The following list of horror movies and thrillers, plus some adorable light-hearted children’s films are available through streaming services (such as Prime, Vudu, Fandango, and others), to rent (or buy) from other sources such as Redbox, or borrow from the library.
We’ve grouped them in order by scare-o-meter rating (our own invention). Family-oriented, non-scary movies suitable for little kiddos are listed first, following by scarier movies suitable for all (or most) ages, and then the scarier (and gorier) movies at the end.
Family-friendly Halloween movies
These movies are all G or PG rated, or oldies that are NR. Most are appropriate for families of all ages.
(Listed in alphabetical order.)
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (NR). A zany horror spoof. The Wolf Man tries to warn a dimwitted porter that Dracula wants his brain for Frankenstein monster’s body.
Abominable (PG). An new and gorgeous animated adventure from DreamWorks about a teen and her mischievous friends who embark on an epic quest to reunite a Yeti with his family. Original, heartfelt, and funny.
Coco (2017, G). Beautifully animated and thoughtful family story. Despite his family’s long history of banning music, Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician. Attempting to prove his musical talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead where he ends up on an extraordinary journey to unlock the story behind his family history.
Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest (NR). A spook-tacular good time with Curious George in his first-ever Halloween movie. A fun-filled, bewitching treat for the whole family!
Hotel Transylvania (PG). Animated tale with Dracula operating a high-end resort away from the human world. Challenges occur when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count’s teenaged daughter.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (NR). The Peanuts cartoon gang celebrates Halloween while Linus waits in the pumpkin patch for a visit from the Great Pumpkin.
Kiki’s Delivery Service (G). A heartwarming, gorgeously-rendered tale of a young witch discovering her place in the world as she supports herself by running an air courier service.
Monsters, Inc (G). Imaginative and delightfully funny story about monsters in the night and a fearless little girl who sets them straight.
Nightmare Before Christmas (PG). A thoroughly original and visually delightful work of stop-motion animation from Tim Burton. When the king of Halloween Town discovers Christmas Town and attempts to bring Christmas to his home, it only causes confusion.
ParaNorman (PG). Norman Babcock never asked to see the ghosts of dead people in his daily life, but his strange inherited talent is now the only thing standing between the cursed town of Blithe Hollow and an all-out zombie apocalypse. Beautifully animated and solidly scripted.
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (G ). Either of the “Shaun the Sheep” movies are a delight. Farmageddon has a somewhat sinister plot most suited to Halloween. When an alien with amazing powers crash-lands near Mossy Bottom Farm, Shaun the Sheep goes on a mission to shepherd the intergalactic visitor home before a sinister organization can capture her.
Song of the Sea (PG). A young Irish boy and his little sister, a girl who can turn into a seal, go on an adventure to free the fairies and save the spirit world. Beautifully animated saga.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018, PG). Animated version of the film franchise centers around Miles Morales, who takes on the Spider-Man role and bumps into web-slinging heroes from alternate dimensions.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (G). Wallace and his loyal dog, Gromit, set out to discover the mystery behind the garden sabotage that plagues their village and threatens the annual giant vegetable growing contest.
Young Frankenstein (PG). A riotous spoof on the original monster story with fantastic performances by a very talented cast.
Scary/not-too-scary Halloween movies
These movies are suitable for most audiences, some are scarier than others. Despite some of the (G) and (PG) ratings, some of these films can be quite disturbing or have mature themes that young or sensitive children won’t enjoy.
(Listed in alphabetical order.)
A Quiet Place (PG-13). In a post-apocalyptic world, a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992, R). Francis Ford Coppola’s version–not faithful to the original story–with the vampire creating havoc in England.
Clue (PG). A comedy murder mystery based on the board game. Six guests are invited to a strange mansion. After their host is killed, they work to identify the murderer as the bodies pile up.
Dracula (1931, NR). Considered the most iconic performance of Dracula with Bela Lugosi’s as the suave, blood-sucking Count. This early talkie film was the first of many more monster movies to come. The Spanish-language version of Dracula (1931), made at the same time with the same sets but different cast, is considered by many to be better.
Edward Scissorhands (PG-13). An artificial man who was incompletely constructed and has scissors for hands leads a solitary life. He meets a woman who introduces him to her world. A magical modern fairy tale with gothic overtones and a sweet center.
Gemini Man (PG-13). From Jerry Bruckheimer, this sci-fi action thriller features an over-the-hill assassin played by Will Smith, who must fend off his younger clone – a peak version of himself. Panned by critics but fairly well-liked by audiences.
Ghostbusters (PG). In this wacky story, three parapsychology professors set up shop as a ghost removal service in New York City.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (PG). The final movie in the franchise has Harry and friends battling Lord Voldemort at Hogwarts Castle in an epic showdown where the forces of darkness may finally meet their match. Any other movie in the series will do.
Labyrinth (PG). When 16-year-old Sarah wishes her baby brother would go away, it is granted by the Goblin King Jareth (David Bowie). To rescue her brother, she must solve a labyrinth in 13 hours. From Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (PG). Disney’s Maleficent (Angelina Joie) and her goddaughter Aurora begin to question the complex family ties that bind them as they are pulled in different directions by impending nuptials, unexpected allies, and dark new forces at play. Panned by critics, but highly rated by audiences.
Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979, PG). Count Dracula spreads death and the Black Plague as he travels. An intense version of the fable with stunning visuals.
Notorious (NR). A Hitchcock thriller about a U.S. government agent (Cary Grant) who recruits the American daughter of a convicted German war criminal to be a Nazi spy. One of Hitchcock’s best films, full of plot twists and superb camera work.
Poltergeist (PG). At first idyllic and charming, this supernatural tale is about a family terrorized by ghosts in their home who kidnap their young daughter and their fight to save her.
Secret of Nimh (G). A dark tale with truly terrifying moments (for young children) about a field mouse seeking to save her ill son. The story involves the survivors of scientific experiments, a rat-eating cat named Dragon, a gruesome encounter with an ill-fated spider, and a traumatic visit to the Great Owl whose home is littered with bones.
Shadow of a Doubt (PG). Classic Hitchcock movie. A young girl, overjoyed when her favorite uncle comes to visit the family, slowly begins to suspect that he is in fact the “Merry Widow” killer sought by the police. The ending is what got me.
Spirited Away (PG). The story of a girl lost in a world ruled by spirits is as whimsical as a Disney film, but it doesn’t shy away from disturbing imagery. Young protagonist Chihiro sees her parents transformed into monstrous pigs and the spirit No Face begins to devour all the employees of the bathhouse in a wild frenzy. A dazzling and gorgeous animated fairy tale that some children enjoy as an enchanting, magical experience. But for some kids, it’s too frightening.
The Innocents (2016, PG-13). In December 1945, Mathilde is a Red Cross doctor who tries to help a group of pregnant Benedictine nuns at a convent in Warsaw, Poland.
The Others (2001, PG-13). Moody, eerie, and unsettling story about a woman (Nicole Kidman) who moves her two children to a big house in the country after the end of the Second World War, where she waits for her husband to come back from the war.
This Sixth Sense (PG-13). M Night Shayamalan’s ghost story about a child psychologist who is helping a young boy frightened by visitations from dead people who seek his help with unresolved issues. I really liked the surprise twist ending.
Scary, Racy, Gory Halloween movies
These movies are mostly terrifying. Some are quite gory. Watch at your own risk.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (NR). An Iranian Vampire Western, shot in black & white with a great soundtrack. It’s a love story about two tortured souls in a desolate Iranian Ghost-town called ‘Bad City’, where a lonely vampire is stalking the towns most depraved denizens.
Alive (R) A true story about a Uruguayan rugby team in 1972, on their way to a match, when their plane crashed in the Andes mountains. They are forced to use desperate measures to survive.
Blade (R). Wesley Snipes as a half-vampire, half-mortal man who becomes a protector of the mortal race, while slaying evil vampires. Short on plot, but the action is fierce, plentiful, and stylish.
Carrie (R). A horrifying look at high school cruelty and religious zealousness with a blood-bath for a prom.
Donnie Darko (R). After narrowly escaping a bizarre accident, a troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes. A daring, original, mind-bending story with Jake Gyllenhaal as the troubled title character.
Exorcist (R). Regarded as one of the scariest films of all time about a 12-year-old girl possessed by a mysterious entity. Her distraught mother seeks the help of two priests to save her.
Fatal Attraction (R). A married man’s one-night stand comes back to haunt him when the woman begins to stalk him and his family.
Halloween (1978, R). Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois to kill again. The other 12 movies in the series pale in comparison to the original from 1978.
Hereditary (R). A harrowing, unsettling horror film about a family that begins to unravel after the death of the matriarch. Cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets unfold about their ancestry.
It (R) A group of bullied kids band together to destroy a shape-shifting monster, which disguises itself as a clown and preys on the children in their small Maine town.
Joker (R). An original standalone story of the iconic villain from “Batman”. Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix, aspires to be a stand-up comic but finds the joke always seems to be on him. It’s a gritty character study with a broader cautionary tale.
Lighthouse (R). Black-and-white horror film chronicles the story of two lighthouse keepers as they are faced with solitude. They start to lose their sanity and become threatened by their worst nightmares.
Night of the Living Dead (1968, NR). Five people spend the night in a Pennsylvania farmhouse, surrounded by flesh-eating, walking dead. I was truly frightened the first time I watched this; a friend of mine laughed all the way through. So there you go.
Rocky Horror Picture Show (R). A quirky, tongue-in-cheek, cult classic. A couple has a flat tire during a storm (of course) and seek help at the eerie mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a transvestite scientist and his household of wild characters. I’m not a fan, but I have friends who are huge fans. Make toast. (Don’t ask, just make toast before you sit down to watch.)
Shaun of the Dead (R). After a bad day, a jilted man decides to turn his life around. When a zombie apocalypse unfolds, he seizes the chance to save the town and win her back. Scary, witty, and smart satire.
Silence of the Lambs (R). This psychological horror-thriller features a stellar cast (Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster) in a gruesome modern tale. Truly gruesome. Watch it while enjoying a nice Chianti.
The Conjuring (2013, R). Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse. They discover the area is steeped in a satanic haunting and must defeat the spectral menace. Well-crafted and creepy, complete with old-school scares.
The Crow (R). A year after he and his fiancée are murdered, a poetic guitarist is brought back to life by a crow. The crow guides him through the land of the living, leading him to his killers. Dark and action-packed.
The Fly (1986, R). After one of his experiments in matter transportation goes horribly wrong, a scientist (Jeff Goldblum) is transformed into a half man/half fly.
The Game (R). A brother (Sean Penn) treats his wealthy banker sibling (Michael Douglas) to a birthday gift–a mysterious, personalized, real-life adventure game that turns frightening. My brother hated it; I loved it. However, I would not want to receive this “gift” from him!
The Invisible Man (2020, R). After staging his own suicide, a crazed scientist uses his power to become invisible in order to stalk and terrorize his ex-girlfriend. When the police refuse to believe her story, she decides to take matters into her own hands and fights back.
The Omen (1976, R). The story opens with an American ambassador whose wife has a stillborn child. In the hospital, he is approached by a priest to take a newborn whose mother has just died in childbirth. Without telling his wife, he agrees. Violent and grotesque events begin to occur and the ominous warnings of a priest lead him to believe that the child he took for their own is evil incarnate.
The Shining (R). Superb cast. Chilling story that starts out idyllic and hopeful slowly descends into terror as sinister forces grip a family that is isolated during winter at remote resort.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974, R). A group of five friends fall victim to a family of cannibalistic psychopaths with power tools. A bloody, gory, and terrifying low-budget movie.
The Thing (1982, R). A research team in Antarctica is pursued by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of its victims. Truly terrifying. Well, I thought it was. But rooting for Kurt Russell kept me watching to the end.
Us (R). A family’s serene beach vacation turns to dark when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them. Disturbing, yet thought-provoking. I’m getting to like Jordan Peele’s movies a lot (Get Out, BlacKkKlansman).
What We Do in the Shadows (R). Smart, fresh, and funny. A trio of vampires are finding modern life is a struggle: paying rent, keeping up with chores, trying to get into nightclubs, and overcoming roommate conflicts. But there are perks to being undead!
Zombieland: Double Tap (R). The cast and crew of the cult classic Zombieland have reunited after 10 years. In the horror comedy, the troupe faces off against more zombies in the Midwest.
Upcoming Film Festivals & Movie Screenings
Listed below are upcoming film festivals and special movie screenings–virtual and live. We update this list on a rolling basis throughout the year, when organizers announce dates for their next events.
But wait, there’s more!
- See also our big list of movie theaters in the Puget Sound region.
- Enjoy more movies, films, and documentaries.
- Our big list of Halloween haunted houses, corn mazes, spooky tours
- Free and cheap Halloween events around Puget Sound
- 100+ cheap and fun DIY ideas for Halloween costumes
- Guidelines for safe Halloween celebrations in 2020
- And here’s a list of 101+ always free things to do for fun.
- More free and cheap things to do every day: Greater Seattle on the Cheap event calendar.
- Still more ideas for frugal fun: Greater Seattle on the Cheap home page.
Love our cheap ideas? Get our FREE email newsletters. Choose from daily, weekly, and monthly lists. Click here to subscribe.
Halloween events around Puget Sound
Free and cheap Halloween events and things to do around the Puget Sound region. We continue to add events through the month of October as details become available.
Friday, March 31, 2023