The spookiest time of the year is upon us, and the world’s best streaming services want to scare us silly with a hatful of frightening films in the lead-up to Halloween.
That includes Prime Video, whose newest horror movie Totally Killer – a comedy horror that pays tribute to 80s-era slashers and time-travel flicks – got our pulses racing. One of October’s new Prime Video movies, the Kiernan Shipka-starring film is currently sitting on a horrifyingly good 78% critical score on Rotten Tomatoes. And, with its clear homages to legendary movies like Back to the Future and Scream, it sounds like Totally Killer deserves plenty of praise.
If this throwback movie has got you in the mood for more blood-curdling movies, we’re here to help. Below, we’ve picked out six of the best slasher films of all time complete with information on where you can stream them in your part of the world. So, what are you waiting for? Dim the lights, grab a cushion to hide behind, make some popcorn, and terrify yourself with our selection this weekend.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Where to stream it: Max (US), rent or buy (UK), Binge (Australia)
Wes Craven’s 1984 supernatural slasher has become a mainstay of many people’s pre-Halloween watchlist, and with good reason. A Nightmare on Elm Street redefined what a low-budget horror movie could be. Not only that, it’s often credited with being a major influence on many of the tropes we see in present-day horror films, albeit ones that poke fun at the horror genre’s most notable clichés.
A Nightmare on Elm Street introduced us to one of the most hair-raising villains of all time, too – Freddy Kreuger. An undead former child killer, Kreuger begins murdering teens (in their dreams, no less) to get revenge on the kids’ parents for burning him alive years earlier. It’s easily one of the best horror movies ever made, but we wouldn’t recommend watching any of its subpar sequels.
Where to stream it: Peacock (US), rent or buy (UK and Australia)
Another supernatural slasher, and one labeled a contemporary classic of the horror genre. From 1992, Candyman is an incredibly gory flick that takes the human race’s fascination with urban myths and squeezes out a new kind of nightmarish folklore-based tale.
Based on Clive Barker’s ‘The Forbidden’ short story, Candyman stars Virginia Madsen as Helen Lyle, a Chicago-based graduate student whose thesis is centered around urban legends. Stumbling upon the mythos surrounding the titular character, she unwittingly unleashes the blood-thirsty and vengeful spirit back into the real world with unsurprisingly grave consequences.
A direct sequel – 2021’s similarly titled Candyman, directed by Nia DeCosta who helms the upcoming Marvel movie The Marvels – is also available to stream on Prime Video and Paramount Plus in the US, Stan in Australia, and premium on-demand services in the UK.
Where to stream it: Max (US), Amazon Freevee (UK), Prime Video (Australia)
Ah, Child’s Play, the 1988 horror movie that ensured we’d never look at dolls in the same way again. The first feature film to star iconic horror villain Chucky, Child’s Play is one of those quintessential classics that are a must-see in the run-up to Halloween.
Catherine Hicks plays Karen Barclay, mother of six-year-old Andy (Alex Vincent), who really wants a Good Guy doll for his birthday. Unable to afford one, Karen buys a discounted one from a homeless person. Unbeknownst to her, though, the doll known as Chucky is possessed by the soul of a serial killer. Cue murders aplenty as the Barclays team up with police detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon) to stop Chucky.
Like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Child’s Play spawned numerous sequels that aren’t a patch on the original. Still, if you want more homicidal doll-starring films in your life, find out what the best Chucky movies are to stream after it.
Friday the 13th
Where to stream it: Max (US), rent or buy (UK), Foxtel (Australia)
The churn of the Hollywood machine continues with Friday the 13th, another superbly gruesome movie that birthed way too many terrible sequels in the years following the original’s 1980 release.
Just like the above trio, though, Friday the 13th also gave us one of the most memorable, knife-wielding antagonists in horror movie history: Jason Voorhees. Here, everyone’s favorite hockey mask-wearing serial killer resolves to murder a group of teenage camp counselors, who are simply looking to re-open an abandoned summer camp, albeit one with ties to Jason’s tragic past. A gratuitously violent flick that’s become a cult classic in the minds of many.
Where to stream it: Shudder (US), Netflix (UK and Australia)
John Carpenter is one of the greatest horror directors of all time, so a slasher film-based list wouldn’t be complete without one of his back catalog.
What better movie to include, too, than one that changed the horror-flick game. 1978’s Halloween wasn’t universally loved upon release but, in the decades since, it’s been hailed as setting the standard for modern scare-filled features. It’s brutal when it needs to be, soft and introspective on other occasions, and gave us yet another utterly adored horror icon in Michael Myers. Oh, and it also catapulted Jamie Lee Curtis into the limelight, where the beloved actor has stayed ever since.
Also available on Fubo in the US, Sky/Now TV in the UK, and Prime Video in Australia.
Where to stream it: Paramount Plus
Arguably the cream of the crop when it comes to slasher movies, 1996’s Scream took the increasingly stale horror subgenre and injected new life into it through its subversive storytelling and self-aware humor.
Another Wes Craven classic, the movie follows high school student Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and her friends who, on the anniversary of her mother’s death, are targeted by Ghostface, a costumed serial killer – one who’s become synonymous with the horror genre since.
A metatextual flick full of bloody violence, jump scares, and metatextual commentary, Scream raised the bar for what’s possible for a horror film. Like its contemporaries, Scream‘s success led to multiple sequels of diminishing returns, both critically and commercially. However, a revival of the series with 2022’s Scream – also known as Scream 5 – reinvigorated the franchise. Scream VI, one of 2023’s new movies, is equally as good if not better than its predecessor. While you’re here, read up on the top 10 scariest moments from the Scream movies.
Also available on Max in the US, Sky/Now TV in the UK, and Foxtel/Binge in Australia.