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15 Great Streaming Horror Films


It's almost Halloween again, that most monstrously magical time of year, and we all probably have the same question on all our minds: what fantastic fright flicks should we be gathering around to ring in the spooky season? Well, with all the streaming (screaming!) films that NYPL patrons now have access to via Kanopy, there have never been more options! We asked our NYPL staff of movie buffs for 15 choice picks from the Kanopy website, and the results are below. Happy viewing!

"The Blob. I watched this when I was 5 years old on "Chiller Theater" and spent the next two years peeking under my bed before climbing in. The thought of a potential oozing pile of slime grasping my ankle stayed with me for quite some time. Plus there is Steve McQueen!" —Monstrous Maura, Volunteer Office

"True horror is not so much gotcha suspense or sudden violin screeches but more about that unsettling shudder which blossoms uncannily in your gut. If you're into high-end, squirm-inducing cinema, please try the mesmerizing, deeply troubling masterpiece The Vanishing. A young couple on vacation stops at a quick-mart. The wife enters, but vanishes soon after. Three years later, the husband is met by the perpetrator, who invites him to learn the truth about his wife's disappearance, but only under one condition..." —Lamentably Dead Jeremy, Billy Rose Theatre Division
"My recommendation is another Chiller Theater favorite, The House on Haunted Hill starring Vincent Price. This is truly a scary movie and perfect for these dark fall days when the wind moans, the leaves rustle and skirl on the ground, and the house starts to creak. Watch it with the lights on!" —Spectral Virginia, Special Formats Processing
"Psychological horror always sends a chill down my spine. In 60s chiller Carnival of Souls, a young woman escapes a car wreck, wandering a carnival landscape where nothing is as it seems--including her." —Eerie Erica, Mid-Manhattan Library
"I recommend the 1960 horror comedy cult classic The Little Shop of Horrors, in which an incompetent florist's assistant is forced to committ several murders by a living plant who has developed an unquenchable taste for human flesh." —Mildly Monstrous Melissa Koszer, George Bruce Branch
"Old vampire flicks are always good for a non-sparkling good time. You can't go wrong with F.W. Murnau's grandaddy of all fang flicks, NosferatuThis is German Expressionist movie making at its creepiest. It also inspired Werner Herzog's classic remake, Nosferatu the Vampyre (on Overdrive Media), starring the king of creepy performances himself, Klaus Kinski. Enjoy these biting good flicks!" NosferJoshtu
"I was terrified of vampires as a child. My parents had to check my bedroom closet every night to reassure me that there were no vampires in it! I can only assume that at some point I'd seen a classic Dracula movie and probably one too many PBS documentaries on the subject. Kanopy has the documentaries Vampires Part 1 and Vampires Part 2 and Dracula: The True Story." —Anne the Impaler, Mulberry Street Library
"It's been years, but the eerie score and stunning cinematography of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari still haunts me to this day. This 1920 silent film from Germany will have you glued to the screen - if only to read the dialogue. Featuring an  evil hypnotist who uses a sleepwalker to commit murders, you'll have nightmares for weeks." —Still-Awake-Kate, Bloomingdale Library
"Diabolique informed my understanding of what a great scary movie should be! While the monsters in this flick are metaphorical, the frights are visceral and real. A menage a trois goes deadly wrong, but that's only the beginning. This is a must-see for fans of the psychological thriller." —Beth Duke of Spooks Dukes, Youth Education Services

"Is there anything more spine-chilling or blood-curdling than a tale of a man who commits horrific deeds because he can't help himself? Fritz Lang's M from 1931 stars Peter Lorre as an anguished killer of children, hunted down by both Berlin's police and its criminal underground. It has been called (by Geoff Andrew of the BFI) 'the blueprint for the serial killer movie,' and after all these years, it still retains its power to haunt your dreams and nightmares." Kriminal Kathie, Special Collections/Special Formats Processing

"Those with a weak stomach should probably steer clear of this Japanese film. Audition starts out inauspiciously enough when a director uses a casting call to find a girlfriend. Enter the mysterious Asami who seems like the girl of Aoyama's dreams until he starts digging into her past. The ending to this film is one of the most painful (a reviewer once said almost unbearable) to watch." —Rosa La LLorona Li, AskNYPL 

"Carrie with a coma patient? The title character of Patrick has been unconscious for three years at a private Melbourne hospital; doctors say he's brain dead. But is he? The new nurse isn't so sure. This Ozploitation (Australian horror) film deftly blends the psychological with the supernatural. Just what is looking out behind those staring open eyes?"​ —Insane Isaiah Pittman, Inwood Library
"The legendary Boris Karloff serves up three enjoyably spooky tales in Mario Bava's Black Sabbath (yes, this is where the heavy metal band got their name from) about a stalker making obscene phonecalls, a Russian vampire (Karloff again) and a dead woman's diamond ring, respectively. The colors and sounds are lush and gorgeous, like a haunted carnival in full flight, and Karloff is clearly having the time of his life, as will you."​ —Insane Isaiah Pittman, Inwood Library
"Sometimes the biggest creepers come in small packages. Alison Maclean's Kitchen Sink is only fourteen minutes long, perfect for winding the evening down after a heavy night of trick-or-treating! What would your reaction be if you found some hairy... thing lurking in a dark, wet corner of your house? Whatever you're thinking, you'll be surprised; the screwy twists pile on so quickly, one after the other, and nothing is what it seems, from the deepest pipes in the drain to the most ordinary parts of the human body."​ —Insane Isaiah Pittman, Inwood Library
"So disturbingly realistic it was actually thought to be a genuine snuff film upon its release, Cannibal Holocaust has a good claim to being the most controversial and frequently-banned film of all time. One of the first true "found-footage" horror films (having come out almost twenty years before The Blair Witch Project), this flick follows a crew of documentary filmmakers whose journey into the Amazonian rain forest quickly becomes an odyssey into Hell itself. Censors have hacked away at the film for years, but the full movie is streaming now, uncut and unedited, for anyone daring enough to risk the loss of their lunch." —Insane Isaiah Pittman, Inwood Library

Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations



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