Movie streaming services are like restaurants. HBO Max is high-end dining, exclusive haute cuisine worth every penny. Amazon Prime is a food court- they have all imaginable options but for a really decent meal, you’ll have to pay a bit extra. Meanwhile, Tubi is an out-of-the-way fast food joint that mostly hardcore foodies frequent. Its reputation is one of mixed reviews, some saying it’s cheap and trashy but the ones that have really explored the menu know that this place is a hidden gem, offering some of the best fare you can find if you’re just willing to take the time to explore it.
Tubi is host to thousands of movie titles thanks to independent releases, and major studio movies like Disney, Sony, Lionsgate, and just about every other one you can think of. This results in a massive selection of all genres including our favorite: Horror. Some horror movies streaming on Tubi gain cult attention for being low-budget and yes, a little gauche (Rectuma, Terror at Blood Fart Lake, etc.) but some offerings are timeless, high-quality, and essential.
Below is a list of 10 Classic Horror Movies Currently Streaming on Tubi, that are guaranteed to be worth your time. Oh, and if you didn’t already know…Tubi is 100% Free. You can watch all of these movies (and thousands more) right now, and it won’t cost you a dime.
The Bride of Frankenstein(1935)
I could fill half this list with Universal monster movies, Tubi boasts the full range of classics including Dracula, The Mummy, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and Frankenstein. I’ve chosen Bride as the exemplum of these because it’s one of those rare instances where a sequel is more iconic than it’s original. No offense to the dashing Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive), but Dr. Pretorius (Ernest Thesiger) set the standard for the “mad scientist” look. Speaking of iconic looks, who is more recognizable than the Bride (Elsa Lanchester)? In this movie, the Monster (Boris Karloff) speaks, which enables him to deliver one of horror’s most iconic and poignant quotes, “we belong dead!”
House on HauntedHill(1959)
Becoming more of a cult classic every year due to its public domain status, House on Haunted Hill is finally getting props from the horror community. Speaking of props, how about a shambly skeleton swinging in to push someone into a pit of acid? Or a frightening old crone out of nowhere who glides by like a ghost? How about a severed head waiting in the bedroom? Audiences in 1959 loved this movie thanks to the genius direction (and promotion) by William Castle, and audiences today will get just as much a thrill (minus the skeleton flying through the audience).
Cape Fear (1962)
While some might not agree with me on this film’s horror status, I’d argue home invasion, stalking and attempted murder paired with Robert Mitchum’s terrifying portrayal of MaxCady is enough to make anyone check their locks and sleep with the lights on. With a chilling score from Psycho‘s Bernard Herrmann, Cape Fear walked so The Strangers, The Collector and Funny Games could run.
Night of the LivingDead(1968)
George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is a bonafide classic. This movie bent the rules of the genre before it was cool, such as reminding the audience that everyone is equally likely to end up on the menu when the living dead are at play, and that no one is safe…including children. From the first kill, this movie doesn’t stop, bringing relentless tension and a ticking clock that gives gravity to every scene. The first in a long lineage of zombie movies that are dearly beloved by horror fans of all ages, Night of the Living Dead is unsettling from start to finish and taught us one of life’s most valuable lessons: “kill the brain and you kill the ghoul“.
The Old Dark House(1932)
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Less well known than the Universal Monster movies that would follow it, The Old Dark House is one of those foundational horror films that set the stage for many of those to follow. Director James Whale (Bride of Frankenstein), along with an ensemble cast of the time, tells a now familiar story about travelers stranded at a spooky (old, dark) mansion house for the night. Mysterious and dangerous events plague our characters as they attempt to wait out the storm and survive the night.
Speaking of the foundations of horror, Nosteratu established the rules for movie vampires. A silent German expressionist film, the imagery, and story are deeply unsettling. The Nosferatu in questions, played by Max Schreck is not the suave, attractive vampire we would later see in Dracula (1931) – he’s a terrifying, pale, almost rat-like creature with pointy fingers and a super creepy face. Give this one a watch and fight that voice inside you that says silent movies are boring.. unless that is, you’re afraid it’ll give you nightmares.
“Run – don’t walk from THE BLOB!”, the theatrical trailer for the movie warns, featuring an iconic scene of the alien creature oozing into a crowded movie theater. The Blob is one of those creature features where the monster isn’t frightening in an obvious way, until you see what it does. Steve McQueen in one of his earliest roles, along with Aneta Corsaut (who you may recognize as the gorgeous Ms. Crump from the Andy Griffith Show) try desperately to warn their small town about the alien threat that is swallowing half the population for much of the movie until the Blob is so massive it attempts to eat an entire diner. Check it out and I guarantee you’ll be humming the “Blob song” from the opening credits all day.
The dream team from House on Haunted Hill is back with another wacky fright fest guaranteed to give you the willies. Director William Castle, writer Robb White and veteran spooky leading man Vincent Price bring us The Tingler, a tale of terror following a scientist’s discovery of a corny parasitic centipede-looking thing that attaches to your spine and kills you if you don’t scream. So by all means, SCREAM!
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari(1920)
No surprise here, this is widely considered one of the most influential early horror films of all time. It’s been dissected at length by film scholars, artists and nerds like me since it was released over 100 years ago. Practically the definition of German expressionism, this movie is so visually engaging that the set design, costumes and makeup are still emulated in modern day (e.g. Rob Zombie’s music video for “Living Dead Girl”). Disregard those who would call this classic pretentious (or make sarcastic references to the Portlandia episode that pokes fun at it) and give it a watch.
This British proto-slasher was released the same year as Alfred Hitchcock’s eternal classic Psycho, but is rarely as recognized. Despite being twice as violent, with much more time getting to know and understand our killer, the initial critical reception of this film seemed to hurt its reputation until it was able to begin gathering cult attention. Shot in stunning technicolor, this film will take you inside the mind of the voyeuristic serial killer, and you’ll be dying to find out what happens next…
And that’s just the tip of the horror iceberg waiting for you over at Tubi. Let us know if you found something new to watch FOR FREE on Tubi, or what some of your personal favorites streaming right are over on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and in the official Nightmare on Film Street Discord. And don’t forget to enter the #31DayHorrorChallenge giveaway HERE.