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 available to choose from with a Shudder subscription, 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.

Lucas Paul in Skinamarink

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Skinamarink (2022)

When two young children (Lucas Paul and Dali Rose Tetreault) wake up in the middle of the night to find their parents missing and any way of exiting the house gone, they soon discover that they are not as alone as they thought. Writer and director Kyle Edward Ball’s low-budget feature-length debut, Skinamarink, may have a simple plot, but its highly unconventional and thoroughly unsettling execution has made it an instant classic of indie horror and one of the genre’s most talked about films as of late.

The Lake Mungo cast

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Lake Mungo (2008)

In most cases, a good documentary-style thriller lives or dies by how well it achieves realism and, with that logic, you can certainly call this Australian cult favorite a survivor. The astonishingly compelling cast of Lake Mungo – as a family suspecting their tragically killed teen daughter is haunting them – makes Joel Anderson’s sole, feature-length directorial effort an underrated masterpiece of its kind.

Joseph Winter in Deadstream

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Deadstream (2022)

After a mistake nearly cost him his career, an overly ambitious viral celebrity (Joseph Winter) believes that spending a night in a supposedly haunted house and documenting the experience live will earn him a comeback… if he can survive. Along with his wife,  Jessica, Winter is also the co-writer and co-director of Deadstream, which is one of the most underrated horror movies of 2022 for its extraordinarily entertaining, Evil Dead II-style approach to blending horror with comedy that deserves to be seen by more people.

Popcorn cast

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Popcorn (1991)

Back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, William Castle became famous for his efforts to elevate the theatrical experience by incorporating gimmicks like seats that literally shock the audience or skeletons that fly overhead during key scenes. Popcorn – a satisfyingly cheesy and spooky flick that flew under-the-radar in the early ‘90s – pays tribute to that mostly forgotten era of cinema with a story about film students hosting an old school horror movie marathon that soon goes terribly wrong.

Gunnar Hansen in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

We could go back and forth forever trying to decide who was the true inventor of the slasher movie genre, but one thing that is for sure is that the late Tobe Hooper is one of the first to authentically capture the feeling of a nightmare in his legendary contribution. The first of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies introduced the world to the iconic, power tool-wielding villain, Leatherface, and to a boldly brutal, unrelentingly nasty vision of horror that remains nearly unparalleled.

Logan Marshall-Green in The Invitation

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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.

Ghoul from Grave Encounters

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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.

Morten Burian in Speak No Evil

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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 Hulu comedy, Vacation Friends. However, this Oscar-worthy thriller from 2022 about a Danish family who begrudgingly accept 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.

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.

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.

Jeffrey Combs in Re-Animator

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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.

Laurie and Michael in Halloween.

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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.

The Slumber Party Massacre cast

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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.

Skull from Cannibal Holocaust

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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.

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.

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.

Doug Bradley in Hellraiser

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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.

Nicolas Cage in Mandy

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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 deadly cult in Panos Cosmatos' Mandy – which grants every '80s metalhead's wish to see their favorite album covers brought to glorious life.

Madeleine Arthur in Color Out Of Space

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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.

A zombie from Zombie

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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.

Gong Yoo in Train to Busan

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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. One of the most acclaimed movies based in Korea, Train to Busan – in which a train ride 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.

Clancy Brown in The Mortuary Collection

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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.

Scene from La Llorona

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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. 

Lou Taylor Pucci and Nadia Hilker in Spring

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Spring (2015)

Watching all of these frightening favorites may put you in need of something a little lighter, but still unsettling, 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 relationship that is more Lovecraftian than just "love."

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
Content Writer

Jason Wiese writes feature stories for CinemaBlend. His occupation results from years dreaming of a filmmaking career, settling on a "professional film fan" career, studying journalism at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO (where he served as Culture Editor for its student-run print and online publications), and a brief stint of reviewing movies for fun. He would later continue that side-hustle of film criticism on TikTok (@wiesewisdom), where he posts videos on a semi-weekly basis. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.