The 40 Best Horror Movies on HBO Max to Stream for Halloween

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Halloween never ends. Despite America’s penchant for spooky stuff during October, some people just aren’t satisfied with reserving their demonic delights for only one month out of the year. Netflix was once home to the greatest horror films ever made, but recently their curation has been slacking. Shudder, a newer site populated exclusively with horror content, has picked up the slack by making rare indie and foreign films available—but it’s missing a lot of classics.

Luckily, HBO Max has filled in those gaps by showcasing some of the greatest scary movies ever made. From sci-fi-inspired stories to barf-inducing torture-porn, we’re counting down the best horror movies on HBO Max that are currently available on this amazing streaming service.

1. '28 Days Later' (2002)

Who's in It: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Megan Burns

Runtime: 1h 53m

Sometimes credited with helping to reinvent the zombie movie genre and reinvigorate public interest in it, 28 Days Later was an unexpected success. Featuring new tropes such as fast-moving zombies, the film starred Cillian Murphy as a man who awakens from a coma to find that London is in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, 28 days after it began.

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2. '28 Weeks Later' (2007)

Who's in It: Rose Byrne, Robert Carlyle, Jeremy Renner

Runtime: 1h 40m

The pulse-pounding sequel to 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later isn't as good as the first film but its introduction is one of the best ever put to film when it comes to zombie horror, easily making it one of the best horror movies on HBO Max. Taking place, well, 28 weeks after the events of the original, this film is still full of thrilling horror, as well as an ending that will leave you craving a sequel.

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3. 'The Blob' (1958)

Who's in It: Steve McQueen, Aneta Corseaut, Earl Rowe, Olin Howlin

Runtime: 1h 22m

Truly terrifying when it was first released and absurdly campy for modern times, The Blob premiered in 1958 and was a hit with audiences, but not so much with the critics. If you're a fan of old movies and love horror, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better B-movie than this one.

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4. 'The Conjuring' (2013)

Who's in It: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston

Runtime: 1h 51m

The movie that launched an over $2 billion franchise, The Conjuring, starring Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as married paranormal investigators, immediately captivated audiences and was also a hit with critics. It has since launched a franchise that includes eight films with two of them being direct sequels to The Conjuring. While it's relatively new compared to the older horror classics, it still holds its spot as one of the best horror movies on HBO Max.

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5. 'American Psycho' (2000)

Who's in It: Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Josh Lucas

Runtime: 1h 41m

Based on the book of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho tells the story of an investment banker, Patrick Bateman, who lives in New York City and carries out murders in his free time. While the movie is meant to be fairly satirical, it still never falters in packing a major punch within the horror genre, combining both comedy and drama at the same time.

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6. 'The Fly' (1986)

Who's in It: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz, Joy Boushel

Runtime: 1h 35m

While the 1958 version of this film is beyond iconic, we can't forget about the 1986 iteration of The Fly, which stars Jeff Goldblum in the main role of Seth Brundle, a scientist who turns into a half-fly, half-human creature after one of his experiments go awry. In addition to Goldblum's iconic performance, Geena Davis portrays Ronnie Quaife, a science journalist who strikes up a relationship with Brundle.

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7. 'The Exorcist' (1973)

Who's in It: Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Jason Miller, Max von Sydow

Runtime: 2h 1m

Based entirely on William Peter Blatty's book of the same name, The Exorcist tracks Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair), a young girl who becomes violently possessed by a demon, and her family, who has to figure out a way to bring her out of the trance she's in. Her mother, Chris (Ellen Burstyn), decides to call in a few Catholic priests to perform an exorcism, but things don't go exactly as planned when they become cursed, as well.

Now, if this isn't one of the best horror movies on HBO Max, then I don't know what is.

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8. 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' (1997)

Who's in It: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ryan Philippe

Runtime: 1h 40m

While this film may have only come out in 1997, it quickly became a horror classic with the way the plot is organized. I Know What You Did Last Summer centers around a group of friends who are stalked and murdered by a killer exactly a year after they attempted to cover up a car accident they were in that left a man dead.

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9. 'The Brood' (1979)

Who's in It: Samantha Eggar, Oliver Reed, Art Hindle, Henry Beckman

Runtime: 1h 32m

Cronenberg’s bizarre brand of body horror is taken to a logical conclusion with this psychedelic, psychological, and apocalyptic thriller. We won’t spoil the film’s nauseating final scenes but we’ll warn you that they’re unlike anything you’ve ever seen—unless you’ve been perusing the darkest depths of the horror genre for a while.

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10. 'Freaky' (2020)

Who's in It: Kathryn Newton, Vince Vaughn, Celeste O'Connor, Katie Finneran

Runtime: 1h 42m

In the mood for a more comedic take on a horror movie? Enter Freaky. Comedy legend Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton star in this slasher film which sees Vaughn portraying a serial killer that accidentally swaps into the body of Kathryn Newton's character. It's a hilarious and scary romp that you're all but guaranteed to enjoy.

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11. 'Old' (2021)

Who's in It: Gael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell, Alex Wolff

Runtime: 1h 48m

Both written and directed by the iconic M. Night Shyamalan, Old takes place on a remote, tropical beach, where a family on the brink of divorce decides to stay at in an attempt to be together one last time. However, they quickly realize that the beach is cursed and that everyone is aging by one year every 30 minutes.

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12. 'I Am Legend' (2007)

Who's in It: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Emma Thompson, Dash Mihok, Charlie Tahan

Runtime: 1h 40m

A movie that is loosely based on the book of the same name, I Am Legend stars Will Smith as Dr. Robert Neville, a scientist who is the last survivor of a zombie plague living in New York City, and possibly the last human alive on Earth. He spends his days trying to find a cure in a last-ditch effort to save humanity. I Am Legend isn't just iconic—it's one of the best horror movies on HBO Max right now.

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13. 'Eraserhead' (1977)

Who's in It: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Jeanne Bates, Judith Roberts

Runtime: 1h 29m

Arthouse horror fans have likely studied every allegorical frame of David Lynch’s earliest masterpiece, Eraserhead. It’s not a conventional movie by any means, but Lynch’s thorough understanding of the cinematic structure of nightmares is fully realized in this surrealist classic about a father that’s terrified of his deformed child.

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14. 'Wes Craven’s New Nightmare' (1994)

Who's in It: Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, Miko Hughes, John Saxon

Runtime: 1h 52m

New Nightmare is technically the seventh film in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. One might assume there’s no new territory to cover, but Craven inserts himself into the film as a protagonist, turning the series into a metacommentary on horror cinema rather than a conventional slasher.

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15. 'Freddy vs Jason' (2003)

Who's in It: Robert Englund, Ken Kirzinger, Monica Keena, Kelly Rowland

Runtime: 1h 37m

Much like Alien vs Predator, if you’re a horror die-hard who cares about canonicity, Freddy vs Jason isn’t for you. Campy pleasures abound in this unapologetically stupid crossover. Kelly Rowland (yes, from Destiny’s Child) serves a series of classic early 2000s looks while watching her friends get butchered by these beloved villains. 

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16. 'Godzilla' (1954)

Who's in It: Akira Takarada, Momoko Kōchi, Akihiko Hirata, Takashi Shimura

Runtime: 1h 36m

After endless spinoffs, reboots, adaptations, and sequels, it’s hard to imagine how impactful the original Godzilla truly is. Yes, it comes off as campy nowadays—but as a reflection of post-WWII nuclear anxieties, it’s a lot more cerebral than it’s usually given credit for. Besides, considering the technical limitations of that time, it’s a gorgeously crafted Kaiju creation. Godzilla isn't just a great monster film, it's also one of the best horror movies on HBO Max. Period.

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17. 'Gremlins 2: The New Batch' (1990)

Who's in It: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, John Glover, Robert Prosky

Runtime: 1h 46m

What can be said about Gremlins 2 that Key and Peele didn’t already cover in their infamously zany sketch about this unimaginably goofy film? Electricity gremlin: it’s in the movie! Spider gremlin: it’s in the movie! Hulk Hogan: he’s in the movie! Gremlins 2 is a hat on top of a hat on top of a hat: the movie is an exercise in over-abundance and has even become the subject of academic analysis for its strangely incisive dystopian setting — despite it having almost nothing to do with the original movie that spawned it. 

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18. 'Carnival of Souls' (1962)

Who's in It: Candace Hilligoss, Frances Feist, Sidney Berger, Art Ellison

Runtime: 1h 18m

This classic early-1960s horror film follows Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss), who picks up her life and moves to Salt Lake City, Utah, after getting into a car accident. In her new city, however, she begins having terrifying nightmares and quickly becomes obsessed with a local abandoned carnival.

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19. 'Scary Movie 3' (2003)

Who's in It: Anna Faris, Charlie Sheen, Regina Hall, Simon Rex, Queen Latifah, Leslie Nielsen, Anthony Anderson, Kevin Hart

Runtime: 1h 24m

While not a horror movie in the more brutal and deranged sense, this film definitely deserves a place here. And on top of that, I'd argue that Scary Movie 3 is the best out of the entire Scary Movie film series. And not only that, but it's also one of the best horror movies on HBO Max in general.

The movie is basically an entire parody of both the horror genre and tons of other movies, with the main plot initially focusing on a news anchorwoman who conducts an investigation surrounding crop circles. However, it quickly becomes much more complicated and absurd when a cursed videotape makes its way out into the world.

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20. 'It' (2017)

Who's in It: Jaden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgård, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, Jackson Robert Scott

Runtime: 2h 14m

The modern reboot of the Stephen King classic, 2017's It portrays a shapeshifting monster that most frequently takes the form of a killer clown who terrorizes a town in Maine. As people begin dying, a group of kids decides to fight back and protect the ones they love. It is definitely one of the best horror movies on HBO Max, as well as being just a solid rendition of an iconic novel.

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21. 'It: Chapter Two' (2019)

Who's in It: Jessica Chastain, Bill Skarsgård, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean

Runtime: 2h 49m

The follow-up to It, It: Chapter Two marks the return of the original group of kids, who 27 years after the events of the first film, return to Derry, Maine after Pennywise resurfaces. They vow to defeat him once and for all by joining forces again to combat the malevolent presence.

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22. 'What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?' (1962)

Who's in It: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono

Runtime: 2h 13m

The classic 1962 film starring two real-life frenemies (well, mostly enemies), Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? was as drama-inducing behind the scenes as it was on the big screen. Based on the novel of the same name by Henry Farrell, the story follows Jane Hudson, a former child star, and her paraplegic sister, Blanche, as they live together in a mansion. It's not just your classical roommate situation, though, as Jane torments her sister who is left helpless being that she's stuck on the top floor of their house.

For the sheer iconic-ness of this film, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is definitely one of the best horror movies on HBO Max available to stream right now.

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23. 'A Nightmare on Elm Street' (1984)

Who's in It: Heather Langenkamp, Robert Englund, John Saxon, Johnny Depp, Ronee Blakley

Runtime: 1h 31m

The 1980s horror classic, A Nightmare on Elm Street is the first on-screen appearance of slasher icon Freddy Krueger. It is also one of Johnny Depp's earliest on-screen roles, so if you haven't seen this cinematic classic, you're in for a treat.

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24. 'Mothra Vs Godzilla' (1964)

Who's in It: Akira Takarada, Yuriko Hoshi, Hiroshi Koizumi, Yū Fujiki

Runtime: 1h 28m

With the exception of Hideaki Anno’s politically dense Shin Godzilla, Mothra Vs. Godzilla is the standout spinoff of the original kaiju film. The mythos surrounding the eponymous winged monster is endearingly complex — and there’s something ineffably glamorous about the insectoid titan and her colorfully-dressed adherents. 

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25. 'Multiple Maniacs' (1970)

Who's in It: Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Edith Massey

Runtime: 1h 36m

For a time, John Waters's Multiple Maniacs was absolutely impossible to find. Luckily, Criterion snatched up a rare print of this perverted classic, and their gorgeously rendered restoration is a filthy treat. The ludicrously glamorous drag queen Divine embarks on a series of stomach-churning misadventures in this midnight movie — until a lesbian experience in a church transforms her from a raunchy madame into a pious worshipper of a deranged god. Waters’ unabashed queerness and putrid charm shine through every shot of this psychotic ode to lewd-ity.

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26. 'Night of the Living Dead' (1968)

Who's in It: Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman

Runtime: 1h 36m

George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is considered the first zombie movie ever made and is one of the rare horror films from that time period to feature a Black male protagonist. That casting choice smartly changes the entire context of the movie — especially its depressing conclusion. Both historically important and hauntingly shot, Night of the Living Dead is a groundbreaking horror movie that deserves the veneration it’s received since its release in 1968.

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27. 'Poltergeist' (1982)

Who's in It: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Heather O'Rourke, Beatrice Straight, Dominique Dunne, Oliver Robins

Runtime: 1h 54m

Tobe Hooper and Steven Speilberg’s unexpected team-up in 1982 wound up producing one of the most iconic American films ever made. Big budget special effects bring this ghost story to life, but amazing performances from the entire cast give the movie a real emotional core. Besides, who can resist a horror film with a reputation for being actually cursed?

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28. 'Gremlins' (1984)

Who's in It: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Crates, Howie Mandel, Hoyt Axon, Polly Holiday

Runtime: 1h 46m

Gremlins will always be an absolute classic, blending comedy and horror into one (and in the adorable, tiny size of our favorite Gremlin buddies). Set during Christmas time, a young man is gifted an odd, tiny creature as a pet (known as a mogwai), and while it might look harmless, it eventually duplicates itself into multiple creatures that begin launching a full-out attack on a local town.

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29. 'Annabelle' (2014)

Who's in It: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodard, Tony Amendola

Runtime: 1h 38m

While many of us might remember the extremely freaky commercials for Annabelle back in 2014, not all of us actually took the leap by heading out to the theater and seeing it. A prequel to The Conjuring, Annabelle focuses on a doll that begins to curse a family after they bring it into their home. However, it doesn't just stop there: a cult begins to take center stage as murders are carried out throughout their town.

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30. 'Scanners' (1981)

Who's in It: Stephen Lack, Jennifer O'Neill, Patrick McGoohan, Lawrence Dane

Runtime: 1h 43m

At this point, Scanners is better known as the source of the infamously graphic exploding head gif than for its actual artistic merit. Cronenberg’s twisted sci-fi horror movie, about telekinetically gifted humans being hunted by a shadowy mega-corporation, was given middling reviews upon its release in 1981, but the movie’s use of extremely gruesome special effects and its oddly prescient dystopian setting has garnered the movie a cult following in the ensuing decades. 

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31. 'What Lies Beneath' (2000)

Who's in It: Michelle Pfeiffer, Harrison Ford, Diana Scarwid, Miranda Otto

Runtime: 2h 9m

What Lies Beneath combines the thriller and horror genres into one, creating a genre-bending film with no shortage of absolutely terrifying moments. There's nothing more classic than a couple taking on a haunted house, and this film throws Dr. Norman Spencer (Harrison Ford) and his wife, Claire (Michelle Pfeiffer), into the mix when they start feeling an odd presence in their home.

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32. 'The Stepford Wives' (2004)

Who's in It: Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Bette Midler, Christopher Walken, Glenn Close

Runtime: 1h 32m

While this remake is nowhere near as great as the 1975 original film, I've got to hand it to The Stepford Wives (2004) for truly doubling down for the sake of camp alone. The story follows Joanna Eberhart as she moves her family to Stepford, Connecticut, where they become friends with a new group of women with some pretty deep secrets up their sleeves.

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33. 'The Shining' (1980)

Who's in It: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers

Runtime: 2h 23m

Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining is widely considered one of the greatest movies ever made, regardless of genre. Stephen King continues to loathe the auteur’s hyper-stylish interpretation of his novel, but let’s face it—this is one of the rare instances where the movie’s a lot better than the book. Shelly Duval and Jack Nicholson are a match made in hell, playing a married couple driven mad by isolation and resentment while caretaking an abandoned hotel during a snowstorm. But is the Overlook haunted—or are they both going insane?

Given this film's legendary status, it's no surprise that it's one of the best horror movies on HBO Max.

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34. 'Corpse Bride' (2005)

Who's in It: Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Depp, Emily Watson, Tracey Ullman, Paul Whitehouse

Runtime: 1h 17m

In Corpse Bride, an effete aristocrat finds himself unwittingly betrothed to an undead beauty. The amount of work that went into creating every second of this lushly animated stop-motion film is hard to fathom: every shot is so densely detailed and beautifully composed that the movie’s somewhat corny, kid-friendly plot is easy to ignore in favor of the astonishing artistry. Burton’s idiosyncratic vision of the afterlife remains both adorable and strikingly original. 

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35. 'Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me' (1992)

Who's in It: Kyle MacLachlan, Sheryl Wise, Ray Wise, Mädchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook

Runtime: 2h 15m

When Twin Peaks ended in 1991, fans were left on a total cliffhanger. A few years later, David Lynch returned to his mysterious fictional town with a movie that ostensibly serves as a prequel for the show—although absolutely nothing is clarified or explained in this deeply terrifying film. Meditating on protagonist Laura Palmer’s immense suffering, Fire Walk With Me explores the psychological impact of sexual trauma through an indecipherably surreal lens. 

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36. 'King Kong' (1933)

Who's in It: Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot

Runtime: 1h 40m

While I personally prefer the 1975 version to this one, there's something to be said and appreciated about the very first King Kong movie ever created. The 1933 original tracks King Kong himself, a gigantic gorilla, who finds himself obsessed with Ann Darrow, a woman from New York City.

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37. 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' (1978)

Who's in It: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, Leonard Nimoy

Runtime: 1h 55m

Based on the 1956 film of the same name, this iteration of Invasion of the Body Snatchers revolves around Matthew Bennell (Donald Sutherland) and Elizabeth Driscoll, two health inspectors in San Francisco who begin investigating an odd type of creature that lands on Earth. The film was received extremely well, earning high praise and a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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38. 'Halloween Kills' (2021)

Who's in It: Jamie Lee Curtis, James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle, Judy Greer, Andy Matichak, Will Patton, Anthony Michael Hall, Jacob Keohane, Kyle Richards

Runtime: 1h 45m

The twelfth film of the Halloween franchise, Halloween Kills resumes exactly from where the previous film, Halloween (2018), left us. We're following our favorite OG character, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), while she fights for her life when Michael Myers (James Jude Courtney, Nick Castle) is accidentally released from prison.

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39. 'Ouija' (2014)

Who's in It: Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff, Bianca Santos

Runtime: 1h 29m

There's nothing more enticing than a good ole ouija board, and a film about that very thing certainly saw the same results, as Ouija premiered in the number one slot at the box office upon its release. The film tracks a group of friends who become cursed from the ouija board that they were using—you know, the usual.

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40. 'The Batman vs. Dracula' (2005)

Who's in It: Rino Romano, Peter Stormare, Tara Strong, Tom Kenny, Kevin Michael Richardson, Alastair Duncan

Runtime: 1h 23m

Okay, this one might not be the most terrifying on the list, but The Batman vs. Dracula shouldn't simply be dismissed because of that. The film makes the major crossover between a superhero film and the horror genre by pitting Dracula against Batman in his effort to save Gotham from a string of kidnappings that were carried out by the vampire.

Watch now on HBO Max
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