Halloween is almost upon us and for many people, the spooky season gives them an excuse to enjoy a horror movie or two.

Many horror films get released every year, but for every masterpiece that is made, there are many that don't reach anywhere near the same heights.

The genre has crafted some masterpieces that still hold cultural relevance decades after their release, so there are plenty worth your time.

Here is a list of seven of the best options you can seek out to watch around Halloween if you fancy watching something scary.

7 of the best horror films to watch around Halloween

The Exorcist

Whilst the latest film in The Exorcist franchise is currently still showing in cinemas nationwide, staying at home to watch William Friedkin's 1973 original is probably a better use of your time.

At the time of its release, it had a profound impact on viewers, with some ending up vomiting or fainting due to its shocking scenes.

It has maintained a reputation as a frightening film, deftly combining supernatural drama with religious themes.

Where to watch in the UK: The Exorcist is available to watch on BBC iPlayer up until the end of Monday, October 30. Alternatively, it can be rented on Amazon Prime, YouTube or Apple TV.


If you wanted a slightly less intense offering compared to some of the other options on this list then 1996's Scream could work for you.

Wes Craven helms this deconstruction of the slasher genre written by Kevin Williamson, which also has the key distinction of actually offering a compelling story amid its self-referential nature.

The satirisation of the genre allows for plenty of humour, genuine scares and an exceptionally twisty mystery which should make for a great viewing experience.

Where to watch in the UK: Scream is available on Paramount Plus, and can also be rented on Amazon Prime, YouTube and Apple TV.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Considered one of the most influential horror films to have ever been made, Tobe Hooper's low-budget masterpiece really made a statement upon its release in 1974.

It follows a group of friends who fall victim to a family of cannibals and is credited with introducing many tropes in the slasher genre such as the characterization of the killer as a large, hulking, masked figure and the use of power tools as weapons.

The largely stripped-down approach to the horror has largely made it an effective one that has stayed with people many decades later.

Where to watch in the UK: The film is available to watch as part of the BFI Player subscription on Amazon Prime, and can also be rented on YouTube and Apple TV.

Halloween (1978)

The film appropriately named after the season is another classic of the horror genre that spawned a largely unimpressive franchise after the great success of the original.

John Carpenter's independent slasher film saw Jamie Lee Curtis rise to stardom in her role as Laurie Strode, and also told the story with a great sense of tension and atmosphere.

An iconic villain was also born in Michael Myers who often rises among the pantheon of the greatest antagonists the genre has to offer.

Where to watch in the UK: Halloween is available to watch on Netflix, Now TV and Lionsgate Plus.

Carrie (1976)

Brian De Palma's adaptation of the Stephen King novel is yet another 1970s horror film that has proven to have stood the test of time in its cultural relevance.

The supernatural horror that emerges from the film's most well-known scene is brutal, and De Palam's energetic direction gives it all the impact it deserves. 

Where to watch in the UK: Carrie can be watched on Amazon Prime and is also available to rent on YouTube and Apple TV.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Another offering from director Wes Craven, A Nightmare on Elm Street offers plenty of splendid scenes of tension and genuinely scary moments.

Introducing one of the most iconic villains in the horror landscape in Freddy Krueger doesn't hurt its reputation either, as the concept of an undead former child killer who can murder people through their dreams is a brilliant one.

Alongside all of that, the film is only 91 minutes long, so if you need a quick one to watch, you'll be set.

Where to watch in the UK: The film is available to rent on Amazon Prime, YouTube and Apple TV

The Thing

Another entrant on the list from director John Carpenter, The Thing can boast some of the most terrifying practical effects of all time and remains haunting to this day.

It follows a group of American researchers in Antarctica who encounter 'The Thing', an alien lifeform that assimilates, then imitates, other organisms.

Due to 'The Thing' having no known original form the terror of who it might be imitating or where it might be offers an unsettling form of horror that can't be matched.

The grotesque forms that emerge are also horrifying which makes it an exceptionally effective work.

Where to watch in the UK: The film is available to rent on Amazon Prime, YouTube and Apple TV