Hulu is to horror what Netflix is to rom-coms — in a word, revitalizing. Hulu has slowly cultivated a one-of-a-kind collection of both short and long-form horror, from TV shows to big budget movies, paying extra care to the genre with numerous originals.
In recent years, Hulu has taken to revitalizing beloved horror IP for inspiration. And who can blame them! Doing so cements a place for the originals to be more widely available while giving Hulu access to time-proven content for its subscribers. That, plus its plethora of add-on streaming options, allows viewers to sort between even more tantalizing delights rather than needing to pay for a more niche streaming service.
With all of this to sort from, here are Hulu’s best of the best if all things spine-tingling and scary.
Aliens is one of those films that could easily fit on an action, sci-fi, or horror list, though there’s no arguing the visual scares of this gruesome, epic 1986 sequel to Ridley Scott’s Alien. Written and directed by James Cameron, this title is a favorite among the ever-evolving franchise and for good reason. While the first film’s spin on a haunted house in space was certainly original, this film took the time to flesh out its special effects and characters, including its leading lady, Ripley, played by the incomparable Sigourney Weaver.
Aliens leads off 50-plus years after the first. During that time, Ripley has been alone, floating in space. Picked up by a salvage ship, she warns anyone who will listen about the dangers of alien eggs on LV-426. When the Weyland-Yutani Corporation loses communication with a colony built on the very same spot, she embarks with a crew of space marines to salvage what’s left, with deadly consequences.
Whereas its predecessor was an atmospheric slow-build, this sequel amps up the action from the get-go, making it one of the most memorable of the franchise. At the same time, its deep dive into Ripley’s character and overall themes of motherhood and feminism helps this creature feature truly stand out.
2022’s Prey cemented itself as an instant classic the second it became the highest-watched premiere on Hulu at the time. The film is a continuation of the Predator series, which began with the Schwarzenegger and Glover classics of 1987 and 1990, respectively.
This iteration looked to the past for inspiration, all the way back to 1719, focusing on a Comanche tribe. The main hero is a warrior woman in training who struggles to prove her worth to her comrades and herself amidst encroaching colonization… and now alien warfare, of course.
Easily one of the most successful Hulu franchise reboots to date, this film took great pains for the sake of authenticity, all of which is more than apparent in the final cut. Featuring a mostly Native cast, this historically accurate film was shot in both English and Comanche to avoid the “Hunt for Red October” effect of a harsh transition in language. Even the dog, who was adopted during the making of the film, was of a breed known to follow early settlers. The Predator itself got in on the action, sporting a bone like suit and weapons more fitting of the ‘prey’ of the time. The film also made several references to the originals, from the revamping of direct Arnold lines to the advantageous use of swamp muck.
Fresh is a film best taken on an empty stomach. The movie stars Daisy Edgar-Jones and Sebastian Stan as a man with a discerning taste for the meat of young women.
This film saw the directorial debut of Mimi Cave alongside a stellar script by Lauryn Kahn, who was inspired to create a film for both horror fans and scaredy cats alike. A disturbingly provocative take on modern dating, this movie about cannibalistic horror and violent misogyny has been dubbed one of the best of 2022.
No, unfortunately Hulu doesn’t have the original Hellraiser (that can be watched for free on Tubi and Pluto TV, or with an AMC+ subscription). However, Hulu’s original remake of Hellraiser proved to be a revitalization of the franchise when it premiered in 2022. In it, a woman recovering from drug addiction and struggling to find her place in the world comes across a mysterious puzzle box with the ability to summon Cenobites, humanoids who thrive on the pleasure of pain. In doing so, she unleashes a cataclysmic series of events that will change not just the course of her life, but the lives of those who have chosen to stay by her side.
While the incomparable Clive Barker was not as involved in this 2022 iteration, the changes to the cast, the effects, and the story were much needed updates. Needless to say, this monkey paw portrayal of tortured characters in an increasingly tortured world is not for the faint of heart, but it’s a phenomenal portrait of drug use and obsession.
Not to be confused with the classic 1989 Fred Savage vehicle, Little Monsters features Lupita Nyong’o as a school teacher stuck on a field trip during a zombie outbreak. Playing alongside her are Alexander England and Josh Gad, and, of course, a whole crew of youngsters.
Keeping children calm under the best of circumstances is challenging enough, but this film amps that danger up to a cool million watts with the emergence of the undead and the fall from grace of a beloved childhood critter. Either way, this multi-genre horror-musical-comedy is certainly sure to please.
Saw is the first outing of this popular series about a twisted serial killer who tests the will of his victims with ‘games’ of increasingly lurid physical and psychological torture. The movie features Leigh Whannell and Cary Elwes as two men trapped in a room with a dead body, and Danny Glover as the detective who just can’t let go of a case. It took a while for this film to come to fruition, premiering finally at Sundance in 2004 before being theatrically released that October.
This franchise original by soon-to-be-influential James Wan kicked off the series on an unexpected note. With a twist ending that needs to be seen to be believed, this modern classic thoroughly cemented itself as a must-watch for all horror fans.
Beetlejuice is a classic horror comedy from the incredible mind of legendary director Tim Burton. Starring Michael Keaton as the title character, this film is a who’s who of legendary actors, from Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis, to Catherine O’Hara and Winona Ryder.
The story opens with, what else, but the untimely demise of a pair of newlyweds. When their starter home is sold in the wake of their deaths, they enlist the help of Beetlejuice, an eccentric bio-exorcist from the spirit world, to get rid of the unwanted living.
While this is easily the most tame ‘horror’ film on this list, what with its PG rating, Beetlejuice‘s status as a Halloween staple thoroughly cements it a spot. It would even go on to inspire a hit Broadway musical, and a long-awaited sequel is in the works.
The ABCs of Death
To say that 2012’s The ABCs of Death was a massive undertaking is far from understatement. Uniting 26 of the best horror filmmakers in the biz at the time, each was assigned the task of depicting death by numbers… or, in this case, letters. Each letter of the alphabet corresponded to a new death and a new story about that death, all within a rather short runtime.
Though the reviews for this film are decidedly mixed, such an undertaking should at least be rewarded with a cursory glance, as several of these short films are downright masterful.
Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil
Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil poses the ultimate slasher movie conundrum. What if the creepy guys in the woods didn’t do it? This film features the star powers of Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine as two hapless but well-meaning off-gridders who are mistaken for serial killers by a group of preppy college kids.
The line between killer and victim becomes steadily unclear as those who suspect their guilt begin to slowly die at their own unassuming hands. At the risk of having too many horror comedies on this list, this title deserves a spot for the sheer brilliance of its unraveling of classic horror troupes.
V/H/S is a found-footage anthology film whose stories are loosely correlated to a series of VHS tapes. It’s up to a group of misfits who have been hired to find a specific tape to leave the room they’re in with their sanity intact.
With six individual stories and an ongoing interlude, the plot is a lot to pack in to a short time frame, so it can be a tad difficult to keep up with. That being said, this original spawned its own small film franchise after its initial 2012 release, with six films in total to date.