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Halloween Hidden Gems On Netflix You Need To Watch

This content was paid for by Netflix and created by Looper.

Halloween isn't just a holiday celebrating everything that goes bump in the night. It's also an opportunity to kick back, let loose, and have some fun. Whether you're taking kids trick-or-treating, putting on a costume and heading to a party, or curling up on the couch to let the latest creature feature scare the pants out of you, Halloween is the one night of the year when anything seems possible. All it takes is some supernatural hijinks, a healthy imagination, and a little bit of magic.

A good Halloween movie is the same way. Yes, in a good Halloween flick you'll find plenty of scares, but it should also be playful. After all, Halloween is one of the rare holidays that anyone can enjoy, regardless of their age, upbringing, or social background. It's a day that's fun for everyone.

That's why, on this list, you'll find everything from slasher movies to horror-comedies to children's films to documentaries, all of which perfectly encompass the spirit of day, and most of which — hopefully — you haven't already seen a zillion times. So go ahead. Warm up some cider, grab some candy, and get in the Halloween mood with these hidden gems. And oh yeah, if you need to sleep with the lights on for the next few nights? We promise we won't tell.

The Guest

Like many horror movies, The Guest gets off to an inauspicious start. Shortly after Spencer and Laura Peterson's son Caleb dies in Afghanistan, one of his army buddies, Dave, stops by their house to pay his respects. He ends up staying for a while. That's fair enough. Dave is polite and charming, and as soon as he moves in, things take a turn for the better: He helps the Petersons' youngest son, Luke, with his bully problem. He saves their daughter Kristen's best friend from her abusive ex-boyfriend. Spencer, who's been having problems at his job, suddenly gets the promotion he's been dying for. Against all odds, things are looking good.

A little too good, it seems. Despite his harmless exterior, there's a little more going on with Dave than it seems, and it isn't long before the Petersons find themselves in their houseguest's crosshairs. The carnage builds and builds until it culminates on Halloween night, with a thrilling chase through the local high school's haunted house.

You'll come to The Guest for Apostle, Legion, and Eurovision star Dan Stevens, who absolutely slays as Dave, but you'll stay for the surprisingly witty script by horror maestro Simon Barrett (who also wrote Halloween-friendly hits like V/H/S) and the pitch-perfect direction by Adam Wingard, the man who brought you You're Next (which Barrett also wrote), Death Note, and Godzilla vs. Kong. Yes, The Guest is structured like a typical slasher film, but it's so well-made that it manages to avoid all of that genre's pitfalls without losing any of its pulpy charm. The Guest is thrilling, tense, and gory, and it's not a stretch to call it an instant Halloween classic.


Halloween isn't the only scary holiday. With enough twisted imagination, any festive occasion can become a horror show. Holidays, a 2016 horror anthology, proves it. In Holidays, eight filmmakers, including The Pact's Nicholas McCarthy, Legion's Scott Stewart, and Our House's Anthony Scott Burns, transform some of the happiest days of the year into the most sordid, depraved, and occasionally terrifying events you'll ever see. On Valentine's Day, one schoolgirl's gift to her wayward crush goes spectacularly wrong. On Mother's Day, a woman who can't stop getting pregnant consorts with a coven of witches, with expectedly disastrous results.

But for our purposes, Holidays' "Halloween" segment is the big attraction. The movie seems to know it, too. "Halloween" is directed by Kevin Smith, creator of Jay and Silent Bob and one of the most successful indie filmmakers in the business, and it's particularly unsettling, even when compared to the rest of Holidays' offerings. "Halloween" begins when a creep named Ian, who runs an internet-based sex company, refuses to let his employees celebrate the holiday. It ramps up when the three women decide to get revenge. And as for what happens next? Well, the results are just too gross to go into here. You'll have to see it for yourself.

Holidays can get very graphic, and it's not afraid to play with topics that other movies consider taboo. Don't watch if you don't have a strong tolerance for the repugnant. On the other hand, if pushing boundaries is your thing, you'll find a lot to love here, whether you're celebrating Halloween or any one of Holidays' other gruesome festivities.

The Witches

Ask any '90s kid which movie scared them the most, and there's a very good chance they're going to give the same answer: The Witches. Directed by Nicolas Roeg and produced by Jim Henson, this live-action adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic — but undeniably scary — novel performed well with critics but flopped at the box office, only to become a cult hit as the legions of children it traumatized reached adulthood.

Honestly, it's hard to decide which moment in this so-called "kids' film" is the most disturbing. Is it when the Woman in Black tries to bribe Luke with chocolate, or when she tries to give him a pet snake that's sure to devour him? Is it when that poor little girl gets trapped in a painting? Is it when the Grand High Witch incinerates her followers with her laser eyes, or when the witches transform a hapless little boy into a rodent against his will?

Nope. All of those are truly horrific, but there's one scene from The Witches that stands out among all others: When Anjelica Huston, standing in front of her followers, casually reaches back and rips her face off, revealing the monstrous visage underneath. It's a visual that's burned into the mind of every single kid who caught The Witches in theaters or on VHS. Even today, it's still pretty scary. So go ahead. This Halloween, share The Witches with the children in your life. Just remember, when they start complaining about nightmares: We warned you

Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is one of the most important horror stories ever told (according to many critics, it created the entire science fiction genre). James Whale's 1931 film adaptation, which introduced the world to Boris Karloff's iconic take on Frankenstein's Monster, made it a fixture of Halloween, too. Head outside on Halloween night, and you're guaranteed to see a few trick-or-treaters covered in green face paint while bolts stick out of their necks.

But it's also a story that's been around for a while, and if you're getting tired of the same old, same old, check out Frankenstein's Monster's Monster. This supremely offbeat and relentlessly meta mockumentary doesn't just reinvent the classic tale. It skewers it completely. Stranger Things star David Harbour plays both himself and his (fictional) father, David Harbour Jr., a celebrated stage actor who took himself a little too seriously. Apparently, one of Harbour Jr.'s most infamous projects was, you guessed it, Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein, a pseudo-sequel to Shelley's novel in which Doctor Frankenstein pretends to be his own monster in order to secure research funding from the lovely Miss Macbeth.

And that's only half the story. In addition to the fake play, which is presented as if it were recorded off of cable on an old VHS tape, the younger Harbour also interviews his father's old colleagues in order to shed some light on the play's origins, revealing some pretty startling facts about Harbour Jr. in the process. Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein is even weirder than it sounds, but if you're on its wavelength, it's a real treat.

The Mansion

Have you ever been to a Halloween party that went horribly bad? The kids in The Mansion sure have. Okay, okay, The Mansion's cast French twenty-somethings are actually celebrating New Year's Eve, not All Hallow's, but the difference is negligible. The gang decides to cut loose in a creepy old mansion and they spend almost the entire film in costume. If The Mansion isn't a Halloween movie in fact, it's certainly one in spirit.

Anyway, you can probably guess how this story goes. Bunch of young men and women shacked up in a mysterious house with no cell reception, lots of drugs and booze, and no one around for miles? It's only a matter of time before bodies start dropping. And yet the unknown killer is far from the only problem that the decidedly average revelers must deal with. As they try to unravel the mystery unfolding around them, long-simmering grudges bubble to the surface. That's bad news for the partiers, who can't seem to stop bickering long enough to fight for their lives, but good news for the audience. As it turns out, these people are all quite funny.

Unlike other horror comedies, The Mansion doesn't have a special hook. Structurally, it's a pretty straightforward slasher movie. It just happens to be one that's full of jokes. Even better, almost all of the comedy comes from the characters themselves. Outside of a few bloody sight gags and gory slapstick moments, the dialogue and the actors' performances carry the comedy. In this case, that's a good thing. The Mansion has a talented cast, and their skills elevate a standard horror movie setup into something incredibly special.


Forget the pumpkin carving, the costumes, and the candy. You know what really makes Halloween great? The monsters. Over the years, vampires, ghosts, witches, mummies, and werewolves have all become Halloween staples, and with good reason. Quite simply, they're all a lot of fun.

They've also been around for quite a while, and these days it can be hard to find fresh takes on such well-established mythologies. That's what makes movies like Wildling so exciting. Technically, Wildling is a werewolf movie. In the film, a young woman with a tragic and mysterious past starts undergoing weird bodily changes as she hits belated puberty. It doesn't take long before her heightened senses, brand new claws, and copious amounts of body hair clue her in to what's really going on.

Lycanthropy as a metaphor for puberty isn't exactly new — the cult classic Ginger Snaps covers the same material, as does the woefully underrated The Company of Wolves, the '80s comedy Teen Wolf, and that latter movie's more mature MTV adaptation. What is new, however, is how the story is told. Wildling has a strong indie movie vibe, is fearless when it comes to tackling social issues, and more than earns its feminist pedigree. It's also anchored by a number of tour de force performances, particularly from The Diary of a Teenage Girl's Bel Powley, who, as the lead, more than holds her own against big-name actors like Liv Tyler and Brad Dourif. You've seen werewolf movies before, but trust us, you haven't seen one quite like this.


Spend enough time trick-or-treating in the same neighborhood and you'll learn which houses to hit up, and which ones to avoid. The mansion a few blocks away where you can score full-sized candy bars? That's your first stop. The misanthrope at the end of the street who hands out cough drops, raisins, or worst of all, toothbrushes? Avoid at all costs.

As such, at this point, the kids in Los Angeles have probably learned not to knock on the door at 1BR. Unfortunately, Sarah didn't get the message. As a new resident of the City of Angels, Sarah just wants to find a decent place to stay. When she finds an apartment in a complex where everyone seems to get along regardless of age, race, or social background, where the sense of community is off the charts, and where the rent isn't going to break the bank, it seems almost too good to be true.

Spoiler: It is. While 1BR takes a little while to play its hand, Sarah eventually learns that she's signed up for much more than she bargained for, and that the seemingly loving community comes with a very, very high price (in hindsight, all those security cameras she was told not to worry about probably should've been a tip-off). The struggle that follows treads the line between a taut psychological thriller and good old-fashioned torture porn, elevated by some interesting concepts and writer-director David Marmor's tight direction. Give yourself over to 1BR and enjoy the ride, but be wary. You'll never look at your neighbors the same way again.

Hostage to the Devil

It's one thing to watch demons and other supernatural creatures wreak havoc on your TV screen. It's another to tangle with them in real life. Just look at Malachi Martin's story. Martin, a disillusioned Catholic priest, claimed to have performed thousands of exorcisms over the course of his life, and endured many injuries as a result. According to some, the work even killed him.

Martin's whole bizarre story is laid out in Hostage to the Devil, a documentary that traces his early days in the church, his ultimate disappointment with Vatican II and his departure from the faith, his time as a best-selling author of 17 books, four of which were bestsellers, and his career as an exorcist, including his unexpected, possibly demonic, demise. Allegedly, Martin assisted in his first exorcism while researching the Dead Sea Scrolls, and went on to become a popular figure in the paranormal investigation community thanks to his 1976 book Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Living Americans. Unfortunately, that fame came at great cost. Not only did Martin suffer broken bones and other wounds during his work, but some of his closest confidants claim his 1999 death was the result of supernatural forces who wanted to stop Martin's anti-demon crusade.

While you watch, you'll also learn a lot about the Catholic church's complicated relationship with exorcism, the bigger world of paranormal investigators, and more. Still, Martin is the focus here, and rightly so. His story is odd, eerie, and fascinating, and unlike fictional horror stories, the demons don't go away when the credits roll.

Tales From the Hood 2

There's more to horror than jump scares. Classics like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Dawn of the Dead and modern hits like Get Out, The Invisible Man, and Lovecraft Country use horror as a vehicle for politically charged commentary, allegory, and comedy. Tales from the Hood 2, an anthology film directed by Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott and produced by Spike Lee, does the same.

Like the original 1995 anthology film, Tales from the Hood 2 contains a number of short segments that directly address issues facing the modern black community. In Tales from the Hood 2's framing sequence, a prison tycoon develops a racist AI dedicated to stopping crimes before they happen, a plot that feels all too relevant in 2020. In a segment called "The Sacrifice," a Black politician who has allied himself with a vote-suppressing Republican candidate is haunted by the ghost of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy who became a civil rights icon after his murder. "Good Golly" tackles the history of racist propaganda in the United States, while "Date Night" handles gaslighting and sexual assault.

Just because Tales from the Hood 2 has a social conscience doesn't mean that it isn't entertaining, though. Like its predecessor, this anthology infuses politics with wit, humor, and plenty of frights, and somehow manages to mix B-movie sensibilities with legitimately clever satire. You'll laugh, you'll scream, and hopefully, you'll come away from the experience a little bit wiser.


But maybe you don't like Halloween. While everyone else is out trick-or-treating, heading to parties, or scaring themselves silly, maybe you'd prefer to sit at home, alone, where it's quiet and boring. Well, too bad. As #Alive proves, even shutting out the outside world won't save you from spooky dealings. In fact, it may even make things worse.

In #Alive, Burning star Yoo Ah-in plays Oh Joon-woo, a professional streamer who decides to stay home when his parents, who he lives with, head out to run some errands. It's the last time he ever sees them. As fate would have it, a zombie outbreak erupts while Joon-woo is busy gaming, throwing South Korea into chaos and changing, well, everything. As the zombie hordes surround his apartment building, Joon-woo watches the chaos unfold from his apartment balcony, eventually befriending a neighbor across the street who he ultimately teams up with in their quest for survival.

A lot of zombie movies have come out over the past few years, and it's hard to blame anyone who's suffering from fatigue. Still, even if you're sick of the living dead, #Alive is worth checking out. Not only does the claustrophobic setting and unique viewpoint breathe some new life into the genre, but Yoo is a charismatic and compelling performer who's more than capable of carrying the film. Besides, #Alive is a great cautionary tale for all the curmudgeons out there: Whenever you get the opportunity to celebrate Halloween, go out and do it. You never know when your next chance is going to be your last.