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10 Best Scary Movies to watch on HBO Max (December 2023)

Scary movies are not everybody’s cup of tea. But the riveting allure of these films proudly boasts a devoted fanbase of their own. Are you feeling trapped within the confines of your home, yearning for excitement and adventure? Look no further than the tantalizing world of HBO Max, where spine-chilling thrills await. HBO Max’s scary movie collection is a hauntingly unforgettable journey, where every scene will send a heart-pounding chill down your spine, leaving you utterly spellbound and gasping for breath in sheer terror! But prepare yourself, for this is not a journey for the faint of heart.

The Silence of the Lambs

IMDb Rating: 8.6

Silence of the Lambs is a movie that can send shivers down your spine, making it one of the top films in this category. The movie revolves around FBI trainee Clarice Starling, who is assigned to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant yet dangerously deranged psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer, to gain insights into another serial killer known as Buffalo Bill. Clarice engages in a twisted power struggle while delving into Lecter’s psyche to uncover Buffalo Bill’s identity. It is a brilliantly made movie with excellent performances from the entire cast.

Cast:

  • Jodie Foster
  • Anthony Hopkins
  • Ted Levine
Director Jonathan Demme
Release Date February 14, 1991
Running Time 118 minutes

The Shining

IMDb Rating: 8.4

The Shining is a horror film from 1980 that was produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The movie is based on Stephen King’s novel, published in 1977 and shares the same title. While differing from Stephen King’s novel, Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of The Shining offers a chilling and often baroque exploration of madness. Jack Nicholson delivers an unforgettable performance that exemplifies this descent into insanity.

Cast:

  • Jack Nicholson
  • Danny Lloyd
  • Shelley Duvall
  • Scatman Crothers
Director Stanley Kubrick
Release Date May 23, 1980
Running Time 114 minutes

Night of the Living Dead 

IMDb Rating: 7.8

Night of the Living Dead is known for setting the pattern for modern zombie movies by separating the monsters from Vodou and incorporating contemporary settings. It is directed by esteemed horror filmmaker George A. Romero and filmed near Pittsburgh with limited financial resources, showcasing a compelling narrative within independent cinema. The film achieved remarkable commercial success, solidifying its status as one of cinema’s most influential and iconic works. The portrayal of a late-1960s America undergoing internal strife, depicted in a confined and unsettling manner, significantly revolutionized the horror genre through its graphic depiction of violence and incisive social critique.

Cast:

  • Judith O’Dea
  • Duane Jones
  • Marilyn Eastman
Director George A. Romero
Release Date October 4, 1968
Running Time 96 minutes

Saw

IMDb Rating: 7.6

Saw was initially screened on January 19, 2004, during the Sundance Film Festival. Lionsgate acquired the distribution rights for the film owing to its highly favorable reception. Originally intended for a direct-to-video release, the film was released in North America’s theatres on October 29, 2004. Following a successful opening weekend at the box office, the film generated a remarkable worldwide gross of $103.9 million. This achievement solidified its position as one of the most profitable horror films since the release of Scream in 1996. Saw has an enticing plot and several memorable, horrific set pieces, but its cynical streak is more spiteful than deep.

Cast:

  • Leigh Whannell
  • Cary Elwes,
  • Danny Glover
  • Monica Potter
  • Michael Emerson
  • Ken Leung
Director James Wan
Release Date October 29, 2004
Running Time 103 minutes

The Fly

IMDb Rating: 7.6

The Fly is a story about an odd scientist who gradually transforms into a hybrid creature resembling a fly following a failed experiment. The Fly taps into our deeply rooted and instinctual fear of sexuality, as well as the shame instilled in us by our fundamentally puritanical society. Validating our darkest apprehensions, it momentarily enables us to rise above them.

Cast:

  • Jeff Goldblum
  • Geena Davis
  • John Getz
Director David Cronenberg
Release Date August 15, 1986
Running Time 96 minutes

The Conjuring 

IMDb Rating: 7.5

The Conjuring is a chilling film that recounts the true story of Ed and Lorraine Warren, highly acclaimed paranormal investigators. They were summoned to assist a family tormented by an evil entity in an isolated farmhouse. The Warrens are faced with a daunting challenge as they come face to face with a formidable demonic entity. This case proves to be the most terrifying experience they have ever encountered. The film garnered positive reviews from critics, who commended the performances, direction, screenplay, atmosphere, and musical score. The film earned an impressive $319 million globally, surpassing its $20 million budget.

Cast:

  • Vera Farmiga
  • Patrick Wilson
  • Ron Livingston
  • Lili Taylor
  • Joseph Bishara
Director James Wan
Release Date July 19, 2013
Running Time 112 minutes

A Nightmare on Elm Street

IMDb Rating: 7.4

A Nightmare on Elm Street is a supernatural slasher film written and directed by Wes Craven and produced by Robert Shaye. It is the first movie in the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. The film’s clever premise and the character Freddy Krueger’s gruesome image still give people nightmares. The film was produced with a budget of $1.1 million and went on to gross $57 million at the box office.

Cast:

  • Heather Langenkamp
  • John Saxon
  • Ronee Blakley
  • Robert Englund
Director Wes Craven
Release Date November 16, 1984
Running Time 91 minutes

Carrie 

IMDb Rating: 7.4

The film Carrie achieved both critical and commercial success, earning an impressive $33.8 million in revenue against a budget of $1.8 million. It was nominated in two categories at the 49th Academy Awards: Best Actress for Sissy Spacek and Best Supporting Actress for Piper Laurie. Both critics and audience members widely consider it the best adaptation of the novel compared to the numerous films and television shows based on the character. It is also regarded as one of the finest films based on Stephen King’s works. The prom scene in the film has had a significant impact on popular culture. It was even ranked eighth on Bravo’s 2004 program, The 100 Scariest Movie Moments. The film was chosen for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2022. It was recognized for its cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance.

Cast:

  • Sissy Spacek
  • Piper Laurie
  • Amy Irving
  • Nancy Allen
  • William Katt
  • P. J. Soles
  • Betty Buckley
  • John Travolta
Director Brian De Palma
Release Date November 3, 1976
Running Time 98 minutes

It 

IMDb Rating: 7.3

It is based on the highly acclaimed Stephen King novel of the same name, which has been terrifying readers for decades. The story is set in the town of Derry, Maine, where children go missing, prompting a group of young kids to confront their deepest fears. They find themselves in a battle against Pennywise, an evil clown with a long history of murder and violence spanning centuries. It is a well-acted and fiendishly frightening film that amplifies the horror in Stephen King’s classic story. It maintains a solid emotional core, making it even more impactful.

Cast:

  • Jaeden Lieberher
  • Bill Skarsgård
  • Jeremy Ray Taylor
  • Sophia Lillis
  • Finn Wolfhard
  • Jackson Robert Scott
  • Nicholas Hamilton
  • Wyatt Oleff
  • Chosen Jacobs
  • Jack Dylan Grazer
Director Andy Muschietti
Release Date September 8, 2017
Running Time 135 minutes

Hereditary 

IMDb Rating: 7.3

The film Hereditary was widely acclaimed, with critics praising Toni Collette’s performance, Ari Aster’s direction, and Colin Stetson’s score. With a budget of only $10 million, the film earned an impressive $82 million, making it A24’s highest-grossing film. This record remained unbroken until the 2022 film Everything Everywhere All at Once surpassed it. Hereditary leverages its basic concept to create a chilling, unnerving horror thriller that haunts even after the credits.

Cast:

  • Toni Collette
  • Alex Wolff
  • Milly Shapiro
  • Ann Dowd
  • Gabriel Byrne
Director Ari Aster
Release Date June 8, 2018
Running Time 127 minutes

Scary Movies on HBO Max

HBO Max Scary Movies Listed in Order of IMDb Rating

Movie Name U.S. Release Date IMDb Rating
The Silence of the Lambs February 14, 1991 8.6

 

The Shining May 23, 1980 8.4
Night of the Living Dead October 4, 1968 7.8
Saw October 29, 2004 7.6
The Fly August 15, 1986 7.6
The Conjuring July 19, 2013 7.5
A Nightmare on Elm Street November 16, 1984 7.4
Carrie November 3, 1976 7.4
It September 8, 2017 7.3
Hereditary June 8, 2018 7.3
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Surya Ravi

Surya Ravi, an MBA in HR and Marketing, is an aspiring writer, kindle published author and translator. Hailing from the city of pearls, Hyderabad, her strengths are her spirit and optimism. An avid reader, a die-hard romantic at heart, she is a cinema buff and keenly follows the global tele-world. She has found her calling in writing.