The Best Horror Movies Streaming In September And Where To Watch Them

It's nearly fall, but the spooky season is already here. Stir-crazed masses battling a lingering pandemic, climate change, and upheaval are pulling out the seasonal decor earlier, eager to change the vibe and settle into the oddly comforting world of the strange and the morbid. Over the coming weeks, theaters across North America will oblige and showcase an "X" prequel, a star-studded Olivia Wilde-directed thriller,  the exceedingly creepy-looking psych-thriller "Smile," and Zach Cregger's rental home hellscape "Barbarian." As folks will start to pull out their sweaters and add a little pumpkin to their coffee, and they'll be in need of some at-home entertainment to match the oncoming autumn mood. For horror fans, the fall equinox (and the entire month that precedes it) is prime time, when the programming powers-that-be start adding a little more genre spice to their offerings in anticipation of Halloween.

Horrifying movies come and go from streamers every month; Netflix subscribers have just a few more weeks left to enjoy James Wan's effective fright fest "Insidious," while 2015 horror omnibus "Southbound" (featuring segments by "Scream" director-producer trio Radio Silence) leaves Hulu at the end of September. But as streaming giants harvest a new crop of incoming titles, it's clear that there's plenty of eerie entertainment to keep the scares coming all night long. 

/Film looked at the incoming movies arriving on streaming platforms in September and selected a few for the brave and the bold. The chosen films lie across a spectrum of nightmare fuel; whether the boogeymen are zombies, maniacs, sharks, or the internet, there's something for everyone. Have fun, and remember the horror movie rule: lights out, sound up!

We're All Going to the World's Fair (2021)

Looking back at her childhood, filmmaker Jane Schoenbrun once told NBC News:

"[I recall] exploring a lot of the darker spaces that the internet had to offer, where other people like me were gathering in that nascent, early time, when the internet still felt like this other world, separate from reality."

That alien feel takes on unnerving dimensions in Schoenbrun's 2021 film "We're All Going to the World's Fair," which is equal parts coming-of-age drama and psychological horror set in the glow of the computer screen. The title refers to the creepypasta-adjacent game at the plot's center, known as the World's Fair Challenge to its many online participants. The movie starts with lonely teen Casey (played by Anna Cobb in a debut role) committing to the challenge with a sort of blood oath, repeating "I want to go to the World's Fair" into her computer's camera whilst pricking her finger. According to the numerous YouTube videos she binge-watches, strange symptoms should begin to occur as part of a vague, monstrous transformation — which she also records and posts. When a concerned user named JLB (Michael J. Rogers) initiates contact with Casey, he becomes a witness to her worsening mental state.

Schoenbrun delivers a one-two punch in this patient gem, uprooting reality and substituting it with Casey's distorted perspectives. It can't quite be called a found footage horror film but it uses footage from other players, intercut with Casey's increasingly erratic first-person videos, to build a tapestry of online personas floating around in an ambient, plugged-in unreality. Anna Cobb's high-tension performance tethers it all. This is a movie for those who like more pit-of-the-stomach discomfort than buckets of blood on movie night. (Anya Stanley)

"We're All Going To The World's Fair" is available to stream on HBO Max as of September 1, 2022. 

Don't Look Under the Bed (1999)

The general public tends to neglect the importance of accessible horror movies for all ages, but during the glory days of Disney Channel Original Movies (aka DCOMs), horror always reigned supreme. Of course, there's plenty of nostalgic love for the "Halloweentown" trilogy, but Disney attempted to make a legitimate family horror movie with 1999's "Don't Look Under the Bed." 

Directed by Kenneth Johnson ("The Incredible Hulk," "V," "Alien Nation"), the film follows teenager Frances Bacon McCausland (Erin Chambers), an overachiever in a small town currently plagued by a series of annoying pranks, with all signs pointing to Frances as the delinquent. There's just one problem; Frances isn't behind the pranks, and in order to clear her name, she'll have to defeat the true culprit — The Boogeyman.

Boogeymen are real and they are made when a child forgets their imaginary friend before their time, with the results resembling some absolute nightmare fuel. The Boogeyman (or Boogeyperson depending on who you ask) has long talons and a terrifying face, eerily looking like the inspiration for Lil Nas X's monstrous music video for "Rodeo." The film remains one of the only DCOMs to earn a PG rating, due to its terrifying imagery and mature discussions of mortality. 

If you're looking for a horror film to watch with your little ones, look no further than this kid-friendly creepfest. (BJ Colangelo) 

"Don't Look Under the Bed" is currently available to stream on Disney+.

The Munsters (2022)

Whether "The Munsters" is among the best horror features coming to streaming this September remains to be seen, but the Rob Zombie-helmed comedy-horror is certainly one of the most anticipated. In Zombie's first feature film since "3 From Hell" in 2019, the lovable Munster family of the beloved 1960s sitcom is resurrected to tell their origin story, prior to their move to the iconic Victorian mansion in Mockingbird Heights and before the events of the series.

For casting the classic roles, Zombie picks from his cadre of regulars who already have tried-and-true chemistry together. Jeff Daniel Phillips stars as Herman Munster, who meets Lily (played by Sheri Moon Zombie) in Transylvania where the two fall in love, much to the consternation of Lily's father, The Count (Daniel Roebuck). As a treat, audiences get to see the arresting Richard Brake in the role of Dr. Henry Augustus Wolfgang, and appearances by celebrated genre veterans Dee Wallace and Cassandra Peterson, a.k.a. horror hostess Elvira.

Coming in at the tail end of September, "The Munsters" has a lighthearted and colorized relationship with the macabre earning it a PG rating, prompting a sigh of relief from those familiar with the writer-director's unapologetically unrefined movies; there was genuine worry that the sweet, lovable Herman might drop F-bombs and Lily might striptease before the rating came in. It may seem like an impossible statement, but Rob Zombie may have made a family-friendly movie, one that hopefully ushers in a new wave of fans for one of America's most ghoulish and goofy families. (Anya Stanley)

"The Munsters" will be available to stream on Netflix as of September 27, 2022

The Wretched (2020)

A lot of fantastic films were dumped onto VOD during the early months of the pandemic, which unfortunately meant a lot of really wonderful films are still being discovered years after their release. One of those films is the drive-in hit "The Wretched" from brothers Brett and Drew T. Pierce. 

Witchy horror films are often centered on young girls, but "The Wretched" flips the script and sees a rebellious teenager named Ben having to deal with an identity-stealing, supernatural entity after he is sent to live with his father on a marina. The sleepy, idyllic tourist town is filled with annoying, privileged teenagers and the natural strife of his dad having a new girlfriend, which makes Ben the perfect vessel to discover the truth of the witch terrorizing this community. The witchy wood spirit preys on children and erases all proof of their existence, and if that wasn't scary enough, "The Wretched" is loaded with nightmarish imagery from the wilderness that surrounds the town. 

Indie horror has always been the lifeblood of the genre, and "The Wretched" is precisely that killer underseen gem you can't wait to show to your friends to creep them out. (BJ Colangelo)

"The Wretched" is currently available to stream on Netflix.

Open Water (2004)

Horror breathes best when isolation is involved. A group of researchers stuck in a frigid Antarctic outpost have nothing but mistrust and flamethrowers to rely on in John Carpenter's "The Thing." Jack Torrance has plenty of room to swing an axe within the spacious hallways of the Overlook Hotel, but with the haunted hotel snowbound in the Rocky Mountains, there's little room for his family to escape from "The Shining." Scary movies are generally associated with cramped spaces and dark corners, but nothing drops a white-hot ball into the stomach like the realization of being lost in an abyss — whether by snow or space or sea — and no one is coming to the rescue.

"Open Water" operates in similar waters to Alfonso Cuarón's resilience-in-orbit thriller "Gravity" or Baltasar Kormákur's harrowing survival story adaptation "Adrift," where its potential victims are technically free to float anywhere, but can't get home. Chris Kentis' aquatic horror is based upon the real-life tragedy of Texas couple Tom and Eileen Lonergan, who were accidentally abandoned by their boat on a scuba diving trip along the Great Barrier Reef. Like "Home Alone" but with more catastrophic consequences, a botched head count leads to the pair clinging to each other thousands of miles from the shore, and it's not long before someone gets an open wound — and that's before the sharks start to appear.

With no-frills, minimalist storytelling and the use of live sharks, Kentis channels the intensity of a Paul Greengrass movie like "United 93" while making the audience care as much about the couple's fate as the Freeling Family of "Poltergeist." These characters matter to each other beyond the screen, making the fear all the greater while watching. (Anya Stanley)

"Open Water" is available to stream on Hulu as of September 1, 2022.

The Hitcher (1986)

Home to one of the scariest movie scenes in horror history, 1986 road-horror classic "The Hitcher" is well worth revisiting this spooky season. 

Directed by Robert Harmon and written by Eric Red, "The Hitcher" follows a young man named Jim Halsey (C. Thomas Howell) as he's tasked with delivering a car from Chicago to San Diego. Somewhere around Texas, Jim spots and picks up a hitchhiker named John Ryder (Rutger Hauer), who turns out to be a murderous psychopath who will stop at nothing to kill Jim. What follows is a harrowing journey of survival, as Jim tries to escape Ryder's clutches, having turned the open road into a dangerous cat-and-mouse game of destruction. 

"The Hitcher" has been the subject of a variety of different interpretations over the years, with many viewing the film as an allegory for the AIDS-inspired gay panic of the mid-1980s. It's a fantastically bloody slasher film coated in rust-colored dust kicked up from the highway, and Hauer delivers the performance of his career as Ryder by marrying equal parts charisma with full-tilt insanity. The scenes in the diner and with the semi-truck should be meticulously studied in film school, as both are absolute masterclasses in tension. (BJ Colangelo)

"The Hitcher" is available to stream on Hulu as of September 1, 2022.

The Eyes of My Mother (2016)

Those who crave something weighty and nihilistic can look deep into "The Eyes of My Mother," Nicolas Pesce's debut horror feature that disturbed audiences at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. The celebration of suffering operates with unending bleakness: a truck driver chugging along a rural route stops when he sees a woman stumble into the road but instead of screaming for help, the woman hears the oncoming vehicle and simply lies down where she stands, spreading her body along the road for maximum impact. 

/Film's Chris Evangelista describes the monochromatic odyssey as "a nightmare you can't wake up from," due to its disorienting push-pull between repulsive horrors and striking cinematography not unlike Ana Lily Amirpour's black-and-white vampire antihero picture "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night." It's nasty business, but it's impossible to look away.

The story concerns Francisca (played by Kika Magalhães), a young woman who could use just one healthy friendship without involving shackles and mutilation. As a young girl, she witnesses her mother's murder and helps her distraught father keep the perpetrator chained in a barn on the family property, where she surgically removes his eyes and severs his vocal cords but keeps him as her only friend; this is the environment Francisca grows up in and internalizes. So when she is all grown up and looking to recreate that dynamic for a family of her own, the result is haunting and imprints on the mind long after it's over. (Anya Stanley)

"The Eyes of My Mother" is available to stream on HBO Max as of September 1, 2022.

Darling (2015)

Mickey Keating is one of the most fascinating indie horror directors working today, with his films "Ritual," "Pod," "Carnage Park," "Psychopaths," and "Offseason" all embodying a completely different subgenre of horror, allowing him to pay homage to the films he grew up loving without ever getting pigeon-holed into making one specific type of film. Of his already impressive career, arguably his stand-out film is 2015's "Darling." 

Shot entirely in black and white, "Darling" stars Lauren Ashley Carter as a young woman who becomes a caretaker of a massive New York City apartment and slowly loses her grip on her own sanity. Broken up into six chapters, "Darling" evokes the clear influence of Roman Polanski's Apartment Trilogy, but manages to be its own hypnotic, mesmerizing, and frightening story of one woman's descent into madness. Lauren Ashley Carter delivers a transfixing performance, as do co-stars Sean Young and horror maven Larry Fessenden. 

The art of monochromatic filmmaking is slowly dying out, but "Darling" exists as a solid argument for why the aesthetic should make a return to horror. (BJ Colangelo)

"Darling" is currently available to stream on Paramount+, Tubi, and PlutoTV.

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

Fun fact: one of the greatest slasher movies never got a sequel (though it did get a gnarly 3D remake). 

"My Bloody Valentine" is a Canadian horror film by director George Mihalka and written by John Beaird. It arrived in 1981 at the crest of the slasher movie cycle, hoping to cash in on the successes of holiday-centric horror like John Carpenter's "Halloween" and Sean S. Cunningham's "Friday the 13th," the latter being released the year prior and made it clear that serial killers could bring box-office dividends. But this one's got its own folk song.

"My Bloody Valentine" naturally surrounds the lover's holiday, but there's little love going around. It's set in the Canadian mining town of Valentine Bluffs which, despite its name, hasn't had a Valentine's Day dance in twenty years, suspending the tradition after an accident left multiple miners dead and one unhinged survivor. Legend has it that Harry Warden was the only survivor of the methane explosion that could have been prevented had his supervisors not ditched their post to attend the V-Day festivities. After those same supervisors met grisly ends, along with warnings more death will come if the town ever holds a Valentine's Day dance again, Warden became a legendary local boogeyman whose name comes up when the killings begin again.

What sets this movie apart is its characters and its kills. The main players are young, working-class friends whose camaraderie is believable and charming before the axe starts swinging, and the censorship surrounding the penetrative death scenes were extensive. If seeing a human heart in a heart-shaped candy box seems thrilling, this is the movie to watch. (Anya Stanley)

The original "My Bloody Valentine" is available to stream on HBO Max as of September 1, 2022.

Shudder's 61 Days of Halloween

Every Halloween season, horror fans and critics are inundated with requests from friends looking for where they can find good horror films to watch, and for the last seven years, the answer has always been the same: Shudder. 

The horror streaming service from AMC is the horror fan's greatest sanctuary and provides the most impressive catalog of horror goodness on any service imaginable. Not only does Shudder keep a collection of classic offerings that have stood the test of time — too many to choose from for recommendations — but the popular streamer is also unafraid to showcase the best and brightest in independent film. 

Every fall, Shudder celebrates "61 Days of Halloween," with this year's celebration providing 11 original and exclusive movie premieres, including the newest film from horror maestro Dario Argento, "Dark Glasses." In addition to the new films, Shudder is also delivering a Halloween special from "The Last Drive-In" host Joe Bob Briggs, the "Queer for Fear" horror docuseries from Bryan Fuller of "Hannibal" fame, "101 Scariest Horror Movie Moments of All Time," an updated version of the traditional "Ghoul Log," a brand new series from "Dragula" creators, The Boulet Brothers, and much, much more. 

If you're a fan of horror and you don't have Shudder, you're seriously missing out. (BJ Colangelo)

Try out Shudder for 7 days free by clicking here.