Top streaming horror movies for an indoor Halloween

Tales of terror from directors Ari Aster, Stanley Kubrick and Jordan Peele have shaped the genre, and thanks to online services you can now scare yourself to death in the comfort of your own home

The premiere of 'Halloween Ends' at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California.
The premiere of 'Halloween Ends' at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California.MICHAEL TRAN (AFP)

As if transporting us back in time, Michael Myers and Laurie Strode from the Halloween franchise are once again out to make our hair stand on end, this time with Halloween Ends – an indication that this will be their last stab at it after 12 previous instalments.

But Halloween Ends is not the only horror show at the box office. Smile, starring Sosie Bacon and Prey for the Devil, starring Jacqueline Byers, are also screening on the spookiest night of the year.

If stepping out on Halloween is not your thing, there’s always the option of battening down the hatches and scaring yourself to death in the comfort of your own home. Streaming services are clamoring to make the most of the date and expand their repertoire with some classic terror. EL PAÍS takes a look at the pick of the streaming crop.

Midsommar (2019)

Starring Florence Pugh and directed by Ari Aster, Midsommar tells the story of a young woman whose sister has just killed herself and her parents, leading her sibling to decide to embark on a trip to Sweden along with her college classmates and boyfriend. The group falls into the clutches of a cult that performs various ceremonies and rituals to attract rain and a good harvest season; however, the longer they stay, the more they realize that the community has some terrifying sidelines. Midsommar can be seen on Showtime, Kanopy and DirecTV.

Florence Pugh in 'Midsommar'
Florence Pugh in 'Midsommar'

Get Out (2017)

When an interracial couple planning to marry decides it’s time for the groom to meet the bride’s family, there are some awkward moments produced by the strange behavior of some members of the household. Racial issues are high on director Jordan Peele’s agenda and he portrays them in the award-winning Get Out through horror, science fiction and American history. In an interview with EL PAÍS, Peele explained: “I wanted a truly terrifying film that also had humor so as not to give the viewer a miserable experience and, in the style of the classics, offer up something relevant that will make you think.” Get Out can be seen on Fubo and FXNow.

A Quiet Place (2018)

The lack of dialogue builds the tension in this film, starring actor/director John Krasinski and his off-screen wife, Emily Blunt. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, blind creatures hypersensitive to noise exterminate most of the population; the only way to stay alive is to remain as quiet as possible. Krasinski keeps us on the edge of our seats with this all-but silent movie as we wait to see if the four protagonists will be devoured. A Quiet Place is available on Paramount, Fubo and DirecTV.

The Conjuring (2013)

This is the first installment of The Conjuring Universe franchise, which portrays real-life cases of the paranormal investigated by demonologist Ed Warren and his wife Lorraine. The Conjuring tells the story of how Ed and Lorraine come to the aid of the Perron family, who are experiencing a series of weird and terrifying events having just moved to a farmhouse on Rhode Island, starting with the death of their dog and the stopping of clocks at 3.07am every night. The Warrens investigate and find that the house once belonged to a witch who sacrificed her baby to the devil and killed herself in 1863 at 3.07am, but not before placing a curse on all those who would inhabit her land. Based on true events, The Conjuring can be seen on HBO Max, Fubo and DirecTV.

The Lighthouse (2019)

Taken from an unfinished story by Edgar Allan Poe, The Lighthouse stars Willem Dafoe and Edward Pattinson as the lighthouse keeper and his apprentice marooned by a storm on an island off the coast of a remote part of New England. As the story unfolds, the protagonists are gripped by a kind of madness as they struggle to weather the storm, drinking turpentine in the absence of alcohol. Shot in black and white, The Lighthouse can be seen on Fubo, Showtime, Kanopy and DirecTV catalog.

The Shining (1980)

The Shining is a classic in the terror genre, delivered by director Stanley Kubrick. The story starts when Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, moves with his wife and son to the vast Overlook Hotel, where he has been taken on as caretaker. The property is closed during the winter months and Jack aims to write his novel there. But he hasn’t bargained for the forbidden Room 237, and a ghostly bartender who urges him to drink. As his sanity unravels, murderous thoughts creep into Jack’s mind. The Shining is on HBO max, DirecTV, TNT and Warner.

Shelley Duvall in 'The Shining.'
Shelley Duvall in 'The Shining.'

The Orphanage (2007)

In 2007, The Orphanage received a 10-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival and was described as a superior ghost story by the late Roger Ebert, one of the world’s most renowned film critics. Director Juan Antonio Bayona’s debut feature is an original take on the traditional horror film, in which terror is handled with a subtle touch. It tells the story of Laura, a woman who seeks to reopen the orphanage she grew up in, in order to house children with disabilities. But Laura’s son becomes involved with an invisible friend, a relationship that ends in tragedy, and Laura must return to her past to solve the mystery. The Orphanage is on Kanopy or can be rented on Apple TV, Amazon, YouTube and Vudu.

The Village (2004)

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan, The Village brings to mind his debut movie The Sixth Sense, on account of a plot twist that prompts the audience to review all conclusions previously reached. It tells the story of a community far from civilization that lives tormented by humanoid creatures hanging out in the surrounding woods. The type of psychological terror employed in the movie divided critics into two completely opposite camps. Like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. The Village is available to rent on Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube and Vudu.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

A couple moves into an old apartment in New York. The previous tenant was killed in a sinister accident, but the husband and wife are willing to ignore the fact. Guy, a frustrated actor, begins to make inroads in Hollywood while Rosemary, played by Mia Farrow, stays home, annoyed by the meddlesome elderly couple in the building who are, in fact, involved in a Satanic cult. Befriended by the elderly couple, Guy rapes Rosemary while she is drugged and makes her pregnant. The baby is then abducted by the cult and proclaimed Satan’s son. Rosemary is unable to reject the cult if she wants to mother her child. Directed by Roman Polanski, Rosemary’s Baby won an Oscar for Best Picture and has become a classic. It can be seen on Fubo, Showtime and DirecTV.

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