From vintage B-movies to modern elevated horror, beloved classics to original productions, Amazon Prime Video has spooky, scary content for everyone this season. Here are the best Halloween movies to watch on Amazon Prime Video.
If you’re looking for a sort of sampler platter of horror movies to celebrate the season, The ABCs of Death offers up 26 bite-size stories from dozens of horror filmmakers. Each one tied to a different letter of the alphabet, the segments range from gruesome to funny to arty and everything in between.
Contributors include major figures like Ti West and Adam Wingard, along with various directors from around the world. If you aren’t enjoying one of the shorts, just wait a few minutes, and something new will start up.
A pair of students at an elite Paris ballet school lose themselves in each other’s identities in Sarah Adina Smith’s Birds of Paradise. Kristine Froseth and Diana Silvers play the young women who are friends, rivals, and possibly lovers in this ethereal psychodrama. They explore their own inner feelings while competing for placement in a prestigious ballet company. It’s an examination of adolescent evolution and longing, with surreal interludes.
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Roger Corman’s low-budget ingenuity often led to creative approaches to genre material, as in his 1959 beatnik satire A Bucket of Blood. Corman favorite Dick Miller stars as a clueless busboy at a hip café who inadvertently becomes an art-world star when he creates a sculpture by plastering over a dead cat. Soon he’s piling up dead bodies to turn into art, desperate for the validation he can only get by murdering people.
Corman takes down snobby art lovers while also providing the requisite body count for his exploitation audience.
A group of friends get a different kind of adventure than they expected when they go caving in The Descent. A year after one friend has suffered a tragic loss, six women get together for a reunion trip exploring caves in Appalachia. They pick the wrong cave to explore, though, quickly becoming lost and trapped inside with dangerous underground creatures. The Descent is a terrifying, intense experience that’s also strangely cathartic in its exploration of grief and the bonds of friendship.
Cassandra Peterson’s Elvira character has become a sort of mascot for horror, with roots as the host of a horror-movie showcase on local Los Angeles TV. The busty, black-clad character represents horror’s morbid cheerfulness, which she brings to a conservative small town where she inherits a large old house in Elvira: Mistress of the Dark.
She also inherits a spell book that’s coveted by an evil warlock, although she doesn’t realize it at first. Elvira saves the town and pursues her dream of opening her own Las Vegas show, in a movie that mixes supernatural intrigue with silly comedy.
Renowned horror villain Pinhead—always a popular Halloween costume—makes his debut in Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, although he’s more of a subdued presence in the series’ first film. The focus here is primarily on the human characters, led by a depraved couple who summons Pinhead (Doug Bradley) and his fellow demons known as Cenobites. Barker combines gruesome body horror with an exploration of sexual fetishes, for a unique film that spawned numerous, often inferior sequels.
Spending a night in a haunted house is a popular Halloween activity, and that’s exactly what the main characters do in William Castle’s House on Haunted Hill. Vincent Price brings sinister charm to the eccentric, rich Frederick Loren, who offers a $10,000 prize to anyone who can survive a night in an allegedly haunted mansion. Castle is known for his promotional gimmickry, and House on Haunted Hill can be schlocky at times. But it’s all in good fun, with someone genuine scares and a sly sense of humor.
Watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a Halloween party all on its own, thanks to the movie’s decades of cult popularity that have built up a tradition of viewer call-and-response. Gather some friends to talk back to the screen during this campy horror musical, starring Susan Sarandon and Barry Bostwick as a hapless couple who stumble upon a castle owned by the strange and flamboyant Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry). Sing along with the catchy songs, dress up as your favorite character, and maybe even put together a prop kit for a fully interactive experience.
A record-setting Oscar winner as well as a horror classic, The Silence of the Lambs introduced one of cinema’s iconic killers, Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter. Although novelist Thomas Harris’ erudite serial killer had been brought to the screen before, Hopkins’ suave, sinister portrayal made him into an enduring pop-culture fixture.
Confined to a prison cell, Lecter is only onscreen for a short time, but he makes a major impression both on the audience and on young FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) as she consults with him about her investigation into another serial killer who’s still at large.
Director Luca Guadagnino offers a sumptuous, hallucinatory take on Dario Argento’s horror classic Suspiria. Dakota Johnson stars as a young American woman who comes to a mysterious Berlin dance academy in 1977. There’s a lot more going on there than dance, though, and Johnson’s Susie is drawn into the clandestine coven that runs the school and has big plans for her.
Guadagnino’s film is impressionistic and unsettling, with a constant feeling of otherworldly dread, led by excellent performances from Johnson and Tilda Swinton.
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