10 Ghost Movies to Stream for Frights Tonight

La Llorona (2019)

La Llorona
Image: Shudder

There are plenty of ghostly comedies out there—including a new Ghostbusters movie arriving next month—but for this list, and in honor of The Others’ recent arrival on Shudder, we’re singling out ghost movies that are actually scary. Not all ghosts are friendly, after all!

The Others sometimes gets unfairly tabbed as a Sixth Sense rip-off, since it came out a few years after that 1999 hit and features a similar twist. But this moody tale—which was also a box-office smash—is definitely notable on its own, drawing on melodrama as well as horror. Set just after World War II in a lonely manor on a misty English island, it follows a tightly-wound woman (Nicole Kidman) nervously protecting her two children from their sunlight allergy, while dealing with peculiar behavior from her household staff and increasingly worrisome bumps in the night. (Stream on Shudder)

Not to be confused with the 2008 Angelina Jolie movie or the 2023 Apple TV+ series, this is the 1980 movie starring George C. Scott as a composer who uproots from New York to Seattle after a family tragedy—only to discover the mansion he’s renting is energetically haunted. Solving the attached murder mystery helps him work through his grief, but not before he and the audience have the bejesus scared out of them multiple times. (Stream on Peacock)

Ti West is now best-known for X and Pearl, but his indie horror career goes back much further, and includes 2009 cult favorite The House of the Devil and this 2011 tale of two employees working the last shift at a haunted hotel before it permanently shutters. Naturally, they take the opportunity to do some ghost-hunting—and while The Innkeepers takes awhile to really get going, its last-act scares are memorably legit. (Stream on Peacock)

To call 1962 no-budget marvel Carnival of Souls a ghost story kind of spoils the twist—so does saying its plot draws inspiration from classic Ambrose Bierce story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” But no foreknowledge can prepare you for the eerie feeling that envelops you as you’re watching Mary (the ethereal Candace Hilligoss), a church organist who’s just emerged from a harrowing car accident, realize her newly disorienting reality might be purgatory in disguise (Stream on Max and Shudder)

This 2009 found-footage standout wrings dread from something as seemingly benign as a door closing on its own, and builds to some of the scariest “caught on tape” horror moments ever. (Stream on Max)

Ok, we said we were going to steer away from horror comedies, but this 2022 found-footage release balances its humor with shriek-inducing terror, as a livestreamer (Joseph Winter, who also co-wrote, co-edited, and co-directed with wife Vanessa Winter) gets in way over his head trying to revive his flagging social-media clout by locking himself into a farmhouse that’s crawling with evil spirits. (Stream on Shudder)

There are multiple movies titled after the weeping folk-horror figure who prowls around bodies of water, but this 2019 Guatemalan release—which made the shortlist for the Best International Feature Film Oscar—is the version most likely to set up shop, rent-free, in your nightmares. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s María Mercedes Coroy stars as a mysterious Indigenous woman hired to work in the home of an elderly former dictator (accurately) accused of genocide. Though this story is fictional, the historical context is real, which only heightens the horror throughout. (Stream on Shudder)

This 2020 Spanish import, said to be inspired by true events, follows a 1970s family who leaves their farm for an apartment in Madrid that turns out to be—you guessed it—haunted. But while the set-up may be familiar, the execution is outstandingly unsettling. (Stream on Shudder)

We’re kind of cheating here since 1973’s The Legend of Hell House, based on the Richard Matheson novel, isn’t streaming free on any subscription service. But you absolutely can’t find better fear fodder than “the Mount Everest of haunted houses,” a sinister old mansion stuffed with so many vengeful ghosts even paranormal investigators are afraid of it. Of course, that doesn’t stop them from barging in and trying to exorcise the place. (Rent or buy on Prime Video)