Best Horror Movies on HBO Max Right Now (September 2022)

Few things are better than making some popcorn, turning off the lights, and letting a movie scare the heck out of you. But with so many streaming services out there, it’s hard to know where to best get your horror fix. Luckily HBO Max has a steep selection of horror titles for you to peruse. From classics to new entries, they have you covered. And the variety included offers choices whether you like your scares to come with a dose of humor, action, surrealism, or none of the above. Here are just some of the great horror titles HBO Max currently has on offer.


Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Check out the best thrillers or dramas on HBO instead, or peruse our list of best horror films on Netflix and Hulu.

Editor’s note: This article was updated September 2022 to include What Lies Beneath and We’re All Going to the World’s Fair.

RELATED: The 75 Best Horror Movies of All-Time

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The Forever Purge (2021)

1 hr 43 min | Everardo Valerio Gout

Cast: Ana de la Reguera, Tenoch Huerta, Josh Lucas, Cassidy Freeman, Leven Rambin, Will Patton

The fifth film in the extremely popular Purge franchise, The Forever Purge picks up where The Purge: Election Year leaves off by following a group of people attempting to escape the US after some people continue committing crimes after the Purge is over. The story is especially timely, touching on themes of racism, classism, immigration, and greed. If you’re looking for a truly frightening dystopian horror movie with a unique concept and surprising twists that will keep you on your toes, you’ll find it in this flick. – Taylor Gates

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What Lies Beneath (2000)

2 hrs 10 min | Robert Zemeckis

Cast: Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Katharine Towne

In Academy Award Winner Robert Zemeckis’ modern classic horror film, What Lies Beneath, Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer star as a very much still-in-love married couple being haunted by the ghost of his mistress. What Lies Beneath allows traditional and expected scary movie tropes to stand as a foundation for the passion between Ford and Pfeiffer, which pierces the screen and set this film apart from most other horror flicks. The tension Zemeckis produces, along with Pfeiffer’s seamless transitions from her character to possession, creates an absolutely terrifying experience in the best way. – Yael Tygiel

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We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2021)

1 hr 26 min | Jane Schoenbrun

Cast: Anna Cobb, Theo Anthony, Holly Anne Frink

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair is a trippy and clever thriller about a teen who documents her immersion in a role-playing game online. Featuring a hauntingly raw performance from breakout star Anna Cobb (Bones and All), who enhances the reality of this frightening story that blurs the lines between fact and fiction. Written and directed by Jane Schoenbrun, We’re All Going to the World’s Fair is truly unique in its premise exploring internet culture, loneliness, and isolation. With Schoenbrun’s unexpected approach to the horror genre, We’re All Going to the World’s Fair blends the found footage style with more classic nods to films like The Ring. – Yael Tygiel

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Halloween Kills (2021)

1 hr 45 min | David Gordon Green

Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak

Michael Myers is at it again. A sequel to 2018’s Halloween and the 12th overall film in the franchise, Halloween Kills sees the return of several characters from the 1978 film, including Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards). While the storytelling can be a bit messy at times and it doesn’t exactly break any new ground, Halloween Kills is sure to satisfy fans of the franchise. If you’re looking for a gruesome slasher with a high body count, this may be the perfect horror pick for you. – Taylor Gates

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I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

1 hr 41 min | Jim Gillespie

Cast: Jennifer Love Hewitt

Based on the novel by Lois Duncan, the late 90s horror film I Know What You Did Last Summer is a staple of any scary movie viewing. Overflowing with some of the most popular beautiful young people of their generation, I Know What You Did Last Summer stars Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr, and Ryan Phillippe (MacGruber). As the title would suggest, the movie revolves around a group of friends who are being stalked and haunted by a mysterious tormentor who knows about their involvement in a tragic accident the previous summer. Director Jim Gillespie ensures this horror flick takes advantage of all the tropes, building a solid foundation for what became the first movie of a killer franchise. – Yael Tygiel

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The Conjuring (2013)

1 hr 52 min | James Wan

Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Joey King

If you’re looking for an absolutely haunting horror movie that has as much emotion as it has jump scares, The Conjuringshould move to the top of your watch list. Directed by genre master James Wan, The Conjuring delves into the real-life case files of Ed and Lorraine Warren. The 2013 film is responsible for launching the most successful horror franchise ever, with the latest installment, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It pushing the franchise over the $2 billion mark at the box office. The first film centers around a family in Rhode Island who move into a country home with a horrifying history and begin experiencing all manner of disturbing occurrences. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson bring to life captivating, romanticized versions of Ed and Lorraine, with their love story providing a complementary balance to Wan’s masterful horror. The Conjuring reinvigorated the genre nearly a decade ago, and it remains one of the best spooky movies to watch when you need a good scare. — Samantha Coley

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Eraserhead (1977)

1 hr 29 min | David Lynch

Cast: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph

An all-time classic from the great David Lynch, Eraserhead is an experience that must be seen at least once. It features a magnetic and arresting performance from the late Jack Nance as Henry Spencer, a new father who is struggling with the rather crushing pressures of parenthood. Not helping matters is that his child is not all that ordinary as, in addition to not letting him get a good night’s sleep, seems to be more like an alien than a human being. As Lynch takes us further into Henry’s anxieties and struggles, it all becomes more surreal than straightforward in a manner that is striking as it is strange. Largely confined to a single room, it still feels more expansive and inventive than most other horror films you’ll see anywhere. While it demands the patience of its audience, it is more than worth taking the plunge as you get more and more caught up in its world. Whether you have seen every single Lynch film or have never even known of him until now, this is a must-see for anyone who wants to experience the power of cinema. – Chase Hutchinson

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Antlers (2021)

1 hr 39 min | Scott Cooper

Cast: Keri Russell, Jesse Plemons, Jeremy T. Thomas

A deeply depressing yet dynamic story of societal decay, Antlers is a film whose vision and a growing sense of dread make for an arresting experience. Set in a small Oregon town, it centers on Keri Russell as a middle school teacher who begins to suspect that something is gravely amiss with one of her students. As she tries to support him by learning more about what is wrong, she discovers that his home life is being haunted by both the devastation of poverty and the creeping menace of a monstrous force that threatens to consume him. It is a film that is explicitly a “horror as metaphor” type of journey, though in a way that never loses sight of the overwhelming fear that has befallen the town. In particular, the use of precise effects and lighting make for a finale as beautiful as it is brutal. Even when it falls into some rather unfortunate tropes, it manages to transcend the trappings it sets out for itself to become something all its own. – Chase Hutchinson

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Annabelle (2014)

1 hr 39 min | John R. Leonetti

Cast: Ward Horton, Annabelle Wallis, Alfre Woodard, Tony Amendola, Kerry O’Malley, Brian Howe, and Eric Ladin

Annabelle, a spin-off of the haunting and terrifying Conjuring films starring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, is the origin story of the creepy porcelain doll we see locked away in the Warrens’ home in the first film. The story follows John (Ward Horton) and Mia (Annabelle Wallis) as John brings the doll home — before it’s haunted — for their unborn daughter. Unfortunately, that night, their next-door neighbors are murdered by a couple who then storm their home. The police kill the man, but the woman, Annabelle, kills herself and latches onto the doll. Then, supernatural occurrences begin to happen in the home. The film manages to tell the origin story of Annabelle that is just so creepy, scary, and well-done, invoking all of the aspects of horror movies that keep viewers captivated. In short, it’ll give you nightmares… but it’s worth it. – Jay Snow

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Freaky (2020)

1 hr 42 min | Christopher Landon

Cast: Kathryn Newton, Vince Vaughn, Celeste O’Connor, Misha Osherovich, Emily Holder, Nicholas Stargel

Freakyis a Freaky Friday-meets-slasher movie that is an incredibly fun ride from start to finish. The day after Millie (Kathryn Newton) is attacked by her town’s infamous serial killer, the Butcher (Vince Vaughn), she wakes up in his body. It turns out that the dagger he stabbed her with is cursed, and she has 24 hours to swap back, or else she’s stuck in the body of a killer forever. She not only has to convince her best friends that they swapped bodies, but she also has to avoid being caught by the police thanks to the trail of bodies that the Butcher has left behind — because no serial killer is going to just stop killing just because they are now in the body of a teenage girl. Vaughn and Newton play both roles so well that the premise feels far from gimmicky. Freaky is a unique horror movie with a stellar cast that is well worth your time. – Brynna Arens

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The Blair Witch Project (1999)

1 hr 22 min | Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez

Cast: Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard

The Blair Witch Projecteffectively kickstarted the found-footage horror genre with its believable premise and marketing campaign that convinced some people that its subjects were real missing people. This movie starts as a college documentary project on the Blair Witch legend led by Heather Donahue. She and two of her friends plan a trip into the woods to investigate and document any strange happenings. In true horror movie fashion, they find themselves in over their head when the legend turns out to be real. The Blair Witch Project truly puts other found-footage horror movies to shame. It’s one of the few out there that feels real – and that’s what makes it so terrifying. – Brynna Arens

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Carnival of Souls (1962)

1 hr 18 min | John Clifford

Cast: Candace Hilligoss, Sidney Berger

This little-known film was such a disappointment to director Herk Harvey that he never directed another feature film again. Too bad, because this is a creepy little film. Mary survives a car accident that kills her two friends, and heads off to Utah to take a job as a church organist. Once she gets there, she is haunted by a ghoul. Is it real, or is it a trick of her imagination? The film is shot in Salt Lake City, on the site of a real Mormon dance hall that was built in the 1800s. – Alyse Wax

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Malignant (2021)

1 hr 51 min | James Wan

Cast: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young

Malignant was the film of 2021. Well, at least it was around Collider. This maniacal horror flick starts with Madison (Annabelle Wallis) having seemingly psychotic visions only to discover the visions are real. While the reveal of this film is pretty obvious, I won’t spoil it here. Suffice it to say, the third act of Malignant is brilliant insanity. If you haven’t watched this film yet, do so immediately. – Alyse Wax

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The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008)

1 hr 48 min | Chris Carter

Cast: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, Amanda Peet

While not the best The X-Files movie, I have to recommend anything about my favorite show. This second film, set almost a decade after the TV series finale (well, the first one), Agents Scully and Mulder (Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny) are dragged back into action to help find a missing FBI agent. Along the way, they meet a Catholic priest who may be psychic and is definitely a pedophile, and encounter some seriously sketchy « scientists. » If you are a fan of The X-Files, this is a must-watch if only for moments of Mulder/Scully domesticity. – Alyse Wax

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The Shining (1980)

2 hr 26 min | Stanley Kubrick

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers

Recommending The Shining to someone looking for a haunted house movie is like telling someone to watch The Godfather if they want a crime story. It’s so obvious it feels silly. But what can you do? Stanley Kubrick simply went ahead and made a horror film so iconic it basically became shorthand for the genre. An adaption of Stephen King’s scariest book, The Shining welcomes you to the secluded Overlook Hotel, where Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) has brought his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and son Danny (Danny Lloyd) as part of a caretaker position that ensures the family is completely alone for the winter. Unfortunately for the Torrances, the Overlook has a habit of swallowing people alive, and the restless souls who still populate its halls quickly starting worming their way into Jack’s troubled mind. King’s well-known criticism that Nicholson is off the rails from the opening scene has merit, but it doesn’t make the performance any less mesmerizing, or Kubrick’s surrealist imagery any less bone-chilling. The Shining is the perfect movie to throw on when your day has been all work and no play. –Vinnie Mancuso

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Night of the Living Dead (1968)

1 hr 36 min | George A. Romero

Cast: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Marilyn Eastman, Karl Hardman, Judith Ridley, Keith Wayne

You can’t get more classic than Night of the Living Dead. George A Romero’s 1968 epic not only kicked off the entire zombie genre, but did so with a sharp eye for social commentary that still hits home. Romero would later expand his vision with Dawn and Day of the Dead(the latter of which is also on HBO Max), but there is something special about the claustrophobic terror of this first entry. Night of the Living Dead throws viewers into a situation that must be dealt with long before it gets understood. It’s a bleak film, too. The various survival schemes its characters concoct feel hopeless before they even begin, but there’s not much you’d be able to do differently in their situation, which is what makes it all so terrifying.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

1 hr 31 min | Wes Craven

Cast: Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss, Nick Corri, John Saxon, Johnny Depp, Ronee Blakley

HBO Max offers every Nightmare on Elm Street movie save for Dream Warriors. Yes, even the remake. You’re not going to find a more imaginative slasher series, and that originality hits right away in its first entry. Freddy Krueger doesn’t start off as a quip-slinging goofball. Though he does speak in A Nightmare on Elm Street, he’s not here to make jokes. There is a sincerely grotesque and lecherous nature to him, making him as scary as he is captivating. On top of the iconic villain, you also have the added horror of his surreal dreamworld, where no one who succumbs to sleep is safe.

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Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)

2 hr 15 min | David Lynch

Cast: Sheryl Lee, Moira Kelly, David Bowie, Chris Isaak, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Wise, Kyle MacLachlan

Many define Twin Peaks by its central mystery. Or perhaps it’s the memory of Dale Cooper, praising a perfect cup of coffee. Or maybe it’s the surreal imagery of the Black Lodge that stays with you. The horror of it often gets overlooked. Fire Walk With Me fans beg to differ. Freed from the confines of television, David Lynch goes all-out here, telling the horrific story of Laura Palmer’s murder. It is surreal, yes. It never bothers to hold your hand, and even if you study it intensely, you won’t find an answer for everything. But the darkness of the imagery and the nightmarish details of Lynch’s world will definitely haunt you long after the movie ends.

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The Brood (1979)

1 hr 32 min | David Cronenberg

Cast: Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle, Nuala Fitzgerald

What’s a horror library without any David Cronenberg? Luckily, HBO Max currently offers The Brood. If you haven’t seen it, get ready for some of the creepiest kids ever put to film. Starring the masculine Adonis known as Oliver Reed, The Brood is about… well, it’s hard to explain. It’s Cronenberg, so you’re going to get some interesting body horror imagery, but at the end of the day it’s all about the titular Brood, a group of murderous kids you do not want trick-or-treating in your neighborhood. The rest is for you to discover, if you have the guts.

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