Clear out the cobwebs and light some spooky candles — it’s time to find a new horror movie on. The Warner Bros. streamer hosts a bunch of imaginative, spine-chilling movies that are worth spending a creepy evening with. That includes instantly recognizable classics like The Shining and A Nightmare On Elm Street, and some newer entries to the genre, like 2020’s Vince Vaughn-led slasher Freaky.
Here are the tales you should make time for on HBO Max. All of these films received generally favorable reviews or better, according to Metacritic.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET
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 outside. The influential flick is often regarded as the first modern zombie movie, and while it may not serve up Freddy Krueger-level frights, you’ll be drawn in by the characters at the center of its story. You’re going to want to leave the door open for this one (but in the case of an actual apocalypse, keep it very, very shut).
When this adaptation of the classic Stephen King novel hit theaters in 2017, he had moviegoers like me looking twice at storm drains and dreading red balloons. With a cast of intrepid kids and a lot of heart, it makes a compelling case for more supernatural coming-of-age stories. And a strong case against clowns.
American Psycho (2000)
In case you haven’t yet been introduced to well-groomed investment banker Patrick Bateman, it’s time to pull out your business card and get acquainted. Elements of dark comedy, thriller and horror are on display in this film, a satire of late ’80sexcess that stars Christian Bale as a wealthy young professional with murderous hobbies. Tune in for blood-splattered scenes and a committed performance from Bale.
28 Days Later (2002)
Fox Searchlight Pictures
In 28 Days Later, protagonist Jim (a pre-Peaky Blinders Cillian Murphy) wakes up from a coma to find the world has gone through a horrifying shake-up. It’s similar to the beginning of another post-apocalyptic tale, The Walking Dead, except instead of a reality that involves slow-moving zombies, this flick features virus-infected humans that are fast and filled with rage. Yeah, Rick Grimes had it easy. Directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire), this tense horror film is essential viewing.
David Lynch’s first feature-length film will make you feel like you’re in a bizzare nightmare. The 90-minute black-and-white horror flick is packed with odd sounds and imagery, and the result is incredibly eerie. Don’t even get me started on the main character’s freakish, otherworldly-looking “baby” (that is oddly still kind of cute?). There are messages about men and parenthood here, but setting aside the bigger picture, Eraserhead’s surreal world is absolutely worth a visit.
This recently-released horror comedy may not grab your attention from the beginning, but if you stick around long enough to see Vince Vaughn’s immaculate portrayal of a teenager stuck in a serial killer’s body, you’ll see why it’s included here. In true slasher form, the movie racks up a number of dead bodies before it runs its course. If that’s something you can stomach, and you want a more fun and fluffy flick, look no further than Freaky.
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