In terms of good streamers, Peacock boasts one of the best movie libraries around. While a few films can be found elsewhere, there are some exclusives to the streamer and some great thrills and scares for Halloween. True, a few are rather poor and forgettable horror films, but others are absolutely amazing.
Several are classics of the genre and still pack power today, while others are newer but no less fun. The list is long, but to narrow it down, here are 16 terrific horror movies to check out on Peacock and scare up some sleepless nights for October.
The best horror movies to watch on Peacock
Nicolas Cage as Dracula. That alone should get you to check out this wild 2023 comedy, but there’s more to it. Cage is the iconic vampire with Nicholas Hoult as his long-suffering aide Renfield, who’s driven to a support group to help him with the boss from hell. His relationship with a cop (Awkwafina) does push him to finally fight back.
There’s comedy, but also some brutal horror as Cage doesn’t play Dracula as a fop but a true monster. The blood flies everywhere and it gets crazier as it goes, but this proves you can mix comedy and horror nicely and it’s a role Cage was perhaps born to play.
Real life gives this 2022 slasher flick even more bite. Sick takes place at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, two college friends decide to quarantine in a cabin in the woods. They’re soon targeted by some sort of stalker but face the problem that when everyone around you is wearing masks, it’s hard to tell who might be a crazed killer.
The movie has fun with the pandemic concept (one girl is refused a ride to rescue her because she lost her mask) and the reveal of who the killer is and why they’re doing this is wild. It’s a clever turn on the slasher formula and a Peacock exclusive to enjoy.
There have been a lot of sequels and a remake but this 1992 film remains one of the most unsettling horror movies ever. Virginia Madsen is a grad student tracking the urban legend of a hook-handed killer who appears when you say his name, Candyman, into a mirror five times. Tony Todd is hypnotic as the actual killer, not only scary but unnerving to even look at.
Madsen matches him as the woman slowly falling under his spell and while the kill scenes are grisly, it’s the psychological scares that are more terrifying. The movie also uses its Chicago setting well for a dark urban horror take. None of the other films match the power this one has. It’s become a legend in its own right in the last few decades.
Night of the Living Dead
It’s the one that started it all. George A. Romero’s 1968 masterpiece Night of the Living Dead was the first true zombie movie and set the bar countless others have followed. Peacock has the original black and white version, which is so much better for the material as the sight of those undead figures slowly shambling forward is scarier than them running.
Romero does a fine job amping up the tension of the survivors and setting the rules of the genre, like going for headshots. The ending is a tragic turn, but it oddly fits the tale and shows that 55 years later, this is still the zombie film to beat them all.
Dawn of the Dead
Zack Snyder’s film debut is still regarded as possibly his best movie, not to mention one of the best zombie films ever. Dawn of the Dead is one of the few remakes that more than worthy of the original, pushing the classic George A. Romero property in a new direction. Sarah Polley is a highlight in the cast of characters caught up in a zombie nightmare and the action is brutal.
The kills are gory as well as the overwhelming dread of facing an unstoppable enemy. There’s not as many takes on consumerism, but there is some great action and a dark ending. Snyder makes it all work nicely and combines it into a genius zombie work.
Train to Busan
There’s talk of an American adaptation, but it’s hard to see it coming close to matching this 2016 Korean hit. During a regular train trip through Busan, South Korea is marred by reports of a mysterious infection. Yep, it’s a zombie one, only it happens to the passengers inside the cramped train who have to fight for survival.
Cue a running journey with an audacious sequence where they realize too late a train station is no place for refugees. The deaths in Train to Busan are dark and brutal, aided by the zombies running at high speed at folks. There’s terrific action of the passengers fighting back as the numbers are whittled away. The train adds to the breakneck pace of the film for one of the wildest horror rides you’ll ever go on.
Shaun of the Dead
Shifting gears, here’s the first entry in Simon Pegg’s Cornetto Trilogy and a modern classic of horror comedy. The fun is how it takes pretty much the first act for Pegg’s slacker to realize that the dead are walking around. That laid-back humor fuels Shaun of the Dead, as Pegg and his friends fight back with random weapons even as they take a break for the pub.
There are great in-jokes on other zombie tales and a marvelous cast matching Pegg’s humor. If anything, the brutality just makes it funnier all the way to an oddly heartwarming end. But if you’re looking for a way to laugh at the undead, this movie is it.
What can be said about Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece that hasn’t been written about hundreds of times? Yes, everyone knows about the iconic shower scene, yet the film itself is still masterful. It’s genius how it looks like a classic noir story of Janet Leigh stealing money from the bank and on the run, checking into a motel.
Then comes that much-imitated stabbing scene and the movie spins in a new direction. Anthony Perkins’ performance in Psycho as Norman Bates remains one of the most chilling in movie history as Hitchcock spins a complex web before the gripping ending. No matter how many times you watch, it can still scare you when that music sting hits.
If you want more of Hitchcock, check out his second-scariest movie. The idea is simple but also genius: One day, with no warning, birds go out of control and start attacking humanity. Sure, some of the effects may be dated, yet the sight of people being clawed and trying to outrun the flying creatures can still be daring.
It’s also the tone Hitchcock puts in The Birds as there’s never any reason given for why the birds are attacking, they just are. The ending shot is truly unsettling as a reminder of humanity being outnumbered and topping one of the master of suspense’s best works.
This 2000 film is a unique beast. It’s a horror movie but also a coming-of-age tale with a fun feminist touch. Just as she’s entering womanhood, a teenager is bitten and slowly turns into a werewolf. Her sister tries to help her but soon gets involved in covering up some pretty gory kills.
The puberty metaphors in Ginger Snaps are hard to miss, yet the actresses have a great bond as sisters, with one doing all she can to help the other in her road to darkness. The script is sharp and the climax truly moving. It comes together into a film still standing up today as a fine example of how teenage lives can be a real horror show.
The Invisible Man
This 2020 smash hit offers a modern take on a classic story. Elisabeth Moss is brilliant as a woman who just escaped her stalker boyfriend in The Invisible Man. When he seems to commit suicide, she thinks she’s free but is soon convinced somehow he’s watching her in invisible form.
The movie is genius, showing the effects of her invisible stalker who shows how horrifyingly easy it is to get away with murder in public when no one can see you. Moss’ own work trying to convince anyone of this pulls you in for a terrific ending that caps off the first great horror film of the decade.
Bride of Frankenstein
There’s a great collection of classic Universal monster movies on Peacock. If you had to narrow it down, then pick the 1935 masterpiece Bride of Frankenstein. Elsa Lanchester plays Mary Shelley, who tells more of the monstrous creature (Boris Karloff) brought to life by a scientist. There’s still the tragic undertones to the character Karloff captures to make the viewer sympathize with him.
Lanchester also plays the titular bride with that now-iconic hairdo. Yet the focus is on the Creature and the ending is a reminder of how dangerous it is for man to attempt to play God. This is a black and white smash that puts scores of modern films to shame.
Get Out and Us
Take a double dose of Jordan Peele with these two massive hit horror films. First is Get Out, the rare horror movie that won an Oscar for Best Screenplay. The plotline of a man meeting his girlfriend’s family has some sharp social satire before taking a turn into darkness and the allegories to modern life are brilliantly done.
Then there’s Peele’s follow-up, Us. The plot here is trickier as a family is hunted by what appear to be murderous doppelgangers, but he mixes a great cast with larger thrills. The tension gets thicker as it goes until its twist ending and signals Peele as one of the best modern masters of horror.
Before The Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson wrote and directed this 1996 film. The Frighteners was a flop in its time but is better received today. Michael J. Fox is a man able to communicate with the dead and hits upon a good scam. He has some ghost buddies haunt a place and then collects a fee “exorcizing” them.
It takes a turn when his new job leads him to clash with a demonic force and even the Grim Reaper himself. The effects are fun, with some sharp humor from Jackson and Fox, along with some surprising scares. It deserves a watch now to see how easily Jackson could craft a horror film.
It leans more into sci-fi but this 1982 film is John Carpenter at his best. A group of men at a research station run afoul of a mysterious humanoid form that births an alien capable of changing shape in The Thing. Those early monstrous forms showcase some of the creepiest FX of the 1980s.
The true scares begin with the men realizing the alien could be any one of them. Paranoia runs wild as they arm themselves and there’s almost a relief when the actual creature attacks. The ending remains debated today but Kurt Russell and the rest of the cast match the cold setting for a brilliant sci-fi horror tale only Carpenter could create.
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