Amazon Prime features a huge selection of horror movies across more than a century of cinema history. There’s everything from influential classics to recent releases. Here are the ten best horror movies to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
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With Carrie, director Brian De Palma has the distinction of making the first-ever Stephen King adaptation, and also possibly the best. De Palma brings King’s debut novel to life, telling the story of outcast teenager Carrie White (Sissy Spacek), whose telekinetic powers make her a danger to everyone around her. De Palma captures the casual cruelty of Carrie’s classmates, and Spacek makes Carrie both sympathetic and terrifying. It culminates in an intense, brutal finale that’s a marvel of cross-cutting and tension.
Killer doll Chucky’s journey toward becoming a horror icon began with his first appearance in Child’s Play. Voiced by Brad Dourif, Chucky wasn’t yet the snarky superstar he later became, but director Tom Holland and franchise creator Don Mancini make the best of his more limited screen time. The doll possessed by a serial killer is genuinely scary as he terrorizes 8-year-old Andy Barclay (Alex Vincent), especially since no one believes Andy that his harmless-seeming doll is out to kill him.
Although it’s not the horror classic of the first Creepshow, Creepshow 2 is a solid continuation of the anthology movies based on Stephen King stories. The segments here feature a wooden Native American statue come to life to seek vengeance; a mysterious slime creature terrorizing teens at a lake; and a woman tormented by the ghost of a man she accidentally killed with her car. “The Hitchhiker” is the strongest of those segments, but all three capture the vintage pulp-horror feel that King and George Romero established in the first movie.
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An underrated highlight of the American trend of remaking Japanese horror movies, Dark Water stars Jennifer Connelly as a mother in the process of an ugly divorce, who moves into a dilapidated apartment with her young daughter. The apartment, of course, is haunted, although Dark Water is as much about the struggle of being a single mother and the failure of municipal services as it is about the ghostly presence in the main character’s musty, creepy apartment building.
Hellbound: Hellraiser II
The sequel to Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II is actually the highlight of the long-running franchise, giving more screen time to Doug Bradley’s iconic villain Pinhead while also taking on a more surreal tone. It delves deeper into the horrifying hellscape inhabited by Pinhead and his fellow Cenobites, and showcases the dark, sadistic terrors they inflict on the victims who open the puzzle box known as the Lament Configuration.
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A mirror may not sound like a particularly scary object, but director Mike Flanagan makes it a source of disorienting terror in his breakout film Oculus. Karen Gillan gives an entertainingly unhinged performance as a woman who’s convinced that a cursed mirror is responsible for the tragedy that has befallen her family. She’s determined to destroy the mirror, but it draws her and her brother back in, as Flanagan thrillingly blurs the lines between past and present, and between reality and dreams.
Although it spawned a repetitive franchise and many tiresome imitators, the original Paranormal Activity is one of the strongest examples of found-footage horror. Director Oren Peli puts a new spin on a familiar haunted house story by setting it in a prefab suburban home and having his main characters document their supernatural investigations.
The mythology gets convoluted as the series goes on, but this first movie explores both domestic tension and demonic possession with equally unsparing effectiveness.
Mia Farrow experiences an amplified version of the fears of impending motherhood in Roman Polanski’s classic Rosemary’s Baby. Pregnant young wife Rosemary (Farrow) feels isolated and alone in her New York City apartment as her actor husband Guy (John Cassavetes) is increasingly busy and distant. Polanski brilliantly escalates Rosemary’s dread and mistrust, which turns out to be more than justified when she learns the truth about her menacingly helpful neighbors.
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The debut feature from filmmaker Rose Glass, Saint Maud focuses on the horrors of religious devotion. The title character (Morfydd Clark) is a nurse who’s experienced a spiritual awakening, and she takes a job caring for a wealthy, terminally ill former dance star (Jennifer Ehle). Maud attempts to convert her patient via any means necessary, and Clark conveys the startling intensity of her religious fervor. That fervor eventually turns deadly, in a startling and hauntingly beautiful climax.
The 2018 remake of Italian director Dario Argento’s cult classic Suspiria takes the story in an even more impressionistic, hallucinatory direction. The movie stars Dakota Johnson as a seemingly naïve young American who comes to study at a sinister dance school in Berlin. Director Luca Guadagnino creates a haunting movie about ambition, jealousy, and bizarre cult activity.