I need some really specific horror movie recommendations, and I need them before December 23rd

The Christmas season is finally here, and I need help with one of my family’s weirder Christmas traditions. Every year, on the day before Christmas Eve, my mom and I watch a horror movie together. But she’s a lot more picky than I am when it comes to horror, and I’m running out of ideas.

She refuses to watch any movie that contains:

  • the murder and/or torture of children or animals (teenagers are fair game tho)
  • killer dolls/ventriloquist dummies/puppets (she has a phobia)
  • overly explicit or long sex scenes

As you can imagine, those criteria knock out a lot of horror movies. Can anybody think of anything that might get her seal of approval? We both really enjoy good sci-fi horror and prefer supernatural/psychological horror to slasher movies.

Christmas Cruelty! / O'Hellige Jul! (2013) | Magne Steinsvoll, Per-Ingvar Tomren 

“We follow a serial killer and his victims as they all prepare for Christmas in their own ways. This year it doesn’t matter if you have been naughty or nice, Santa is coming to town no matter what, and he knows where you live.”

The Haunting of Netflix House 4: The Netflix Master

Greetings, boils, ghouls, and gender non-boonaries: it is honeycrisp time and that means there is a bite in the air and a spoop around every corner, so Regular People are finally ready for scary movies, but only if they can be conveniently streamed into their home via a service to which they already subscribe.

For that reason, I have returned to, as I did last year and the year before and the year before, point you in the direction of good, notable, or at least interesting horror and horror-adjacent movies available to stream on Netflix. Hopefully you will find something new and cool that your friends have never heard of and you will win the Halloween Party. This list, though it physically exhausts me to compile, is not actually exhaustive, so if I left off a favorite of yours, I could not possibly be more sorry about that. I am the sorriest I can possibly be.

Normally I post this on October 1, but as the first is a Saturday this year and all you cool #teens are too busy with your regular blood orgies to look at Tumblr on the weekend, I’m posting this a little early. I hope you do not consider this Halloween creep.

NB: This list is being posted on September 29, 2016. If for some reason this list gets reblogged in The Distant Future, some of these movies may have expired. The same applies to previous years’ versions of this post. If you click an old link, that’s on you.

Not everything is to everyone’s taste, so I will do my best to make note of movies that might contain certain turn-offs, like content or sub-genre trappings or being slowly paced or whatever. NB: again, this is by no means an exhaustive list of trigger warnings. I can’t always remember every detail of every movie when I make this list, so something is sure to slip through. Please look a movie up on a site along the lines of Common Sense Media that lists potentially objectionable or triggering content if this is a concern for you.

Okay god shut up and just say some movies holy hell

Classics (this section seems to get smaller every year):

Horror Comedies: 

  • Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (highly recommended)
  • Re-Animator (over the top gross-out humor) 
  • Troll Hunter (not horror in the traditional sense; not a “Halloween” monster; found footage style; subtitled; awesome) 
  • The Host (subtitled; not a “Halloween” monster) 
  • Dead Snow (subtitled; Nazi zombies) 
  • Dead Snow: Red vs Dead (fucking awesome, better than the first one; definitely watch both as a double feature if you want fun times)
  • Burke and Hare (starring Simon Pegg; directed by John Landis if that is a turn on or off for you) 
  • Bad Milo (this is a movie about a butt demon, but check out that cast, wow) 
  • The Double (Richard Ayoade! Jesse Eisenberg! Not horror in the traditional sense; more existential angst) 
  • Housebound (recommended)
  • Deathgasm (the best the best the best; watch immediately)
  • Wolfcop

Haunted House/Ghost shit: 

Vampire shit: 

Werewolf shit: 

  • Late Phases (old blind guy vs werewolves; pretty good)
  • When Animals Dream (hit some similar thematic notes to Ginger Snaps, but completely different tonally; subtitled)

Zombie shit: 

  • Pontypool (not traditional zombies; super recommended)

Witch/Demon/Pagan shit: 

  • Baskin (subtitled; super gory; also, the protags are asshole cops who tell transphobic stories and say homophobic slurs and talk about bestiality at the beginning, so heads up; worth a watch if that doesn’t bother you)
  • Hellions (this is not *great,* but it looks good and is heavily Halloweeny)

Found footage shit:

  • V/H/S (lots of sex, violence, and sexualized violence 
  • V/H/S/2 (same) 
  • V/H/S Viral (same but in a different way)
  • Apartment 143 (kind of cliched and predictable, but I applaud the filmmakers for taking a scientific approach to the storytelling) 
  • The Sacrament (inspired by [edit: notable historical incident]; directed by Ti West; recommended) 
  • The Den (ChatRoulette the horror movie; highly highly highly recommended) 
  • The Taking of Deborah Logan (super highly recommended; EXPIRING OCT 1! WATCH IMMEDIATELY!)
  • Creep (recommended)
  • They’re Watching (not super amazing, but it’s crazy af and I kind of love it; what if House Hunters International renovated a witch house?)

Slasher shit (needless to say, these are gory):

Psychological/other shit (way more “other” than psychological):

  • We Are What We Are (2013) (recommended) 
  • Monsters (really good; not “Halloween” monsters) 
  • Sleepy Hollow (what section do Headless Horsemen go in? Dunno; the movie not the show)
  • The House at the End of Time (highly recommended; subtitled)
  • Honeymoon
  • Starry Eyes
  • White God (DOG REVENGE)
  • Mexico Barbaro (haven’t watched this yet, but on my short list; anthology; presumably subtitled)
  • They Look Like People (this is a slow burn, but super highly recommended)
  • Extraordinary Tales (animated anthology of Edgar Allan Poe stories narrated by famous people; a mixed bag, but cool)
  • Darling (okay, so: this is a really beautiful and atmospheric film that I, generally speaking, recommend; however, it is kind of “artsy,” there is not a lot of dialogue, it is in black and white, there are some light strobing effects, rape does not occur on screen but is implied to have happened in a character’s past)
  • The Hallow (scary fairies)
  • The Invitation (highest possible recommendation)

80s/90s shit:

Non-Supernatural Thriller/Violence shit (these are violent): 

Horror and Horror-Adjacent Documentaries: 

And there you have it. Lots of stuff from previous years’ versions of this list have expired; a frustrating amount, in fact. This might be the year that you should get that free trial to Shudder so you can have an actual selection this Halloween.

Anyway, please do me a solid and only circulate the current version of the list, so people aren’t clicking on dead links and thinking I’m an idiot. Again, this list is not and could not be completely exhaustive, and if I left off your favorite movie, I swear I was not targeting you personally. And, again, some of these movies are more interesting than they are good AND horror is a highly subjective experience, so your mileage may vary on some of these.

If you enjoyed this list, perhaps consider checking out some of my other Halloween-related posts:

Also maybe consider checking out my Letterboxd profile, where I rate and review movies of all types (but primarily horror) all year long and from sources other than Netflix, in case you’re wondering what’s good on Hulu, Shudder, Amazon Prime, or whatever.

Happy Halloween, nerds!