Stream (and scream) from home
Local film writer Josh Hadley collects an array of creepy, bizarre and iconic horror movies available on a few major streaming services
By Josh Hadley
It is that time of year again. The leaves are crackling underfoot, the air smells of decay and the jack-o’-lanterns are powering up. This being the month of death and suffering, let’s see what horror movies exist in the digital static known as streaming services.
First stop is Hulu, which is home to “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.” This 1992 adaption of the horror classic features Keanu Reeves butchering a British accent in nearly every frame. Th ere’s also a fantastic bout of practical effects and an insane amount of atmosphere.
On the other side of things, is the 1984 “Children of the Corn.” While Stephen King was not involved in the production of this film, his influence is all over it. Is it a good movie? Not really. Is it a fun movie? Not really. But it is a movie, and it does have people dying in it so it qualifies that is something. Oh, and it started a logic-defying franchise that is (somehow) still going eight sequels and two remakes later.
To wash the taste of corny children out of your brain you could kick back and watch “Hellbound: Hellraiser II.” It is rare that a sequel is superior to the original, but that is just the case here. Hulu only hosts this installment in the franchise—because having all of one franchise in one singular place is apparently too hard to do— but streamers in search of a scream luck out with this 1988 classic.
Finally, there is “Possessor,” a 2020 release that is a literal mind screw. Directed and written by Brandon Cronenberg, son of esteemed body horror icon David Cronenberg, Brandon takes right after his dad in this insane science fiction romp rife with gender-bending visceral gore. It’s not
for the faint of heart, but after all, it’s Halloween.
HBO Max features classic Warner titles such as “The Blob,” “Carnival of Souls” and “Night of the Living Dead” (which I decry is the greatest horror movie ever made). All of these films rely on story- and world-building, unlike some of their contemporary peers.
A tolerable contemporary found on this platform is the 2005 “Constantine.” Again, Reeves makes an appearance. Is it an accurate adaptation of the comic? Not even a little bit. Is it a good movie in and of itself? Yes, very much.
Speaking of classics, HBO Max is home to the “Evil Dead” trilogy. Bruce Campbell has hand issues and fights monsters. If you’ve never experienced this trilogy, stop reading and turn them on. Watch them as soon as possible, (Editor’s note: It’s fine, open a new tab and stream some killer classics.)
Acclaimed classic “Poltergeist” also makes an appearance on the platform. The 1982 film was directed by Tobe Hooper (and no, it wasn’t ghost-directed by Steven Spielberg.) This classic film quite literally uproots picture perfect suburbia.
If you like your movies with a side of exploding heads, HBO Max also hosts David Cronenberg’s 1981 cult classic “Scanners.”
Lastly, HBO Max is home to “Trick ‘r Treat” a 2007 film that follows the stories of several rather unlucky Halloween-ers. Every year my partner and I watch this film in a grandiose tradition. To me the film is arguably one of the greatest Halloween-focused movies ever made. It is Oct. 31 personified.
The bizarro finds of Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime is home to some of the more interesting and off beat Halloween titles. The 2012 film “Beyond the Black Rainbow” is one of those films and is less of a horror film and more of a mind-bending, you’ll-never-be-thesame-after-watching-it release.
In a similar, mysterious vein, John Carpenter’s 1980 film “The Fog” is made up of all atmosphere and barely any story, but the film always feels right this time of the year.
“Frailty”, a 2001 thriller featuring Bill Paxton and Matthew McConaughey, is far from a traditional horror film. The movie exudes dirt and grime, and without giving anything away, it contains what I believe to be one of the best final acts in modern film.
Now and then, a remake comes along that not only equals its predecessor but outdoes it in every regard. That movie is the 1978 film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” Rarely can a fi lm build such a sense of dread and tension as this movie. Turn the lights out, sink into the story and most of all—don’t fall asleep.
Lastly, Halloween night is not complete without the 1988 film “Night of the Demons.” It’s a Halloween movie that knows it’s a Halloween movie and it has one of the most bizarre special effects scenes ever shot. I tried to describe the gore in vivid detail, but it was too much for our Green Bay City Pages’ Editor to stomach. (Editor’s note: That’s true. It was.)
It’s best you see it for yourself.
Josh Hadley is an analog warrior writing for the varied likes of Fangoria, Rue Morgue, Horrorhound, The Dark Side, Hustler, Delirium, Cashiers du Cinemart and many others. He’s a veteran of low-budget television and film. Flying through the night with a VCR and the perspective of a Luddite, Hadley zigs while others zag and takes you along for the ride.