Happy Halloween: 10 Great Horror Movies Streaming on Netflix

A single, working mother finds that her inner rage has manifested into a demon haunting the duplex where she lives with her autistic son. The first movie to genuinely deal with the challenges of raising a special-needs child comes from Australia and, no surprise, a woman — writer-director Jennifer Kent. Bonus points for casting SNOWTOWN MURDERS psychopath Daniel Henshall as a good guy.

V/H/S 2 (2013)
It’s somewhat difficult to recommend another found-footage horror movie, but this actually has more in common with the Amicus portmanteau movies than, say, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. More important, its third story, “Safe Haven,” is an all-timer — a no-holds-barred freakout homage to CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST that is 10 times better. Otherwise, it’s strong from start to finish, with a terrific wrap-around device.

Beguiling period ghost story stars Rebecca Hall as a psychic researcher in post-World War I England who spends most of her time debunking predatory mediums. She gets more than she bargained for when veteran Dominic West asks her to investigate claims of an adolescent spirit haunting his impossibly English public school. If you’re inclined to like this kind of thing, you’ll love it.

Thirty years later, there still is nothing like the sight of lecherous professor David Gale undaunted by his own decapitation, a glorious hard-R moment that remains unrivaled in all of cinema and made the courageous Barbara Crampton a horror hero.

This black, bloody take on the Wendigo legend seems ripe for rediscovery, but it’s been streaming on Netflix for a while now and remains wholly obscure. It’s difficult to click on the military western cannibal movie when GHOSTBUSTERS II is available. But if that sounds intriguing, do yourself a favor …

By now, you can probably guess the ending. But it’s clever and it’s scary.

THE OMEN (1976)
OK, this is not a great movie. It might not even be a good one. But damn it, it works — mostly because Richard Donner can stage a death scene maybe better than any other director. David Warner’s demise is the notorious one, but the rooftop hanging that sets this EXORCIST ripoff in motion is timeless. “It’s all for you, Damien!”

Midway through the movie, Henry comes back to the apartment to find his buddy, Ottis, has fallen asleep on the couch while watching their home movies. It’s not subtle, but it’s effective. Yes, it’s hard to watch.

The setting is the early 1980s, and the art direction is spot on, but this has much more in common with slow-burn horror movies from the ’70s like LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH (1971). Director Ti West (2011’s THE INNKEEPERS) understands atmosphere, and the effectiveness of a good, random burst of terror. “You’re not the babysitter?”

Unfortunately, Netflix stopped streaming THE EXORCIST (1973) just it time for Halloween. But we’re fortunate to have this available, and if you haven’t already seen it, it’s about time you did.

Also receiving votes: Jugface (2013), Devil (2010), The Relic (1997), Scream (1997), Hellraiser (1987), Let the Right One In (2008), The Hole (2009), The Prophecy (1995).

Why You Should Watch “Kill List”

IN 30 YEARS, SOME FETED AUTEUR will spark a revival for Ben Wheatley’s off-Hollywood danse macabre “Kill List,” a piece of “White Light/White Heat” cinema currently making the rounds on streaming devices two years after it was released to wildly disparate reviews. Too grim and too odd for the majority of what newspapers would call “movie-goers,” it no doubt already has sown its seeds in the heads of dozens of aspiring filmmakers.

I spend a good part of my life looking for movies like “Kill List,” and it took two years and a Halloween hay ride through “best horror movies you’ve never seen” Google searches to discover its existence. Unfortunately, the very first list — which correctly made it the top horror movie of the new millennium — gave away the secret at its core by name-checking one movie. And although I was ultimately surprised by the denouement, I essentially knew what was happening.

“Kill List” is in many ways that movie’s direct inverse.

Yet it didn’t spoil the movie, nor did it stop me from thinking about for days afterward, because “Kill List” is not a stunt; it’s part allegory, part agitprop and all horror movie. The best piece I’ve yet read on “Kill List” compares it to “Mulholland Drive,” although in some ways it’s about as far as one can get from Lynch’s dreamy jigsaw. It also features the kind of Saviniesque in-camera FX one doesn’t see much anymore and a pair of remarkable performances by Neil Maskell and Michael Smiley at its center.

If this sounds as if it might be in your wheelhouse, watch it. It’s streaming on Netflix. But don’t read anything else about it until you’re done.