Whether you’re sticking on a horror film that inevitably leaves you lying awake all night, trying out the latest paranormal thriller or revisiting a spooky classic from your childhood, it’s always great to watch something seasonal in the lead-up to Halloween.
If you’re stuck for something to tune into this October, then look no further than your own Netflix account, because the streaming service has a plethora of titles to make you jump or just tickle your funny bone, depending on your preference.
Here are 13 (spooky, right?) of our top picks...
1. Fear Street Trilogy (2021)
Brand new for 2021, Netflix has gifted horror fans with this fun and action-packed trilogy paying homage to classic films of the genre.
The first instalment, set in 1994, references iconic teen slashers from the late 20th century (most obviously the original Scream trilogy, which it tips its hat to on more than one occasion), while part two takes us back to a US summer camp in 1978.
Part three is the biggest throwback of the lot, though, taking place around the era of the Salem witch trials.
2. Midnight Mass (2021)
The critically-lauded new Netflix original miniseries debuted on the platform in late September, allowing buzz to generate in the lead-up to Halloween.
Midnight Mass centres around a close-knit island community who begin to observe strange and supernatural occurrences after – you guessed it! – the arrival of a mysterious new priest.
3. Addams Family Values (1993)
Coming later in October.
The most creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky and, indeed, “altogether ooky” family to ever grace the screen are returning to Netflix just in time for Halloween, and we couldn’t be happier about it.
Addams Family Values marks one of those rare occasions a sequel actually outdoes its predecessor, thanks in no small part to the arrival of Joan Cusack as the all-kinds-of-iconic Debbie, but the original cast all shine as brightly as their dark surroundings will allow, too.
4. Shaun Of The Dead (2004)
Coming later in October.
Originally intended as a pastiche of zombie films from years gone by and their many clichés, Shaun Of The Dead has gone on to become known as a classic of the genre in its own right – and it’s still hilarious, too.
Although it did win a Bafta upon its release, few could have predicted the legacy Shaun Of The Dead would go on to achieve, which includes being named one of Empire’s 10 best British films of the 21st century and the third best comedy of all time by Channel 4 viewers.
Seriously, if you’ve still not seen Shaun Of The Dead, this is the year to do it. But while the laughs do outnumber the jump scares – you should definitely still prepare yourself for both.
5. Ratched (2020)
Based on the iconic nurse from the classic novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Ratched reunites TV super-producer Ryan Murphy with his frequent collaborator Sarah Paulson, alongside a cast that includes the likes of Cynthia Nixon and Sharon Stone.
True, some of the show’s early reviews suggested it suffered somewhat from “style over substance” (in a Ryan Murphy series? Surely not!), but if you’re after something equal parts glossy and unsettling to give you “Netflix and chills” this October, we reckon Ratched should still do the trick.
6. American Horror Story (2011 – present)
Any series of American Horror Story is fitting for the Halloween season, whether you fancy the glossy theatrics of Hotel and 1984 or the more grisly and gruesome Asylum and Roanoke – and they’re all available to stream.
Still, if we had to pick just one to watch this Halloween, we reckon the high camp of Coven is the most fitting for this time of year, with regular cast members Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters all delivering some of their most memorable performances – not to mention one of the best cameos in TV history from Stevie Nicks, playing a witchy version of herself.
If you finish in time, you can also dive right into Apocalypse, which revisits many of the characters introduced in Coven (although, let’s be real, its apocalyptic themes might potentially hit a little too close to home in 2021).
7. Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina (2018 – 2020)
Don’t let those nostalgic memories of the classic Nickelodeon sitcom fool you, the good people at Netflix were not joking around when they called Sabrina Spellman’s new adventures “chilling”.
Demonic hauntings, satanic rituals and grisly nightmare sequences are all par for the course in this reimagining of Sabrina – but don’t worry, there’s also enough regular high school drama to satisfy fans of shows like Riverdale or The O.C. Just with a bit more devil-worshipping thrown in for good measure.
8. Hereditary (2018)
Critics and audiences alike were pretty divided over Hereditary when it first came out, with some dismissing it as pretentious and slow-paced, while others hailed it as one of the most scary and deeply unsettling horror films of the 21st century.
We fall into the latter camp, which is largely down to the always-reliable Toni Collette, whose slow-burn performance as Annie is truly a career high.
Be warned, though. Hereditary is most certainly not for the faint-hearted, and given how much of the horror takes place in the family home, it might be worth having an episode of something cheerful queued up for after you watch it, in case you need some help settling down.
9. Corpse Bride (2005)
Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little more family-friendly for your Halloween-inspired entertainment, Netflix has got you covered with Tim Burton’s stop-motion classic (no, not that one), Corpse Bride.
Yes, it’s often overlooked in favour of The Nightmare Before Christmas, but Corpse Bride deserves its plaudits too. Not only is it visually stunning (the contrast between Victor’s humdrum world and the hyper-colourful afterlife is especially impressive), there’s a love story in the middle of it all too.
And if that’s not enough, there are also some fun musical numbers performed by Helena Bonham-Carter and Ab Fab alum Joanna Lumley and Jane Horrocks. Truly, there’s something for everyone.
10. The Cabin In The Woods (2012)
It’s a tale as old as time, isn’t it? A load of sexy college students gather at a remote location, flirt with each other for a bit, argue, and then get attacked by a load of zombies that they’ve accidentally brought back to life. Oh, and all while they’re being watched in a lab, without their knowledge, of course.
And if that synopsis isn’t enticing enough… Chris Hemsworth. You’re welcome.
11. Stranger Things (2016 – present)
No, you’re not going to get any spooky ghost attacks or zombie resurrections, but there’s an eerie feel that hangs over this hugely popular Netflix original series that makes it perfect for Halloween.
Its three seasons centre around dark parallel universes, scary monsters and some weird goings on in an 80s science lab, plus a mystery that only a group of teens seem to be able to get to the bottom of.
Seriously – if you still haven’t watched Stranger Things yet, this is the perfect time of year to finally get into it. Come for the 80s nostalgia, stay for the ever-so-slightly-terrifying Mindflayer.
12. Ma (2019)
Fans of classic thrillers like Fatal Attraction, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle and Single White Female, get ready for a modern spin on your old favourites.
Ma sees Octavia Spencer take on the titular role of a woman who befriends a group of teens, who grow increasingly concerned as more of their unusual new pal’s back story begins to unravel.
Those who are used to seeing the Oscar-winning star in more serious films like The Help, Luce and Hidden Figures, get ready to see her in a whole new light. Simultaneously completely ridiculous and nail-bitingly tense, Ma is one of those films that’s guaranteed to have a cult following in a few years’ time, so why not get in there early and start streaming it now?
13. Friends: The One With The Halloween Party (2001)
Or, for those who fancy getting in the Halloween spirit without scaring yourself half to death, the cast of Friends is here to help.
Despite loads of iconic Thanksgiving and Christmas specials, Friends actually only devoted one episode entirely to Halloween, but it’s truly got it all: pregnant Rachel refusing to dress up (“I am a woman who spent a lot of money on a dress because pretty soon, she won’t be able to fit into it”), a pink bunny/giant potato stand-off between Ross and Chandler and a stellar A-list cameo from none other than Sean Penn.