HBO Max might not be the oldest streaming platform on the block, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking. Some of the most famous horror movies of all time can be streamed alongside recent fright-filled hits. Here are 10 of the best horror movies streaming on HBO Max.
Update, 8/9/22: We’ve reviewed our guide for the best horror movies available on HBO Max and are still confident in our recommendations.
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Director Danny Boyle redefined the zombie genre with the thrilling and inventive 28 Days Later. Upgrading the typical slow-moving zombies to hyperactive killers infected with a “rage virus,” the movie envisions a stark post-apocalyptic landscape just a month after the initial outbreak. The main character Jim (Cillian Murphy) wakes from a coma to discover the world completely changed, and he must escape to potential safety in a military stronghold.
Although there had been similar movies made earlier, The Blair Witch Project really originated the found-footage horror phenomenon that has since become a thriving subgenre. On a tiny budget, filmmakers Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez create a hauntingly realistic movie about three college students getting lost in the woods while shooting a documentary about a legendary witch. Even the smallest disruptions become terrifying for both the characters and the audience.
It’s surprising that no one had thought to combine a body-switching comedy with a slasher movie before Freaky. It turns out to be a perfect mix in this lively horror comedy, starring Vince Vaughn as a hulking serial killer and Kathryn Newton as a high school outcast. An ancient artifact causes the two to switch bodies, and both actors effectively embody each other’s characters. Director Christopher Landon delivers humor, suspense, and a surprising amount of heartfelt emotion.
Equal parts family-friendly Christmas movie and throwback creature feature, Joe Dante’s Gremlins is a perfect mix of horror and comedy. Working from a script by future Home Alone director Chris Columbus, Dante depicts the quintessential, idyllic movie small town, and then fills it with little green monsters wreaking havoc. The gremlins are as cute as they are dangerous, and their reign of terror is almost endearing, even as it throws the town into chaos.
The first installment in director Andy Muschietti’s two-part adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel It, this opening chapter is the more effective half of the duology. A group of seven misfit kids who call themselves “the Losers Club” must vanquish an ancient evil that lives below their small Maine town. It takes the form of a clown called Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard), which might be the scariest thing that King ever devised.
Rebecca Hall gives an excellent performance in The Night House as a high school teacher who’s just lost her husband to suicide. As she’s processing her grief while living in their large, empty, remote house, she starts feeling a presence that she believes is her late husband. Director David Bruckner is great at building tension and intrigue, and Hall is mesmerizing as a slightly unhinged woman who’s starting to realize she may not have really known her husband.
Horror master Wes Craven launched a mega-franchise with the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, giving audiences the first glimpse of superstar villain Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). Freddy became a bit cartoonish in later movies, but in this first installment, he’s menacing and scary as he haunts the dreams of teenager Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) and her friends.
Zombie movies as we know them would not exist without George A. Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead. The low-budget black-and-white film kicked off a franchise and established the ground rules that are followed—or deliberately broken—in every subsequent zombie movie. Romero’s film remains chilling and unsettling more than 50 years after its release, with its sparse depiction of the horrors of the dead rising up from their graves to attack the living.
Directed by The Texas Chain Saw Massacre‘s Tobe Hooper and produced and co-written by Steven Spielberg, Poltergeist is one of the biggest horror hits of the 1980s, launching multiple sequels and an eventual remake. The simple story of a suburban family haunted by a demonic presence has become a horror classic thanks to iconic images like a spectral arm emerging from a static-filled television.
David Cronenberg’s breakthrough horror hit Scanners is still best known for its image of a character’s head exploding via a telepathic attack. But there’s more to the movie than that, with its story of a war between “scanners” (people with telepathic and telekinetic abilities) and the government agency trying to control them. It mixes Cronenberg’s early interest in body horror with a more mainstream sci-fi/conspiracy angle.
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