Best Halloween Movies On Netflix, Hulu And Amazon Streaming

This is kind of a tangential post for the site, but there’s only a week left until Halloween and I thought it’d be nice to compile some of the Halloween movies available on the streaming services you may already subscribe to. The convenience of these services are great, but sometimes the organization and navigation through their vast archives can be a bit of a nightmare. So, here is a list (with direct links included) of some of the Halloween flicks that Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime have to offer in Fall 2012.


Let The Right One In (2008) – This is one of the few vampire films of the recent decade that actually warrants being watched and rewatched. This superlative Norwegian feature spawned an American remake only two years after it was released. If that’s not a compliment, I don’t know what is. Either way, be sure to check out the story of Oscar, a bullied boy, who finds friendship with his next door neighbor, Eli, an ageless vampire.

The Thing (1982) – John Carpenter’s classic monster movie is available on the Netflix que, ready to remove the stale aftertaste of the ho-hum remake/prequel of yesteryear. I still hold this film in high regard as one of the best horror movies of all time, even with its practical special effects and 80s haircuts.


The Walking Dead (2010) – Not a movie, but if you really want to put yourself through the wringer of a Halloween marathon, look no further than AMC’s popular zombie series. While this show certainly has its peaks and valleys, it still has a solid foundation and employs some interesting ideas in a genre that is generally saturated with cliche and derivative form.

Insidious (2010) – Sure, the last half of this movie kind of tails off from the more superior first hour, but if you’re looking for a ghost movie with some legitimate scares, look no further than original Saw helmer James Wan’s ghost story. The film follows a family who is trying to prevent an evil spirit from possessing their son after he falls into a comatose state.


Honorable Mentions on the Netflix Que: Dead Snow, Bubba Ho-Tep, Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, Candyman, GhostThe Host, Paranormal Activity 2, The Relic, The Langoliers, The Reef, Monkey Shines, The Signal, Little Monsters.

Amazon Prime

Triangle (2009) – A criminally overlooked horror movie and probably the best of the ‘ghost ship’ movies, Triangle combines elements of ghost movies, slasher fare and time travel to produce a rather intriguing tale about a group of passengers who become trapped on a haunted cruise ship. I don’t know if this description does it justice, but I found it to be one of the more worthy recent efforts from the horror genre, falling somewhere between a meld of Ghost Ship and Timecrimes. So, if you want to try something a little different this Halloween, definitely check this one out.

The Addams Family (1991) – For some family fare, why not revisit the Adams Family movie? Truthfully, I don’t remember the last time I saw this film, but with a cast that boasts Raul Julia, Christoper Lloyd, Christina Ricci and Anjelica Huston, it’s probably worth revisting, if not just for nostalgia’s sake. While still brandishing a pg-13 rating, it still should be able to be shown to most middle aged kids if you are looking for an alternative to the standard adult oriented Halloween films.

The Descent (2005) – Cave creatures! One of the more respected entries in the creature genre over the last decade, The Descent spawned a sequel and at least a dozen knockoffs, creating a subgenre that might as well be labeled ‘spelunking horror.’ Your enjoyment of this film probably hinges on your level of claustrophobia, the crowd you watch it with and the number of times you are comfortable screaming “Cave creatures!” at the screen. Be warned. This one is not for people who are afraid of small spaces.

The Blair Witch Project (1999) – The Blair Witch Project may be a polarizing piece of cinema, but it really deserves credit for giving birth to the ‘found footage’ genre, especially within horror films. Say what you will about the movie and its controversial ending, but as Paranormal Activity 4 proved to be king of the Halloween box office this year, TBWP’s lasting influence cannot be denied.


Honorable Mention:  Jeepers CreepersPoltergeist, Killer Klowns From Outer SpaceNear Dark, Hellraiser, The Wicker Man (1973), Evil Dead 2, Hostel.


Halloween (1978) – While this series may have way too many entries and remakes to its name and seems to follow a cycle of frustrating repetition (Dear God, why didn’t you just jettison Michael Myers into space after the third movie instead of continually putting him in some easily escapable mental institution, guarded only by a single elderly janitor?), the original Halloween can’t be denied as a horror classic. John Carpenter once again proves his talent by melding the slasher genre into what it still remains to this day. This also contains the best horror movie score of all the slasher movies. So, points for that.

Below (2002) – I can’t say it has much competition, but this has to be the best submarine ghost movie of all time. Although, like I said, I can’t think of any other submarine ghost movies. There are quite a few ghost ship movies, but not ghost submarine movies. Either way, this movie, much like Triangle, is relatively unknown, but worthy of a larger audience. It has some quality scares, a decent cast and an intriguing plot about again, a haunted submarine.

Night of the Living Dead (1968) – Certainly one of the oldest movies on the list, George Romero’s classic zombie flick deserves to be on this list because half this list wouldn’t exist without his cinematic contributions, especially Night of the Living Dead. There would be no Walking Dead, Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later, etc if it wasn’t for this man and his early entries into horror cinema. If you’re one of those people who really can’t sit down and tolerate watching anything made before 1980, why not show it some love and at least stream it in the background during your Halloween party this year. I’m sure that would make George Romero a happy man.

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) – Robert Rodriguez’s infamous vampire flick has one of the strangest casts of all time, featuring George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Juliette Lewis, Cheech Martin, Harvey Keitel and Salma Hayek. One thing that I really appreciate about this movie is that it plays against type with a lot of its casting choices. So, kudos for flip flopping Keitel and Clooney’s roles to have Clooney as the bad guy/anti-hero and Keitel as the good guy/caring father.


Really Netflix, Hulu, Amazon? What’s The Deal Not Having? (aka egregious omissions from their Halloween streaming lineups): The Lost Boys, The Shining, Fright Night (1985), The Frighteners, Shaun of the Dead, Scream, Monster Squad, Nightmare Before Christmas, Gremlins, 28 Days Later, Dead Alive, Ghostbusters, Hocus Pocus, The Orphanage, The Witches and Sleepy Hollow.


Not seeing the movie you were looking for on any of these services that you might already pay for? Well, do not despair. You can rent most other Halloween movies from some of the video on demand services and if you have cable, AMC and a few other networks will be looping most of the Halloweens, Friday the 13ths, Child’s Plays and Nightmare on Elm Streets for the entire week.

This Week’s Writing Links

This week’s writing links include the looming start date of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and some reminders on how to prepare for it. Also, we have a list of long awaited sci-fi sequels and prequels, Harper Lee’s letter to Oprah about books, the five unusual habits of Ernest Hemingway (one of them is that he machine gunned sharks trying to poach his catches while fishing) and the conclusion to Lois Lowry’s Giver quartet.

So, yes, November is around the corner and with it will come turkey, the Lions losing on Thanksgiving, some dreary weather and NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month for those unfamiliar is the program that challenges writers to try to start and complete a novel in the month of November.

The effectiveness of NaNoWriMo is often questioned, some dismissing it as gimmicky, but I don’t think it deserves criticism. Yes, it’s difficult to write an effective and coherent book in a month, but if the program gets people writing, then I can’t really foresee any sort of negative effect to it.

Either way, I’m just going to use the month as an excuse to finish projects I’ve been working on (I know this is considered cheating for NaNoWriMo, but oh well). And if you haven’t participated in the program before, why not give it a shot this year? Here are some links to get you started.



– How To Prepare For NaNoWriMo (writersdigest)

– NaNoWriMo Headquarters (nanowri)

– Sci-fi Sequels And Prequels That We’ve Waited Decades For (io9)

– Harper Lee’s Letter To Oprah About Love of Books (flavorwire)

– The 5 Unusual Habits of Ernest Hemingway (inktank)

– Lois Lowry’s ‘Son’ Finally Concludes ‘The Giver’ (avclub)

– SF Signal Reviews ‘When The Villain Comes Home’ (sfsignal)

– Alan Rickman Knew Harry Potter’s End Years Before Anyone Else (huffington)

– Carolyn Marsden: 7 Things I’ve Learned So Far (guidetoliteraryagents)

– How Not To Use Twitter For Writers (kseniaanske)

io9’s Best Sci-Fi And Fantasy Books To Cheer You Up

I just want to quickly divert everyone to a cool post io9 did today on sci-fi and fantasy novels to cheer you up when you’re feeling blue. It’s a cool list with some of my favorite books on it. The books that I’ve read on the list do have a very uplifting element to them whether it be adventurous escapism, good-natured humor or great overall writing. Be sure to check the list out.

Also, in other news, New Zealand has officially issued Hobbit coins as legal tender. Amazing.

Looper Review

Just a quick disclaimer. Looper isn’t based on a book and I usually try to keep this site centered on books or movies based off books, but if it’s good sci-fi, I’m going to include it here because this is a sci-fi oriented site and I write sci-fi. I should also point out that I don’t particularly like doing reviews on the site, but I do make exceptions when I want to say a bunch of nice things about a book/movie. So, when reviews appear on my site they tend to be positive schmaltz fests. This will also be a rather broad, mostly spoiler free review.

So, Looper. I enjoyed the movies that writer/director Rian Johnson did before Looper, even though they had their flaws and may be to an extent esoteric products. Johnson sometimes gets comparisons to being a sort of Wes Anderson lite, which might help explain the mildly esoteric nature of his work. Like Wes Anderson, not everyone is going to be on the same wavelength as what he is making, but that’s okay. It happens and you either like what he makes or you don’t.

His first film, Brick, was a cool movie, but certainly wasn’t for everyone. Not everyone is going to appreciate a hybrid film noir homage set in a high school where the kids speak in highly stylized flurries. Cool idea, well executed for a low budget feature, very unique, but a bit of a niche movie when you step back and look at it.

His next film, The Brothers Bloom, has one of the more pitch perfect beginnings to a movie I’ve seen in quite awhile. It’s a quirky comedy about a pair of con men brothers who try to find their way in the world. The first 45 minutes of this film are just flat out great in my opinion. The last half is kind of all over the place though and never quite hits any of the creative peaks of the opening. Ultimately it disappoints in a sense because of the rather jarring dichotomy created by these two separate halves. Still another very unique, commendable film that I like very much.

But with his latest time travel tale Looper, Johnson has created his most accessible and consequently best product to date. It is a time travel story about Joe, a Looper or specialized assassin who kills marks sent to him from the future. The story’s dramatic turn comes when Joe must scramble to save himself after he fails to kill the future version of himself sent back for removal. This is a film that draws on a number of unexpected influences ranging from High Noon, Witness, Terminator, Pet Cemetery, X-Men and 12 Monkeys. I saw one apt movie review cite it is as a “Christopher Nolan movie with a sense of humor” and I find myself agreeing with that assessment.

The great thing about Looper though is that it will surprise you by ignoring many of the established conventions of the genre. I was very excited to see this movie, built up certain expectations for it, but ultimately found it to be a completely different movie when I saw it. I wasn’t disappointed by any means, just surprised. I suppose I was expecting something more along the lines of Shane Carruth’s Primer in terms of level of difficulty to follow and got something that was oddly straight forward, which to be honest, was quite refreshing. Looper is ambitious, creative, inventive, well-written and sometimes complex, but it is never convoluted to the point of frustration. Johnson really anchors this movie in some practical ideas (even in a sci-fi context) and I think this goes a long way toward making it an enjoyable film. In fact, it is these touches of simplicity that I find most rewarding about Looper. There are complex paradoxical situations created, but nothing on the level of Primer‘s brain hurt.

One of these aforementioned surprises has to be the Witness inspired last half hour of the film which almost exclusively takes place on a farm, bucking the massive finale set piece you would expect out of a sci-fi action movie. There is a large element of the plot (not to wade into spoiler territory) that almost doesn’t appear at all in previews, but when it is revealed, you don’t necessarily feel cheated or treat it as an unwelcome addition. Especially since the two characters involved in this thread and the actors portraying them are so strongly written and directed.

I feel as though I’ve only taken the time to praise Looper for being accessible and simplistic in a genre that often produces convoluted, niche films. There is so much more to the film though and if you go to see it, you will discover a tense, nuanced, well-written, acted, designed and directed picture. I’m not even touching on how solid some things are like Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s performance, the makeup and prosthetics used for the young Bruce Willis look, Jeff Daniels being reliably great, Paul Dano being reliably whiny and a number of other nice touches. I also want to commend director Rian Johnson for being so open about answering questions regarding the film and even going as far as releasing a downloadable commentary track that people can play on their iPods while watching it in theaters.

Either way, go see Looper. It’s bound to be less polarizing than Prometheus, much easier to take a date to and has a few scenes of great vintage Die Hard era Bruce Willis at work. Can’t ask for much more than that in a trip to the movies.

Also, if you have seen the film and don’t mind drifting into spoiler territory, check out these cool Looper links:

Looper Timeline Diagram

Ten Mysteries In Looper Explained By Director Rian Johnson

If Disney Had Made Looper In 1994

Looper‘s IMDB page

Rian Johnson Releases Downloadable Audio Commentary Track For Theaters

This Week’s Writing Links

The beginning of fall (should) bring productivity back to those writers who are suffering from summer sabbaticals away from their typewriters. It is much easier to force yourself to produce those 1,000 words a day now that the nice weather has left us.

To help you get back on the right track, we have some writing links this week, including Chicago’s One City, One Book for the season (Zusak’s The Book Thief), JK Rowling’s rather quick return to children’s fiction, SF Signal’s podcast about the domination of bleak sci-fi within the genre and the AV club’s review of Slow Apocalypse.

Chicago’s One City, One Book is a program that promotes reading through the selecting of a novel for a city wide book club. This season’s choice is Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief, which for those of you that have not read it is a fantastic book. It reminded me of really great YA/children’s books I read as a kid like Maniac Magee, Number the Stars and The Giver. Books that really stay with you long after you’ve read the last lines.

Zusak will be in Chicago at the end of the month to speak about the book. If you are in the area, make sure not to miss it. He will be in town on Oct. 22. You can check the schedule for other Book Thief events this month here.

Other posts to come this week (hopefully): A Looper review, Good Character, Great Speeches Feature and another post on Chapter Pacing. But for now, links!



The Book Thief Is Chicago’s One City, One Book Selection (chipublib)

– JK Rowling’s Next Book To Be A Children’s Book (yahoo)

– Sherman Alexie’s Top 10 Pieces Of Advice For Writers (writersdigest)

– How To Find The Right Agent Webinar: Oct 11 (guidetoliteraryagents)

– 10 Essential Books For Book Nerds (flavorwire)

– Av Club Reviews John Varley’s Slow Apocalypse (avclub)

– SF Signal Podcast: Are Optimistic Sci-fi Stories Gone Forever? (sfsignal)

Rise of Ransom City Sweepstakes (tor)

– Tricia Drammeh’s The Claiming Words Release (amazon)

– Be On The Lookout For Starry Wisdom Library’s Anthology Release (starrywisdom)