At a very young age, my father instilled in me a love for horror movies that survives to this day. Of course, the quality of more recent films is questionable, but that doesn’t mean that I enjoy watching them any less. Like many folks my age, I have forgone cable TV in exchange for subscription services like Netflix and Hulu, and thus it is through these sites that I watch the majority of my TV shows and movies. In honor of the glorious month of October, I’ve decided to kickstart my list posts with classics that can be found on Netflix. These movies are not ranked in any order, and I will admit there are a couple here I have not seen: an issue I intend to remedy as soon as possible.
1) Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn
Not to be confused with the newer television series, Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn is an interesting twist on vampire-like creatures. Seth and Richie Gecko are criminals and they’re on the run after holding up and subsequently destroying a small town liquor store. As they flee authorities, the brothers end up car-jacking the Fuller family’s RV and crossing the border into Mexico, where they end up at a strip club. Things quickly spin out of control when it is revealed that the bar employs a large number of vampires and it’s up to this motley crew to save the day. I actually watched this one fairly recently with my boyfriend, as he’s a huge Tarantino fan, and it’s among my favorites.
2) Clive Barker’s Hellraiser
This is the first title on the list that I have to admit I’ve not seen, though I’m not sure why. I’ll probably watch it tonight, actually. Based on Clive Barker’s book, The Hellbound Heart, Hellraiser delves into an entirely new realm of extreme sadomasochism (to me, at least) when Frank finds a puzzle box that strips him of his skin upon solving it. His brother’s wife, having had an affair with him, aids him in his recovery of his flesh by bringing hapless victims home to be slaughtered.
3) Steven Spielburg’s Jaws
Based on Peter Benchley’s novel, Jaws, this 1975 classic is now considered one of the best films of all time. I’ve definitely seen it, and I won’t lie: anytime I am somewhere with cable TV, if I happen across this film on Syfy, I tune in. It’s a fairly simple plot, really: a giant shark terrorizing a small, coastal New England town. After it begins eating people, a bounty is placed on it and soon the body-count begins to pile up.
4) Clive Barker’s Nightbreed
Another film I haven’t seen, Clive Barker’s Nightbreed is also based on one of his books, which is entitled Cabal. Convinced by his psychotherapist that he’s guilty of several murders, Aaron Boone travels to the city of Midian, a place where monsters reside. Denied entry, he is then attacked and bitten, only to find himself waking up in a morgue. This time, he’s allowed entry into the city and the girlfriend he’s left behind comes looking for him. Together, they discover who the real killer is and soon after, battle erupts. I’ll have to watch this one after I’ve finished Hellraiser!
5) H. P. Lovecraft’s Re-Animator
Based on H. P. Lovecraft’s Herbert West–Reanimator, Re-Animator is the story of medical student Herbert West who has discovered a reagent that can be used to bring the dead back to life. Thrilled with his discovery, he shows his colleague and together they approach the dean. Naturally, the dean is unbelieving, and in order to prove the validity of their discovery, West and his colleague reanimate a dead body, only things don’t go quite as planned and soon, they’re dealing with a raging zombie. I actually watched this film earlier this year as well, thanks to my boyfriend. He has the sequel, Bride of Re-Animator, but we haven’t watched it yet.
6) Stephen King’s Children of the Corn
Based on Stephen King’s short story of the same name, Children of the Corn is most notably remembered for its creepy children. In this case, the small town of Gatlin, Nebraska has become home to a cult comprised solely of children and lead by twelve year old Isaac. Banding together, they slaughter the adults in the name of “He Who Walks Behind the Rows.” Travelers through the area are anything but safe. It’s been a really, really long time since I’ve watched this one. I’ll have to watch it again.
7) Kurt Neumann’s The Fly
I’ve only seen the 1986 version of this film, also courtesy of my cinephile boyfriend, and actually didn’t realize there was an older version until I saw it listed on Netflix. Granted, my boyfriend could have told me that, and chances are he did. Especially since we were talking last week about early color films. The Fly is a science-fiction horror film centered around scientist Andre Delambre and his family. Having built a matter transportation device, Delambre believes it is ready for human testing and proceeds to experiment with himself, only much to his chagrin, a fly gets caught inside his invention and everything goes wrong. Finding himself in possession of parts of a fly’s body, it’s up to his wife to help him return to normal.
8) Brian De Palma’s The Fury
The Fury is another movie I haven’t seen yet, and it is based on the book of the same name by John Farris. When his son is kidnapped by a secret organization, former CIA agent Peter Sandza finds himself a target for assassination. Surviving, he teams up with a psychic girl and tracks his son to Chicago for the family reunion of a lifetime. Judging by the plot description, I’ll have to add this one to my list of films to watch as well!
9) Tom Six’s The Human Centipede (First Sequence)
Okay, so maybe this one isn’t a classic in the traditional sense: it was released within the past decade, after all; however, The Human Centipede has certainly made its mark on the horror movie industry. This is the only post year 2000 film I’ve included in this list (not counting other mentions at the bottom), and I chose to do so because it’s a film that surfaces a lot in pop culture. It is most noted for the grisly way in which Dr. Josef Heiter has stitched together a trio of girls, connecting mouth to… well, I’ll let you watch it. To sum it up, Dr. Heiter has created a centipede, using humans for its segments.
10) John Hough’s The Legend of Hell House
Hired by the millionaire Mr. Deutsch to investigate the Belasco House, which was the site of a massacre, physicist Lionel Barrett and a small entourage that includes his wife travel to the location. Soon after they arrive, things start to happen, as they often do in haunted houses. Barrett’s goal is to rid the house of its haunters. Once more, this is a film I haven’t seen, but I plan to.
Other Classics on Netflix:
- The Relic, 1997
- The Vampire’s Coffin, 1958
- Queen of the Damned, 2002
- The Brainiac, 1962
- Mad Ron’s Prevues from Hell, 1987
- Event Horizon, 1997
Please note that the availability of these films is subject to change, as Netflix is always adding and removing content. The films listed above are based on availability in the United States.