With a huge back catalog and dozens more every year, there’s no end to your options when it comes to horror movies. How can you possibly choose between the seemingly limitless monster movies, slasher flicks and paranormal adventures?
To help you narrow down your options this Halloween season, we’ve selected a few films that are perfect for particular circumstances and cinematic needs. Use this guide to at least jumpstart your search for the ideal rental, or do yourself a favor and watch them all.
When you want to break your baby fever: The Babadook (2014)
Chrissy Teigen’s Instagram got you itching to catch a ride on the baby train? There’s a cure for that. This terrifying tale of a grieving widow, her troubled child and a sinister storybook monster is deeply moving — but is also a highly affecting tale about the perils of parenthood.
When you also want to laugh: Cabin in the Woods (2012)
This wholly original movie plays on familiar horror tropes with hilarious and surprising results. Pop it in (okay, just click ‘download’) when you’d like to alternately pee your pants from laughing and fear. After it gets you addicted to frightful laugh-fests, check out Housebound, Drag Me to Hell, Evil Dead II or Shaun of the Dead.
When you’re feeling nostalgic: Carrie (1976)
Ah, high school — the football games, the locker-side gossip, the awkward classmate who ends up being a homicidal telekinetic — this Stephen King-authored classic has it all! Carrie will bring you right back to your years of teen angst and cruel pranks, all the while proving that it could have gone much, much worse.
When you’re sad about the single life: Friday the 13th (1980)
There’s nothing like watching oversexed camp counselors get slaughtered one by one to make you feel a little bit better about sleeping alone, and for that, the beginning of the Jason Voorhees saga is perfect. For even more help with single life acceptance, turn to The Loved Ones, which proves it’s not always so nice to be the object of someone’s affection, and Teeth, which … we’ll let you research on your own.
When you want to squash your appetite: Drag Me To Hell (2009)
Sure, you could find dieting success by developing increased self-discipline and carefully avoiding your bingeing triggers, or you could just watch Drag Me To Hell. That leftover trick-or-treating candy will seem less appealing with every stomach-churning development in the story of a woman plagued by an evil curse. We’re talking way too-close-for-comfort corpses, waterfall-level bloody noses and some dentures that will haunt your nightmares.
When you also want to see some skin: Piranha 3D (2010)
Gratuitous nudity in horror movies is basically an American tradition on par with Halloween itself at this point. This 2010 B-movie about — you guessed it — chomp-happy fish lives up to that legacy with a healthy dose of swimwear-garbed coeds along with its gore.
When you want to up your film snob status: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Sometimes considered the first true horror film, this German silent feature is a great way to impress your snobby intellectual frenemies, if that’s something you’re inclined to do. But the enduring spookiness and undeniable influence of the almost 100-year-old movie about a crazed hypnotist makes it a worthwhile watch all on its own.