Are you trying to conjure up a new scary movie to watch on HBO Max? The Warner Bros. streamer is home to a range of great horror films, from instantly recognizable classics like The Shining to some newer entrants to the genre like 2020’s Vince Vaughn-led slasher Freaky.
Here are the stories you should make time for on HBO Max. All of these films received generally positive reviews or better, according to Metacritic.
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Now that Universal is working on not one, but three brand new Exorcist films, it’s time to revisit the horrifying events in the original. Ellen Burstyn plays a mother (she also reprises her role in the new films) who enlists the help of a priest to help her possessed 12-year-old daughter Regan. The thoroughly spooky flick also won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
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Do you love psychological horror movies? Wait for this strip to knock. The Night House follows a woman (Rebecca Hall) who mourns the death of her husband. When she uncovers a dark secret, she begins to question what she thought she knew about her marriage. This haunting film is a highlight in HBO Max’s horror portfolio.
If you haven’t been introduced to the dapper investment banker Patrick Bateman, it’s time to get out your business card and get to know each other. Elements of dark comedy, thriller and horror are in evidence in this film, a satire on the excesses of the late ’80s, which stars Christian Bale as a wealthy young professional with murderous hobbies. Tune in for blood-splattered scenes and an engaging performance from Bale.
When this adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel hit theaters in 2017, moviegoers like me looked twice at manholes and feared red balloons. With a cast of intrepid kids and plenty of heart, it makes a compelling case for more supernatural coming-of-age stories. And a strong argument against clowns.
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In 28 Days Later, the protagonist Jim (a Pre-Peaky Blinders Cillian Murphy) awakens from a coma to find the world has undergone a terrible upheaval. It’s similar to the beginning of another post-apocalyptic story, The Walking Dead, except instead of a reality that involves slow-moving zombies, this film features virus-infected humans that are fast-moving and fuller Fury. Yes, Rick Grimes had it easy. Directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire), this suspenseful horror film is a must-see.
David Lynch’s first feature-length film will have you feeling like you’re in a bizarre nightmare. The 90-minute black-and-white horror film is packed with strange sounds and images, and the result is incredibly eerie. Don’t even get me started on the main character’s wacky, otherworldly-looking “baby” (that’s still kind of cute, weirdly?). There are messages here about men and parenting, but overall picture aside, the surreal world of Eraserhead is absolutely worth exploring.
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George Romero’s first horror film is an easy recommendation. A group of survivors take refuge in a house while members of the undead swarm live outside. The influential flick is often regarded as the first modern zombie film, and while it may not conjure horrors on a Freddy Krueger level, you’ll be drawn to the characters at the heart of its story. You’re going to want to leave the door open for these (but in the event of an actual apocalypse, keep it very, very closed).
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
You can’t go wrong with A Nightmare on Elm Street. Wes Craven’s iconic ’80s slasher streams on HBO Max along with most of its sequels, so it could be a marathon. The first film follows teenage girl Nancy Thompson and her friends as they begin to dream of the same man – a disfigured, sweater-wearing villain who wields blades by one hand. Go ahead and good luck trying to sleep tonight.
This recently released horror comedy might not grab your attention right away, but if you stay long enough to see Vince Vaughn’s flawless portrayal of a teenager stuck in the body of a serial killer, you’ll understand why it’s included. In true slasher form, the film piles up a series of corpses before running its course. If that’s something you can take and you want a funnier and fluffier flick, look no further than Freaky.
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