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Every streaming service has a glut of options for your viewing needs, and Vulture is doing its part to help you find the signals among the noise. Just as we try to keep abreast of the top horror-movie options on Netflix, so too do we want to curate a best-of-the-best list for other platforms. In this case: Hulu. Here are the 40 best titles available to you right now for your art-house-horror and simple-jump-scare needs.
Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)
Anna and the Apocalypse not only has zombies, it has musical numbers and friendship and coming-of-age drama that follows the titular Anna (Dickinson star Ella Hunt) and a handful of her high-school classmates as they try to survive an onslaught of the undead. See also: large lawn candy canes used as bludgeoning instruments.
Alex Garland’s adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s novel of the same name is a hard-sci-fi horror trip into an earthbound alternate dimension called Area X. A research team is sent beyond the barrier to find another team that went missing before them, but instead they find a gorgeously mutated landscape that threatens to destroy each of them in a uniquely terrifying way.
Director Brandon Cronenberg treads in his father David’s legendary footsteps with this body horror about an even more celebrity-obsessed near future in which you can pay to contract the diseases of famous people. (You can also eat their vat-grown tissue, but that’s just a detail.) Caleb Landry Jones plays an employee at a bespoke-disease clinic — and a part-time black-market smuggler — who gets caught up in the mystery of a dead starlet whose pathogens are suddenly in high demand. It’s gross, and it’s great.
It’s common for horror movies to conjure the experience of being in hell, but few accomplish the task as effectively as Baskin, from Turkish director Can Evrenol. When a group of police officers answer a distress call that takes them to an abandoned building, they find a gruesome charnel house that gets only more nightmarish the further they descend into its bowels. Baskin is surreal, colorful chaos.
Body at Brighton Rock (2019)
Roxanne Benjamin has been producing horror content for years, but Brighton Rock, which takes us on an eerie one-night journey into the woods with a newly minted park ranger, is her feature debut. When Wendy finds a dead body in the middle of nowhere, she’s instructed to wait with it until help arrives. Help, however, won’t reach her until the next morning, leaving Wendy to spend the night alone with a festering corpse and whoever — or whatever — caused the death.
Cabin in the Woods (2011)
This Joss Whedon–penned meta-horror-comedy was one of those olive-branch extending scary movies that made wider audiences realize how smart and varied the genre could be. A group of friends take a vacation to a secluded cabin, and everything that can go wrong — and has gone wrong in slasher movies for decades — does go wrong for our attractive, overwhelmed 20-somethings. Huge bonus points for the pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth.
Children of the Corn (1984)
This creepy-kid classic follows a 20-something couple on a cross-country move who get hung up in a tiny midwestern town that is suspiciously devoid of adults. John Franklin gives an all-time horror performance as the child preacher and cult leader Isaac Chroner, whipping his young peers into a murderous frenzy in the name of He Who Walks Behind the Rows. If you’re feeling something aggressively ’80s, join Linda Hamilton for this road trip gone wrong.
*The Conjuring (2013)
Is this the biggest horror movie of the 2010s? Not only did it make James Wan into a major director, but it spawned its own multiple title franchise with spin-offs like The Nun and Annabelle. Go back to the beginning and watch the first and arguably still best film in the series, a fantastic haunted house movie that revitalized the genre.
Culture Shock (2019)
This entry in Hulu’s Into the Dark anthology series is one of its strongest chapters to date. Up-and-coming feature director Gigi Saul Guerrero helmed this story about a pregnant woman who gets swept up by a nefarious U.S. government operation while trying to cross the border from Mexico to the United States. Horror legend Barbara Crampton co-stars as an evil emissary of the American Dream in this immigration nightmare.
The Den (2014)
Of all the internet-horror movies out there, The Den is really one of your best options: A graduate student is combing through video-chat forums to gather data for her thesis project when she witnesses a murder over someone’s webcam. As she tries to solve the murder, she and her loved ones become targets of the killer, and we watch the whole thing play out on her desktop monitor.
The Devil’s Doorway (2018)
This possession-horror film is set at a Catholic asylum for women in Northern Ireland and follows a pair of priests dispatched by the Vatican to investigate reports of a Virgin Mary statue that weeps blood. It turns out, though, that the crying plaster isn’t nearly as scary as the brutal nuns in residence or what they have chained up in the basement.
Larry Fassenden is a prolific creator of genre content, having written, directed, produced, and performed in films for decades. One of his strongest recent efforts is last year’s Depraved, a modern retelling of Frankenstein that he wrote and directed. A maniac scientist funded by a shady backer is picking up men off the street and harvesting them for parts; he finds his biggest success making aggregate humans in the one he names Adam. But what happens when the “monster” develops a mind of its own?
The Domestics (2018)
This rowdy postapocalypse movie features an America divided into two factions: violent gang members who belong to themed mobs and nonviolent people dubbed Domestics. A husband and wife set out to make a perilous drive across the Midwest to reach family, but the several hundred miles between their starting point and their destination are filled with Mad Max–esque heathens looking to kill or imprison anyone who invades their territory.
This quiet French film takes place on a remote island inhabited only by young boys and the very similar-looking, somewhat ghostly women who care for them. When one of the boys gets dangerously curious about the medical experiments the women perform on their charges and starts spying on what they get up to on the beach at night, he realizes their bucolic existence masks something much more sinister.
Ghost Stories (2018)
This movie is what its title advertises: a set of three spooky tales connected by a man who’s investigating the paranormal merits of each one. And it’s really scary! There’s a night watchman encountering a ghost on the job, a disturbed young man traumatized by an accident in the woods near his house, and a wealthy man terrorized by the spirit of his unborn child. A classic collection of scares based on the play of the same name.
Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988)
Clive Barker’s original Hellraiser is outstanding, but the Tony Randel–directed sequel, which takes us into the depths of the underworld and has even meatier parts for heroine Kirsty (Ashley Laurence) and evil incarnate Julia (Clare Higgins), may be even better. Reopen the Lament Configuration and follow the cenobites into their palace of pleasure and pain.
The Housemaid (2011)
In this South Korean erotic thriller, a poor young woman is hired as a nanny and live-in housekeeper for a wealthy family. But when the family’s scoundrel of a patriarch sets his sights on her, the fringe benefits of staying in a lavish home and eating fancy leftovers lose their luster.
The Houses October Built (2014)
If you love the idea of extreme haunts but can’t bring yourself to participate in one, just check into The Houses October Built. A group of friends set out to find the most terrifying underground haunted houses around, but along the way they pick up a doll-faced stalker who portends certain peril. No need to search anymore. The haunt has found them.
I Trapped the Devil (2019)
This taut thriller centers on a seemingly disturbed man whose estranged brother shows up at his house hoping they can reconnect. But the man is a little bit busy at the moment, seeing as how he is certain he has Satan himself trapped in his basement. What starts as an apparent delusion becomes a frighteningly real possibility as the imprisoned basement dweller beckons to be set free. Would you really open that door if you were even a little worried that the devil was waiting on the other side?
*Let Me In (2010)
Matt Reeves directed this remake of the beloved Let the Right One In (which is also on Hulu for now) and fans of the brilliant original felt it was heresy for this movie to even exist. They’re wrong. Both films can be great, and this is a great horror movie, filled with wonderful compositions and great performances from Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Grace Moretz, Elias Koteas, and Richard Jenkins.
Little Monsters (2019)
Little Monsters writer and director Abe Forsythe threw up a Hail Mary when he attempted to cast Lupita Nyong’o for this zombie comedy set at a children’s theme park — and it paid off. Nyong’o stars as a kindergarten teacher saddled with both the ne’er-do-well uncle of one of her students and a sociopathic kids’-show star played by Josh Gad. They’re all trying to get out of Playland alive while protecting the kids from the gory truth of what’s happening around them.
The Lodge (2019)
Riley Keough stars in this terrifying Sundance hit that made a quick jump from theaters in early 2020 to Hulu. Keough plays the fiancé of a man with two kids who aren’t exactly looking for a stepmother. At a frozen lodge retreat, new mom’s past experience with a death cult comes to the fore and things get really creepy. Don’t miss this one.
Mom and Dad (2018)
Half of the directing duo that brought you the movie Crank made this bloody black comedy about a global contagion that infects only parents and drives them to kill their kids. Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair star as two of the infanticidal maniacs trying to wipe out their own children, and it is an insane good time.
New Year, New You (2018)
With this Into the Dark installment, writer and director Sophia Takal made a violent satire of social-media celebrity and wellness culture with probably the best cast assembled for any ITD feature. Suki Waterhouse, Melissa Bergland, Carly Chaikin, and Kirby Howell-Baptiste play four friends who get together for a night in one of their childhood homes. But one of them doesn’t know she’s about to be brutally confronted by her three “best friends” for sins committed back when they were teens. To live your best life, maybe you have to murder your past.
Odd Thomas (2014)
Beloved actor Anton Yelchin stars in this adaptation of the Dean Koontz novel of the same name, playing a fry cook with the unique ability to see the dead. When a stranger arrives in his small town and brings a mess of evil spirits with him, it’s up to Odd, his girlfriend, and the town sheriff to stop certain destruction. Always a good choice when you’re missing the dearly departed Yelchin.
J.J. Abrams produced this alt-programming war movie about a group of American soldiers who infiltrate a Nazi base and find the Reich has been working on a freaky-ass research program to create medically enhanced super-soldiers who are basically ultra-aggressive Nazi zombies. Pilou Asbæk goes full raging scumbag as the evil Captain Wafner.
Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
The first Paranormal Activity set up a massive franchise that would generate hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office with the most modest of production budgets — and it’s also a really scary movie. Paranormal 2 is a worthy successor, with all the domestic bumps in the night you need to sleep with the lights on for at least two months. (Not that that will save you!)
When a group of nerds get invited to pledge an exclusive campus club, they don’t expect the days-long hazing rituals to turn so bloody, or maybe even fatal. This one’s for fans who have been missing that touch of torture in their horror.
One of the indie-horror gems of 2018, Pyewacket tells the story of a teen girl grieving her father who makes a very bad choice to summon a demon in the woods while doing some classic angry teen dabbling in the occult. Young Leah is pissed at her mom, so she decides to curse her with a blood ritual but quickly realizes the consequences will be dire.
A Quiet Place (2018)
You know her. You love her. Shotgun-toting Emily Blunt stars alongside her husband (and director and co-writer), John Krasinski, in this nail-biting creature feature. Humans have been forced into seclusion by a race of monsters that hunt by sound. Raise the decibel level even the slightest bit and it’s your life on the line. Bonus: Our protagonist parents are raising two kids and have a baby on the way. Not ideal conditions for silence.
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
One of the great holiday horror movies of all time, Rare Exports is a Finnish film about a mountain-dwelling family that lives perilously close to a shocking new discovery: the tomb of Santa Claus. But in this case, we mean a dark fairy-tale Santa who sends hordes of his evil minions, in the form of naked old men, to wreak havoc on the landscape. Reindeer are being slaughtered. Children are going missing. And little Pietari has to figure out why before Santa is free to fully raise hell.
One of the great treasures of horror worldwide is the outlandish scary Christmas movie. This Danish one takes place in the present day in a small town where, one Christmas hundreds of years ago, a bishop (and gang leader) named Niklas was murdered by villagers who didn’t want to put up with his brutal behavior anymore. That means his ghost is extremely pissed off and returns to the town as Sinterklaas with his army of Black Peter soldiers to kill as many people as possible.
Are monster movies too … filled with monsters for your taste? This lovely, haunting story follows a young woman who survived a first-wave attack of the creatures that are wiping out humanity. Taking refuge in the apartment of her dead best friend, she finds a cassette labeled “THIS MIXTAPE WILL SAVE THE WORLD” and starts to think that, if she can crack the code of the signal that triggered the invasion, she can stop the apocalypse.
Listen, sometimes you just want a creature feature about a plague of enormous wasps that overtake a backyard party at a rich person’s house, made with lot of cool practical effects.
Texas Chainsaw (2013)
Of all the 21st-century Texas Chainsaw treatments, this one from 2013 may be the most underappreciated. It tries to retcon Leatherface’s origin story by bringing a vigilante mob to the Sawyer house (in a timeline that would have immediately followed the original TCM) to burn it down, leaving one single Sawyer baby behind as the secretly adopted survivor of the massacre. In its present timeline, Alexandra Daddario stars as a young woman who learns of a large, mysterious inheritance from a relative she never knew existed, so she goes to Texas to claim her birthright.
Tragedy Girls (2017)
When a small town is shocked into a state of terror by a killer on the loose, a pair of bored high-school best friends decide to capitalize on the tragedies and parlay their close encounter into social-media stardom. But when the murderer goes AWOL, the girls are left with no choice but to keep the bodies hitting the floor to keep themselves close to the headlines. Sandbox love, as we know, is a most powerful force.
Bill Skarsgard and Maika Monroe star in this SXSW hit as a young couple who break into the home of a seemingly average American family only to discover there’s nothing normal at all about these people. Jeffrey Donovan and Kyra Sedgwick are excellent as a vision of Norman Rockwell by way of David Lynch. This is the kind of film that people will discover over the next few years. Get on the bandwagon early.
We Are What We Are (Somos lo que hay) (2010)
This Spanish film features a family dealing with the sudden death of the father, which, in addition to being sad, leaves them without someone to fill his patriarchal duty of procuring people for them to eat. (He is also the primary source of income as a watch repairman, but it’s the human hunting that’s harder to replace.) The eldest son seems poised to succeed his father, but will the family starve, be ripped apart, or be found out before they can find a new equilibrium?
What We Become (2016)
When a horrific flu strain runs through a charming Danish neighborhood, authorities seal off every home for quarantine. The family of four at the center of this film is isolated from the world, but conditions on the ground are getting worse — and the raging infection can’t be kept outside the hermetically sealed home much longer.
The impressive trio of Armie Hammer, Zazie Beetz, and Dakota Johnson lead this head-tripping body horror from director Babak Anvari. Hammer’s character is a bartender existing in a state of arrested development at his New Orleans watering hole, where he flirts with one of his best friends (Beetz) and kind of phones it in with his live-in girlfriend (Johnson). But his coasting existence is destroyed when someone drops a cell phone in his bar and he finds a twisted video on it that ruins his life.