If you're looking for classic horror movies to set the mood for Halloween, various streaming services are ready to provide. Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, and Warner Archive Instant all have classic horror on offer, but each one caters to a different kind of audience. Here is a brief guide to the best bets you can currently find from each service.
The Netflix Instant site even has a "Halloween Favorites" category this week, where you can browse all kinds of seasonally appropriate entertainment. Hardcore classic fans, however, should head straight for the Universal monster movies, several of which are now available. Here are the best of the Halloween horrors currently on Netflix Instant:
"The Phantom of the Opera" (1925)
"The Invisible Man" (1933)
"The Bride of Frankenstein" (1935)
Hulu Plus caters to a more art house and international crowd, which means lots of Japanese ghost stories and Criterion Collection goodies for the cerebral spook. The site also offers plenty of cult fare, always a good bet for weird thrills at Halloween. Here are six worthwhile offerings you'll find on Hulu Plus:
"Corridors of Blood" (1958)
"The Blob" (1958)
Amazon Prime Instant
Amazon Prime seems to have a lot of classic horror available, but beware of cheap public domain transfers that look and sound terrible. Lately they have really cluttered the service and made it harder to find high quality classic pictures. For a better viewing experience, try these films on Amazon Prime:
"King Kong" (1933)
"The Bad Seed" (1956)
"House on Haunted Hill" (1959)
"The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake" (1959)
Warner Archive Instant
A relative newcomer to the streaming business, Warner Archive Instant specifically caters to classic movie fans, so of course it's easy to find classic horror on the site. Warner is able to offer a lot of titles that just don't show up on other services, including Hammer horror and Val Lewton's RKO classics. Classic movie fans who find themselves frustrated with the more mainstream instant services should take advantage of Warner's two week free trial and catch a few of these memorable horrors:
"The Devil-Doll" (1936)
"The Mummy" (1959)
"Dracula A.D. 1972" (1972)
Of the options, dedicated classic horror fans are likely to be happiest with Hulu Plus and Warner Archive Instant, which have richer catalogs of higher quality films and better transfers. If you're just looking for something spooky to play while the kids trick-or-treat, go with Netflix Instant and the Universal monsters. On Amazon, the pickings are relatively slim unless you are willing to pay an extra $2.99 for most of the more popular pictures, and even then you won't find the selection of classic horror that the other sites offer.
Learn more about the history of the Universal monster movies by watching the video at the top of the article. What are you watching for Halloween this year? Let Examiner readers know in the comments section!
Jennifer Garlen writes as the Huntsville and National Classic Movies Examiner. Her book, "Beyond Casablanca: 100 Classic Movies Worth Watching," is available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon. She posts reviews of classic movies on her blog at Virtual Virago.