Streaming Picks for the Weekend

Halloween is fast approaching and my decorations are out, making watching horror films at home even more enjoyable.

I also bought a stupid amount of candy, which will just end up as movie snacks, ’cause no one is Trick or Treating to my flat.

Anyway…I know it’s still a few weeks away, but Halloween is really for the whole month, right? I wanted to start finding the best Halloween films that are streaming now, so this week’s list is (mostly) reflective of that.

 

New Release: The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)

Ok, so this one isn’t Halloween related (that we know) and it’s not a film but, honestly, there’s nothing else I could put in its place.

I’ve been looking forward to this since it was announced back early last year.

The Haunting of Hill House, the first part of this anthology, was amazing and somehow even better on the second watch, when you could go back and try to find all the hidden ghosts. I’m hoping this will bring the same joy on repeat viewings.

I obviously haven’t been able to get through the whole series yet, as it just came out today, but 2 episodes in and so far, so creepy. Who doesn’t love a good ol’ fashioned ghost story? Plus, for me, anything Mike Flanagan touches is gold.


Watch it here on Netflix


So Bad, It’s Good: Trick or Treats (1982)

80s movies on Amazon Prime strike again!

If you’re not totally engrossed by the 5 minute opening scene of two men struggling to get a grown man into a straight jacket while wrestling around a pool as his wife looks on gleefully, I don’t know what to tell you.

Post credits, the film picks up ‘several years later’. The wife is now remarried to a new man (a sleazy David Carradine) who is helping raise her bratty little shit of a son. The babysitter called into Halloween night is succumbed to the kid’s magic themed pranks and eventually finds herself caught in the crossfire of the ‘mad’ ex’s post-asylum-escape revenge.

The music is ridiculously out of place, the acting is horrible, there’s ginormous ‘plot’ holes, and the pacing is horrendous. At one point Carradine and the kid just stare each other down for some unknown reason, as the camera switches between them, what feels like, 10 minutes.

Perhaps it was the Halloween theme that helped to teeter it into the ‘so good’ category. Any other time it may be unwatchable, but ’tis the season, and I found this flick amusingly bad, utterly absurd, and immensely enjoyable.


Watch it here on Amazon Prime


Underrated Gem: Hell House LLC (2015)

Don’t judge a film by its trailer, btw. This does not come close to doing it justice.

I know found footage can be pretty hit or miss. Some people completely dismiss all films that fall in that sub-genre. Please don’t do that with this one.

This film is really well made and legitimately creepy.

A documentary crew heads to the location of a Halloween haunted house where all hell broke loose 5 years before. Footage of the team behind the scare factory is recovered, and shows their dreams of becoming a successful business turn into an absolute nightmare.

If you’re going to create a Halloween spook house, just do it in a regular home – not a hotel that’s knowingly haunted by a prior resident.

This is actually part of a trilogy and both sequels are available on Shudder as well. I, personally, am not a fan of those. I found them extremely disappointing when compared to how great the original was.


Watch it here on Shudder


Classic Horror: The Addams Family (1991)

Ok, I’m jumping slightly ahead in decades when it comes to considering something ‘classic’. I’m going to have to create a firm end date for that…

I may also be playing it fast and lose by saying this takes place during Halloween (I think just the end bit does), but enlighten me. It actually starts during Christmas, too, so it’s perfect all year round!

The family of Addams are the most gloriously spooky bunch. And who isn’t completely jealous of Morticia and Gomez’s relationship?? It can’t just be me.

This classic (and the next one) are ones that can be enjoyed by the whole family. If you somehow haven’t seen this before, you may need to awaken your inner child.


Watch it here on Netflix


Modern Classic: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

I don’t know if it was the same here in the UK, but growing up in the states everyone loved, and at the same time, were terrified of these books. The stories we’re pretty scary, but it was really the illustrations by Stephen Gammell that were really horrifying.

Director André Øvredal, and producer Guillermo del Toro (and of course everyone else involved) did an amazing job of bringing these illustrations to life. When I heard del Toro was remaining part of the production, I had no reservations about a film adaptation.

The film centres around a group of kids in the late 1960s. After stories from a creepy and mysterious notebook start to come to life, they band together to save their town.

Sure, it’s a bit kiddie but, for me at least, there’s some major nostalgia here. Plus, it might just be the perfect flick to get your kiddos into horror films.


Watch it here on Prime


Bonus Short: Bill (2019)

Created by Sophie Mair and Dan Gitsham, who together make Sketchbook Pictures.

The level of creep factor they were able to fit into this 3-minute short is truly impressive. It has a simple premise (at that run-time it has to) and the way they tackled it works really well.

 

 


By: Jennifer Dale Apel

 

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