Horror films have been around since the early days of cinema. Memorable black-and-white creepers like F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu and Tod Browning’s Dracula (a “reimagining” of Murnau’s vampire flick) showcased the dread of a deadly bite, while maestros like Alfred Hitchcock were cranking out moody U.K. thrillers like The Lodger and Blackmail. Fast forward close to 100 years later to see that prominent genre filmmakers of modern horror — like Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Lighthouse) and Ari Aster (Hereditary, Midsommar) — are employing many of the same successful tropes established decades ago, albeit with improved equipment and narrative structures. All this is to say that the horror genre continues to endure. For those of us with Hulu subscriptions, the streaming platform is home to the genre’s latest and greatest, as well as treasured creeper classics. Here’s our roundup of the best horror movies on Hulu this month.
Needless to say, Hulu isn’t the only streaming platform with horror titles on demand. Lucky for you, we’ve also put together guides to the best horror movies on Netflix and best horror movies on Amazon Prime.
In Identity, an ensemble of strangers is forced to hole up at a seedy Nevada motel due to inclement weather. Before anyone can even settle in for the night, a family of three barges in. Husband and father George (John C. McGinley) announces that his wife, Alice (Leila Kenzle), was struck and injured by Ed Dakota’s (John Cusack) vehicle. Their son, Timmy (Brett Loehr), is emotionally distraught. As the various guests attempt to help, the stranded party begins getting picked off one by one by an unknown killer. A complex horror flick packed with great performances and an involved and original premise, Identity still sells its chills nearly two decades after its release.
Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Stars: John Cusack, Ray Liotta, John Hawkes
Director: James Mangold
Runtime: 90 minutes
Bad Hair (2020)
Anna (Elle Lorraine) is a go-getting assistant at Culture, a music network for Black artists. Hoping to climb the ranks of the corporate ladder, Anna’s big break arrives when she pitches Zora (Vanessa Williams), the new head of station programming, on a new kind of video countdown show. Impressed with her idea, Zora asks Anna to lose her Afro in favor of a weave, in keeping with the network’s modern image. But as it turns out, Anna’s new hair-do is cursed and hungry for blood. An incredible mashup of camp and satirical commentary, Bad Hair is a fun-loving ’80s horror throwback that’s dying to meet you.
Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Stars: Elle Lorraine, Jay Pharaoh, Lena Waithe
Director: Justin Simien
Runtime: 102 minutes
Mickey (Bill Skarsgård) and Jules (Maika Monroe) are criminals and lovers who have plans of packing up and heading south for Florida. After a final gas station robbery, the couple hit the road, only to run out of gas soon after. Venturing up a winding path to an isolated house, Mickey and Jules break in but are shocked to discover a child chained up in the basement. George (Jeffrey Donovan) and Gloria (Kyra Sedgwick), the homeowners, are beyond surprised when Mickey and Jules emerge upstairs. As the couple-on-the-run takes in their surroundings and potential new victims, a sinister turn of events begins unfolding. Long story short, Mickey and Jules picked the wrong house. A riveting blend of horror and comedy, Villains is a blast from start to finish.
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Stars: Bill Skarsgård, Maika Monroe, Jeffrey Donovan
Director: Dan Berk, Robert Olsen
Runtime: 102 minutes
The Descent (2005)
After the success of the 2002 action-horror flick Dog Soldiers, director Neil Marshall moved on to the critical and commercial hit The Descent. Shauna Macdonald plays Sarah, a woman still recovering from the tragic deaths of her husband and daughter in a car accident. Joining what she thinks will be a distracting but relatively uneventful spelunking expedition along with five other women in North Carolina’s stretch of the Appalachian Mountains, Sarah soon finds herself in much more desperate straits. After a cave-in leaves the women in an unexplored cave system lurking with monstrous predators, Sarah and her friends are stranded in an impossible battle for survival. The Descent is a suspenseful, claustrophobic, and absolutely gripping hour and a half of terror.
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Stars: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid
Director: Neil Marshall
Runtime: 99 minutes
Young Frankenstein (1974)
If you get into a discussion about great horror parodies and no one brings up Young Frankenstein, just forget about it and leave — you are among those who know not of what they speak. In spite of going on to direct over a half-dozen films after this 1974 horror parody, writer/director and comedy legend Mel Brooks called Young Frankenstein his “finest” film while speaking to the Los Angeles Times in 2014.
Gene Wilder stars as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, grandson to the more famous Victor Frankenstein — the subject of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein. When the young doctor inherits his great-grandfather’s Transylvanian castle, he travels there to continue his family’s work. Peter Boyle stars as the lumbering monster, Marty Feldman plays Frankenstein’s hilarious servant Igor, and Cloris Leachman plays Victor Frankenstein’s old flame Frau Blücher, who loves to deliver rapid-fire revelations with accompanying violin. For any fan of comedy or horror, Young Frankenstein is absolutely essential viewing.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Stars: Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman
Director: Mel Brooks
Runtime: 106 minutes
The U.S. may have won the Space Race, but in the sci-fi horror flick Sputnik, it’s Russian cosmonaut Konstantin (Pyotr Fedorov) who makes history by bringing back the first alien visitor, and he does it without even knowing. Judging it by its plot alone, there isn’t a lot about Sputnik that sounds unique — after all, stories of humans acting as unwilling hosts to aliens are as old as moon craters. What makes Sputnik stand out is how the story is told. Yes, it has its moments of CGI grandeur and monstrous gore, but for much of the story, you don’t know exactly what kind of film you’re watching or who the real villains are. Almost everyone in the movie is hiding something, from the possessed Konstantin to the psychiatrist Tatyana (Oksana Akinshina) who interrogates him, and the military commanders overseeing it all. The result is a more intelligent and compelling horror than you’re expecting.
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Stars: Oksana Akinshina, Fedor Bondarchuk, Pyotr Fedorov
Director: Egor Abramenko
Runtime: 113 minutes
The Host (2006)
A couple of years before the first of many Cloverfield films, Oscar alum Bong Joon Ho’s The Host fed some much-needed life into the neglected monster genre. Our story follows a desperate family, led by patriarch Hee-bong (Byun Hee-bong) and his son, Park Gang-du (Song Kang-ho). When a vicious underwater creature emerges from the Han River, the monster snatches Gang-du’s daughter and flees, but only after unleashing a massive rampage, attacking and killing many. As both American and Korean government forces start pushing in on the monster and the family, Gang-du’s clan must defend themselves from the creature’s wrath in their quest to rescue Gang-du’s daughter. Bong Joon Ho made waves last year by winning Best Picture for his impressive social thriller Parasite. With The Host, it’s a blast to see Ho operating with white gloves off, paying homage to monster stalwarts like Godzilla while imbuing his narrative with rich characters and fun-as-hell visual effects that have stood the test of time.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Stars: Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il
Director: Bong Joon Ho
Runtime: 119 minutes
Ghost Stories (2017)
Adapted from their 2010 play of the same name, British writer/director duo Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman deliver a faithful and fresh stage-to-screen transfer of their esteemed production. Operating in the anthology tradition, Ghost Stories places viewers in the shoes of professor and television host Philip Goodman (Andy Nyman), who has made it his life’s work to blow the whistle on psychic hoaxes. After receiving an invitation from a well-known paranormal researcher (Leonard Byrne) to investigate three proclaimed cases of the supernatural, Goodman takes us on a dread-filled journey, one where we’re treated to three wholly unique, synaptically linked tales of terror, experienced through the eyes of each case’s respective person of interest. Featuring stellar performances from a gripping ensemble cast of British talents, including the almighty Martin Freeman, Ghost Stories moves nimbly through each of its three terrors, delivering wholly original twists and turns while paying homage to the play’s portmanteau roots.
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Stars: Andy Nyman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther, Martin Freeman
Directors: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
Runtime: 98 minutes
Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)
Anna and the Apocalypse is the first, and possibly only, Christmas zombie musical. Make no mistake, it is a horror film. But the songs are so fun and catchy, that the moments of genuine tragedy may catch you off guard. Ella Hunt stars as Anna Shepherd, with Malcolm Cumming as her best friend, John. On the verge of a major change in her life, Anna sings her way through her small town before realizing that something has gone horribly wrong. But that gives Anna a new mission to rescue her father and friends at school.
Nick (Ben Wiggins), Anna’s semi-love interest, fully embraces life in the zombie apocalypse with one of the film’s show-stopping songs. But if you’re expecting a Hollywood ending, don’t.
Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
Stars: Ella Hunt, Malcolm Cumming, Sarah Swire
Director: John McPhail
Runtime: 98 minutes
The Houses October Built (2014)
Director Bobby Roe’s 2014 The Houses October Built is a semi-fictionalized retelling of his own 2011 documentary of the same name. The story will be familiar to most: Five friends are on a road trip to scour the best-haunted attractions across America. What they didn’t sign up for is a creepy cult of scare-hounds that decide to stalk the band of buddies. The found footage genre has been done to death, but there’s something exciting and enticing about the way that Roe and his team breathe new life into this strange hybrid of faux-documentary-meets-narrative tropes. Until true evil rears its several ugly heads, it actually feels like you could be watching an authentic, if not slightly demented, low-budget doc about Halloween haunted attractions. For those left wanting more when the credits roll, the film spawned a sequel, The Houses October Built 2 (also available on Hulu), that picks up where the first film strands us.
Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
Stars: Brandy Schaefer, Zack Andrews, Mikey Roe
Director: Bobby Roe
Runtime: 91 minutes
Hounds of Love (2019)
There’s something about Aussie filmmaking that is just so unsettling. For those who enjoy walking away from the likes of Wolf Creek and Lake Mungo feeling happily winded, give Hounds of Love a spin. From writer/director Ben Young, Hounds of Love follows Vicki (Ashleigh Cummings), a kidnapped suburban girl, and her captors, John and Evelyn (Stephen Curry and Emma Booth). The couple takes Vicki back to their home, where all her worst nightmares come true. But, resilient and conniving, Vicki begins to exploit the deranged couple’s emotional vulnerabilities, pitting them against each other. This is a cunning film from start to finish and a beautiful first feature from its breakout genre-auteur. Hounds of Love doesn’t want to be your friend, so if you like your horror films a bit lighter, it’s best to stray away from this one.
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Stars: Ashleigh Cummings, Emma Booth, Stephen Curry
Director: Ben Young
Runtime: 108 minutes
The House That Jack Built (2018)
The films of Lars von Trier can often be polarizing, and that’s certainly no exception with The House That Jack Built. The film stars Matt Dillon as the titular character, a meticulous serial killer. The narrative is divided into five chapters, each of these flashbacks to one of Jack’s brutal crimes. This is the first film that von Trier made outside of his notable Depression Trilogy, which featured Antichrist, Melancholia, and Nymphomaniac, and his vision here feels even more demented than his divisive trifecta. If you’re after solid character work and good-old unforgiving torture-terror, then spend a night with The House That Jack Built.
Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Stars: Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz, Uma Thurman
Director: Lars von Trier
Runtime: 151 minutes
Pet Sematary (2019)
Sometimes, dead is better — especially for the Creed family. After a string of tragic misfortunes befalls the aforementioned clan, a local friend shows Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) an ancient burial ground, one with “life-giving” properties in its folkloric soil. What follows is nothing short of pure hell. Remakes can be pretty hit or miss, but last year’s reimagining of Pet Sematary is more than worthy. There are necessary callbacks to Stephen King’s source novel, as well as the 1989 original film, but writer/director team Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer put their own unique spin on this twisted reincarnation story. With grounded performances from Clarke, Amy Seimetz, and John Lithgow, this version of Pet Sematary feels more naturalistic than its predecessor. While the late-’80s film is hard to replace, we can’t imagine another stab at King’s text being better than this 2019 attempt.
Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Stars: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow
Directors: Kevin Kölsh, Dennis Widmyer
Runtime: 101 minutes
Let the Right One In (2008)
Vampires have seen their fair share of cinema, both good and bad. Over a decade ago, there was Let the Right One In (based on the Swedish novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist), an ultra-compelling, air-brushed interpretation of classic vampiric lore. Set in Stockholm in the early 80s, we follow Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) through his everyday tribulations as a bullied adolescent. When a quiet, pale-faced girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson) moves in next door to him, the two youths foster a friendship. Unbeknownst to Oskar, Eli is actually a budding vampiress living under the watchful eye of Håkan, her late-aged guardian and keeper. Foregoing tropes and easy scares, Let the Right One In instead focuses on the emotional connection between the film’s two fragile youths, an impressive character study set against the moody nighttime exteriors of a snowy Stockholm. Critics raved that Let the Right One In pumped new life into the overly trod vampire genre. Now, you be the judge.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Stars: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Runtime: 114 minutes
The Lodge (2019)
Nothing says “bad times for all” like a traumatized stepmom-to-be getting snowed in with her embittered and equally traumatized stepchildren — in the middle of nowhere. From the malicious minds that brought us 2014’s Goodnight Mommy, The Lodge is a discomforting blend of close-quarters madness, familial frailty, and religious insanity. Indie stalwart Riley Keough delivers a restrained but haunting performance as the rattled stepmother. As strange events begin piling up at the remote cabin, the stepchildren (played by Jaeden Martell and Lia McHugh) do a little digging and discover their new mom is the single escapee of a very dark past. Intense, lurking visuals, oppressively dim lighting, and a dooming score are the backbone to this tale of winter woe that will keep you guessing from start to finish. Think The Shining, but on a painfully microcosmic scale.
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Stars: Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh
Directors: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Runtime: 108 minutes
My Friend Dahmer (2017)
This isn’t the first origin film to explore the dark and twisted roots of Jeffrey Dahmer’s psyche, but it’s one of the most compelling explorations of the butcher that shook the world. Adapted from a 2012 graphic novel of the same name by Dahmer’s high school friend John “Derf” Backderf, writer/director Marc Meyers’s visually stunning film gets us uncomfortably close and personal with Dahmer and Derf during their teen years. Inspired by Dahmer’s already-maudlin idiosyncrasies, Derf and his posse of friends invite Dahmer into their inner circle for a number of staged pranks and rebellious hijinks. As Dahmer’s home life starts to crumble, his behavior becomes increasingly grim and disturbed. Is it the dissolution of the nuclear household that unleashes Dahmer’s inner demons? Or would his evil ways have surfaced regardless of stimuli? Meyers’ film poses these heavy questions for the viewer, who gets to decide how much empathy Dahmer’s history truly deserves. Next to none, if you ask us.
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Stars: Ross Lynch, Anne Heche, Alex Wolff
Director: Marc Meyers
Runtime: 107 minutes
Elisabeth Moss is mesmerizing as the titular Shirley Jackson, the famed horror novelist behind such books as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Director Josephine Decker’s film is an adaptation of Susan Scarff Merrell’s 2014 novel of the same name, about a young couple, Fred and Rose (Logan Lerman and Odessa Young), who moves in with Shirley Jackson and her husband, Stanley Hyman (Michael Stuhlbarg). As Rose starts to befriend Shirley, a series of unusual events and increasing psychological duress morphs a once-promising living situation into a perplexing nightmare for all involved. The entire cast is on fire in Decker’s film, creating a tormented stage of performances not unlike the battered and belligerent souls of Edward Albee’s famous 1962 play, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? While less an outright horror film, Shirley effectively builds its terror-laced atmosphere through a slow burn of rich little oddities and uncanny phenomena. Regardless of its exact genre pinnings, we highly recommend it.
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Stars: Elisabeth Moss, Michael Stuhlbarg, Odessa Young
Director: Josephine Decker
Runtime: 107 minutes
There are a number of words we can use to describe the hellish anthology-film-meets-road-picture mashup, Southbound. It’s unpredictable, chaotic, perplexing, and, above all, relentless. To put things into perspective, our story begins on a stretch of desolate highway. Two men, Mitch (Chad Villela) and Jack (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin), speed down a barren desert interstate, trying to outrun an onslaught of winged demon creatures. Disturbing events transpire, which eventually leads us to a motel. Just as we’re starting to piece together who these guys are, where they’ve come from, and what’s up with the demons, the film forcibly shifts perspective from Mitch and Jack’s tale to three new characters, Sadie, Ava, and Kim, all lodged in the same motel. Then, after we spend time with the girls, another three stories unfold. Players from previous stories repeat, along with the aforementioned demons of flight. With the segments filmed collaboratively by the horror filmmaking trio known as Radio Silence (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, and Chad Villella) and three other directors, Southbound is a non-stop thrill ride, with a foreboding through-line of recurring motifs, disturbing imagery, and plenty of gore.
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Stars: Chad Villela, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Fabianne Therese, Hannah Marks
Directors: Radio Silence, Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath
Runtime: 89 minutes
Wrinkles the Clown (2019)
Is your child misbehaving? For a nominal fee, Florida residents can call in Wrinkles, a professional creeper clown, to scare the kiddies straight. Wrinkles the Clown is a multilayered documentary about the very real clown for hire, focusing on the man behind the mask, the communities he serves, the families that call upon his services, and the internet-obsessed teens who use his phone number as a thrilling rite of passage. Wrinkles the Clown is sincerely uncomfortable but also utterly fascinating. Just as we begin to get used to the film’s odd cast of characters, the doc does a complete 180, unfolding an entirely new layer to the Wrinkles mythos. What new layer, exactly? You’ll just have to see for yourself.
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Stars: Wrinkles the Clown
Director: Michael Beach Nichols
Runtime: 75 minutes