Another streaming platform, another horror catalog that users must sift through for hidden games. You’d think that an oversaturated streamer market would thin selections between too many providers, but that’s not the case. HBO Max has everything from classics to remakes and whatever’s in between. All the titles that were pulled from Netflix and Amazon collections once contracts expired are now back home where they belong.
Since HBO Max is the destination for Warner Brothers content, James Wan’s The Conjuring Universe alone provides a strong horror draw. That’s the game of musical chairs currently at play. Where Netflix once had one, or even both The Conjuring films available to stream, the emergence of HBO Max has stolen away titles not already locked into contracts elsewhere. Diving deeper, let’s look at the growing horror film catalog HBO Max has to offer.
Please note: This list pertains to US HBO Max subscribers. This article is frequently amended to remove films no longer on HBO Max and to include more horror movies that are now available on the service.
Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later has sparked debates through horror groups about fast-moving zombies and what constitutes a zombie movie, but there’s one thing fans agree on — how good it is. Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, and more must navigate the dystopian UK where a horrible virus has infected most citizens. I insist that 28 Days Later is a zombie movie, so yes, the UK is overrun by zombies who can sprint like track athletes and are ferocious beyond human capabilities. It’s dreadful, there’s a griminess about Boyle’s filmmaking that adds an extra layer of horror, and intensity stays spiked as characters try to survive chaotic undead chases. 28 Days Later and Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake changed how horror fans saw zombies in the 2000s — for better or worse, depending on whose opinion.
The Amityville Horror (2005)
Do you know what’s an underrated horror remake? Andrew Douglas’s The Amityville Horror. Although, Ryan Reynolds’ abs weren’t overlooked — I’ve seen you all share those shirtless screenshots on Twitter. I get it. As for the *actual* horror? Reynolds gives into the Amityville curse as an ax-waving lunatic with abandon. Melissa George, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Philip Baker Hall add supporting power as the paranormal Long Island haunting strikes an eerie dread. It’s not the most revolutionary remake of the 2000s, but it still gets by on solid bones and proper creeps as Reynolds gives his all to yet another role — one that often doesn’t play.
Who knew something as adorable and deadly as Milo could live in your butt? Yes, Jacob Vaughan’s Bad Milo stars Ken Marino as an anxious pushover named Duncan, whose repressed rage turns into a killer creature living in his intestines. When Duncan faces immense stress, Milo wriggles free and lashes out by murdering those who caused Duncan discomfort. It’s an oddly sweet film about a man’s best intestinal friend until Milo starts acting out in ways Duncan cannot control. There’s fun gore, a lifelike puppet that harkens back to Gremlins days of practical effects, and this pure warmth shared between Duncan and Milo — all this in a funny movie about an ass demon. I swear.
I could write twenty paragraphs about how Cloverfield helped alter the modern horror landscape, but I’ll just say there’s a reason Matt Reeves and Drew Goddard keep getting job offers. Cloverfield introduced found footage into Kaiju cinema, making its audience feel insignificantly small. Characters scramble underfoot as New York City is destroyed by a behemoth invader while battling smaller minions whose bites make you combust (RIP Lizzy Caplan). It’s definitely of the shaky-cam variety, so if that kind of chaotic filmmaking isn’t your thing, Cloverfield doesn’t escape some found footage tropes — but that comes with subgenre territory. Cloverfield pushes the envelope by using astounding perspective shots that reimagine how modern monster movies can be filmed. Plus, who doesn’t love watching TJ Miller get chewed in half by a mutant alien?
The Conjuring + The Conjuring 2
Allow a slight cheat here because I can’t mention James Wan’s The Conjuring without mentioning his equally accomplished sequel, The Conjuring 2. Wan’s self-assertion as one of modern horror’s most prolific filmmakers started before The Conjuring, but it’s where Wan cements his legacy . Why are we surprised that the man behind Insidious, Saw, and The Conjuring would deliver one of the best contemporary horror sequels? They’re chilling, neither recycle each other’s scares, and both “Conjurings” represent the template that many horror filmmakers have tried to copy since their releases. No notes, Mr. Wan.
The Evil Dead 2
Speaking of spectacular sequels, Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II is a glow-up like few others. The historical context of Raimi’s original — the scrappiness, clay-looking effects, do-it-yourself spirits — isn’t overwritten by Evil Dead II. Still, it allows Raimi’s love of slapstick comedy to add additional horror-comedy elements. Bruce Campbell’s fight with himself in the cabin’s kitchen is, to this day, some of the best physical comedy put to screen. Raimi feels less restrained as a director. His production feels looser, essentially a “remake” of Evil Dead with a bigger budget, new touches, and sequel mindset that creates the film he always wanted to shoot — not to discredit his accomplishments in Evil Dead.
From Dusk Till Dawn
From Dusk Till Dawn is one of those movies I don’t need an open IMDb tab for while I write. Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s mashup of styles ranks high in both their filmographies. George Clooney battles vampire strippers in an ancient bar tended by Danny Trejo? Music by “American chicano rock band” Tito & Tarantula? Everything about this sleazy, brow-sweat horror flick drips with booze, blood, and seduction, especially when Salma Hayek hypnotizes us with her center stage dance number. Once the fangs come out and Tom Savini fires back with his cod-piece shooter, it’s the best kind of midnighter chaos — although there’s rarely a scene where From Dusk Till Dawn disappoints.
Friday The 13th (2009)
Here’s the paragraph where I say Marcus Nispel’s Friday the 13th remake is one of the franchise’s best entries. How it melds the first three Friday the 13th movies into a leaner, more vicious 2000s vision is so slick, speeding through the milestones of Jason Voorhees becoming the iteration we all know with pep in its step. Derek Mears plays a threatening Jason with mean weapon swings, while the likes of Jared Padalecki, Amanda Righetti, Ryan Hansen, and others flee from the iconic Crystal Lake killer. Also, fun fact, Travis Van Winkle’s Trent ties the universes of Transformers and Friday the 13th together since he’s in both — no joke. Who knows what could have happened if rights issues didn’t kill Platinum Dunes’ momentum and allowed Michael Bay the crossover we all deserve.
Killer Klowns From Outer Space
Clowns might be scary, but Killer Klowns From Outer Space is a hilarious appreciation of the zaniness horror can birth. From popcorn cannons to cotton candy ray guns, the Killer Klowns — actors in full-body practical costumes — enact big-top mayhem upon small-town America. The Chiodos brothers have so much fun with circus elements that become weapons or technology for the Killer Klowns, which audiences gobble up like sticky fairground treats. There’s a reason horror fans are still clamoring for the teased sequel that the Chiodos brothers have in mind — not sure we’ll ever get it, but there’s always room for more three-ring terror.
Agnieszka Smoczynska’s The Lure is one of the most remarkable horror debuts in recent memory. This bloodthirsty Polish mermaid musical balances levels of Eurotrash venue performances, aquatic folklore, and stylish creativity. Smoczynska shows her leads Silver and Golden as scaly mermaids, unlike beautified fantasies, and strikes gold as glitzy nightclub lust threatens mermaid ways of life. The Lure is one of those films that you need to see to believe — just a starburst of imagination that washes over audiences in the mood for lounge fishes pursuing careers, passion, and yummy humans.
If I didn’t put Malignant on this list, I feel like there’d be a riot. Jame Wan’s throwback to late 90s, early 00s horror where anything goes takes huge scripted swings on a studio budget. There’s bone-snapping action, gothic dread, Giallo lighting, and plenty of blood — a bit undefinable, but that’s why people love Malignant. In a time where horror’s so connecting on trends like haunted house crazes after The Conjuring or trauma-based storytelling after Hereditary, Malignant defies all expectations. Wan embraces camp, randomness, and unpredictability, which is so much fun to behold. Wan earned Malignant, and we deserve Malignant.
A Nightmare On Elm Street
If it weren’t for the Child’s Play movies, A Nightmare On Elm Street would be my favorite of the evergreen horror franchise. Everything starts with Wes Craven’s original, where Robert Englund asserts himself as the snide dreamland killer. The gloves, the perfect shot when he outreaches his arms to create a Stretch Armstrong shadow effect, his laugh — Englund is so good from the jump as Freddy Krueger. A Nightmare On Elm Street has what it takes to spawn something bigger than even a horror legacy. Freddy Kruger’s looming presence over pop culture at large is a testament to the terror Craven instigates in this spectacularly original slasher.
To this day, Stephen King talks about his distaste for Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. He wrote the literal book, his opinion is inarguably valid, but apologies Stephen — The Shining gets the job done. When viewed as a standalone feature, there’s so much madness to appreciate in Jack Nicholson’s performance as Jack Torrance. Shelley Duvall plays a pitch-perfect counterpart. The Overlook atmospheres, that booming score, all the psychological torture that goes into breaking both Jack and the audience — The Shining somehow feels claustrophobic even though the hotel is massive. Kubrick might not have impressed Stephen King or those who choose the novel over adaptation, but I’m pretty alright with both.