(Welcome to Now Scream This, a column where horror experts Chris Evangelista and Matt Donato tell you what scary, spooky, and spine-tingling movies are streaming and where you can watch them.)
Matt: Sorry, all! We’re back on our normally scheduled “Now Scream This” programming after festivals upon conventions upon workload buildup. Chris is a stronger man than I since he provided entries while away at TIFF. The same can not be said for this Fantastic Fest attendee. The last two weeks have been travel-palooza between Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights, Austin’s Fantastic Fest, and then catching the Black Plague after forgoing sleep some two straight weeks. In any case, all systems once again go! Back to the streaming recommendations. That’s more important, anyway.
Chris: It’s good to be back! I promise that we’ll get back to themes again soon, as I always find this column goes down better with a common throughline. That said, I’m just happy to be here to recommend some great horror. It’s Halloween season, the most wonderful time of the year. While I think I’ll save my specific Halloween faves for closer to the holiday itself, you can’t go wrong with most of the titles below.
Now Streaming on Shudder
Matt: If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve been barraged by Satan’s Slaves tweets ever since my review hit /Film back in April. Joko Anwar’s impossibly terrorizing familial paranormal nightmare does “James Wan” with an Indonesian flavor. Festival after festival acceptance passed with no distribution until horror streaming juggernaut Shudder *finally* snatched it up. While Anwar’s heavy-duty haunted house flick deserves the widest of releases, it’s found a perfect home on Shudder where it’ll be promoted, praised, and talked about in all the right circles. This is the scariest movie of 2018 you’ve never heard of – until now. Two separate screams are destined to make my “Most Disturbing of 2018” list come December, one involving a sheet and hallway portrait that’s…well…not to unleash my stereotypical Italian excitement, but – *chef’s kiss” – Mama Mia!
Chris: I just watched this over the weekend, and was mightily impressed. Satan’s Slaves is a bit like Hereditary in that it focuses on a family facing supernatural forces after the death of a grandmother. But it goes to much different places.
Now Streaming on Netflix
Matt: Conor McMahon’s Stitches should have spawned a modern-day slasher icon. The titular killer – an undead party clown played by comedian Ross Noble who preys on naughty children – slays with a demented jester’s spirit. Deaths are gloriously over-the-top, pitch-black comedy benefits from Irish wit, and big-top backstories build ancient clown mythos surprisingly worth a damn. But best of all? Almost *all* the deaths are practically crafted. Heads inflate like balloons about to burst. Craniums split open and brains scooped into an ice cream bowl. Stitches evokes everything about ’80s slashers that makes them so laughably memorable, which is why its pedestrian and underrated lifecycle bums me so. These are the kind of films I’d love to see reclaim primary genre focus. It’s not too late to bring Stitches back from the dead for another blood-soaked party!
Chris: It wouldn’t be an edition of Now Scream This without at least one Matt recommendation I haven’t seen. And here it is!
The Devil’s Candy
Now Streaming on Netflix
Matt: Sean Byrne should have five movies under his belt by now, at minimum. The Devil’s Candy is only his sophomore feature, following-up The Loved Ones (a perfect debut) some seven years later. I’ll never understand how this cherry-red satanic metal ballad sat around *two years* after premiering at TIFF 2015. Ethan Embry’s performance burns with creative rage, artistic intensity, and possessed conviction that makes me hope he’ll stay a genre actor forever. Scoring drops Metallica needles and hums a blistering guttural blend of heretic chants with crunchy distorted guitar riffs. Byrne is too talented, too ambitious, to be sidelined while countless others are handed new opportunities. James Wan, adopt Mr. Byrne into your Conjurverse collective and watch what he does with his own feature. Need reference material? Well, why don’t you try this little ol’ flick titled The Devil’s Candy. It’s a decadently sweet treat (with the wickedest intentions).
Chris: The Devil’s Candy is a little too unfocused for its own good, introducing subplots that go nowhere. But there’s so much style and energy here that it almost doesn’t matter. Also: when did Ethan Embry get so ripped?
Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil
Now Streaming on Netflix and Hulu
Matt: Eli Craig’s Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil is one of the funniest horror comedies of the last decade. Tyler Labine. Alan Tudyk. College bozos who can’t stop accidentally killing themselves because they think Tucker and Dale are backwoods maniacs. It’s genius concept – two bumbling oafs are mistaken as serial killers – as they try everything in their power to save the same kids who’re trying to kill them (and fail miserably). Again, practical deaths are a shining star in this gory production – especially when a woodchipper accepts a whole human body as flesh sacrifice. What, are you worried the concept wears thin? Impossible. Tudyk and Labine are gifted comedians who own their beer-swilling numskull roles as death regrettably becomes part of their life. Now if we can just get that teased sequel where Tucker and Dale go to college…
Chris: Horror-comedy is a hard subgenre to pull off. More often than not, I find myself cringing at filmmaker’s attempts. But Tucker and Dale vs. Evil works, blending gore and gaffs in equal measure.
Now Streaming on Hulu
Matt: If you notice, my picks don’t always span eras and generations like Chris’ do. That’s because my favorite aspect of this column is alerting readers to new, exciting genre titles the minute they hit VOD. Something like Adam MacDonald’s Pyewacket, starring Laurie Holden and Nicole Muñoz. Imagine Lady Bird, but instead of understanding her mother and making amends, Lady Bird impulsively summons a demon to enact “revenge” on an angsty whim. Emotions of grief and abandonment run high, while one of the film’s scariest scenes actually beat Hereditary to market (but not enough of you saw Pyewacket to know that). It’s terrifically witchy, deathly impactful, and one of the greatest examples of parental horror we have in a year where family units are deconstructing under hyper-sensitive genre treatment at an alarming rate.
Chris: I was skeptical about this film simply because the title is really dumb (yes, I know it was the name of the cat in Bell Book and Candle, and I don’t care). But this movie hooked me. It has a wonderfully ominous atmosphere, and Nicole Muñoz’s anguished performance is remarkable.
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