Like Apple TV+, Tubi is an underrated streamer with a growing cinematic library that has led to a huge boom in users recently. Unlike Apple TV+, Tubi is free and actually somewhat sparing with the ads that are included to cover the costs of the streaming service.
With October right around the corner, there’s no better time to catch up on some horror classics. And, again, thanks to Tubi, one can do that for free. From zombie and chainsaw family classics to modern reboots of iconic slasher franchises, these are the best horror films on Tubi. Just be prepared to sit through a few ads.
Updated on October 12th, 2023, by Neville Naidoo: This article has been updated with additional content to keep the discussion fresh and relevant with even more information and new entries.
20 Train to Busan (2016)
A South Korean horror film that’s now widely hailed as a masterpiece among horror fans, Train to Busan has become a legendary flick. It follows a father and daughter on a harrowing journey as they wind up on a train that’s infested with the undead after a zombie outbreak begins. Many fans believe this is the greatest zombie film ever made and its acclaim certainly backs that up.
There’s so much to love about it. Between its horrific depictions of zombies and heart-pounding scenes of desperate survival and tragic losses, as everyone aboard the train fights for their lives, the film has a lot to offer. Its special effects are amazing, but it’s the pacing, performances, and very human characters at its heart drive this one and make it a fantastic thrill ride from start to finish. Given its prominence among fans of horror, it’s unsurprising that the likes of James Wan are interested in doing an English remake of the film.
19 Terrifier (2016)
This massive cult hit spawned a now legendary new horror villain in Art the Clown, who serves as the main antagonist in Terrifier. Despite his funny and quirky antics, make no mistake, he’s one of the most brutal and callous villains you’ll ever see as he aptly lives up to the film’s name. The film follows two friends as they head home after a Halloween party.
The girls are both beautiful, but share an air of vulnerability about them since it’s late at night and there’s a very creepy-looking person in a clown costume seemingly stalking them. Once it’s clear that this is no mere Halloween prank, Art the Clown begins his reign of terror with levels of gore and brutality capable of shocking even the most ardent of horror fans. Given its cult following, the film earned a sequel and now has a third on the way, amid other depictions of its monstrous villain.
18 The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
A different take on supernatural horror films, albeit one that still successfully landed in a very creepy and disturbing way, The Autopsy of Jane Doe finds some great ways to build tension and drape itself in an air of palpable fear. Starring the brilliant Brian Cox alongside the often underrated Emile Hirsch, the pair play a father and son duo who get far more than they bargained for when a mysterious body lands at their home-operated mortuary.
The body is of a young woman who shows no external signs of trauma. However, as they get to work on her autopsy, the two men soon learn that this is no ordinary corpse. As inexplicable as it is, she has signs of extreme torture, though apparently all through internal injuries which appear to be impossible. As the night wears on and a storm rages outside, strange and terrifying occurrences haunt the men as they try to uncover the mysteries of what happened to this Jane Doe. A brilliant atmospheric horror, this one will certainly get under your skin.
17 Oculus (2013)
A lesser-known gem of a horror movie, Oculus starred Karen Gillan around the time she first came to prominence for playing Nebula in the MCU. It follows teenage siblings, Tim and Kaylie as they’re reunited after a tragedy 10 years prior. Back then, Tim was convicted of the murder of their parents. Now released, he just wants to start a new life and move past the horrific incident.
However, Kaylie has always believed in her brother’s innocence. She also believes that a supernatural force linked to an antique mirror holds the secret to their parents’ deaths. A reluctant Tim joins her as they spend time together after she tracks down the mirror. It’s soon apparent that she was right as the malevolent entity reveals itself again and terrorizes the pair of them. An absorbing and chilling film, Oculus was an underrated horror with plenty of creepy scares.
16 Saw (2004)
The original film that sparked a massive franchise and started James Wan’s career as an icon of horror, Saw was a brilliantly devised horror. Its twist ending is now legendary, as is the infamous Jigsaw character it spawned. Turning Tobin Bell into a legendary horror villain, the film follows his twisted and genius plots as he abducts victims and forces them to play sick games to free themselves from elaborately designed traps.
A former engineer, as the story unfolds, we learn that the Jigsaw killer believes that his horrific games are a way to teach people a valuable lesson. By devising them in a way that forces them to contemplate how they’ve been taking their lives for granted, he gives every victim a chance to escape, requiring them to make a sacrifice to see that their lives have so much more value than the ways they’ve been choosing to live them. With the 10th installment, SawX having been recently released, now would be the perfect time to catch up on this enduring horror franchise.
15 The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)
One of the best and most chilling examples of found footage horror out there, The Taking of Deborah Logan took the familiar tropes of this popular sub-genre to all new levels. It centered around a young med student and her crew of filmmakers as they made a documentary to shed light on Alzheimer’s research. With the permission of an old woman with Alzheimer’s and her daughter, the team moved in with them and began documenting Deborah Logan’s harrowing journey.
While she initially manifests many typical symptoms of the dreaded ailment, she soon begins behaving in strange and frightening ways that go beyond it. As a disturbing story unfolds, it becomes evident that Deborah doesn’t have Alzheimer’s at all, and is actually under the control of a terrifying and malevolent force. With some groundbreaking effects and many horrifying scenes, the film is one of the most memorable found footage films you’ll ever see.
14 Dead Silence (2007)
After the massive success of James Wan and his Conjuring and Insidious Universes, many people may not recall that he made another supernatural horror film early on in his career. Dead Silence featured a lot of his tension-building and hard-hitting scares, together with the immersive writing of his partner in crime, Leigh Whannell. It also unraveled a great backstory that could have led to a franchise of its own if the film never ended up being an underrated one.
It features a very creepy ventriloquist doll that seems to haunt people and even lead to their gruesome deaths. Seemingly attacking at random, the story later reveals that the doll is just a conduit for the true malevolent entity. A woman named Mary Shaw was once obsessed with ventriloquism and the dolls she made for her act. Having no children, Mary’s dolls were like her kids to her. When she was unjustly persecuted, her vengeful side was awakened, and her dolls became the terrifying means she used to exact revenge on all the people and their descendants who once wronged her.
13 Night of the Living Dead (1968)
George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead isn’t just important in terms of horror movie history, it’s important in terms of movie history in general. The ultimate zombie film, Night of the Living Dead is notable not just for kicking off the quintessential zombie franchise, it’s the first horror film ever to be led by a Black man.
Then, there’s that man’s fate in the film, which is about as devastating a gut punch of an ending as there can be. Specifically, Duane Jones’ Ben is the sole survivor of the farmhouse-set night of terror. He pokes his head out to catch some daylight, only to catch a bullet instead. Then, it’s over, and the audience is left to wonder whether the patrolling white men even stopped to wonder if Ben was a zombie.
12 The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre left an indelible mark on the horror genre, not to mention everyone who ever saw it at a young age. Per usual, the first is still the best, and to this day it remains one of the most bone-chilling films ever made. Most of the reason behind its appeal is realism.
None of the actors look or sound like actors, they look and sound like real people. So to see them get picked off one by one by a cannibalistic family is unbearable. Toss in the fact there’s very little blood, leaving the characters’ suffering to the viewer’s imagination, and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a gold standard horror film right alongside John Carpenter’s Halloween and The Thing, The Exorcist, and The Shining.
11 Suspiria (1977)
Dario Argento’s haunting masterpiece Suspiria is impressive on several production fronts, from the score by Goblin to the cinematography. One of the 1970s’ best horror films (which is no small compliment), Suspiria lingers in the audience’s memory well after the movie has concluded.
Jessica Harper is magnetic in the lead role of Suzy Bannion, and the viewer spends at least three-quarters of the film begging no one in particular for her survival. And, much to Suspiria‘s credit, it’s often very unclear if she (or anyone else at the dance academy) will survive. Suspiria is terrifying, and almost certainly the best film Dario Argento ever directed.
10 The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
As funny as it is creepy, Alien screenwriter Dan O’Bannon’s directorial debut, The Return of the Living Dead, is an impressive one. A genre balancing act that every cast member seems fully on board for, The Return of the Living Dead is unique and even manages to be so solid it works as a double feature with any one of Romero’s Dead films. And Return, like Night of the Living Dead or Dawn of the Dead, is a legitimately important installment of film history.
For one, putting aside the punk teens, the film is led by three individuals, all of whom are horror legends: Friday the 13th Part VI‘s Thom Mathews, Poltergeist‘s James Karen, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 2‘s Clu Gulager. But, back to the punk teens, there’s Night of the Demons and Savage Streets‘ Linnea Quigley. Not to mention, the concept of zombies eating brains (and saying ‘Brains’) didn’t originate from George A. Romero’s films, it originated from O’Bannon.
9 Evil Dead II (1987)
Like the original, Evil Dead II is one of director Sam Raimi’s best films. It’s more of a remake than a sequel, just with the horror sensibilities dialed down a shred and the Looney Tunes vibes raised by leagues.
It makes for an equally compelling variation of the same story. But, the ace in the hole this time is Bruce Campbell. Of course, Campbell turned in a competent lead performance the first go-round, but his work in Evil Dead II is of another level. In one film the actor showed that he was the best in the business for slapstick comedy…and he did it in a horror film.
8 Creepshow 2 (1987)
An underrated Stephen King adaptation, Creepshow 2 still isn’t quite as intelligent as the original film. But it is fun, and all three of its stories are solid to varying degrees. “Old Chief Wood’nhead” isn’t quite PC these days, but George Kennedy leads it wonderfully, and the main Native American criminal antagonist is played by a young Holt McCallany (Mindhunter).
“The Raft” is the creepiest of the bunch, and is a cult-favorite adaptation of a Stephen King short story. Lastly, there’s “The Hitchhiker,” which is suitably tense in structure and has a great lead performance from Lois Chiles, but it’s otherwise a story that’s been seen elsewhere and done better there.
7 Hellraiser (1987)
An impressively inventive classic even decades later, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser made for an extremely impressive directorial debut for the renowned author. It’s also loaded with performances that make it impossible to imagine anyone else in the respective role. Of course, Doug Bradley is the franchise’s main draw as Pinhead, and his hauntingly deep voice and relatively frail frame dominate each of the demon’s few scenes.
But the other Cenobites also make an impression, even if it’s not as strong as the one made by Clare Higgins as the deeply unhappy but deeply human Julia. As a woman more than willing to kill (or at the very least assist in it) to bring back a man she knows doesn’t love her, Julia is on a very sad merry-go-round, but as the movie progresses any chance for audience empathy goes out the window. This is mostly due to the complexity of Higgins’ performance, which to her credit does initially elicit that empathy. Toss in impressive leading work from Ashley Laurence as Kirsty Cotton and Dirty Harry‘s Andrew Robinson as her father, Larry (then the reincarnated, skin-covered Frank), and Hellraiser is one of the greatest horror films ever made.
6 Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)
A cult classic that hasn’t seen its fan base dwindle, but rather grow, Killer Klowns from Outer Space has a ton of charm. Part of that charm stems from the fact that it is, to this day, the only feature film from makeup artists the Chiodo Brothers.
Killer Klowns is a very different horror film, one with shadow puppets swallowing grown men whole and a main character with the last name Tobacco. In other words, Killer Klowns from Outer Space is a movie that knows what it wants to be, and it does an impressively atmospheric job of pulling off its intended genre balancing act.
5 Jeepers Creepers 2 (2003)
Like the original film, Jeepers Creepers 2 is a creative and memorable fright flick, even if its director’s unacceptable past actions should be neither celebrated nor condoned. Considering the first two films are of comparable quality (yet are fairly different) and both are on Tubi, they’d make for a fine double feature.
The sequel is the more action-packed of the two, without a doubt, but its greatest asset is Ray Wise as a grieving father with a vendetta against the Creeper. That said, even if the teens are annoying, the idea to put them on a stranded school bus was a good one.
4 Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2011)
An intelligent and humorous takedown of slasher tropes, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil features Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk in roles it seems they were born to play. The duo are lovable, but unlike the actors, the characters are pretty far from smart.
However, the teens who stumble upon their admittedly nice cabin in the woods don’t even attempt to get a sense of their personalities. Instead, they see Dale with deer blood all over him, immediately assume the worst and more, and then basically run around the woods until they’ve all been impaled on trees, fallen in holes, and flown into wood chippers.
3 Bone Tomahawk (2016)
S. Craig Zahler’s Bone Tomahawk is like a more strongly-written Eli Roth movie set in the Old West. The film features a perfectly cast Kurt Russell as a sheriff thrown out of his element once a stranger stumbles into town. Why? Because of what eliminated his partner.
Specifically, cannibals. Even more specifically, the cannibals who have now kidnapped the unwelcome man from his jail cell as the town doctor’s daughter. Now, Sheriff Franklin Hunt forms a posse and puts his last name in action, but there will be some very bloody consequences.
2 Mandy (2018)
One of the more underrated movies about cults, Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy is a high point of the decade-plus career lull Nicolas Cage experienced. A top-tier revenge film, Cosmatos’ work is a ridiculously stylish one, with some of the best use of color in years. But it all hinges on Cage’s performance as Red, and the actor never stops short of making the audience feel his character’s pain.
For instance, the film’s already-iconic scene of Cage tearing apart his bathroom in a rage. The scene isn’t just the actor doing his usual crazy-guy thing, but rather a man in true grief, overcome by frustration and rage. A man who put a violent life behind him but has the skills lying dormant should he need them. It’s some of Cage’s strongest work.
1 Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
A modest box office hit and a well-reviewed film to boot, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a stylish and scary fun popcorn flick that all but the youngest member of the family should enjoy. It’s a film with the tone of Andy Muschietti’s It and Netflix’s Stranger Things, but it hovers in between the two in terms of fright factor.
The film’s scarecrow is a particular highlight, especially once it gets its straw-filled mitts on young bully Tommy Milner. Toss in a supporting performance from Breaking Bad‘s Dean Norris and reverence for horror projects of the past and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a late 2010s winner.