You don’t have to subscribe to a subscription service to watch good horror movies. There are numerous free streaming spots with a variety of scary options. Here are 10 of the scariest free movies you can watch right now.
Update, 06/21/23: We revised our guide and fixed some outdated links.
The dark and the wicked
A pair of grown siblings return to their rural home to help care for their ailing father in this deeply haunting film about generational horror. Both brother and sister resent having to abandon their lives to fulfill family obligations, and this fuels their concern about her mother’s strange behavior toward her father. Is he sick or is he somehow possessed by a demon? Writer-director Bryan Bertino creates an atmosphere of creeping terror as the family situation becomes increasingly unhinged, leading to a grim and desperate ending.
The dark and the wicked is streamed for free through local libraries on Hoopla.
John Carpenter ushered in the rise of slasher movies with this gritty, minimalist story about a hulking, mute brute who stalks babysitters in a seemingly idyllic suburb. Michael Myers escapes from a sanitarium and returns to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, where he murdered his teenage sister as a child. Wearing dark jumpsuits and a blank white mask, Michael addresses teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends. Carpenter consistently builds tension through masterful camerawork and a brilliant score, and Curtis makes one of the most astonishing screen debuts in horror history.
Hallowe’en it streams for free with ads on Crackle, Plex, and Redbox.
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Clive Barker made his directorial debut by adapting his own novel the hellish heart, a twisted tale of sadism, sex, and cenobites, the pleasure-seeking demons conjured by solving a mysterious box puzzle. The cenobite known as Pinhead (played by Doug Bradley) makes his first appearance, but hellraiser it’s more about the insane dynamic between two lovers, one of whom is a resurrected corpse. Barker brings his perverted story to life, exploring the blurred line between pain and pleasure and creating some indelible horror images in the process.
hellraiser it streams for free with ads on Tubi and Pluto TV and for free through local libraries on Hoopla.
let the right one in
The cold of the Swedish winter seeps into every moment of this haunting vampire story. A clumsy and shy 12-year-old boy makes a new friend in his apartment complex when he meets a strange young woman who only goes out at night. She lives with an older roommate and appears sickly, but the boy soon discovers that she is far more dangerous than fragile. It is a tender but disturbing story of friendship between strangers, in which the meek and bullied boy takes particularly bloody revenge on his tormentors.
let the right one in is streamed for free through local libraries on Hoopla and Kanopy.
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Virtually every vampire movie made in the last century owes its existence to this 1922 silent classic from director FW Murnau. A landmark of German Expressionism, Murnau’s film is an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker’s. dracula, following the general outline of the plot but changing the central vampire for the grotesque Count Orlok (Max Schreck). Shots of Orlok’s menacing shadow as he stalks an innocent victim or the vampire emerging from his coffin have become some of the most iconic images in all of horror cinema.
Nosferatu it streams for free with ads on Crackle, Dark Matter TV, Plex, Pluto TV, Redbox, The Roku Channel, Shout Factory TV, and Tubi, and for free through local libraries on Hoopla and Kanopy.
taking cues from Alien and John Carpenter The thing, this claustrophobic sci-fi horror film finds a crew of fishermen and a research scientist stranded at sea as they are slowly attacked by a deadly creature. The ancient underwater threat disables their boat and sends tiny spores into the water supply, turning every crew member into a potential host. Hermione Corfield gives a powerful performance as the meek scientist who steps up to lead the crew’s response to the monster. She joins a tradition of unlikely heroines facing horrifying and unfathomable threats.
sea fever is streamed for free through local libraries on Hoopla and Kanopy.
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David Cronenberg launched a career as a master of body horror with this seedy, low-budget 1975 film about an insidious parasite that spreads through a luxury apartment building. The parasite sends the infected into violent and sexual frenzies, which complement each other as a way to find new hosts. Cronenberg blends visceral disgust with sharp social commentary, portraying the wealthy as decadent and depraved hedonists incarnated as veritable mind-altering parasites. It is a potent combination of sexual perversity and gore.
Shaking chills it streams for free with ads on The Roku Channel and Tubi.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
No matter how many sequels and reboots have been made, nothing comes close to Tobe Hooper’s terrifying 1974 original. The low-budget, dirty film is steeped in the terror of the Vietnam War and civil unrest, as a group of young men find themselves stranded deep in rural Texas, kidnapped and brutalized by a family of cannibals. The chainsaw-wielding Leatherface became an iconic horror movie villain, but he’s just one of the terrifying elements of this nasty and relentless journey into darkness.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre it streams for free with ads on Freevee, Plex, Pluto TV, The Roku Channel, and Tubi.
Train to Busan
A commuter train from Seoul to Busan literally turns into a death trap in this propulsive Korean zombie movie. An outbreak of the undead grips the country as a businessman travels with his daughter to visit his mother. The train passengers have nowhere to run as the plague spreads among them, thanks to an infected woman coming aboard at the last minute. The film combines the excitement and suspense of a one-location thriller with the gory gore of a zombie story, adding just the right amount of emotional bond between father and daughter.
Train to Busan it streams for free with ads on Dark Matter TV, Pluto TV, Redbox, The Roku Channel, and Tubi, and for free through local libraries on Hoopla and Kanopy.
There is a long tradition of anthology horror movies, and the V/H/S The series is the modern standard bearer. The second film in the found footage series is the most consistently effective, with segments from genre luminaries like Adam Wingard, Gareth Evans, and Eduardo Sánchez. Evans and Timo Tjahjanto deliver the strongest segment, about a film crew who get more than they bargained for while making a documentary on a secretive cult. But there are reliable scares throughout the film, from the hair-raising framing sequence to the final story.
V/H/S/2 is streamed for free through local libraries on Hoopla.