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The Best Horror Movies on Netflix Instant Watch

Updated on August 11, 2015

Oh, Scary Movies...

What are the best horror movies on Netflix Instant Watch? Wise of you to ask. Just step into this dark mansion, and we will tell you.

Just kidding. Finding out what the scariest movies on Netflix are is just what the witch-doctors here at the Institute for Inane Science wanted to find out.

Netflix offers a lot, so we had to do a lot of combing through the dusty archives with our creepy combs. But eventually, we came up with a few winners, a few ghosts, and mild case of conjunctivitis.

As you will notice, what follows is a short list. Reason for this is that, put simply, there aren't as many great horror movies out there as with other genres, especially when you narrow that down to what Netflix offers. That may sound strange, but it's just not as popular a genre in the mainstream as action, drama, and comedy.

Most horror outings are weird, low-budget slashers or C-movie schlock. Now, I like schlock like anybody else, but there must be room for the greats. And with a little looking, you can find some absolute classics in the Netflix catalogue. Here, we wanted to showcase the popular and palatable. So, with enough palatial vocabulary to prickle a possum's pile of pancakes, on to the movies!

The Exorcist

Made over four decades ago, 1973's The Exorcist is still considered to be one of the most frightening movies ever made. Ellen Burstyn stars as a successful actress, whose daughter (Linda Blair) falls victim to a demonic force that must be eradicated. Priests are sent in to battle the evil, but to no avail.

This film is brimming with great moviemaking, and swept a good deal of the 1974 awards ceremonies -- a great director in William Friedkin (Golden Globe, Best Picture and Best Direction), excellent sound design (Academy Award, Best Sound) and a wonderful script (Academy Award, Best Writing Adapted Screenplay). A fantastic flick that will give you goosebumps.

Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary's Baby was a box-office and critical smash when it came out. Following on the success of other films, Mia Farrow plays a young mother-to-be who moves with her hubby (Nick Cassevettes) into a beautiful old apartment building in New York. But as time passes, it seems that her neighbors may be at best nefarious, and at worst demon-worshippers. This is an expertly made film, and it is often on the lists of best horror-thrillers.

The Snowtown Murders

The Snowtown Murders is a stripped down flick based around the grisly real-life events of the same name that happened in Australia many years ago.

Similar in style to a Gus Van Sant motif (see Van Sant’s Elefant), Snowtown revolves around John Bunting, a Manson-like figure that rounds up a small group of family and friends, those afraid of and loyal to him, and begins a ritual of killing local criminals and suspected deviants. Eventually, this “vigilantism” starts hitting wider and wider targets, and the ending is as frightening as it is sobering. This is an excellent film to see, though it can be a bit slow (and bleak) in parts.

Night of the Living Dead

Long before the zombie craze that has enraptured the country the last few years, there was a little movie called Night of the Living Dead. Directed by horror aficionado George Romero in 1968, Night of the Living Dead predates almost any zombie film, in fact.

Widely regarded to be one of the best and scariest horror films ever made the story on its surface is actually pretty simple and straight forward: a young woman starts realizing that everyone around her acting strange, so she holes up in a creepy house with a band of others and desperately fights off the undead.

But peel back the story a layer, and you see what's truly frightful here. The film evokes in the audience a sense of dread that has to do with the insanity and hopelessness that comes with society's breakdown. This film works on a more existential level than most, and that's what helps make it so dang good.

Night of the Living Dead has an eerie quality to it and unerringly great editing, acting and direction.

Time For A Poll...

What do you think is the scariest movie ever made?

See results


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    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 2 years ago

      What a late response on my part! I took a little hiatus from Hubbing, but I am back and in full effect. Thanks all so far who have commented. - M

    • UndercoverAgent19 profile image

      UndercoverAgent19 5 years ago

      I love horror movies, so thank you for your recommendations! I am currently watching The Snowtown murders, and it truly is gripping. It's very underrated, too, so I hope that it garners more popularity due to your hub!

    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 5 years ago

      Thanks! It's one of my faves too... Polanski was a brilliant director, to be sure, up there with Hitchcock.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      I am a true Horror fan and you included one of my all time favorites. When you consider this movie was made way back in 1965, Roman Polanski was certainly ahead of his time. My sister and I just rented it the other evening on pay per view. Never thought of Netflix.