Eyes 1977

The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

Wes Craven’s 1977 cult classic sees an extended family become stranded in the desert when their trailer breaks down and they start to get picked off by cannibals living in the hills. It’s brutally violent but it also has things to say about the nature of violence, as the seemingly civilized Carter family turn feral. The film was remade in 2006 but the original is still the best.


Society (1989)

This outrageous body horror satire was the directorial debut of Brian Yuzna. It stars Billy Warlock as a young man who suspects his family are into some weird stuff when his sister’s ex gives him a video tape showing seriously sinister activity. Part Stepford Wives-esque mystery part utterly bonkers gross out comedy Society is a cult classic which demands at least one watch.

Big Bad Wolves

Big Bad Wolves (2013)

The second feature from Israeli directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado is a black-as-sin super-violent crime horror about a child killer, the cop who wants to bring him down, and the father of the latest victim. Released the same year as Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners, it plays almost like a brutal and occasionally darkly funny companion piece.

Takashi Miike's Audition

Audition (1999)

Takashi Miike’s horror classic is a weird mix of melodrama, mystery, and excruciating torture as a widowed man fakes a casting call for a made-up movie in an attempt to meet the perfect woman and gets more than he bargained for. Frequently making it to best horror of all time lists, Audition is a beautiful nightmare of needles and piano wire that’s impossible to forget.


Oldboy (2003)

Park Chan-wook’s shocking, twisty revenge thriller sees a man held hostage in a hotel room for 15 years with no idea of why. When he’s finally released he has just days to track down his captor and discover his motives. The second part of director Park’s Vengeance Trilogy (which is also a standalone – though Sympathy for Mister Vengeance and Lady Vengeance are also available), it’s packed with standout sequences like the infamous corridor hammer massacre and the eating of a live octopus. The ending is bonkers too.


Citadel (2012)

A mythical quest into the depths of hell dressed up as a hoodie horror set in a Glasgow high rise, Citadel sees a young man with agoraphobia venture into a terrifying tower to battle demonic youths who have taken his baby. As a modern take on classical tropes it’s clever and well observed but it works just as well as a twisted urban horror.

One Cut Of The Dead

One Cut Of The Dead (2017)

Very much a film of three parts, it starts as what looks like a low budget Japanese zombie film gone wrong, morphs into an interesting meta movie, and ends with a final third that’s more joyful than you could possibly imagine. The fun is in the discovery so try to avoid reading about this, instead hang around until the end for a clever, funny, and uplifting love letter to indie film-making.

Doug Bradley as Pinhead in Hellraiser

Hellraiser (1987)

Directed by Clive Barker based on his novella The Hellbound Heart, Hellraiser is an infernal body horror featuring S&M demons who’ve found a way out of a dark dimension and want to take you back there. This is the movie which introduced chief Cenobite Pinhead (played by Doug Bradley) – who would return for seven more Hellraiser sequels. But the first is of course, remains the edgiest and the best. Hellbound: Hellraiser II is also available.

Tetsuo The Ironman

Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989)

A cyberpunk hybrid of Eraserhead, Blade Runner, Scanners, and your worst nightmares about machines run amok, Tetsuo: The Iron Man was the first feature by iconoclastic Japanese filmmaker Shinya Tsukamoto (who also stars in the picture). Surreal, shockingly violent and unforgettably relentless, Tetsuo is a fever dream of orgasmic human/metal mating and murder that is almost indescribable and utterly strange. You can’t unsee this perverse triumph of twisted imagination


Wendigo (2001)

Maverick independent producer/director/actor Larry Fessenden – who runs his own low-budget genre film factory called Glass Eye Pix – had perhaps his finest moment behind the camera on his third directorial effort, an eerie, low-key tale of a family from the city running into menaces both human and supernatural during a trip to the country. Fessenden is adept at blurring the line between what is real and not, creating a hallucinatory experience that is uniquely his own.

In The Mouth Of Madness

In the Mouth of Madness (1995)


Legendary filmmaker John Carpenter completed his loose “Apocalypse Trilogy” (which also included The Thing and Prince of Darkness) with this genuinely chilling epic. Sam Neill plays a private investigator who is sent to find a missing horror novelist, only to learn that the author’s work has opened a gateway to a dimension of horror. While not based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft per se, Carpenter’s last great film perfectly captures the tone and atmosphere of Lovecraft’s work.

Ginger Snaps

Ginger Snaps (2000)

Ahead of its time in many ways, this cult Canadian favorite from director John Fawcett and screenwriter Karen Walton stars Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins as death-obsessed teen sisters whose relationship is put to the test when one (Isabelle) turns into a werewolf. Sharply funny and deeply insightful about the bonds of sisterhood, the fearsome power of female sexuality, and the loss of innocence, Ginger Snaps is a film well worth rediscovering.

Train to Busan

Train to Busan (2016)

Just when you thought the zombie genre was running out of gas, Train to Busan comes barreling down the track at full speed to give it a jolt again. Director Yeon Sang-ho wisely puts an endearing relationship between a father and his little girl at the heart of the movie, keeping audiences invested as the pair fight to stave off an undead invasion on their bullet train. The zombie action is familiar if also freshly orchestrated, but the movie is gripping to the genuinely moving finish. 

The Exorcist (1973)


It’s been 47 years and William Friedkin’s The Exorcist still remains the greatest horror movie ever made. Its addition to the Shudder lineup is a welcome and deserved one. There’s little than can be said about this milestone that hasn’t already been discussed, except that it moved raw, visceral horror into the Hollywood mainstream, inspired countless imitators (some classics in their own right) and arguably started the Satanic Panic that had many parents giving their kids the side-eye for a decade or more.

Exorcist 3

The Exorcist III (1990)

Of the several attempts at a sequel, only this one by original author William Peter Blatty (who also directed) hits the mark. Woefully underrated at the time of its release, The Exorcist III puts a handful of secondary characters from the first story at the forefront of a chilling new tale that respectfully spins off the original in a new direction. And one central sequence (the hospital corridor scene) remains a minor masterpiece of sustained unease leading to a shocking payoff.

The Beyond

The Beyond (1981)

Italian workhorse director Lucio Fulci dabbled in many genres, but was clearly most in his element with horror. His “Gates of Hell” trilogy may be the highwater mark of his career, and the second film, The Beyond, is a gruesome, surreal, Lovecraftian treat about a Louisiana hotel that may be a portal to said nether regions. It doesn’t always make sense, but the movie is a must-see and a Fulci favorite.

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th (1980)


John Carpenter may have codified the modern slasher genre with his masterful Halloween (1978), but this low-budget exploitation shocker gave us the classic “horny counselors at summer camp get slaughtered one by one” trope. Friday the 13th moved the goalposts for creative gore and death scenes, while also giving us one of the most iconic jump scares in horror history. And Jason doesn’t even show up until the very end!

Texas Chain Saw Massacre

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

One of the true landmarks of ’70s horror cinema, Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre remains one of the most relentless and terrifying films of all time — even as it barely spills a drop of the blood that its title seems to promise. Its simple tale of a small group of hippie kids running smack into a houseful of rural cannibals spoke to the cultural divide roiling the country at the time, and its low-budget aesthetic gave the whole thing an air of documentary realism. A delirious masterpiece.

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