12 Movies To Watch If You Loved Halloween Kills

"Halloween Kills" is sensational. As our own Marshall Shaffer remarked in his review, the movie "manages to put a playful but petrifying spin on mythology without resorting to cheap self-referentiality," and he is absolutely right. "Halloween Kills" is stacked to the rafters with gory kills, franchise callbacks, and familiar faces, including Nancy Stephens and Kyle Richards as older versions of the same characters they played in John Carpenter's original. 

Available to watch now both in theaters and streaming on Peacock, "Halloween Kills" is the perfect way to ease into the Halloween spirit. Those of us here at /Film are liable to watch the movie dozens of times, but for audiences looking for something similar that hits some of the same beats, here are 12 movies to watch if you loved "Halloween Kills" (other than both John Carpenter's "Halloween" and David Gordon Green's 2018 reboot, to which "Halloween Kills" is a direct sequel). Let's begin.

12. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

"Halloween Kills" makes some compelling allusions to the sixth entry in the original "Halloween" canon, "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers." According to the book "Halloween: 25 Years Of Terror" (per ScreenRant), the sixth "Halloween" movie underwent several rewrites and reshoots, infamously resulting in two veritably distinct versions of the same movie: a standard theatrical cut and the cult-favorite Producer's Cut. Whichever version audiences choose to watch, "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers" remains a curious yet nonetheless engaging entry in the original franchise timeline (in which Jamie Lee Curtis' Laure Strode is killed off-screen between the second and fourth entry). 

Michael looks the best he ever has since the original, and it features some of the franchise's grisliest deaths. Though maligned by both critics and audiences at the time, it's worth revisiting, in no small part because of how it influences Green's trajectory in his new trilogy. It's one of the oddest entries in the entire franchise, but for fans with patience, it's sure to reward.

11. Terrifier

"Terrifier" is a cult hit, a movie so deliciously deranged and abounding with gonzo gore, a sequel was swiftly greenlit for release in 2022. Directed by Damien Leone, David Howard Thornton stars as Art the Clown, a masked maniac who stalks a nondescript town one Halloween evening, violently killing anyone unfortunate enough to encounter him. The gore is so outrageously violent, "Terrifier" remains unrated. Additionally, Art the Clown has ascended toward something of a modern horror icon, a silent yet sensationally engaging masked killer.

Produced on a meager, partially crowdfunded budget, "Terrifier" never fails to entertain. While the gore can occasionally push boundaries — it certainly isn't for the squeamish — the final product belies its modest origins. /Film's own Chris Evangelista remarked that "Terrifier" is "one of the goriest movies I've ever seen" (he isn't a fan), yet he too concedes that there's a certain oddity that has attracted a cult following. Though it won't work for everyone, fans of unrated, unhinged, and totally unpredictable slasher horror should look no further than "Terrifier."

10. Hatchet II

"Hatchet," like "Terrifier," has modest roots, gonzo gore, a stacked cast of genre veterans, and is concerned principally with carnage. An early template for "Halloween Kills," this sequel to Adam Green's original has the likes of Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, and AJ Bowen returning to the site of the first film's massacre to track down and kill Victor Crowley, the Bayou Butcher, once and for all. 

"Hatchet II" ups the ante of the first, nearly doubling the number of on-screen kills from the first, the likes of which include giant chainsaws, skinning, and boat motors. It's ludicrous in the best way as returning director Adam Green bounces from one over the top death to the next, all splendidly realized on-screen with stellar FX work. Infamous for its unrated release — AMC agreed to show the film unrated in 68 theaters across the country, only to back out day of (per Entertainment Weekly) – the movie is a love letter to the genre. Not all of it lands; the humor, as horror comedies are wont to do, is often juvenile. But the gore and cast more than make up for its shortcomings.

9. Scream 2

The horror community has long been divided on whether "Scream" or "Scream 2" is the best in Wes Craven's long-running meta slasher series (which is poised for a fifth film next January). Wherever one lands (personally, I think they're both perfect in their own distinct ways that renders comparison moot), "Scream 2" is one of the genre's definitive sequels. Like "Halloween Kills," it ups the ante, broadening its scope, accelerating the violence, and focusing preeminently on the roots of trauma and its capacity to infect an entire community.

Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) returns, this time as a college student once again embroiled in the middle of a masked massacre. Stronger, more resolved, and resolute about surviving, she's one of the genre's best final girls, one now concerned not only with herself, but the lives of those closest to her. Laurie Strode, is that you? It's a fantastic sequel and a worthwhile slasher in its own right. Get ready to scream again.

8. Initiation

"Initiation" is one of the newest entries on this list. John Berardo directed, wrote, and produced a feature-length adaptation of his own short film, "Dembanger." A contemporary slasher, "Initiation" stars Lindsay LaVanch as Ellery (just accept the name), a college student investigating the deaths of both her brother and several others at the hands of a masked assailant.

"Initiation" sports some stellar practical gore, fantastic chase scenes, and a narrative rooted in college culture — namely, allegations of sexual assault and how little support there is for survivors. With a masked killer, a trauma-centered narrative, and almost prescient relevancy, "Initiation" is what "Halloween Kills" might look like on a smaller scale with indie roots. It's fun, unpredictable, and one of 2020's most unsung gems. While it's unlikely to inspire new genre initiates, those eager for something new yet familiar will find a lot to love here, even if it's not (unfortunately) a remake of the 1984 slasher of (nearly) the same name.

7. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

The original "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" from 1974 is a classic for good reason. Little, perhaps nothing, has matched co-writer-director Tobe Hooper's grounded intensity and verisimilar thrills. Though only a movie, so much of it feels real, raw in acting and execution. Its remake, conversely, is unequivocally a movie. It's a very, very good movie, though. Directed by Marcus Nispel and produced by Platinum Dunes, 2003's "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" undoubtedly ignited the horror remake craze, and — as is true with most trends — the first is usually the best. Slicker, more expensive, and veritably more violent (Hooper's original features next to no on-screen blood and gore), "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" remake is very much a movie of its time.

Post 9/11 anxiety, contemporary demands for more violence, and a caustic interrogation of American mythos, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" is "Halloween Kills" set in Texas. It's violent, intense, and unrelenting in its slaughter. It's a refraction of the modern world and never shies away from showing just how ugly things have gotten. It's unpleasant, uncomfortable, and absolutely deserving of a watch.

6. Terror Train

"Terror Train" has all the hallmarks of an eighties slasher. It's got a masked killer, hedonistic teens, and a "Prom Night" mystery riff at its center. Additionally, like "Prom Night" and Carpenter's original "Halloween," it's got Jamie Lee Curtis in the starring role. She stars as Alana Maxwell, one of several college students celebrating the new year aboard a moving train. The party is themed, and Alana — along with the dozens of other guests — are all dressed in costume.

Director Roger Spottiswoode makes great use of the central conceit, having his killer — originally seen in a Groucho Marx mask — don the mask of every new victim (a gimmick Netflix's forthcoming "There's Someone Inside Your House" seems to spin in a new way). It conceals his identity from both the audience and characters. Though it stretches credulity — it's hard to imagine the killer could whack so many coeds aboard a moving train without anyone noticing — it's an exciting, violent slasher and a welcome glimpse into "Halloween Kills" star Jamie Lee Curtis' early horror career.

5. The Final Girls

Todd Strauss-Schulson's "The Final Girls" is criminally overlooked. Relegated to VOD when it absolutely deserved a wide-release, it's one of the genre's most inventive outputs this century. Genre icon Taissa Farmiga stars as Max Cartwright, the daughter of actress Amanda (Malin Åkerman), whose most famous role was in the (fictional) eighties slasher "Camp Bloodbath." Amanda is killed in an auto accident, and to assist Max in processing her grief, her friends drag her to a local midnight screening of the film, hoping that seeing her mother on-screen will accelerate the bereavement cycle.

A fire breaks out, and Max and her friends (including Alia Shawkat and Nina Dobrev among a familiar cast) find themselves transported into the world of the movie. Strauss-Schulson plays with the slasher template similarly to how Green and Co. do in "Halloween Kills," though notably without the excessive gore ("The Final Girls" is a solid PG-13). Don't let the rating discourage you, though. With a preeminent focus on grief, trauma, and community healing — the cast of characters in "Camp Bloodbath" are more than just slaughter — it's got one of the biggest horror hearts I've seen. Here's hoping the slasher renaissance, courtesy of Green and the likes of Jordan Peele, can help accelerate a sequel.

4. Fear Street Part 2: 1978

The "Fear Street" trilogy was an absolute treat, the best of what horror cinema had to offer in the summer of 2021. Gloriously queer and sensationally violent, it wears its inspiration on its tattered, grungy, bloody sleeves. The second entry in the inverted "Fear Street" trilogy, "Fear Street Part 2: 1978" is the most violent and frenzied of the three. "Part 2" explores the Camp Nightwing massacre, one of several Shadyside massacres over the decades attributed to witch Sarah Fier. Where "1994," the first entry, riffed on "Scream" and other small ensemble '90s slashers, "1978" is restricted only by its own ambitions.

Seriously, this entry is violent. Heads splatter and split, bodies are crushed, and throats are slashed. Like "Halloween Kills," it's the second in a slasher trilogy, one content to move the plot forward toward its conclusion while delivering ample carnage along the way. It's sick, ghastly, and wickedly awesome. For fans of the unfettered kills and buckets of blood in "Halloween Kills," are few movies streaming that can satisfy that itch more than "Fear Street."

3. You're Next

"You're Next" has an ingenious premise. In the years since "Scream," and, to be honest, Carpenter's original "Halloween," there was little room to radically rework the slasher formula. There was only so much work to be done recalibrating weapons, motives, and origins. Instead, "You're Next" confidently took a familiar sandbox — namely, a group of masked killers invading a rural country home — and opted instead to rework something different: the final girl.

Sharni Vinson stars as Erin, the girlfriend to Crispin ("Hatchet 2's" AJ Bowen) en route to his parents' anniversary celebration at an isolated New York estate. There, they're joined by his siblings and their partners, a menagerie of mumblecore faces including Amy Seimetz and Joe Swanberg, for a weekend of bickering and buried resentment. That is, of course, until a group of armed maniacs lay siege to the house, killing everyone and anyone in their way. 

Vinson's Erin, however, is the variable they didn't account for. See, she isn't simply Crispin's girlfriend. Unbeknownst to him and everyone else, she's grown up on a survivalist compound, making this the exact kind of scenario she's prepared for. She's a force to be reckoned with, conveying both vulnerability and resolute intelligence as she endeavors to survive the night. Without Vinson's Erin, it's hard to imagine that Green's recalibrated vision of Laurie Strode would have worked.

2. The Toolbox Murders

David Gordon Green has cited "The Toolbox Murders" as an enduring inspiration for the vision of his "Halloween" trilogy, of which "Halloween Kills" is the second entry. Outside of the more obvious ones — Green has cited "Black Christmas" and "Friday the 13" among other slashers — "The Toolbox Murders" is a curious reference, though one that becomes clearer after you watch "Halloween Kills." Dennis Donnelly's 1978 slasher was an ugly, exploitative piece of video-nasty filmmaking. Tracking a murder spree at a Los Angeles apartment, it abounds in gonzo grindhouse gore before the subgenre even had a name. The women are stripped and killed, and the killer remains mostly faceless, a lurking menace in the shadows ready to strike at any point.

Still, even maestro Stephen King himself has cited it as a favorite, and in the years since (likely on account of how widely banned its distribution was) it has attracted a cult following, the kind of movie horror fans dare their friends to see. The unkempt carnage, though, is easily linked to Green's vision for "Halloween Kills." While Green is less inclined to get really nasty — "Halloween Kills" has none of the excessive, gratuitous nudity that appears on "The Toolbox Murders" — it's easy to see how this little gem has had a more profound impact than audiences might realize.

1. Ready or Not

"Ready or Not" is "You're Next" without the survivalist roots. Still, Samara Weaving's Grace is conceived in the mold of both Erin and Laurie Strode. Beyond the thematic similarity of all three having to survive the night when pursued by masked maniacs, there are gritty undertones of trauma and grief (Grace, for instance, is a foster child) that drive these women forward.

Grace specifically has found herself embroiled in a longstanding family tradition. Her husband, Alex (Mark O'Brien), is a member of the Le Domas family, proprietors of the Le Domas Family Games Company. The family, however, is cursed, and every newcomer must draw a card from a puzzle box. Most are innocuous; though Grace, unfortunately, draws hide and seek, a card that mandates Grace hide and the family track her down to kill. What follows is a tense, yet lighthearted when necessary, cat and mouse game as Grace realizes the truth and endeavors to outsmart her pursuers. Like "Halloween Kills," the deaths are quick and brutal, and the resonance is rooted in overcoming adversity. With directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett directing the forthcoming fifth "Scream" entry, slashers are back, baby.