If you aren’t aware, Roku offers a bunch of free movies to watch without needing a subscription, so I went through the offerings to find a good variety of horror to watch for Halloween.
Now I do have to point out that while they are free to watch, the trade-off is they do have ads. Sometimes the ads are just dropped in at random, too. But on Roku there’s not a lot of ads, so it isn’t too obtrusive.
But other than ads, it doesn’t appear that these movies and series have been edited in any way, including profanity, gore, or nudity (if it had any). I haven’t watched everything on this list via Roku to make sure, but yes, I have seen everything on this list at one time or another.
I’ve included trailers for everything I’m recommending, to give you a taste before you commit to the full viewing.
To help you out, I’ve even put links to the watch pages online. If you’re using the Roku app, you’ll have to search for these.
Ready? Here are my picks of free horror to watch on Roku for Halloween:
After surviving a car accident, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up to find herself in an underground bunker with two men. Howard (John Goodman) tells her that a massive chemical attack has rendered the air unbreathable, and their only hope of survival is to remain inside. This film is a sequel to the movie Cloverfield, but that isn’t apparent until near the end.
This horror series originally debuted on the short-lived streamer Quibi, so each short story is broken up into 2 or 3 segments of ten minutes or less. The bonus is this is a great series if you don’t have a lot of time, and there are quite a few good stories here that are based on legends from each state…or as many as they got done before Quibi folded. My faves are “America’s Largest Ball of Twine” with Ming-Na Wa and Karen Allen, and “Red Rum” with Christina Ricci, Jacob Batalon, and Victoria Justice.
From the mind of Leigh Whannell (co-creator of “Saw” and “Insidious”) comes this comedy-horror film about a group of elementary-school teachers (Elijah Wood, Alison Pill, Rainn Wilson) who come under attack from children who have been turned into vicious zombie-like monsters by contaminated chicken nuggets.
This anthology series is based on the 1982 horror comedy classic of the same name. Stars this first season include David Arquette, Adrienne Barbeau, Tobin Bell, Big Boi, Jeffrey Combs, Kid Cudi, Bruce Davison, Giancarlo Esposito, Dana Gould, Tricia Helfer, and DJ Qualls. This one is only free through Oct 31, 2021.
Written and directed by Neil Marshall, this film follows six women who meet in a remote part of the Appalachians for their annual caving trip. Deep below the surface of the earth, disaster strikes when a rock falls and blocks their route back to the surface. The group splinters and each one pushes on, praying for another exit. But there is something else lurking under the earth — a race of monstrous humanoid creatures that have adapted perfectly to life in the dark.
Join director Eli Roth (“Hostel“) and guests like Stephen King, Quentin Tarantino, Greg Nicotero, Rob Zombie, and Linda Blair, as they discuss various horror movies in this docuseries. This one is only free through Oct 31, 2021.
This horror anthology created by director Mick Garris originally aired on NBC but even with broadcast censors, the various stories ended up being creepy and even scary at some points. Stars in this series include Elizabeth Moss, Eric Roberts, Anna Kendrick, Brandon Routh, and Wendell Pierce. If you don’t have time to watch them all, my picks are “Eater,” “The Sacrifice,” and “Community.”
The one that started it all, this film stars Jamie Lee Curtis as the babysitter stalked by the madman Michael Myers. It’s truly a horror classic.
This is another horror anthology created by director Mick Garris, but since it aired on Showtime, it’s got more gore and traditional horror elements. Directors during the two seasons of the show include horror greats like John Carpenter, John Landis, Tobe Hooper, Dario Argento, and Takashi Miike. Short on time? Try “The Washingtonians,” “Family,” and “Fair-Haired Child.” Oh, and fair warning, don’t watch Miike’s “Imprint” unless you have a very strong stomach and aren’t easily triggered.
When struggling photographer Leon Kaufman (Bradley Cooper) meets the owner of a prominent art gallery, he sees a chance for the success that has, so far, eluded him. Determined to show the darker side of humanity for his debut showing, Leon crosses paths with Mahogany (Vinnie Jones) a serial killer who preys on late-night subway commuters. Based on Clive Barker’s 1984 short story of the same name, the ending gets a bit gory and weird.
This found-footage film follows a TV reporter and her cameraman as they accompany a group of firefighters on an emergency call to an apartment building. The situation quickly escalates after an infection begins spreading inside, with the building being sealed up and all occupants ordered to follow a strict quarantine. This film was the basis for the 2008 American horror film “Quarantine.” It’s in Spanish, but there are English subtitles.
When four teenagers all meet with mysterious deaths exactly one week after watching a special tape, investigative reporter Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) tracks down the video… and watches it. Now, the legend is coming true, the clock is ticking and Rachel has just seven days to unravel the mystery of The Ring. This is an American remake of the 1998 Japanese film “Ringu.”
When bloodthirsty, undead ghouls invade their once-peaceful town, it’s up to friends and boy scouts Ben, Carter, and Augie to save the day. With help from a waitress named Denise, the boys must put their scouting skills to the ultimate test to save mankind and earn their zombie-killing badges. And hey, you get to see a zombie Cloris Leachman chomping butt in this semi-raunchy comedy-horror movie.
A suburban American town is terrorized by ghouls, aliens, and killers on one Halloween night in this comedy-horror anthology. Directors include Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, III and IV), Neil Marshall (The Descent), and Lucky McKee (All Cheerleaders Die, The Woman). The cast includes Barry Bostwick, Lin Shaye, Greg Grunberg, Pollyannna McIntosh, and Sam Witwer.
Teenage crime reporters Sadie and McKayla are hot on the trail of a crazed serial killer. After capturing the maniac and holding him hostage, they soon realize that the best way to boost their social media stardom is to commit more murders themselves. This horror satire stars Brianna Hildebrand, Alexandra Shipp, Josh Hutcherson, Jack Quaid, Craig Robinson, and Kevin Durand.
In this horror film, an evil magician creates a wax display of famous monsters and murderers and invites a group of unsuspecting young college students to view the collection. However, when the kids are trapped in the deadly displays, one-by-one they soon discover that the wax models are more than they appear to be. This 80s horror gem is a bit silly at times, but it’s a cult favorite starring Zach Galligan (“Gremlins“) and Deborah Foreman (“Valley Girl“).
Three tourists on holiday are backpacking across the country of Australia when they find themselves stranded on the Great Northern Highway. A man stops to help, appearing to be a good Samaritan, but the trio soon find out he likes to hunt humans. This Australian horror film is loosely based on a true story, and it’s bleak and brutal and gory.
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