There’s never a bad time to watch a great horror movie, especially if it’s streaming right now. While the best horror films — your slashers, your parapsychological dramas, your monster movies, you name it — provide audiences with fantastical thrills, they also help people process the ups and downs of real life. Whether through social metaphor or sensory overload, the limitless possibilities of the horror genre communicates challenging ideas that might not go down easy in documentary form. Come for the blood splatters, stay for the themes bubbling under the surfaces.
So while it might seem like a strange moment to indulge in tales of vampires, werewolves, and killer dolls, the blend of escapism and brutal truth has a tendency to have more going on than any unsuspecting viewer thinks. So take a stab at one? Here are a few horror movies new to Netflix, HBO, Shudder, and Hulu that you can watch this month.
An American Werewolf in London
John Landis’ shaggy, horror comedy stars David Naughton and Griffin Dunne as David and Jack, two college students whose chance encounter with a lycanthrope changes their lives forever (as in, one gets turned into a werewolf and the other is straight up killed). In visitations beyond the grave, Jack begs David to off himself in order to prevent further attacks, but ... he may have a thing going with the woman who nurses him back to health. The oddball, ticking-clock movie is bolstered by prosthetic effects by the legendary Rick Baker, which are every bit as agonizing and mesmerizing as they were in 1981. —Matt Patches
An American Werewolf in London is streaming on HBO Max.
A classic of Blaxploitation horror, Blacula stars William Marshall as an 18th-century African prince named Mamuwalde. Prince Mamuwalde visits Dracula’s castle to ask the count’s help in suppressing the slave trade, but Dracula laughs at his request and turns him into a vampire instead, dubbing him “Blacula.” Two-hundred years later, Blacula’s coffin is brought to Los Angeles, where he awakens and starts drinking the blood of LA residents.
Both Blacula and its even campier sequel, Scream Blacula Scream, are streaming on Shudder. You can also check out the Shudder documentary Horror Noire, which takes a look at the history of Black horror. —Emily Heller
Blacula is streaming on Shudder.
Technically Blood Machines is presented as three episodes in a 50-minute triptych ,but for the amount of time required to buy in, we’ll call it a “movie.” The neon-drenched CG odyssey opens with some expositional text that should sell sci-fi buffs on the film: “While escaping through space, the Mima, a machine with a defective A.I. system, is overtaken by a warship. Severely damaged by its harpoons, the Mima uses what little strength it has left to break free, but is forced to crash on an unexplored planet, Apus 7.” From there, the simple plot draws people into an a “beautiful immersion in colors and shapes” and a level of imagination that’s only possible with today’s DIY technology. —MP
Blood Machines is streaming on Shudder.
We can argue whether Martin Scorsese’s remake of J. Lee Thompson’s 1962 thriller is a “horror” movie or you can simply behold Robert De Niro going full slasher-psycho and get on the ride side of history. With a Southern gothic soul, Scorsese turns his go-to method actor into a Freddy Krueger-esque dreamstalker while still poking at the hive of criminal justice. Having been burned by the system and put away for 14 years, Max (De Niro) walks out of jail determined to unleash hell on his lawyer (Nick Nolte) and his family. What happens next will make your skin crawl. —MP
Cape Fear is streaming on Netflix.
Every list of horror recommendations needs a so-bad-it’s-good pick, and this month, it’s The Car. Like an Asylum mockbuster riff on Steven Spielberg’s Duel (or maybe an automotive take on Spielberg’s Jaws?), The Car stars James Brolin as a police captain hunting a hit-and-run maniac that may just be a sentient Lincoln Continental Mark III. The adventure to take down the rogue vehicle hits some bumps — turns out the filmmakers were not the next Shakespeares — but overall it’s a gas, the kind of schlock that can be made by people taking the concept with the utmost seriousness. —MP
is streaming on Netflix.
Child’s Play (2019)
The remake of Child’s Play pivots from magical slasher myth to tech parable, but if you can divorce it from your feelings on the original, there’s something nutty to find and enjoy. This time around, Mark Hamill steps into the vocal role of Chucky and Aubrey Plaza plays the mother of the kid unlucky enough to inherit a doll “set to evil.” Reviews seem to agree Child’s Play (2019) isn’t up there with the first, classic film, but that director Lars Klevberg vindicates his reboot with inventive set pieces and sinister humor. —MP
Child’s Play is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Final Destination 2
All of the Final Destination movies are currently streaming on HBO Max, so the question is which one should you watch first. Here’s my gut take: The original is a bit dull, limited by the introduction of the next-in-line-to-die concept. Final Destination 3 is probably the best movie of the bunch, finding a balance between disastrous sequences and tolerable teen-friendly drama. The Final Destination was a hoot in theaters in 3D, but you’re not getting that experience at home, and Final Destination 5 has a killer twist ending that I dare not spoil, but not much else. But I’m ultimately picking Final Destination 2, the movie with fairly bland interstitial moments and wild kills. The sequence on the freeway is an all-timer and what happens to a young lad with a pane of glass is just brutal. —MP
Final Destination 2 is streaming on HBO Max.
Halloween rebooter David Gordon Green and Godzilla: King of Monsters filmmaker Michael Dougherty just signed on to turn Clive Barker’s Hellraiser into a TV series, but we implore you to watch the original movie version first. Directed by Barker himself, the gruesome feature finds a family moving into a house where their late uncle was seemingly torn to bits. Totally normal. They soon discover that Uncle Frank died while transcending to new plane of carnal desire, becoming the target of a group of interdimensional “Cenobites” who took the sadomasochism a little too far. As the family reckons with their smoldering sexual politics, including the wife’s burning love affair with half-resurrected Frank, the world of man and demon collides in a razor-edged clusterfuck. It’s weird! It’s art. —MP
Hellraiser is streaming on Shudder.
The Lodge stars Riley Keough (Mad Max: Fury Road) as a young woman stranded with her new boyfriend’s two young children, both of whom mistrust her and blame her for their mother’s suicide. As time passes, stranger things start occurring, and it becomes less and less clear if they’re experiencing something supernatural or losing their minds in isolation. Here’s a rundown from our review
Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala’s horror movie/psychological thriller The Lodge attempts a magic trick. It’s easiest to understand in terms of how Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige explains stage magic in three acts: In the first act, “the pledge,” the audience is presented with something ordinary. In the second, “the turn,” that ordinary thing becomes extraordinary. In the third, “the prestige,” a bigger reveal or flourish occurs. The Lodge only nails the first two acts.
The Lodge is streaming on Hulu.
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