Truly scary movies are rare birds in horror as too many filmmakers rely too heavily on lazy jump scares, but somewhat less difficult is the art of making a horror movie that’s legitimately fun to watch. Not just fun for hardcore genre fans, but fun for regular folks too. Happily, there are a lot of movies that fit the bill, and while your mileage may vary I’ve had great success showing many of the movies below at mini-movie marathons with friends in dark, creepy attics.
Some of the movies below are meant to be laugh-out-loud funny while others are more subdued in their humor. And some? Well some aren’t actually meant to leave you laughing at all despite the fact that you’ll be guffawing and choking on your movie-watching snacks of choice. Still others are less about the funny and more about the rousing, energetic horror of it all. All of them work as great fun to watch alone or with a group of friends in the mood for horror.
If you’re looking for scary flicks on streaming we got you covered here, but keep reading for a look at the most purely entertaining horror movies currently available on the big four streaming services of Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, and Shudder.
Laugh Dead Clown Laugh!
Amazon Prime – My love for Zombeavers (2014) is well documented thanks to its bloody effects, absurd humor, hilarious John Mayer cameo, and yes, the zombified beavers. The Return of the Living Dead (1985) remains one of the very best horror/comedies with grisly gore and blackly comic laughs. The Monster Club (1981) doesn’t get the respect it deserves as a fun, occasionally creepy horror anthology. Do yourself a favor and watch the utter joy that is Deathgasm (2015) with the volume turned up to eleven. Bad Taste (1987) is top three Peter Jackson and blends his love for the gory stuff with a wacky alien invasion plot.
Hulu – Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988) operates on a very particular wavelength, and that wavelength is cotton candy fun. Sure it’s far from PC, but The Monster Squad (1987, also on Amazon Prime) remains a fun gateway drug for kids interested in horror movies. Tragedy Girls (2017) is a whip-smart blast of slasher fun for the social media generations. Fans of old-school creature features and beer should give Grabbers (2012) a go.
Netflix – I’m admittedly in the minority on this one, but The Babysitter (2018) is a very funny, smart, and bloody take on the whole “babysitter in peril” slashers. Ignore the warning sign of Dolph Lundgren in a lead role, and just have fun with Don’t Kill It (2016). The Mansion (2017) is a funny French flick that drops a group of friends in a creepy old house where death awaits. Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010, also on Hulu and Shudder) takes backwoods slasher conventions and twists them in brilliantly funny ways.
Shudder – Found Footage 3D (2017) has fun with both parts of its title. Dude Bro Party Massacre III (2017) may sound dumb, but that’s all part of its hilariously brilliant plan. Sometimes you just want a reliable classic, and in those times Re-Animator (1985) most definitely fits the bill.
Fun But In a Shake Your Head WTF Kind of Way?
Amazon Prime – Q the Winged Serpent (1982) unleashes a flying dinosaur in New York City, and only Michael Moriarty can stop it. Frogs (1972) is an odd title for a film in which a whole swamp rises up against a mustache-less Sam Elliott, but it’s too late to change it now. Space vampires come to London in Tobe Hooper’s goofy Lifeforce (1985). Der Bunker (2015) is wonderfully absurd and maybe a little disturbing? Honestly, who wouldn’t hire Wings Hauser to be The Carpenter (1988)? Abominable (2006) is Rear Window but with Bigfoot, so yeah, you should watch it and then double feature it with Night of the Demon (1983) which takes Bigfoot in crazy, bloody, and utterly mad direction. Screaming Mad George does the effects for Society (1992), and that’s more than enough reason to watch. Cranberry sauce fans will enjoy the holiday shenanigans of Blood Rage (1987). Leslie Nielsen wrestles a bear shirtless in Day of the Animals (1977). If you haven’t picked up the excellent Vinegar Syndrome Blu-rays of Blood Hook (1987), Nightmare Weekend (1986), and the gloriously bonkers Demon Wind (1989) you can watch them here… and then buy the Blu-rays.
Hulu – Sure Mom and Dad (2018) lacks a third act, but the first two are pretty damn fun. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986, also on Amazon Prime) leaves behind the terror of the original in favor of the ridiculous. Christmas horror gets the Dick Maas treatment in the ridiculously fun Saint (2011). John Dies at the End (2013, also on Shudder) can’t be summarized in a single sentence, but you should watch it anyway.
Netflix – Come for the premise of Clown (2014) in which a guy gets trapped in an evil clown suit, but stay for the slaughter of little kids at Chuck E. Cheese.
Shudder – Turkey Shoot (1982) sees Steve Railsback fighting for survival against nature, fascists, and a werewolf. Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond (1983) piles on gore and atmosphere before delivering a big FU to conventional horror endings. Pieces (1983) isn’t exactly what you think it is. There’s fun throughout Sleepaway Camp (1983, also on Amazon Prime), but it’s the ending that’ll leave you screaming. The Visitor (1980) is the most pure definition of WTF cinema, and it pairs well with alcohol.
Energy, Adrenaline, and Catharsis!
Amazon Prime – Part remake, part sequel, all meta, The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014) is a lot of stylish fun. While the original is legit creepy, The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018) instead delivers a back half with energy and surprises. Smart slasher deconstructions don’t come much smarter than Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2007, also on Shudder). Afflicted (2014) delivers the most action-oriented slice of found footage horror you’re like to see. Animal attack movies bow down before the towering achievement in wild fun that is Grizzly (1976).
Hulu – Baskin (2016) unspools slowly at first before dropping viewers into a bloody and bonkers hell. The My Bloody Valentine (2009, also on Amazon Prime) remake is slasher simplicity elevated with a terrific sense of R-rated humor. No one’s seen Dark Was the Night (2014), but I promise it’s worth your time for creature feature fans. Splinter (2008) is another little-seen monster gem. Bong Joon-ho’s The Host (2007, also on Shudder) pits a tight-knit family against a mutated fish monster and might just leave you cheering and crying by its end.
Netflix – Zombie movies don’t come any more suspenseful, energetic, and emotionally charged than Train to Busan (2016).
Shudder – Revenge (2018) keeps the ugly assault off-screen but splashes the brightly lit revenge part before our eyes. Fans of sickos getting their ass handed to them by awesome women should also take a dip into Cold Hell (2017). Joe Lynch’s Mayhem (2017) sees blood splash up the corporate ladder. Better Watch Out (2017) is a smart home invasion tale with a killer ending. By contrast, the ending to High Tension (2005) is a dumpster fire, but getting there is worth the burn. Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead (1981) is a beloved classic that invigorates the undead with lively camera movements and Bruce Campbell.