The best horror movies on HBO Max

Trying to conjure up a new horror movie to watch HBO Max? The Warner Bros. streamer. is home to a slew of great horror films, from instantly recognizable classics, like The Shining, to more recent entries in the genre, like the chiller 2020 The Night House.

Here are the stories you should make time for on HBO Max. All of these films received generally favorable or better reviews, according to Metacritic.

Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

Now that Universal is working on not one, but three new Exorcist films, it’s time to refresh your memory on the terrifying events of the original. Ellen Burstyn stars as a mother (she also reprises her role in the new films) who seeks the help of a priest to help her possessed 12-year-old daughter, Regan. The utterly spooky film also won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Video screenshot by Meara Isenberg/CNET

Do you like psychological horror movies? Wait for this movie to hit. The House of Night cares for a woman (Rebecca Hall) who is grieving after the death of her husband. As she uncovers a dark mystery, she begins to wonder what she thought she knew about her marriage. This haunting film is a standout in HBO Max’s horror portfolio.

Lions Gate

In case you haven’t been introduced to well-groomed investment banker Patrick Bateman yet, it’s time to pull out your business card and get to know each other. Elements of dark comedy, thriller and horror are on display in this film, a satire of late ’80s excess that stars Christian Bale as a wealthy young professional with murderous hobbies. Tune in for blood-splattered scenes and an engaged performance from Bale.

Brooke Palmer

When this adaptation of the classic Stephen King novel hit theaters in 2017, moviegoers like me looked twice at the storm drains and dreaded the red balloons. With a cast of fearless kids and plenty of heart, it makes a compelling case for more supernatural coming-of-age stories. And a strong case against clowns.

Fox projector pictures

In 28 Days Later, protagonist Jim (a pre-Peaky Blinders Cillian Murphy) wakes from a coma to find the world has gone through a horrific upheaval. 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 movie features virus-infected humans who are fast-paced and filled with rage. Yeah, Rick Grimes had it easy. Directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire), this tense horror flick is a must-watch.

Libra Movies

David Lynch’s feature debut will have you feeling like you’re in a bizarre nightmare. The 90-minute black-and-white horror film is full of weird sounds and sights, and the result is incredibly eerie. Don’t even get me started on the quirky, otherworldly “baby” of the main character (is it weirdly still cute?). There are messages about men and parenthood here, but putting the big picture aside, the surreal world of Eraserhead is absolutely worth checking out.

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

George Romero’s horror debut is an easy recommendation. A group of survivors take refuge in a house while members of the undead swarm outside. The influential film is often considered the first modern zombie movie, and while it doesn’t serve up Freddy Krueger-level scares, you’ll be drawn to the characters at the center of its story. You’re going to want to leave the door open for this one (but in the event of a true apocalypse, keep it very, very closed).

Warner Bros.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

You can’t go wrong with A Nightmare on Elm Street. Wes Craven’s iconic ’80s slasher is streaming on HBO Max along with most of its sequels, so a marathon may be in order. The first film follows teenager Nancy Thompson and her friends who begin to dream of the same man – a disfigured, sweater-wearing villain who wields blades in one hand. Get your binge, and good luck trying to sleep tonight.

Universal images

This recently released horror-comedy might not grab your attention right from the start, but if you stick around long enough to see Vince Vaughn’s pristine portrayal of a teenager stuck in the body of a serial killer, you understand why it is included here. In true slasher form, the film racks up a number of dead bodies before it runs its course. If that’s something you can handle and want a funnier, fluffier movie, look no further than Freaky.

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