When we think about Halloween films, we think about all films that revolve around horror elements. Some go that extra mile to get us into the seasonal mood by not only containing those horror elements, but by including the season as central to their storyline. There are many family-oriented films, such as ET (1982), and countless sitcoms that utilize our greatest holiday season for their episodes and plot lines, so the ones that bloody it up a bit more for the season are greatly appreciated.
The streaming platform SHUDDER has a nice grouping of titles centered around the Halloween Season, or better yet – taking place on Halloween Night itself. We’re particularly excited for the Halloween franchise titles that were added early this month. They make for a perfect binge before we are treated to Michael returning for his 40th anniversary later this month.
Here are all of the Halloween Horror flicks currently streaming on Shudder to get us all ready for the season – perfect for having on in the background while carving up some jack-o-lanterns.
8. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
The second chapter of the much-maligned “Thorn Trilogy” is probably the roughest entry on our list, but it’s not one without merit. The film contains several great kills and a costume party that adds the right kind of atmosphere to the film. Even though it couldn’t coherently link Danielle Harris’s Jamie into the evolution of Michael’s storyline, it still features Donald Pleasence reprising his legendary Dr. Loomis role.
7. 31 (2016)
Rob Zombie and Halloween go together as well as peanut butter and jelly, or.. Pepsi and Pop Rocks. I wish that House of 1000 Corpses (2003) hadn’t left the platform right before October, but 31 is still sticking around.
This film begins with a downright horrific soliloquy from Richard Brake’s Doom-Head, breaking the 4th wall to explain to us how he isn’t a clown, and that we should not refer to him as such for the duration of the film. The rest of the group of “heads” participate in a Halloween game, kidnapping a group to kill in horrific ways. Malcolm McDowell presides over the events, giving them a wonderful sense of malevolence.
6. Ghost Watch (1992)
Long before the current crop of found-footage films and mockumentaries, Ghost Watch existed to terrify BBC audiences. Like The Blair Witch Project, many of the original audience didn’t realize they were watching a film. Audiences that tuned in on Halloween night, 1992, were under the impression they were watching a live event, and what they saw sent them to their phones to call the authorities. Much like the radio broadcast of War of the Worlds, the lines between fiction and reality became blurred. People thought they were watching an actual haunting. The film is a little bit dated in its technology, but it is still pretty effective. Especially the ending.
5. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Future Scream Queen and Roseanne regular, Danielle Harris, made her film debut in the 4th installment of the Halloween franchise. Playing Laurie Strode’s orphaned daughter Jamie, Dimension Films attempted to make her the new evolution in the Myers line of evil.
After Season of the Witch’s failed attempt to make a Michael-less Halloween movie, the audience was given more of the Michael it was asking for in Halloween 4. This may not be as classic as the installments that proceeded it, but it’s still an enjoyable entry into the franchise.
4. Hell House LLC (2015)
However you feel about found footage, Hell House LLC is a film that deserves a chance. Put together more like a faux documentary, the format lent itself well to this addition to the sub-genre.
Hell House LLC puts a horror spin on the Haunted House tradition of the season. 15 people died on the opening night of the fictional ‘Hell House’, and a documentary crew is investigating the events behind it. Not being the biggest fan of Found Footage, this one made even my ingrown hairs stand at attention.
3. Murder Party (2007)
If you haven’t seen the first film by Jeremy Saulnier, then this is the perfect season to give it a watch. This is one for all of the lonely people watching movies with their cats on Halloween night. That is exactly the type of guy Chris is when he finds an invitation to a “Murder Party”. So instead of spending the evening in, he makes a cardboard Halloween costume and heads out into the night for a mysterious party.
The “Murder Party” consists of a group of ultra pretentious art students all competing for grant money. The one in charge of the money has the bright idea that Halloween is the perfect night to kill in the name of art.
This is a fantastic satire of art culture and a great addition to the Halloween season.
2. Halloween 2 (1981)
Halloween 2 is a continuation of the first, making for the ultimate seasonal double-feature. After the events of the first film, Laurie is taken to the hospital for observation. Since The Boogeyman is un-killable, Michael stalks Laurie to the hospital. This film is responsible for many of the rules Randy checked off in Scream 2. Michael is far deadlier in this one, and the body count just rises and rises. As far as sequels go, this is one of the best out there.
1. Halloween (1978)
With Halloween streaming on Shudder, it’s difficult to pick another film for #1 on this list. John Carpenter’s original film may not have solely built the slasher genre, but it definitely popularized it. His tale of The Boogeyman still feels vibrant 40 years after its release. It’s not a complicated story either. A masked man stalks babysitters and terrorizes a small town. Some of the simplest stories remain the scariest there ever were. This film touches something deep within the consciousness of all viewers, which is a reason for its longevity. Not only should this be considered a great film, but it should also be looked at as modern folklore.