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The Best Free Horror Movies You Can Watch On YouTube Right Now

In his treatise on the nature of human fear, American multi-instrumentalist Andrew Gold posited that, "Spooky, scary skeletons / Send shivers down your spine / Shrieking skulls will shock your soul / Seal your doom tonight." He was right, of course — spooky scary skeletons can, as a rule, be counted on to sneak from their sarcophagi and just not let you be. But what if you're not close to a sarcophagus? What, indeed, if bags of bones are, to your eyes, a terror that's best categorized as merely semi-serious?

If that's the case, then consider this: YouTube offers a genuine smorgasbord of horror flicks, each designed to scare you and the ones you love, and each for the unbeatable price of zero dollars. The list is extensive, and runs the gamut from blood-soaked action to psychological thrillers that'll have you questioning the very nature of your existence — you know, just for fun. Here, we'll take a look at some of the best and most gruesome films that YouTube has on the menu.

Cube

On paper, Cube really should have turned out boring and bad. It was shot on a budget of less than half a million dollars on a Toronto sound stage and, in an especially foreboding development, involved hiring a math consultant. It had precisely no right to be good.

But here we are, nearly 25 years later, and Cube is still a classic of the low-budget, high-concept horror oeuvre. Written and directed by Splice's own Vincenzo Natali, it tells the story of a group of strangers caught in what could best be described as a page from the Jigsaw Killer's dream journal — a maze of identical square rooms, intermittently booby trapped with all manner of unpleasantries, ranging from your boilerplate face-melting acid to a device that turns people into easily stackable segments of themselves. Typical as to what tends to happen in these situations, the argument is presented that human cube steak machines aren't the real monster — the real monster was the friends we made along the way.

Nosferatu the Vampyre

A full forty years before he tried to kidnap Grogu, acclaimed filmmaker and amateur Henry Kissinger impersonator, Werner Herzog, took a swing at the legend of Dracula, reimagining 1922's Nosferatu, the single most beloved piece of stone-cold plagiarism in the history of cinema.

The result: Nosferatu the Vampyre. Released in Germany as Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht, the movie starts out about as unsettling as is generally considered possible, smacking viewers right in the gob with shots of very real, entirely not fake bodies of mummified children. With the tone having been set, the story continues in roughly the same direction as Bram Stoker's original novel, while taking design cues from the original Nosferatu and ramping up the horror thanks to Herzog's unique eye for creeping you the hell out.

Nosferatu the Vampyre has received near universal critical acclaim since its 1979 debut. Klaus Kinski's performance as the film's ratlike blood sucker, creepy from the get-go, becomes all the more unnerving when you realize that he's currently in your closet and there's nothing you can do about it.

Trollhunter

Trollhunter, confusingly released in varying territories as The Troll Hunter, Troll Hunter, and Trolljegeren (pronounced how it's spelled), marked the beginning of writer/director André Øvredal's rise to stardom. Before helming the psyche-splintering American horror hit The Autopsy of Jane Doe, he took audiences into the mountains of Scandinavia for a found footage horror mockumentary about some particularly nasty bear attacks.

What makes these attacks so gruesome? Well, it turns out that they're not being carried out by bears so much as towering fairy tale trolls with a thirst for Christian blood. Luckily for the laplands, Norway has its own team of federal troll exterminators — think the Men in Black, minus a budget and with more windbreakers. The result is a charmingly bizarre series of adventures featuring astonishingly rad monsters and the brave and hearty norsemen who explode them. Ever wondered what the Brian Froud creatures from Labyrinth would get up to if they weren't so busy choreographing their dance numbers? The answer, according to Trollhunter, is carnage.

Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead

Uniformed, goose-stepping Nazis have luckily become more of a rarity to come by in the years following World War II. However in 2009's Dead Snow, the plot merged them with cinema's other favorite baddy to blow up, stab, and slap chop into pulpy bits: the humble zombie.

All of which raises a new problem: how do you up the ante on a story about undead fascists? In 2014, Dead Snow writer and director Tommy Wirkola gave audiences the answer: surgically attach a sentient zombie arm to the hero from the last movie. Maybe toss in an army of shambling Communist corpses, too. Also, see if Martin Starr is available, since he's literally only ever made things better.

Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead is a certifiable banger of a flick, somewhere between Army of Darkness and Shawn of the Dead in tone, with shades of Idle Hands and the undeniably striking image of a zombie in an SS uniform driving a tank thrown in for good measure.

Black Christmas

Mention that John Carpenter's Halloween was the original slasher movie in a room full of horror nerds and there's a chance that they'll collapse the building you're in with the force of their collective cries of "Black Christmas!"

Released a full four years before Michael Meyers donned his favorite William Shatner mask and got down to the business of scaring the Activia out of Jamie Lee Curtis, 1974's Black Christmas had a strong head start on the relentless teenager-killing genre. Directed by Bob Clark, who would go on to traumatize even more holiday moviegoers with the tongue on a pole scene in A Christmas Story, the film delves into the up-until-then largely unexplored horrors of sorority life and the complications that arise when a bloodthirsty serial killer climbs into your attic window.

The cast is stacked with talent — Superman's Margot Kidder, Romeo and Juliet's Olivia Hussey, and the never-not-good Great News star Andrea Martin, all share the screen. We won't give away the ending, but considering that it's not exactly one of the most talked-about horror films in most circles, it has a classic third act twist that'll have you saying "oh, that's what that's from."