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Leatherface is contemplative in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, with a mask on his face Image: Bryanston Distributing Company

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Some of the best horror movies ever are streaming for free

Catch up on some bloody classics

The list of great horror movies to watch can be daunting, and finding the best titles in the tangled mess of streaming services makes things ever harder. But this Halloween, you can simplify the entire spooky movie process by checking out a few horror classics streaming for free on services like Freevee and Tubi.

From seminal works to cult hits and more modern entries to the creepy canon, there are a lot of movies you can watch if you’re willing to put up with an ad or two. To help you sort through the selection, here are the best free horror movies you can check out this Halloween.

Unfriended: The Dark Web

A young man with bloodshot eyes pleads with the camera, as a woman is barely visible in the bottom right insert of another camera. Image: Blumhouse Productions

Director: Stephen Susco
Cast: Colin Woodell, Betty Gabriel, Stephanie Nogueras
Where to watch: Freevee

I have such fond memories of watching the first Unfriended at a coffee shop on my laptop. It felt like the perfect experience for a movie with its gimmick: The horrifying action all takes place on a Skype call, as viewed through one protagonist’s laptop screen.

Screenlife has become an emergent format in cinema, with Searching and this year’s stellar thriller Missing applying this approach to mysteries rather than horror. But for my money, the Unfriended franchise has done it best, fully immersing viewers in terror you can’t look away from. Improbably, Dark Web improved on the excellent original.

Dark Web is a different approach than Unfriended. In the first movie, a group of friends are haunted by the ghost of a former classmate. That movie is very blatantly supernatural, but Dark Web smartly takes the series to more realistically terrifying territory. When a group of friends find a laptop they shouldn’t have, they become hunted by the original owners. It’s tense, scary, and never lets up, making it perfect October viewing. —Pete Volk

The Wicker Man

Lord Summerisle holds two hands in the air as he preaches to the crowd and prepares light the wicker man and Sgt. Neil Howie aflame Image: British Lion Film Corporation

Director: Robin Hardy
Cast: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento
Where to watch: Tubi

A quaint island off the coast of Scotland is the perfect place to get away, unless of course you’re a devoutly Christian police officer sent to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. Which is, unfortunately, exactly the place Howie, the main character of The Wicker Man, finds himself in.

When Howie visits the remote Hebridean island, what he finds is a close-knit community who all seem to be keeping some kind of secret, and all seem to worshiping some god or spirit that seems far older than Jesus Christ. As he investigates the disappearance further, he spirals down into a deep web of pagan rituals, sacrifice, and horror, all of which make the original Wicker Man an absolute horror classic. —Austen Goslin

They Live

A man with a blond mullet in a blue flannel t-shirt peers incredulously as he tilts a pair of sunglasses from his eyes while standing in front of a news stand. Image: Universal Studios Home Video

Director: John Carpenter
Cast: Roddy Piper, Keith David, Meg Foster
Where to watch: Tubi

John Carpenter came here to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and he’s all out of bubble gum.

One of the greatest horror directors ever delivered one of his most memorable works in the sci-fi/horror hybrid They Live, starring wrestler Roddy Piper as a drifter who finds a pair of sunglasses that reveals the horrible truth of the world: Aliens have secretly taken over. A righteously angry anti-Reagan, anti-capitalist political work in an easy-to-swallow genre form, They Live was initially rejected by critics but has since been accepted as one of the most important (and most entertaining) Hollywood films of the 1980s.

Piper is absolutely fantastic in the lead role — his swagger and skill for physical acting from his wrestling career translates beautifully — and Keith David shines as his friend Frank. Like all Carpenter movies, the film has a fantastic score written by the man itself. And the five-and-a-half-minute alley fight between Piper and David, which took weeks to rehearse, is equally brutal, sad, and just a tad funny. —PV


Cary Elwes, rumpled and covered in filth, lies on a dirty basement floor and weeps as he tries to grab a cell phone lying on the floor just out of reach in the original 2004 Saw Image: Lionsgate

Director: James Wan
Cast: Cary Elwes, Leigh Whannell, Danny Glover
Where to watch: Tubi

The world is finally, little by little, turning around on the Saw franchise and realizing the whole thing is pretty great, and maybe not quite as torturous a watch as their reputation implies. However, one thing that was always clear is that the original Saw is excellent.

Mostly about two men trapped in a room, and what led them there in the first place, the movie replaces the gore the series would later employ with a whole heap of mounting dread and a literal ticking clock as the characters panic their way through being chained up in an old bathroom. There’s still plenty of scares and a bit of gore, but the original Saw is much more a great thriller than it is a terrifying slasher. —AG

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Leatherface wields a chainsaw over his head in the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Photo: Bryanston Distributing Company

Director: Tobe Hooper
Cast: Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger
Where to watch: Freevee

The idea that somewhere, on a forgotten American back road, something too horrible and twisted to imagine could exist without question or comment is one of the most haunting notions any horror movie can have. And few movies have ever implied that quite so well as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

The movie follows a group of kids road tripping across Texas until their van runs out of gas and the horrors of the town come out to greet them. An all-time horror classic, and to this day one of the most grisly, upsetting, and grimy movies ever made, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre hasn’t dulled at all since its release in 1974. —AG


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