Wednesday, October 28, 2015

13 Great Horror Titles streaming on Netflix right Now! - October 2015

It's Halloween season which means that sometime in the next couple of days you'll be scrolling through Netflix looking for something to watch, which can be tricky because the Netflix horror section has a lot of garbage in it.  To be fair, there are some classics mixed in, like Re-Animator, Rosemary's Baby, Day of the Dead, Hellraiser I & II, The Omen, The Monster Squad, and even The Babadook (which you've seen and either you love or hate it).

But let's say you've seen all those (and good god, if you haven't, then by all means watch them!) and you're looking for something lesser known, new and/or different.

Well you're in luck!  Here's a list of 13 Great Horror Gems streaming on Netflix right Now, some great titles that'll spook, creep, and scare you this Halloween.  Check it out!

13.  Let the Right One In
Maybe you're familiar with the American remake, Let Me In, but let me tell you, the Swedish original is head and shoulders above that perfectly okay version of this story about a weird young boy who becomes obsessed with his neighbor, a young girl, who is a vampire.

So yeah, this being a foreign film means you have to be willing to read subtitles to enjoy this one, but c'mon, don't be a loser (to be read in Donald Trump voice)!  I consider Let the Right One In to be not only one of the best horror movies of the last 10 years, but also one of the greatest vampire movies ever made, and minus a wonky cat sequence, I think it is a flawless film.  It's beautifully photographed, it has some wonderful moments of violence, and it perfectly captures that lonely feeling that comes with being an outsider (and a vampire).  It's great, so put your reading glasses on and check it out!

12.   The American Scream

Documentary about "home haunters," people who dress up their homes in haunted house-like attractions during Halloween.  Set in Massachusetts, the movie follows three different sets of haunters, each more idiosyncratic than the next.  There are some surprisingly touching moments in here, and the final 20 minutes when Halloween finally arrives and the haunts get active is really fantastic stuff.  This is a really fun documentary from the director of Best Worst Movie (a doc about the cult following of Troll 2) and a must see for anybody obsessed with the spookiest of holidays.

11.   Black Death
This is a rare period piece horror film, specifically one dealing with the Black Plague during the 14th Century, which surprisingly is somewhat also rare for a horror movie.  A young monk travels with a group of soldiers who are in a quest to find a remote marshland village untouched by the plague and a necromancer rumored to be hiding out there.

A combination of Game of Thrones and The Wicker Man, with a dash of man-on-a-mission films thrown in there, this is a dark and grim historical horror flick.  Stars Sean Bean and Carice von Houten add to the GoT comparison, but the whole ensemble is good, including David Warner and Eddie Redmayne.  The story might be a bit predictable, but the action and gore is nice, and I appreciated the rather bleak ending.

10.  Jug Face

A very good film from first time director Chad Crawford Kinkle, this is a weird backwoods cult film about a strange rural society that worships a hole in the ground, a pit, that seems to house some sort of entity that requires sacrifices. . .yeah, this is a weird one, but I liked a lot of what is here:  the isolated rural setting, the way it explores social taboos, the great musical score, the fantastic lead performance by Lauren Ashley Carter, and excellent support by Sean Bridges, Larry Fessenden, and Sean Young(!!).

Jug Face:  silly title; good movie.

9.  Housebound

Horror/comedy out of New Zealand, a little ridiculous but never goofy.  The premise is solid: a troubled woman is ordered into house arrest and must go stay with her mother in the house she grew up in which may (or may not) be haunted.  The acting is good and there are some decent scares (and laughs) but . . . .

Personally I wasn't 100% onboard with every twist and turn this movie takes, but it is a good movie that a lot of people who are not me seem to really really love, so maybe you'll be one of them and really love this movie too.  It's good; see it.

8.  Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
This is one I consider to be a classic, but it seems general audiences aren't aware of it and new horror fans are ignoring it.  Maybe that's because it is totally bleak and brutal and isn't a funtime horror movie for regular people.  However, if you like things that get dark (like, really dark), then may I introduce you to Henry.

Played chillingly by Michael Rooker, Henry follows the story of a psycho cold killer as he weaves his way through various murders and violence, along with his creep, sicko buddy Otis (Tom Towles).  Based on real life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, this is an unpleasant film, with a loose narrative that gives it this unnervingly realistic tone, but I find it to be a really strong, great film.  If you're looking to be disturbed by a movie, this is a good choice.

Also, all Walking Dead and Guardians of the Galaxy fans need to watch this and experience why Michael Rooker is truly someone you do not want to cross paths with.

7.  We Are What We Are

I thought Jorge Michel Grau's original 2010 film was a very good movie, but I really loved this remake from Jim Mickle, which takes the same basic premise and does something slightly different with it and gives it a different flavor.

What I loved and really responded to was just how depressing and bittersweet the film is.  The performances across the board are fantastic, there's so much longing and sadness amid the splashes of violence and the creepy religious tones, and it matches wonderfully with the dread that naturally comes with an isolated rural gothic setting.  It's the kind of stuff that sticks with you after the movie ends.

It's all very unpleasant and occasionally nasty, but how could a story about a family of cannibals not be?  I enjoyed it very much.

Bonus mention:  Another film from Jim Mickle, the very good vampire film Stakeland, which is like a zombie apocalypse movie if the zombies were vampires, is also available on Netflix.

6.  Ravenous

Another cannibal movie!  Another period piece!  I've always felt this one was underseen and under appreciated, which is a shame as it has a great cast with Guy Pearce, Robert Carlye, Jeremy Davies, Jeffrey Jones, and David Arquette, not to mention an excellent soundtrack by Damon Albarn.  This isn't as bleak of a film as some others on this list, as it has this wry humorous tone to it, but it does provide plenty of action and bloodshed.


5.  Nightbreed (Director's Cut)

One of my favorites from when I was younger, Nightbreed has seen a resurgence with the recent release of Clive Barker's Director's Cut, which changes the film in many ways while keeping the main focus on a group of monsters who live in a community and how they're threatened by the outside world.

Still totally great, this movie is a real blast and is a must see for fans of cool monsters, Clive Barker, and David Cronenberg (who plays a major character in the film).

4.  The Taking of Deborah Logan
Found footage movies are generally tedious and lame, but this one is surprisingly effective and well made.  Set up like a documentary film for a medical school thesis project, the subject of the film is Alzheimer's and its affect on the individual afflicted and their family.  Deborah Logan is the one affected, but could she be suffering from something MORE than the disease?  Well, this is a horror movie. . .

Very creepy, spooky, and full of atmosphere, this movie keeps upping the tension while also upping the whatthefuckery.  The special effects are killer, especially a sequence towards the end that might haunt some viewer's nightmares..

Jill Larson stars as the title character and she is GREAT!  Apparently she never used a body double and did all of her own stunts, which is amazing because she really goes for it, which is fantastic for an actor of her age (or any age, really).  I was particularly fascinated with her performance because Larson played Opal on the long running daytime soap opera All My Children, which was my mother's favorite soap and I would see it all the time on sick days or during summer vacation while growing up.  I can't wait to recommend this movie to my mom!!

3.  I Saw The Devil

From South Korea (more subtitles!?!), this is a nasty fun revenge movie.  The South Koreans are on top of their game when it comes to genre cinema, specifically revenge films, and this one is a game of brutal one-upmanship between a serial killer and the fiancé of one of his victims, a detective who goes to great lengths to get his vengeance.

Brutal and occasionally insane outbursts of violence and mayhem, stunning photography and inventive camerawork, emotional devastation and transformation underscored by the great music, that pitch black Korean humor, I Saw The Devil is pretty much everything you can and should expect from South Koran genre cinema.  It's great!

2.  Starry Eyes
One of my favorite movies from last year, a fantastic lead performance by Alex Essoe, a GREAT synth score, a really unique and strong vision for a horror film, pulling from the wells of Cronenberg and Polanski, it is uncomfortable, disturbing, beautiful, and intensely violent, sometimes all within moments of one another.  Basically it's everything I look for in a great horror movie.

1.  Maniac
I am a huge fan of William Lustig's 1980 classic Maniac, so it came as a bit of a surprise to me that the 2012 remake was, not only good, but was excellent!  Elijah Wood, at first a seemingly odd choice for the lead role as the titular maniac, is really damn good.  He's not sweaty or heavy breathy like Joe Spinell, but he emotes well and fully commits to the role.

The violence is intense and graphic and might be off-putting to some, but fans of the original should expect that.  Unexpected might be that the movie has an interesting framework/gimmick with the entirety of the movie mostly shot in the maniac's POV, an idea that shouldn't' work but succeeds more often than not.  It even leads to a couple brilliantly shot sequences.

In addition, the LA setting makes for a much more clean and neon soaked local as compared to the scuzzy NYC vibe of the original, as the filmmakers seems much more interested in achieving Italian-giallo style visuals (which works for me).  The music is FANTASTIC, I've been listening to the soundtrack for months now.  It's a great dread soaked synth nightmare, just another great layer to an excellent horror film.  Check it out!

There you have it, 13 scary suggestions for your Halloween viewing pleasure!  Glad I could help!
Now go home and enjoy the scares!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Trailer Park Tuesdays - Bone Tomahawk, The Nightmare, Deathgasm, Tales of Halloween

Hey, welcome to the Trailer Park.  We're gonna go smash pumpkins and throw things off the East St. bridge later, but first let's look at some movie trailers for some scary shit that you could maybe check out this month.  It's October which means it's Halloween time so get into it!

First up we have a big one, very exciting.  Bone Tomahawk is the rare western-horror hybrid, this one getting rave reviews out of its recent showing at Fantastic Fest.  Featuring a great cast, including Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, and Richard Jenkins, this is the story of a sheriff and some cowboys heading out on a rescue mission to save some folks from some cave-dwelling cannibals.  Sounds awesome, right?  Well, yeah, based on description alone my ticket was bought!

Usually I say, here's the trailer, watch it!, but actually from what I've read online this is a spoilery trailer that might give away too much.  So be warned, but do what you like.  I can't control you.

I've seen it and it's a good trailer but yeah, it might give away a thing or two.  I dunno, I haven't seen the movie yet.

The trailer is below, watch it if you still need convincing you want to see a horror-western with Kurt Russell and cave cannibals.

Bone Tomahawk sees release on Oct. 23rd.

A freaky documentary (yes a documentary!) is streaming right now on Netflix Instant (and is also available from plenty of other outlets too) called The Nightmare.  From the director of documentary Room 237 (about the movie The Shining), this film focuses on the real life phenomenon of sleep paralysis.

This terrifying condition involves a sleeping/semi-conscious person being unable to move but experiencing frightening hallucinations.  These waking nightmares that people experience and the stories that they share in the film are dramatized visually, creating something that is, well, like you're looking at a nightmare.

I'm looking forward to checking this one out!  It looks freaky!  I thought Room 237 was really interesting and judging from this trailer below, the director, Rodney Ascher, has a keen eye for visuals.  If you're looking for something different this Halloween, maybe give The Nightmare a try.

Okay, on the goofier, weirder, stranger, gorier side of horror we have Deathgasm.

Yes, Deathgasm.  Hailing from the fine folks in New Zealand this is a splatter horror-comedy about some heavy metal dudes releasing an evil demon after they play some cursed music.  The film is being called "shamelessly lowbrow" and "very high energy."  Sounds like a New Zealand horror film to me.

Combining horror and heavy metal is a no brainer but it seems like it has been awhile since we've seen a good thrashing fright flick.  Will Deathgasm be any good?  I dunno, maybe, but it definitely has a great title so that can't be taken away.

Check out the wacky, gory trailer below and visit the website to see if and when Deathgasm is coming to your town.

Finally this month we have the very holiday appropriate Tales of Halloween.  This is an anthology film featuring 10 segments that all have to do with the best holiday of the year (Halloween).

Participating in the project are directors Neil Marshall, Darren Lynn Bousman, Lucky McKee, Paul Solet, Mike Mendez,  Dave Parker, and others, not to mention a really great cast list (watch the trailer, it's all too many people to name).

Anthologies are always a mixed bag, sort of like what you get trick-r-treating.  Hopefully Tales of Halloween offers up more Snickers and Reese's than it does Black Licorice or Wax Lips.

Tales of Halloween can be seen starting on Oct. 16th.

There you have it.  Thanks for stopping by, have a great horror holiday and be careful around strangers.  A lot of weirdos are here in the Trailer Park. . .