What better way to indulge your taste for the pants-fillingly frightening than to dim the lights, curl up on the couch and watch a horror film?
Thankfully, the days of having to venture out to the video shop or cross your fingers that something suitable is on are over - there's a horrifying wealth of scary movies available at your fingertips on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV.
Here, you'll find the Stuff team's pick of Now TV's horror movie selection. There's sure to be something in here that'll put the willies up you.
Searching for scares on a different streaming service? We've got you covered:
Army of Darkness
The final movie in Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy, Army of Darkness moves away from straight-up horror to a sort of action-horror-comedy mash-up in which Ash, played with relish by the lantern-jawed Bruce Campbell, becomes a wise-cracking time traveller whisked back to the Middle Ages – chainsaw and shotgun in hand – to battle an army of the undead.
It might not be everyone’s cup of spooky tea, being far less frightening than Raimi’s previous efforts, but as a pure piece of 90s entertainment it’s hard to beat.
The Exorcist (1973)
Often called the best horror film of all time (and according to critic Mark Kermode, the best film of all time full stop), The Exorcist’s lurid depiction of a young girl’s demonic possession made it an instant cult classic upon its 1974 release. In fact, when it came to UK home video in the 1980s, the BBFC considered it too graphic for even an 18 certificate. It’s a decision that’ll seem bizarre to modern audiences, as today its content comes across as tame compared even to 15-rated horror films.
That’s not to say The Exorcist lacks menace – it’s a deliciously creepy movie with a fantastic cast, brilliantly directed by William Friedkin and rich in occult atmosphere. If you’ve yet to experience the events surrounding Regan McNeil’s possession, we suggest you add this to your watchlist post-haste. And save it for a dark, quiet night, naturally.
Interview with the Vampire
This lavish movie made a child star out of Kirsten Dunst and further established Brad Pitt as a true Hollywood A-lister, but it’s Tom Cruise, playing against type as ruthless, decadent vampire Lestat, who steals the show.
Based on the novel by Anne Rice, it’s fair to say that Interview with the Vampire did much to establish the “sexy, angst-ridden vampire” trope that has since become a staple of film and TV – there’d be no Twilight or True Blood without Interview with the Vampire, for better or worse. But this isn't just some romanticised depiction of the conflicted, beautiful children of the night, and it doesn’t shy away from violence and horror at points.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula
At some points hilariously campy (Keanu Reeves’ mauling of an English accent being a prime contender), at others bursting to life with gloriously gothic imagery and tone, Francis Ford Coppola’s faithful adaptation of the best-known of all Victorian horror novels is quite the cinematic feast.
With a star-studded ensemble cast (Gary Oldman! Anthony Hopkins! Winona Ryder! Tom Waits!), lavish costumes, lighting so dramatic it might as well spell out “spooky!”, and some of the most impressive haircuts in ‘90s cinema, Coppola’s Dracula feels like something of an unmissable, creepy curiosity rather than an out-and-out horror film. It captures the novel’s doomed romanticism better than any other adaptation we can think of, and presents the bloodthirsty count himself as tragic figure rather than moustache-twirling villain. A fine addition to the vampire movie canon, we say.
The Wicker Man (1973)
Don’t worry, we’re not recommending the dreadful Nicolas Cage remake (although it’s worth watching for unintentional comic value alone), but going all the way back to the 1973 Wicker Man, a glorious celebration of folky weirdness, pagan rituals and the clash between the new world (represented by prim Christian copper Edward Woodward and his buttoned-down rules) and the old ways (represented by crazy-haired spirit-worshipper Christopher Lee).
When a young girl goes missing on the remote, isolated island of Summerisle, a policeman arrives from the mainland to investigate – only to find himself drawn into a bizarre web of free-spirited paganism. A classic for its score, its atmosphere and its unforgettable final scenes.
Darren Aronofsky has never been afraid to make challenging movies (well, have you seen Noah?), but Mother! might be the auteur extraordinaire’s most out-there movie yet, particularly given the fact it stars quite possibly the most bankable leading lady on the planet.
Billed as a psychological horror, it’s a taut, disturbing and increasingly intense film that lays on its allegory with hard-to-miss heavy-handedness – and yet many viewers, apparently expecting a straight-up “Jennifer Lawrence in a creepy haunted house” yarn, have declared it impenetrable, dull or just plain old hilariously bad. We’re a little more open-minded here at Stuff and, despite feeling that the director is a little too pleased with his own cleverness at times, it’s hard to fault his execution. A masterclass in controlled chaos, even if it's not a film that won't be for everyone.
Stephen King, in his infinite wisdom, spotted the insane creepiness potential of clowns, and propagated the concept via his beloved novel It, adapted for the screen for a second time in Andy Muschietti’s 2017 chiller.
Rich in Kingian tropes (childhood trauma, loss of innocence, friendship, historical evil, the darkness lurking behind small town America’s doorways) and a fond homage to the 1980s, It is a fine piece of crowd-pleasing supernatural horror in which seven misfit kids are stalked by a entity that takes the form of their worst fears – and yes, in some cases that’s a clown. While it doesn’t attempt to redefine the genre, it works within horror’s confines to produce a film that’s packed with heart and soul as well as scares.
It Comes At Night
A creeping, minimalist horror-thriller with very little gore, a mere handful of characters and next to nothing in the way of clear explanation as to what’s going on or who’s to be feared, It Comes At Night probably won’t satisfy casual viewers looking for an easy hour and a half’s entertainment.
Not only is this tale of a family trying to survive in the wake of an unspecified pandemic unrelentingly bleak, it will almost certainly leave you with a sense of frustration and hopelessness – and that’s probably the point. As a lean, powerful exploration of family and paranoia, there are few modern movies that can match it.
Deep and crisp and even it may be, but the Antarctic snow of John Carpenter’s cult horror classic is far from pure. The movie’s eponymous parasitic extraterrestrial, unwittingly woken from an icy slumber beneath the permafrost, is able to assume human form, leading to near-unbearable suspense – who is human, and who is the alien? - as the inhabitants of a cut-off research station are preyed upon in gruesome fashion.
The Monster Squad
Something of a 1980s cult classic, The Monster Squad is The Goonies meets Ghostbusters – a rollicking b-movie horror-comedy in which a bunch of misfit kids take on Dracula and other assorted beasties in their small town. Co-written by Shane Black (creator of the Lethal Weapon series, and director of the upcoming Predator reboot) and featuring effects from the legendary Stan Winston, this is enjoyable for far more than simple nostalgia value.