With the power of Paramount’s film library, Paramount+ is full of movies from a variety of genres, including plenty of spooky and scary options for Halloween. Here are the best Halloween movies to stream on Paramount+.
The late Brandon Lee inspired an entire generation of goths with his style and demeanor in The Crow. The movie proved tragic for Lee, who died in an on-set accident, but it also cemented his legacy. Lee plays Eric Draven, a musician who is magically resurrected following his murder and takes revenge on the criminals who killed him. Adapted from the comic book by James O’Barr, The Crow combines superhero storytelling with a goth-horror aesthetic and a soundtrack full of 1994’s hottest alt-rockers.
Director Oz Perkins takes a haunting, impressionistic approach to the classic fairy tale in Gretel & Hansel. This version inverts the characters’ names in the title so that it can focus on Gretel (Sophia Lillis), who is cast out into the forest along with her little brother Hansel (Sam Leakey). They eventually end up at the home of an evil witch (Alice Krige), who hopes to make Gretel her protégé in dark magic, rather than just cook and eat her. Perkins uses the familiar folk tale as the framework for a dark coming-of-age story.
Before it became a hit stage musical and then a hit movie musical, The Little Shop of Horrors was a low-budget horror-comedy from exploitation legend Roger Corman. Working within his typical budgetary constraints, Corman shot the movie in two days on sets left over from a previous production, and that gives it a loose, anything-goes feel.
The story is a goofy mix of parody and horror, about a meek flower-shop worker named Seymour who inadvertently grows a bloodthirsty plant that demands to be fed human victims.
Filmmaker George A. Romero pretty much invented the modern zombie genre with Night of the Living Dead. The movie’s depiction of an apocalypse brought on by slow-moving reanimated corpses has been copied hundreds of times, but the original still carries a visceral impact. The black-and-white cinematography and claustrophobic setting combine for an eerie, unsettling experience, as the characters are trapped inside an isolated farmhouse for most of the running time, while zombies swarm outside.
The concept of A Quiet Place is simple but extraordinarily effective: Earth has been invaded by deadly alien creatures with hypersensitive hearing but no ability to see. Director, co-writer, and star John Krasinski focuses on one family’s efforts to survive in the aftermath of the invasion. The movie makes inventive use of sound design to tell its story, with minimal dialogue and a spotlight on the family’s deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds). It’s perfect viewing for a quiet Halloween night.
Director Gore Verbinski does more than just offer up a rote remake of a popular Japanese horror movie with his version of The Ring. Verbinksi’s film is icy and stylish in its Pacific Northwest setting, with a captivating lead performance from Naomi Watts. Like the Japanese film, this version is about a cursed videotape that causes the death of anyone who watches it within seven days. The filmmakers bring in serious themes about the anxieties of parenthood while also delivering scares from one of horror’s iconic villains, the stringy-haired girl Samara.
A vacation in Mexico turns deadly for a group of American tourists in The Ruins. As they’re checking out an ancient Mayan temple, they encounter some seemingly innocuous vines that turn out to have sinister qualities. The locals won’t let them leave once they climb the temple steps, and the vines soon invade their bodies and minds, turning them on each other. Adapting Scott Smith’s acclaimed novel, the filmmakers turn unremarkable plants into terrifying threats.
The title character of Rose Glass’ Saint Maud seems like a lovely person at first, but you probably wouldn’t want to invite her into your home. That’s the mistake that a reclusive, terminally ill author (Jennifer Ehle) makes when she hires Maud (Morfydd Clark) as her home healthcare nurse. The devoutly religious Maud believes that she receives messages directly from God, and her version of God is jealous and judgmental. Maud herself is equally terrifying and traumatized, a horror villain and victim at the same time.
Getting harsh reviews can be difficult for artists, but a pompous actor played by Vincent Price responds rather disproportionately to his critics in the gleefully macabre Theater of Blood. Two years after faking his own death, Price’s Edward Lionheart returns to carry out elaborate, Shakespeare-based murder scenes for every member of the Theatre Critics Guild. Price is perfect for the role of a hammy, classically trained murderer, and the movie is full of inventive set pieces as he takes out one critic after another.
What’s more frightening than the unknown? That’s the scariest thing about Zodiac, David Fincher’s meticulously detailed drama about the inconclusive hunt for the real-life Zodiac Killer, who murdered at least five people in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960s and ’70s.
Fincher methodically builds tension via the investigations by a detective played by Mark Ruffalo and journalists played by Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal. Supernatural dangers are scary to ponder, but real horror comes from wondering if evil is right there in your midst.
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