The Best Horror Movies Streaming On Shudder

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As a die-hard horror fan, I am constantly searching my favorite streaming services for my next good scare and Shudder is the one that comes through for me the most. First launched in 2015 by AMC Networks, the platform has acquired a reputation for housing many of the best horror movies you have ever seen or even ones you have never heard of, but should. 

With so much to choose from, the act of deciding what to watch is horrifying enough, so we figured we would ease the tension before your eventual movie of choice winds the terror up again by helping you narrow down your search. The following are our picks for the finest films that chilled us to our core, haunted our dreams, or even made us laugh the most that are currently available on the all-horror platform.

Logan Marshall-Green in The Invitation

(Image credit: Drafthouse Films)

The Invitation (2016)

Have you ever been to a gathering among friends and, for some reason or another, immediately wished you were somewhere else? That is how Logan Marshall Green’s Will feels when he brings his girlfriend, Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi), to a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife (Tammy Blanchard) and her new boyfriend (Michel Huisman), but the understandable awkwardness of that situation quickly becomes the least of his worries in The Invitation – a thoroughly intense masterpiece of slow-burn horror with a brilliantly shocking conclusion from director Karyn Kusama.

Stream The Invitation on Shudder (opens in new tab).

Ghoul from Grave Encounters

(Image credit: Tribeca Films)

Grave Encounters (2011)

Sometimes shows like Ghost Adventures end up being more laughable than scary, which is what makes the first half of Grave Encounters – which follows a paranormal investigation crew – fun to watch. However, once they enter the supposedly haunted insane asylum, you will not be laughing, but only screaming at the indelibly frightening imagery and psychological torment on display in the found footage horror favorite from the Vicious Brothers.

Stream Grave Encounters on Shudder (opens in new tab).

Morten Burian in Speak No Evil

(Image credit: Profile Pictures)

Speak No Evil (2022)

If not for its title and the fact it is a Shudder exclusive, you might initially think director Christian Tafdrup’s Speak No Evil was just a more earnest take on the plot of the 2022 Hulu comedy, Vacation Friends. However, this story about a Danish family who begrudgingly accepts an invitation to visit a Dutch family they met on an Italian holiday takes an unforgettably bleak and upsetting turn that will haunt you for days.

Stream Speak No Evil on Shudder (opens in new tab).

Essie Davis in The Babadook

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The Babadook (2014)

The mysterious, titular antagonist of Australian writer and director Jennifer Kent’s feature-length debut, The Babadook, has since become a queer icon after mistakenly appearing in Netflix’s LGBTQ+ category for some reason. The menacing storybook character brought to life has also become one of the greatest horror villains in recent memory, in my book, for how traumatically it taunts star Essie Davis’ widowed single mother, her young son (Noah Wiseman), and the audience in this startling meditation on grief.

Stream The Babadook on Shudder (opens in new tab).

Shauna Macdonald in The Descent

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The Descent (2005)

The best kind of monster movies do not rely purely on the centerpiece creature (or creatures) to bring on the thrills. That is why writer and director Neil Marshall’s claustrophobic classic, The Descent – which follows a group of friends on a caving expedition gone horribly wrong – is a brutal nightmare from beginning to end and one of the best horror movies of the 21st century as well.

Stream The Descent on Shudder (opens in new tab).

Cult member from The Void

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The Void (2016)

The best kind of supernatural thrillers are the ones that do not rely purely on CGI and aim to use practical effects to create terror on camera as often as possible. That is why  Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski’s The Void – in which an understaffed hospital becomes the target of a deadly cult awaiting the emergence of its otherworldly deity – is a dream-come-true for fans of Lovecraftian creature features from the 1980s.

Stream The Void on Shudder (opens in new tab).

Morgana O’Reilly in Housebound

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Housebound (2014)

The theme of isolation is common in many of the most disturbing films ever made, such as the Saw movies or 2011’s Buried, which sees Ryan Reynolds trapped in a box six feet underground. Never has the theme been so fun before the release of Housebound – a New Zealand import from writer and director Gerard Johnstone about a woman (Morgana O’Reilly) forced to be held under house arrest in her childhood home, which she begins to suspect could be haunted.

Stream Housebound on Shudder (opens in new tab).

Jeffrey Combs in Re-Animator

(Image credit: Empire Pictures)

Re-Animator (1985)

Few authors are credited with influencing the horror genre as strongly as H.P. Lovecraft, whose work has been adapted and reimagined on screen many times, such as with the critically acclaimed HBO series, Lovecraft Country, in 2020. However, one of the strangest and undoubtedly looniest interpretations of his work is writer and director Stuart Gordon’s cult favorite, Re-Animator, starring certified Scream King Jeffrey Combs as Dr. Herbert West – a truly mad scientist whose discovery of how to bring the dead back to life spirals into an uncontrollable nightmare.

Stream Re-Animator on Shudder (opens in new tab).

Laurie and Michael in Halloween.

(Image credit: Compass International Pictures)

Halloween (1978)

Whether or not director John Carpenter’s hit about an escaped psychopath stalking babysitters on one fateful October 31st gave birth to the modern slasher is up for debate. Yet, the lasting influence of Halloween as the film that introduced one of horror cinema’s greatest villains in the form of Michael Myers, and made Jamie Lee Curtis the definitive Scream Queen is indisputable.

Stream Halloween on Shudder (opens in new tab).

The Slumber Party Massacre cast

(Image credit: New World Pictures)

The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

Tiresome slasher tropes (particularly excessive sexual content) heavily influenced this Roger Corman-produced flick about attractive high school students stalked by a mad escapee during a sleepover, but not in the way critics and audiences expected… or comprehended, for that matter. Despite its groan-inducing title, The Slumber Party Massacre (from a female writer-director duo) is a clever commentary on female stereotypes in the genre way ahead of its time… unlike its ridiculous sequel that throws all subtext (or logic) out the window.

Stream The Slumber Party Massacre on Shudder (opens in new tab).
Stream Slumber Party Massacre II on Shudder (opens in new tab).

Skull from Cannibal Holocaust

(Image credit: United Artists Europa)

Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

While it is often credited as the first found-footage horror flick, Cannibal Holocaust’s documentary style footage of a crew’s ill-fated tribal studies in the Amazon rainforest makes up less than half of its runtime. However, Italian filmmaker Ruggero Deodato’s infamous exploitation piece with a surprisingly thoughtful message was so shockingly realistic for its time that the director had to appear in court to prove no one died on set.

Stream Cannibal Holocaust on Shudder (opens in new tab).

The clown from Hell House LLC

(Image credit: Terror Films)

Hell House LLC (2015)

My personal favorite of all the greatest found footage thrillers I have ever seen is this low-budget mockumentary chronicling the events leading up to a haunted house attraction’s tragic opening night. The first of a trilogy, Stephen Cognetti’s Hell House LLC is a smartly crafted, thrilling exercise in slow-building, thoroughly engrossing dread.

Stream Hell House LLC on Shudder (opens in new tab).

Host cast

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Host (2020)

From the woodwork of found footage horror, a newer subgenre has emerged that I like to refer to as “video call horror” – the finest example of which I have seen is this hour-long feature about friends who discover social distance can’t save them from the disastrous results of a virtual seance. Written, shot, and distributed on Shudder at the height of Covid-19, Host could be the most frightening film of 2020 and one of the few I would ever recommend watching from your computer monitor instead of a TV.

Stream Host on Shudder (opens in new tab).

Luana Velis in Luz

(Image credit: Screen Media Films)

Luz (2018)

Never have I seen a film that technically qualifies as a possession movie quite like this overlooked gem about a young Chilean cabbie (Luana Velis in the title role) and her disturbing encounter with an old “friend.” Luz (quite successfully) aims to be a lot of things, including a visually accurate recreation of European '80s art house thrillers, a dense but thoroughly engrossing mind trip, and, most surprisingly, a unique meditation on unrequited love.

Stream Luz on Shudder (opens in new tab).

Doug Bradley in Hellraiser

(Image credit: New World Pictures)

Hellraiser (1987)

Someone who mastered the combination of trippy and horrific with thought-provoking and romantic in the '80s was Clive Barker in his directorial debut based on his novella The Hellbound Heart. In addition to being a thematically absorbing and visually strikingly supernatural thriller, Hellraiser and its 1988 sequel also made Doug Bradley's character, who came to be known as "Pinhead," a beloved icon of cinematic villainy.

Stream Hellraiser on Shudder (opens in new tab).
Stream Hellbound: Hellraiser II on Shudder (opens in new tab).

Nicolas Cage in Mandy

(Image credit: RLJE Films)

Mandy (2018)

In more recent years, Nicolas Cage has managed to reinvent himself as a horror icon of sorts, which began with this acid-dipped revenge fable exclusively available to stream on Shudder. The Oscar winner takes on a cult that makes the Manson Family look friendly in Panos Cosmatos' Mandy – which grants every '80s metalhead's wish to see their favorite album covers brought to glorious life.

Stream Mandy on Shudder (opens in new tab).

Madeleine Arthur in Color Out Of Space

(Image credit: SpectreVision)

Color Out Of Space (2019)

Nicolas Cage would continue his horror hero reputation as a man whose family and their secluded farm undergo a strange evolution after finding a mysterious meteorite. Color Out of Space also sees the long-awaited return of director Richard Stanley, whose eye for wondrous and disturbing visuals is a perfect match for this adaptation of the classic H.P. Lovecraft story.

Stream Color Out of Space on Shudder (opens in new tab).

A zombie from Zombie

(Image credit: Variety Film Production)

Zombie (1979)

Lucio Fulci was a director who had an eye for the gruesome and absurd, which he perfected in his aptly-titled favorite among the greatest zombie movies ever made. Zombie (marketed overseas as a sequel to George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead) may even be the Italian filmmaker's crowning achievement for its anatomically correct depictions of bodily dismemberment and rotting flesh, but more importantly for its epic, underwater shark vs. zombie battle.

Stream Zombie on Shudder (opens in new tab).

Gong Yoo in Train to Busan

(Image credit: Well Go USA)

Train To Busan (2016)

Sang-ho Yeon's recent take on the apocalyptic uprising of reanimated corpses is certainly gruesome, but trades absurdity for a refreshing dose of logic and high stakes with real consequences. Train to Busan, in which a train ride through Korea becomes the site of a relentless battle against the dead, also spawned an animated prequel called Seoul Station and a sequel called Peninsula – the latter of which is also available on Shudder.

Stream Train to Busan on Shudder (opens in new tab).
Stream Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula on Shudder (opens in new tab).

Clancy Brown in The Mortuary Collection

(Image credit: Shudder)

The Mortuary Collection (2020)

There are many great anthology horror films available on Shudder – the best (and funniest) of which, in my opinion, is writer and director Ryan Spindell's The Mortuary Collection. It stars Caitlin Custer as a young woman seeking a job at a funeral home where the eccentric director (producer Clancy Brown) teaches her a lesson about its bizarre history with a series of strange tales that each offer a brutal, but important, lesson of their own.

Stream The Mortuary Collection on Shudder (opens in new tab).

Scene from La Llorona

(Image credit: Shudder)

La Llorona (2020)

Not to be confused with a certain 2019 spin-off of The Conjuring, La Llorona takes inspiration from true events of political strife in Guatemala and a traditional story of Spanish folklore, resulting in a film more haunting than your typical supernatural thriller. This Shudder exclusive from director Jayro Busttamante received more than common praise from horror fans, but even earned itself a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 2021. 

Stream La Llorona on Shudder (opens in new tab).

Lou Taylor Pucci and Nadia Hilker in Spring

(Image credit: FilmBuff)

Spring (2015)

Watching all of these frightening favorites may put you in need of something a little lighter, but still disturbing, nonetheless. I cannot think of a better example than Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson's romantic horror drama Spring, in which an American tourist (Lou Taylor Pucci) falls in love with a woman (Nadia Hilker) while vacationing in Italy and they share a romance that is more Lovecraftian than just "love."

Stream Spring on Shudder (opens in new tab).

You would be hard-pressed to find another streaming platform that offers a larger, more versatile, and satisfying selection of horror movies (and even horror TV shows) than Shudder. However, if getting scared is not exactly your preference, a Shudder subscription also offers a good selection of non-horror movies, too. What more could you ask for? 

Jason Wiese
SEO Team Writer

Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.