There are more great horror movies than you could possibly have the time to watch, and more streaming services than you could possibly subscribe to. So what do you do when you want a spooky movie this Halloween season? Why, just watch one for free!
Five of the best horror movies ever made are available for you to watch, right now, for free, without any sort of subscription. You’ll have to sit through some ads, but for movies like these, it’s totally worth it.
Takashi Miike’s 1999 horror film may best be remembered for its brutal final act, but the film as a whole is a dense and artfully constructed portrait of desperation, the human desire for companionship, and the dark appetites and horrors that the most unsuspecting of people harbor in the corners of their subconscious. The story follows Shigeharu Aoyama (Ryo Ishibashi), a widower who meets a beautiful young woman named Asami (Eihi Shiina) as part of an elaborate plot on the part of his TV executive colleague to set him up with a new wife. As Shigeharu begins to learn more about his new lover, however, he finds himself plunged into his own psychological journey of hangups and horrors as he steadily unearths his terrifying past. Hearing is an excellent horror film, but a word of caution: This film is not for the squeamish or the faint of heart. —Toussaint Egan
Hearing is available to watch for free with ads on tubeor for free with a library card on Kanopy.
The latest entry in the franchise has a new Pinhead, a fun new puzzle box, and a wicked ending, but it’s not nearly as visceral as the original. The 1987 hellraiser has the perfect mix of pain and pleasure, mixing terrifying imagery with an aura of sensuality (when brainstorming a potential title, a crew member suggested “What a Woman Will Do for a Good Fuck”). The movie was also Clive Barker’s directorial debut, adapting his own novella The Hellbound Heart. Famously, Barker went to the library to check out every book he could find on how to make a movie (only one was available), and the resulting DIY approach that is felt through the movie helps give it a grimy texture that elevates it above the other more refined entries in the series. —Pete Volk
hellraiser is available to watch for free with ads on tube and Pluto TVor for free with a library card on hoopla.
Found-footage horror at its very finest, this tense Spanish thriller follows a TV reporter embedded with a local fire department for the night. When they go to investigate a disturbance at an apartment building, all hell breaks loose. Rec is a must-see for anyone who loves a messed-up building in horror. —PV
Rec is available to watch for free with ads on tube.
If the subgenre of Giallo horror were a dance company, Dario Argento’s 1977 supernatural horror film would be the prima ballerina. The first in Argento’s loosely tied The Three Mothers trilogy, Suspiria stars Jessica Harper as an American ballet student who transfers to a prestigious dance academy in Germany, only to later discover that the entire school is host to a coven of witches. There simply aren’t enough superlatives to throw at the film to aptly emphasize its immense craftsmanship, from its masterfully eerie score composed by Italian prog-rock band Goblin to the hypnotic cinematography and kaleidoscopic lighting courtesy of Luciano Tovoli to Harper’s captivating and chilling performance. The film is an astounding feat of technical and creative genius, and one that merits being witnessed and appreciated by both fans of horror and fans of cinema in general. -YOU
Suspiria is available to watch for free with ads on tubeor for free with a library card on Kanopy.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre
There’s American horror cinema before The Texas Chain Saw Massacreand then there’s American horror cinema after The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Tobe Hooper’s 1974 slasher film is that important; the movie sent shockwaves through the industry for its gratuitous premise, irritating critics, and was subsequently banned in several countries upon its release. In the decades since, the film has spawned several sequels and remakes, as well as inspiring an entire generation of horror filmmakers who have attempted to capture the wild, untamed ferocity and horror of Hooper’s magnum opus. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre didn’t just change Hollywood horror, it left an indelible mark on the whole of American pop culture. If you haven’t seen this masterpiece already, brace yourself — you’re in for a terrifying ride. -YOU
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is available to watch for free with ads on tube and Freevee.