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Free Films You Can Stream This Halloween
Find these films on various free streaming services.
Can’t believe how expensive the pumpkin patch you got dragged to was?
Use up your whole scary season budget on haunted hayrides?
Elaborate costumes thinning out your wallet?
So now you’re looking to celebrate Halloween at home with a scary movie — but you need something on the cheap. Find all of these recommendations on free streaming services, either with ads (Peacock and Tubi) or with a local library card (Hoopla and Kanopy).
Hoopla: Halloween (1978)
Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween Night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois to kill again.
I am starting off this list by recommending that you watch Halloween.
But if you haven’t yet, it may be too late for you.
Halloween is so special because it was so groundbreaking. It played such a large part in creating the slasher genre as we know it today. If you’ve grown up on a steady diet of modern-day slashers, Halloween might seem tame to you. In this original flick, Michael Myers only kills five people. Compare that to the latest abominable sequel, Halloween Kills, which has a kill count that reaches 25.
But that simplicity is a part of its charm. Maybe it won’t scare the pants off of a modern-day audience, but it will create the perfect spooky season vibe: the iconic score, inventive slashings, and impressive low-budget filmmaking will all contribute to that classic fall feeling you’re looking for this October.
Kanopy: The Love Witch (2016)
Elaine, a beautiful young witch, is determined to find a man to love her. In her gothic Victorian apartment she makes spells and potions, and then picks up men and seduces them. However her spells work too well, and she ends up with a string of hapless victims. When she finally meets the man of her dreams, her desperation to be loved will drive her to the brink of insanity and murder.
Speaking of vibe, The Love Witch is all about the vibe. An homage to horror films from the 60s, filmmaker Anna Biller went to great lengths to make her project feel like one of those Technicolor melodramas.
The actors, including an incredibly strong lead performance from Samantha Robinson, all give stylized performances that are pulpy and theatrical. Vibrant colors in the production and costume design feel ripped straight from the pages of the 60s. And, of course, the movie was shot on film and was even one of the last films to cut an original camera negative on 35mm.
Just like the campy cinema that inspired this film, it’s trippy, hypnotic, and beautiful. It’s also the closest we will ever get to that kind of film in the 21st century.
Tubi: Body Bags (1993)
Three tales, each more terrifying than the last. . . . A woman who is stalked by an axe-weilding maniac . . . a man who pays the ultimate price for a beautiful head of hair . . . and a vision of life — seen through the eyes of a killer.
I couldn't help but include two John Carpenter films on this list. This anthology, with Carpenter himself as the host linking together the three seemingly unrelated tales, was originally filmed to be a pilot for a Showtime series. When the series failed to be picked up, the stories were linked together to form one narrative.
The film is a murderer’s row of horror celebrities. Carpenter and Texas Chainsaw’s Tobe Hooper direct the segments which include cameos from Wes Craven, Sam Raimi, Roger Corman, and more. With great character actors like Mark Hamill and Stacy Keach leading the stories, it’s hard to not have fun. There’s a classic slasher scene, a fun creature-feature-esque segment, and a little bit of body horror too. It’s great fun from beginning to end and the cameos are excellent easter eggs for fans of fright.
Hoopla: Troll 2 (1990)
When young Joshua learns that he will be going on vacation with his family to a small town called Nilbog, he protests adamantly. He is warned by the spirit of his deceased grandfather that goblins populate the town. His parents, Michael and Diana, dismiss his apprehensions, but soon learn to appreciate their son’s warnings. Guided by his grandfather’s ghost, will Joshua and his family stand a chance in fighting off these evil beings?
Troll 2 is widely considered to be one of the worst films of all time.
So then why watch it?
This is a classic example of so-bad-it’s-good. Don’t believe in that perspective on film? Then you’ve never seen Troll 2.
Just start with this: The movie is called Troll 2. It not only has nothing to do with 1986’s film Troll, but trolls never actually appear in the movie. The creatures are goblins, they are called goblins, the movie even takes place in the town of Nilbog — goblin spelled backwards.
If that simple slice of nonsense isn’t enough to pique your B-movie interest, try this: deadly popcorn, mysterious green milk, horrible late 80s fashion, goblin religions, bologna sandwiches: all wrapped up in an anti-vegetarianism message.
Pair it with Best Worst Movie (also available to stream for free on Tubi and others), a documentary about the legacy of this cult classic — a film that features even more insanity than the original because this time all of that insanity is real. It is partially a celebration of cult cinema, but it is also a character study of the people whose lives have changed for better or worse because of lasting cult status of the movie.
Peacock: The Invisible Man (1933)
Working in Dr. Cranley’s laboratory, scientist Jack Griffin was always given the latitude to conduct some of his own experiments. His sudden departure, however, has Cranley’s daughter Flora worried about him. Griffin has taken a room at the nearby Lion’s Head Inn, hoping to reverse an experiment he conducted on himself that made him invisible. But the experimental drug has also warped his mind, making him aggressive and dangerous. He’s prepared to do whatever it takes to restore his appearance.
My thoughts on The Invisible Man:
Credit: Each plot synopsis comes from Letterboxd via TMDb.