The sporadic nature of Netflix leaves us all wondering, all of the time. Will next month be a stellar one for horror? Will we see another mediocre month? Will we see something we’ve never seen on the popular VOD outlet? There are a lot of questions about Netflix and unless you’re an employee, you’re playing the same game most of us play, and that game is called “Guessing.”
We wanted to chop some of the guessing work from the equation and put you on the right path. And what better way to do so than to give you a guide to 30 top-notch genre films that will have you looking over your shoulder and flipping lights on when not necessary?
Hit pause on the browsing game and let us handle the dirty work!
Verdict: Infinitely more entertaining than expected, The Veil delivers some creepy goods and an explosive finale.
Twenty-five years after members of a religious cult committed mass suicide, the lone survivor returns to the scene of the tragedy with a documentary crew in tow.
Verdict: Shouldn’t be a fun film at all, but somehow it is!
American Tourists travel to Panama and have a very terrifying experience.
Verdict: More science fiction than horror, Narcopolis is just dark (and different) enough to please genre addicts.
Narcopolis is a futuristic thriller set in the near future where all classes of drugs have been legalized. Frank Grieves is a ‘Dreck’, a roaming narc responsible for keeping the black market dealers off the streets and the licenced drugs companies rich. When he discovers a rogue substance in an unidentified corpse, evidence suggests that Ambro, the most powerful drug manufacturer of all, are conducting secret tests on an experimental narcotic. Grieves discovers a second victim – this time alive – but she disappears and he is suddenly taken off the case by his superiors. As his options drain away, it’s clear that legalization has come at a heavy price. Is it too late to save the city?
Pay the Ghost
Verdict: Not only is it one of Nicolas Cage’s greatest performances, it’s also heart wrenching and creepy. A sleeper if ever there was one.
One year after Mike Lawford’s young son disappeared during a Halloween carnival, he is haunted by eerie images and terrifying messages he can’t explain. Together with his estranged wife, he will stop at nothing to unravel the mystery and find their son-and, in doing so, he unearths a legend that refuses to remain buried in the past.
Dark Was the Night
Verdict: Really, really well-shot film about human ghosts as well as the feared Wendigo. It’s a slow burn affair, but it’s also slick as all hell.
Isolated and threatened, a mysterious force hidden within the trees outside the small town of Maiden Woods, strikes fear in the townspeople as Sheriff Paul Shields attempts to overcome the demons of his past while protecting those that he loves.
Verdict: Still one of the most frightening films ever shot, The Shining is a stranger to no one, but calls for repeated viewings.
Signing a contract, Jack Torrance, a normal writer and former teacher agrees to take care of a hotel which has a long, violent past that puts everyone in the hotel in a nervous situation. While Jack slowly gets more violent and angry of his life, his son, Danny, tries to use a special talent, the “Shining”, to inform the people outside about whatever that is going on in the hotel.
Verdict: Arguably history’s most terrifying picture, The Exorcist gets off to a slow start but eventually spirals into a hellish nightmare that’s bound to disrupt your sleeping habits.
A visiting actress in Washington, D.C., notices dramatic and dangerous changes in the behavior and physical make-up of her 12-year-old daughter. Meanwhile, a young priest at nearby Georgetown University begins to doubt his faith while dealing with his mother’s terminal sickness. And, book-ending the story, a frail, elderly priest recognizes the necessity for a show-down with an old demonic enemy.
Verdict: I keep hearing that this isn’t a horror film, yet it’s a post-apocalyptic affair in which human beings fight to the death, ultimately ending up in a giant human juicer. Yeah, tell me that’s not horror and I’ll tell you to take a break from existence.
In a post-apocalyptic future, THE KID, a young solitary scavenger obsessed with comic books must face his fears and become a reluctant hero when he meets a mysterious girl named APPLE. Despite their efforts to keep to themselves, ZEUS, the sadistic and self-proclaimed leader of the Wasteland, plagues THE KID and APPLE. Armed with little more than blind faith and an ancient turbocharged weapon, THE KID learns of justice and friendship and embarks on an incredible journey to rid the Wasteland of evil and save the girl of his dreams.
Verdict: A fun blend of horror, comedy and superhero antics, Hellboy is already a classic.
In the final days of World War II, the Nazis attempt to use black magic to aid their dying cause. The Allies raid the camp where the ceremony is taking place, but not before a demon – Hellboy – has already been conjured. Joining the Allied forces, Hellboy eventually grows to adulthood, serving the cause of good rather than evil.
Verdict: Don’t be fooled by the early cheesiness, this one becomes a giant alien war that absolutely rocks.
In the distant future high school kids are encouraged to become citizens by joining the military. What they don’t know is that they’ll soon be engaged in a full scale war against a planet of alien insects. The fight is on to ensure the safety of humanity.
Verdict: One of the greatest animated flicks you’ll ever see, Corpse Bride is capped off by some eerie sequences.
Set back in the late 1800s in a Victorian village, a man and woman by the names of Victor Van Dort and Victoria Everglot are betrothed because the Everglots need the money or else they’ll be living on the streets and the Van Dorts want to be high in society. But when things go wrong at the wedding rehearsal, Victor goes into the woods to practice his vows. Just as soon as he gets them right, he finds himself married to Emily, the corpse bride. While Victoria waits on the other side, there’s a rich newcomer that may take Victor’s place. So two brides, one groom, who will Victor pick?
Hell and Back
Verdict: Sure, it’s pretty much all frat boy toilet humor, but it’s fun if you give it an open chance.
Remy, Augie, and Curt have been best friends since birth. When they jokingly take a blood oath and break it, Curt is dragged to Hell to be sacrificed. The guys must risk everything to save their friend from a slew of misfit demons, Greek legends, and the Devil himself. Are they prepared? No, absolutely not.
The Seasoning House
Verdict: The brutality of this one might surprise you; the pacing, however, will keep your eyes glued to the screen.
In 1996, in the Balkans, the population of a small town is slaughtered by a militia under the command of the inhuman Goran that abducts young girls for prostitution in a brothel owned by the cruel Viktor. The deaf Angel that witnessed the execution of her mother has a weird birth mark on the face and Viktor chooses her to housework; to put makeup and drug the girls for the clients; and cleaning them up after the brutal encounters. Angel also sneaks between the walls and ventilation ducts during the night. Angel befriends the girl Vanya that knows the language of the deaf. When Goran returns to the house with his men, Angel witnesses one of them raping and killing Vanya and she revenges her new friend killing the man. Now Goran and his men are hunting her down and she is trapped in the house.
Verdict: A visually stunning spin on the vampire tale, Byzantium is what Interview with the Vampire could have been.
Two mysterious women seek refuge in a run-down coastal resort. Clara meets lonely Noel, who provides shelter in his deserted guesthouse, Byzantium. Schoolgirl Eleanor befriends Frank and tells him their lethal secret. They were born 200 years ago and survive on human blood. As knowledge of their secret spreads, their past catches up on them with deathly consequence.
Verdict: Awesome subterranean terror piece that’s been heavily slept on, even though it should hold a place in your collection. There’s some eerie shit in this movie.
Samantha “Sam” Marsh is in a bar during her father’s retirement party. After growing up in a small town coal mining community, she’s decided to study environmental law instead of following in her father’s footsteps. Her father has been struck with an illness related to his many years of mining coal and he can no longer work without risking his life. When the miners in the bar declare that Sam’s whole life is painting her nails and checking Facebook, and that she could never be a coal miner, Sam decides to prove them wrong and go down below with them. Unfortunately while down beneath the ground, the mine shaft collapses and she, her father and the other miners are trapped below, some killed instantly and others injured. Those left alive start to slowly go crazy as the oxygen runs out, and they worry that they’ll suffer the same fate as the urban legendary 19, nineteen miners buried alive and left for dead in the 1920’s.
Verdict: A little predictable in spots, Intruders ultimately offers up a solid finale after some strong performances lead us there.
In Madrid, the boy Juan is terrified by the monster Hollowface and his mother is unable to protect him so summons Father Antonio to exorcise the monster from their lives. In London, the construction worker John Farrow is very close to his teenage daughter Mia. One day, Mia is spending the day at her grandparents’ house in the countryside with her mother Susanna and she finds a box with the story of Hollowface hidden in a tree. Soon Mia sees the monster Hollowface in the closet of her bedroom and John defends her. When they are attacked for the second time, the security camera that John has installed does not show any intruder. Are Mia and John delusional?
Stir of Echoes
Verdict: Arguably the greatest cinematic adaptation of a Richard Matheson story, Stir of Echoes is genuinely creepy. Oh, and Kevin Bacon rules, too.
Tom’s a regular guy, a utilities lineman, married, with a young son, his wife is pregnant; he hangs out with long-time pals in a Chicago neighborhood. At a party, his sister-in-law hypnotizes him, and he goes into a deep trance. Before waking him, she suggests that he keep his mind open. That night he sees flashes of violence and the ghost of a young woman. His young son, too, is “a receiver,” but while the boy is calm and coherent in his conversations with spirits, Tom is confused and agitated. Over time, the young woman’s story comes to the surface, and Tom begins a hunt for her body that puts him and his usually understanding wife, Maggie, in grave danger.
Verdict: Clown horror has experienced a minor return to the spotlight in recent years. Stitches is no doubt one of the better offerings of this resurgence. There’s a strange sub-plot to deal with, but other than that, this one gets the thumbs up.
The clumsy and unfunny clown Richard “Stitches” Grindle goes to the birthday party of little Tom and the boy and his friends play a prank with Stitches, tying his shoelaces. Stitches slips, falls and dies. Six years later, Tom gives a birthday party for his friends at home and the clown revives to haunt the teenagers and revenge his death.
Verdict: A superbly shot documentary that puts the Cropsey legend under the microscope, this one will not only grip your attention in a deathly powerful clutch, it’ll break your heart from time to time.
Realizing the urban legend of their youth has actually come true; two filmmakers delve into the mystery surrounding five missing children and the real-life boogeyman linked to their disappearances.
Verdict: From the same minds that brought us Cropsey, Killer Legends is much broader in scope, which means a few of the details get trimmed down, but if you’re a fan of documentaries you’ll enjoy it all the same.
Four timeless urban legends continue to haunt the psyche of the American public. This documentary follows filmmakers Joshua Zeman and Rachel Mills as they investigate the true crimes that may have spawned these urban legends, while exploring how these myths evolved and why we continue to believe. The documentary probes the following legends: The Candyman: The film travels viewers to Houston, Texas, to explore the legend of tainted candy that strikes fear in parents every Halloween. Though the legend is prolific, in actuality there is only one documented case of a child dying from tainted candy: 8-year-old Timothy O’Bryan. Timothy was poisoned on Halloween by a real life monster who used the legend to hide his crime, earning him the nickname, The Candyman. The Baby-Sitter and the Man Upstairs: As the legend goes, a babysitter tormented by a twisted caller, learns that the sadistic calls are coming from inside the house. While the babysitter has become the go-to victim in so many of our…
Verdict: Another documentary, this one is off the wall and far-fetched, as we reach for all sorts of strange messages in The Shining, the majority of which aren’t even truly there. While it’s rough in regards to the technical aspects, and it’s rough in regards to content, anyone who enjoys The Shining should at least find the film interesting.
A subjective documentary that explores the numerous theories about the hidden meanings within ‘Stanley Kubrick (I)’ ‘s Kubrick”s film The Shining (1980). The film may be over 30 years old but it continues to inspire debate, speculation, and mystery. Five very different points of view are illuminated through voice over, film clips, animation and dramatic reenactments. Together they’ll draw the audience into a new maze, one with endless detours and dead ends, many ways in, but no way out.
Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World
Verdict: The final documentary on our list offers up a beautiful look at the late, great H.R. Giger’s work, with an obvious emphasis on his Alien work.
He feels at home in places we would flee from and lives his life among the very things we fear. Throughout his life, HR Giger had inhabited the world of the uncanny, a dark universe on the brink of many an abyss. It was the only way this amiable, modest and humorous man was able to keep his fears in check. Giger was merely the bearer of dark messages, charting our nightmares, drafting maps of our subconscious and molding our primal fears. A film with and about the internationally acclaimed and controversial painter, sculptor, architect and designer (Oscar for ‘Alien’).
He Never Died
Verdict: So much more entertaining than I’d expected, it’s great to see Henry Rollins in a strong lead role.
Jack’s in a rut. Depression and severe anti-social behavior has whittled down his existence to sleeping and watching television. Seeing the human race as little more than meat with a pulse, Jack has no interest to bond with anyone. There’s little purpose for him to make friends with someone he’d eventually eat or outlive by more than a millennia. The fuse is lit when Jack’s past comes back to rattle him. Jack must now walk a tight rope of sobriety and try to eat as few people as possible in this violent tale of personal responsibility.
Verdict: One of the most inventive approaches to the zombie subgenre, Pontypool is jam-packed full of chilling sequences, and features Stephen McHattie in a defining performance.
A psychological thriller in which a deadly virus infects a small Ontario town.
Verdict: Another fresh spin on the zombie, The Returned is a thinking man’s film as opposed to a flat out visceral viewing experience. That may sound like a warning, but it isn’t, this is an awesome picture.
In a world where a deadly zombie virus has infected mankind, a single cure has been found. The cure, a treatment called the “Return Protein” which stays the effects of the virus in its host. With injections every 36 hours, the “Returned” are able to live as though they were never bit, despite the virus still coursing through their veins. When it is discovered that the protein stock is running low, chaos hits the streets. Returned who run out of the protein turn to zombies and wreak havoc, protesters turn to murderers as they try to rid the streets of the returned, and right in the middle of it all are Alex and Kate. Kate a leading doctor in the field of zombie virus’ and Alex a musician with a dark secret, he is a Returned. As death and fear run rampant, Alex’s secret becomes known and his dosage runs low, he and Kate must fight for a chance to live before he becomes a zombie.
Verdict: The only bad thing I can say about this film is that the finale is quite predictable, whether you’ve read Joe Hill’s source material or not. Everything else? Awesome!
After Iggy’s long-time girlfriend is murdered and the whole town agrees he is the killer, he awakens one morning with horns and the townspeople soon confess their sins. Once knowing the sins of the people, he is facing the true killer of his beloved girlfriend.
Verdict: One damn fine ghost story with a twist that not only catches you off guard, it really works to send chills down the spine while invoking a bit of sadness.
A woman named Grace retires with her two children to a mansion on Jersey, towards the end of the Second World War, where she’s waiting for her husband to come back from battle. The children have a disease which means they cannot be touched by direct sunlight without being hurt in some way. They will live alone there with oppressive, strange and almost religious rules, until she needs to hire a group of servants for them. Their arrival will accidentally begin to break the rules with unexpected consequences.
Verdict: Balls to the wall insanity and dumbfounding visuals. Is it pure horror? No, but it’s an awesome movie, regardless.
THE SCRIBBLER follows Suki (Katie Cassidy), a young woman confronting her destructive mental illness using “The Siamese Burn,” an experimental machine designed to eliminate multiple personalities. The closer Suki comes to being “cured,” she’s haunted by a thought – what if the last unwanted identity turns out to be her?
Verdict: Open Water won’t win everyone over, but the very realistic approach to the typical shark flick is disconcerting and then some.
A couple on a holiday in the Caribbean decide to spend the day on a scuba diving trip. But was it the wrong decision? When a mis-count happens on the boat, Susan and Daniel are left behind in the middle of the ocean, the boat long gone. With all their hopes set on the boat coming back to rescue them, they try to keep themselves safe, especially when sharks start to appear.
To Kill a Mockingbird
Verdict: Let me just say that I fully recognize that this isn’t a horror film. It does however have a very haunting vibe about it, along with some downright chilling shots and powerful social commentary. It’s one of history’s greatest films, and if you watch it alone in the middle of the night with no lights on, you might be surprised by how creepy it really can be.
Based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning book of 1961. Atticus Finch is a lawyer in the fictional town of Maycomb, a racially divided Alabama town, set in the early 1930s, and modeled after Monroeville where Harper Lee grew up. Finch agrees to defend a young black man who is accused of raping a white woman. Many of the townspeople try to get Atticus to pull out of the trial, but he decides to go ahead. How will the trial turn out – and will it effect any changes in racial attitudes in Maycomb?