13 Movies to Watch if You Like Wes Craven’s ‘Scream’

Do you like scary movies? We sure do. Here are some that remind us a whole lot of Wes Craven's meta-horror classic.
Drew Barrymore in Scream

Welcome to Beat the Algorithm — a recurring column dedicated to providing you with relevant and diverse streaming recommendations based on your favorite movies. Today, we’re recommending movies to watch if you like Wes Craven’s Scream.

With a whopping five entries under its belt, the self-reflexive Scream franchise has had a lot of time to accrue one hell of a fanbase. On the one hand, Scream is beloved by hardcore horror fans. It takes apart genre tropes, crafts some legendary deep cuts, and generally rewards those who know the genre well.

But Scream is also an excellent entry-point for genre newbies. The darkly comedic tone adds some levity to all the murder. And with different killers buoyed by the same lead (Neve Campbell’s iconic final girl Sidney Prescott), the driving force of the franchise is characters whom we care about, not a masked villain.

All of this means that when it comes to movie recommendations for Scream fans, there’s a lot of ground to cover. To run the gamut, we’ve drummed up some older, lesser-known flicks, as well as some vital heavy hitters. Whether you’re discovering these movies for the first time or are settling in for a good old-fashioned re-watch, these are our top 13 recommendations for fans of Wes Craven’s Scream.

The Old Dark House (1932)

This pre-code spooky romp might not have the bloody delights of modern horror, but don’t assume that means it lacks any of the entertainment value. Directed by James Whale, the movie follows a group of travelers who stumble upon a mysterious Welsh manor while seeking shelter from a storm. Inside, they discover that the house’s residents, the Femm family, have their own peculiarities.

With comedy mixed into the mystery, the movie’s colorful cast of characters all have their time to shine, particularly Boris Karloff as the butler. Once considered lost, its rediscovery in the 1960s has led to countless other directors finding inspiration from the classic gothic tale. As a staple of the genre, The Old Dark House is essential for horror fans, but will surely be especially appreciated by those who vibe with the film’s darkly comedic tone.

Available on AMC+ Roku Premium Channel, Hoopla, Tubi, Kanopy, DirectTV, Fandor, Shudder, Fandor Amazon Channel, Spectrum on Demand, and Flix Fling.

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Considering Scream is a Halloween viewing favorite, it’s vital we include an underrated Halloween classic: Frank Capra’s Arsenic and Old Lace. The black comedy takes place entirely on Halloween night, as Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) stops by the home of his two elderly aunts while en route to his honeymoon. But with Mortimer’s demented brother’s return coinciding with the revelation that his dear old aunts are up to some sinister antics of their own, things get a bit hectic.

Featuring a riotously hilarious performance from Grant and some genuinely frightful moments, Arsenic and Old Lace is a total blast that also plays with a lot of the genre tropes Scream would later comment on. Plus, it never hurts to be reminded that it’s always the ones you’d least suspect.

Available on The Criterion Channel.

Blood and Black Lace (1964)

If you’re into the Scream movies, we’re willing to bet that you’re into creative kills, masters of horror, and intricate mysteries. Well, welcome to giallo. There are quite a few Italian horror classics that could tickle your fancy, but we have to single out Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace. The movie centers on a Roman fashion house where the models are being murdered and everyone has something to hide.

Known especially for its iconic murder scenes, Blood and Black Lace is a bloody good time that can surprise even seasoned horror fans. Plus, with a focus on Italian 60s’ fashion, the movie’s aesthetic value really shines through. And if you know what we’re talking about when we say “Courtney Cox bangs,” you deserve some aesthetic beauty in your life.

Available on The Criterion Channel, Tubi, Fandor Amazon Channel, and Flix Fling.

Slumber Party Massacre (1982)

Originally conceived as a parody, then pivoted into a more straight-up slasher, Amy Holden Jones’ Slumber Party Massacre still retains a tongue-in-cheek approach to its material. When a drill-wielding killer sets his sights on the girls from a local high school, the blood is plentiful, the dark humor shines, and the pizza boy is doomed. This movie’s keen perspective on horror tropes has endeared it to countless genre fans and established it as a bonafide cult classic. Oh, and if this slashterpiece isn’t enough, it’s got two sequels. Why not make a day of it?

Available on AMC+ Amazon Channel, The Roku Channel, Vudu, Tubi, Redbox, Shudder, Popcornflix, PlutoTV, Shudder Amazon Prime Channel, Flix Fling, and Plex.

Fright Night (1985)

The 1990s might have popularized horror films with a meta-edge, but while we’re celebrating all the self-referential glee Scream brought to the table, it’s worth remembering the films that came before Wes Craven’s tongue-in-cheek-sterpiece. And that brings us to 1985’s Fright Night, a horror-comedy keenly interested in what would actually happen if a horror dork found themselves in one of the macabre movies they know inside and out.

Directed by Tom Holland, Fright Night follows Charley Brewster (William Ragsdale), a teen who discovers to his horror — and excitement — that his suave, sweater-wearing neighbor Jerry (Chris Sarandon) is a vampire. But who’s going to believe that a bloodsucker is stalking the suburbs? When the powers-that-be laugh in Charley’s face, he has no choice but to turn to the one man who has to believe him: his idol Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall), an aging thespian famous for playing a monster hunter on TV. Filled with sly winks and knowing nods to cinematic vampire tropes and hammer horror throwbacks, Fright Night is a practical-effects riddled romp that rewards fans of the genre.

Available to rent.

Night of the Creeps (1986)

The year is 1959, and a stray meteorite harboring a parasitic slug crash-lands on the outskirts of a small American college town. After some fumbling down at lovers’ lane, the intergalactic invertebrate winds up on ice for 30 years. Thankfully for the enterprising alien, two nerds unleash the brain-eating slug (now slugs) when they unfreeze the body in a desperate bid to join a fraternity. You know? How you steal dead bodies to join a frat?

With brain-slurping critters exploding out collegiate skulls, it’s up to the brave nerds and the boozed-up fuzz to get a grip on the invasion. Drawing a gleeful comparison between the 1950s and the 1980s B-movies, Night of the Creeps is a good, goofy, goopy time rounded out by a scene-chewing turn by the great Tom Atkins.

Available to rent.

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Anna Swanson and Meg Shields: Anna Swanson is a Senior Contributor who hails from Toronto. She can usually be found at the nearest rep screening of a Brian De Palma film.