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The 10 Best Horror Movies on HBO Max

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HBO Max might not be the oldest streaming platform on the block, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking. Some of the most famous horror movies of all time can be streamed alongside recent fright-filled hits. Here are 10 of the best horror movies streaming on HBO Max.

Day of the Dead

The third movie in George A. Romero’s long-running zombie series, Day of the Dead, may not be as influential as Night of the Living Dead or as acclaimed as Dawn of the Dead, but it’s still an ambitious and unsettling horror movie. Romero further explores the idea of zombies gaining self-awareness, while also demonstrating that the greatest threat in any post-apocalyptic scenario is, of course, humanity itself.

The Exorcist

The kind of classic that is recognizable even to people who’ve never seen it, The Exorcist is full of iconic horror-movie images. Linda Blair speaks in a guttural voice, pukes green goop, and spins her head around 360 degrees as she plays a young girl possessed by a demon. Max von Sydow brings gravity to the role of the priest attempting to help her. No matter how familiar certain scenes and bits of dialogue have become, The Exorcist remains one of the most terrifying possession movies ever made.


Equal parts family-friendly Christmas movie and throwback creature feature, Joe Dante’s Gremlins is a perfect mix of horror and comedy. Working from a script by future Home Alone director Chris Columbus, Dante depicts the quintessential, idyllic movie small town, and then fills it with little green monsters wreaking havoc. The gremlins are as cute as they are dangerous, and their reign of terror is almost endearing, even as it throws the town into chaos.

The Invisible Man

Writer-director Leigh Whannell reimagines a classic Universal monster in The Invisible Man. Here, the title character is a mostly unseen villain, an abusive tech mogul who is stalking his ex-girlfriend (Elisabeth Moss) after faking his own death. Using technology to make himself invisible, he mounts a campaign of terror against a woman who is labeled mentally unstable for insisting that she’s being attacked by a person no one can see.


The first installment in director Andy Muschietti’s two-part adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel It, this opening chapter is the more effective half of the duology. A group of seven misfit kids who call themselves “the Losers Club” must vanquish an ancient evil that lives below their small Maine town. It takes the form of a clown called Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard), which might be the scariest thing that King ever devised.


Just the word Jaws will get the indelible theme music from Steven Spielberg’s aquatic horror movie stuck in your head. From John Williams’ brilliant score to Robert Shaw’s haunting monologue about being shipwrecked in shark-infested waters to the way that Spielberg builds tension by keeping the shark offscreen, Jaws sets the standard for all shark movies to follow. Even if you know exactly what’s coming, it’s just as scary every time.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

Horror master Wes Craven launched a mega-franchise with the original A Nightmare on Elm Street, giving audiences the first glimpse of superstar villain Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund). Freddy became a bit cartoonish in later movies, but in this first installment, he’s menacing and scary as he haunts the dreams of teenager Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) and her friends.


Directed by The Texas Chain Saw Massacre‘s Tobe Hooper and produced and co-written by Steven Spielberg, Poltergeist is one of the biggest horror hits of the 1980s, launching multiple sequels and an eventual remake. The simple story of a suburban family haunted by a demonic presence has become a horror classic thanks to iconic images like a spectral arm emerging from a static-filled television.


David Cronenberg’s breakthrough horror hit Scanners is still best known for its image of a character’s head exploding via a telepathic attack. But there’s more to the movie than that, with its story of a war between “scanners” (people with telepathic and telekinetic abilities) and the government agency trying to control them. It mixes Cronenberg’s early interest in body horror with a more mainstream sci-fi/conspiracy angle.


Jordan Peele’s Us turns a home-invasion thriller into something much larger and more sinister as it goes along. A family on vacation is attacked by what appear to be their evil doppelgangers, forcing them to confront buried secrets and also run for their lives. Lupita Nyong’o gives an intense performance as both the family’s protective matriarch and her devious double.

RELATED: The Best HBO Originals on HBO Max (May 2020)

This post was written by Josh Bell and was first posted to

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