The first (and thankfully only) Friday the 13th of 2016 is upon us. It's a day where superstition reigns supreme, where people are seemingly afraid of everything.

Granted, there's a good reason for that: not only is the day synonymous with bad luck and tragedy, but it also helped inspire one of the greatest horror movie franchises of all time.

That's why, for many movie fans, binging on scary movies is a Friday the 13th tradition. The night is already associated with superstition and fear, so why not accentuate it with outright horror?

Thankfully, for anyone with a Netflix subscription (which is basically everyone), finding a good horror movie to watch is as easy as signing in. In fact, Netflix's streaming library of genuinely good horror flicks has grown significantly over the past few years: users can finally watch legitimately scary movies, as opposed to suffering through B-grade drivel time and time again.

So, while none of the entries on this list are actually Friday the 13th (those movies are surprisingly hard to find), there are plenty of amazing alternate choices for those who want to stay inside on the unluckiest night of the year:

The Exorcist

Director: William Friedkin
Release Date: Dec. 26, 1973

On the surface, The Exorcist may not seem like much. The vast majority of the film takes place in the same room, the cast is extremely small and it revolves around a possession storyline that modern horror fans have seen a million times before.

Once you sit down and start watching, however, it's easy to see why The Exorcist is still known as one of the best horror movies ever made. Director William Friedkin took what could have been a rather silly plot — a girl is possessed by demons, then sits in bed all night — and turns it into the kind of suspenseful, character-driven horror film that simply doesn't exist anymore.

While contemporary possession stories focus more on jump scares and cheesy effects, The Exorcist centers almost entirely around Regan and Father Karras. It's the small, intimate nature of the film that makes it so effective — long story short, there's a reason why The Exorcist is still being talked about 40-plus years after its debut.

From Dusk Till Dawn

Director: Robert Rodriguez
Release Date: Jan. 19, 1996

From Dusk Till Dawn is a special kind of movie. It's the kind of movie that's perfectly fine with spending 45 minutes setting up a very specific kind of movie, only to pull the rug out from under the audience and completely flip everything on its head.

If you haven't seen the film before, we won't spoil the big twist for you here: just know that the entire first act of the movie is deliberately slow. It starts off as something akin to a slasher movie, only to completely transform itself halfway through. If you have seen it, go watch it again: director Robert Rodriguez's blend of extremely dark humor, classic horror tropes and amazing cast make From Dusk Till Dawn well worth a second viewing.

Oh, and things do get pretty violent — this movie probably isn't a good choice for the faint of heart. Again, we won't go into too much detail, but ... this is NOT a good movie to watch with the kids.


Director: Clive Barker
Release Date: Sept. 10, 1987

If you thought The Exorcist was too slow, or that the gore in From Dusk Till Dawn wasn't realistic enough, then we've got just the film for you.

Hellraiser works as a horror film because it taps into some of humanity's universal fears. First off, the idea of sex as a horror trope has been used before (just look at the Facehugger from Alien), but it was rarely used as a central theme before Hellraiser debuted. The idea of one's own fantasies being twisted and distorted is more than enough to put most people on edge, and the film never holds back from its sexualized themes.

Then, there's the body horror. There's something scary about hooks and piercings and torn flesh, and not only is Hellraiser full of it, but the practical effects still look great to this day. Much like From Dusk Till Dawn, this movie isn't for the faint of heart — and even those with strong constitutions may have trouble getting through the film in one sitting.

... but what about scary TV shows?

The X-Files

Created by: Chris Carter
Debuted: Sept. 10, 1993

Does The X-Files really need an introduction? It was one of the greatest TV shows of the '90s, tapping into seemingly every horror subgenre out there. Granted, it ran on network television, so it's not nearly as gruesome as some of the other entries on this list, but that didn't stop the show's creators from coming up with more than a few genuinely scary stories.

Of course, if there's one reason why the show still holds up, it's the main characters: Mulder and Scully may be simple hard-boiled detectives on the surface, but the show did a fantastic job of showing how different two characters could be without sacrificing the relationship between them.

The X-Files hasn't necessarily aged all that well over the past few decades — it's campy, it can be goofy, and any mention of technology is basically a joke at this point — but for anyone hoping for a relatively light horror experience, it's hard to find a better show than this.

Bates Motel

Created by: Carlton Cuse, Kerry Ehrin & Anthony Cipriano
Debuted: March 18, 2013

Bates Motel may not sound particularly scary ... until you realize what the title is referencing.

Based on characters from Alfred Hitchcock's legendary slasher film Psycho, the series follows a young Norman Bates and his mother Norma as they live their seemingly quiet lives running a small motel in Oregon. Of course, anyone who's seen the 1960 classic knows just how deranged these two people really are, and the series does a fantastic job of alluding to what the future holds for them.

Much like its inspiration, Bates Motel is a slower take on horror. Seeing as the series focuses largely on Norman's deteriorating mental health, it's not quite as fast-paced as some fans are used to — but that doesn't mean it can't ramp things up when it needs to.

What's even more impressive is that, over the course of four seasons, Bates Motel is still going strong. While many shows tend to lose steam as the years go on, Bates Motel hasn't missed a step. Hopefully, A&E can keep that momentum going throughout the rest of Season 4.

American Horror Story

Created by: Brad Falchuk & Ryan Murphy
Debuted: Oct. 5, 2011

For many, American Horror Story is one of the most refreshing TV series of recent memory. As an anthology series, the show never falls into the same, repetitive motions as other long-running series (look at you, The Walking Dead).

With new characters and stories as the seasons go on, the show never feels like it's playing the same old tune over and over again — and while it can be disappointing that fan-favorite characters never make a return, the new characters that replace them are usually just as much fun to watch.

Unfortunately, recent seasons of American Horror Story haven't been received nearly as well, with many beginning to believe that the show may be on its way out. Even so, the first few seasons of the show are still a blast to watch, and definitely worth checking out.

Of course, these are just a few of the great horror films and TV series lurking on Netflix — if you're looking for a reason to stay in on Friday the 13th, this is a great place to start!

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