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20 of the best-reviewed scary movies now streaming on Netflix, Amazon and Hulu

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Posted at 3:06 PM, Oct 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-31 22:44:43-04

Streaming video services are offering hundreds of horror movies at this time of year — unfortunately the only thing scary about many of them is how awful they are.

While a majority of the scary movies being offered via Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus are poorly reviewed, there are some great ones buried among the garbage. Here are 20 of the best-reviewed horror films streaming now, listed in order by Rotten Tomatoes rating:

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Streaming via: Amazon Instant Video
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 100 percent

An example that the first can be the best, this German silent film is nearly a century old and currently holds a 100 percent perfect rating from Rotten Tomatoes. “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” was called the first true horror movie by critic Roger Ebert and is full of abstract, dreamlike imagery. If you want to inject some history into your scary movie night, why not start at the beginning?

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Streaming via: Amazon Instant Video
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 98 percent

If you prefer your horror with a science fiction streak, this original classic is the best you’ll find streaming. Made by Don Siegel, director of Clint Eastwood favorites “Dirty Harry” and “Escape from Alcatraz,” “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” may have you looking at your neighbors differently.

Evil Dead II (1987)
Streaming via: Amazon Instant Video
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 98 percent

More lighthearted and fun than your average horror flick, the cult favorite “Evil Dead II” is great entertainment for a scary movie night — as long as you enjoy zombies and witchcraft. If you missed the first “Evil Dead,” don’t worry, this one opens with a recap of all the gory action.

Let the Right One In (2008)
Streaming via: Amazon Instant Video
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 98 percent

Considered by many to be a vampire masterpiece, this Swedish flick has as much romance as it does terror. If the fact that it’s subtitled is enough to keep you away, seek out the American remake “Let Me In,” which was also well reviewed, but is not currently available streaming.

(Photo: Paramount Pictures)

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Streaming via: Netflix
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 98 percent

Guaranteed to scare any expectant mother — or father for that matter — “Rosemary’s Baby” is a psychological nightmare for anyone that wants to start a family. Pregnant housewife Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) becomes paralyzed with fear that her child is the spawn of Satan and that everyone around her is in on a conspiracy to abduct it after birth.

Nosferatu (1922)
Streaming via: Amazon Instant Video, Netflix
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 97 percent

The original vampire movie, 1922’s “Nosferatu” is another example that the classics never age. Adapted from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” this silent German horror icon is revered by critics nearly 100 years later.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Streaming via: Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Netflix
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 96 percent

No matter which streaming service you subscribe to, “Night of the Living Dead” can be part of your scary movie night. Its graphic, gritty style has been copied endlessly in the 46 years since its release but the original remains the top-reviewed zombie flick streaming today.

The Evil Dead (1981)
Streaming via: Hulu Plus
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 96 percent

In 1981, director Sam Raimi took a small cast of hopeful actors and a shoestring budget into the Michigan woods to shoot what would become an American cult favorite. “Evil Dead” is funny, gory and terrifying, thanks largely to its abundance of over-the-top makeup effects. The setup is classic horror — a group of 20-somethings take a trip to a secluded cabin — but the result is a blast.

House on Haunted Hill (1959)
Streaming via: Hulu Plus, Netflix
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 95 percent

Sure, it was remade in 1999 with a more recognizable cast, but this 1959 classic may be the definitive haunted house movie. Starring Vincent Price as an offbeat millionaire, the plot sees a group of strangers visiting a creepy mansion on the promise that they will get $10,000 each if they stay the entire night.

Fright Night (1985)
Streaming via: Hulu Plus, Netflix
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 94 percent

Another horror favorite that was recently remade, the campy classic “Fright Night” is now streaming. Featuring vampire lore, a killer soundtrack and some unfortunate ‘80s fashion, this one is respected by critics and sure to add some fun to your scary movie night.

(Photo: De Laurentiis Entertainment Group)

Manhunter (1986)
Streaming via: Amazon Instant Video, Netflix
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 94 percent

The first time movie audiences met Hannibal Lecter was in this 1986 thriller directed by Michael Mann. As well-reviewed as “The Silence of the Lambs,” according to Rotten Tomatoes, it stars William Peterson 13 years before his breakout role in “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”

Re-Animator (1985)
Streaming via: Netflix
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 93 percent

If you can’t handle extreme gore, it’s best to stay away from “Re-Animator.” The definition of a cult classic, this story is about a medical student that discovers a substance that will bring the dead back to life.

The Host (2006)
Streaming via: Netflix
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 93 percent

If monster movies are more your speed, this recent critical favorite from South Korea is perfect for your horror night. A tentacled beast comes from underwater and begins attacking people. Fun fact: “The Host” is the highest grossing South Korean movie of all time.

Carrie (1976)
Streaming via: Amazon Instant Video, Netflix
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 92 percent

The first movie adapted from a Stephen King novel, “Carrie” is a supernatural classic about the ultimate high school outcast. Starring Oscar-winner Sissy Spacek and a young John Travolta, the plot of “Carrie” continues to scare audiences, as it was remade in 2013.

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Streaming via: Amazon Instant Video, Netflix
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 92 percent

Co-written by the man behind the smash hit “The Avengers,” this recent release uses a typical horror movie setup to poke fun at the genre. A group of college students decide to spend the weekend in a desolate cabin but soon find out they are not alone. Starring Chris Hemsworth, this movie may sound generic but it is full of surprises.

Hunger (2009)
Streaming via: Netflix
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 90 percent

If the thought of eating human flesh grosses you out — and it probably should — you’ll want to stay away from “Hunger.” This independent American film was enjoyed by the few critics that devoured it in 2009. It involves a group of strangers trapped in an underground pit with no food, aside from each other.

(Photo: United Artists)

White Zombie (1932)
Streaming via: Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Netflix
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 89 percent

The legendary Béla Lugosi stars as an evil voodoo master in this old favorite. Considered to be the first zombie movie, you can currently find it via all three major streaming services. At just over an hour long, you can easily cram it into a scary movie marathon.

An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Streaming via: Amazon Instant Video
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 89 percent

This early ’80s horror flick still holds up as fresh today. The movie’s crew won the first Oscar ever awarded for makeup effects. Directed by the man responsible for “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” “An American Werewolf in London” has its share of laughs as well.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Streaming via: Amazon Instant Video, Netflix
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 87 percent

Reviews of “The Blair Witch Project” tend to either label it as sheer brilliance or annoying rubbish. Known for its realistic situations and acting, it’s likely that the movie will keep you out of the woods for a while. Three student filmmakers take a camera out to the Maryland wilderness to shoot a movie about a mysterious local legend but all that returns is their footage.

Citizen X (1995)
Streaming via: Amazon Instant Video
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 86 percent

A made-for-TV movie may not strike you as the setup for horror brilliance but most critics loved this 1995 release. “Citizen X” tells the true story of Andrei “The Red Ripper” Chikatilo, who was convicted of murdering over 50 women and children in the Soviet Union. It won several awards, including an Emmy for Donald Sutherland, who played an investigator.

Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.