Stream of Screams: Streaming picks for stay-at-home Halloween
“Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows”
Wait, hear me out! The sequel to the original phenomenon has been widely deemed a disappointment, but documentarian Joe Berlinger (who co-directed the brilliant “Paradise Lost” documentary trilogy) took aim at the faux-documentary in ways I think went unappreciated. I would love to see a director’s cut of his original vision.
You can pull a double feature with Ari Aster’s followup “Midsommar,” but his first film feels more in line with the season. It’s nightmare fuel driven by an amazing Toni Collette performance.
“The House of the Devil”
I’ve plugged this one before, but it remains an underrated take on the classic ’80s “babysitter for Satanists” trope, so if you haven’t seen it, fix that!
Luca Guadagnino’s remake of Italian horror master Dario Argento’s original was such a wild divergence, I didn’t love it at first, but it’s grown on me. Tilda Swinton can play all the roles (and she does play three here).
The 2019 adaptation of Stephen King’s sequel to “The Shining” never stood a chance of wowing fans of Stanley Kubrick’s masterwork, but it was definitely better than expected, and streaming it now seems like the right choice.
“The Invisible Man”
And here’s a chance for more people to see one of the last movies I saw in a theater. It’s creepy and driven by a fine Elizabeth Moss performance, but honestly it gets even better when it turns into a pseudo Lifetime drama.
“Ready or Not”
Oh, I love this movie, and it’s criminally underseen. A horror-comedy that skewers the rich, with a starring turn from Samara Weaving, who has turned into a budding horror queen, it sticks the landing as well as any horror-comedy since “The Cabin in the Woods.”
“Let the Right One In”
Here’s another one I’ve plugged before. This Swedish movie is the only romantic vampire coming-of-age movie you need. The American remake was solid, but nothing compares to the original.
Not conventionally horror, but Darren Aronofsky’s heady biblical allegory for environmental collapse always reminded me of “Rosemary’s Baby.” Kudos to Jennifer Lawrence for taking another brave role.
Want to have a spooky weekend that also gets you primed for Christmas? Have I got a Finnish Santa Claus horror movie for you! It’s a brilliant import and another underseen film.
“Totally Under Control”
For those who like their horror to be more topical to election season, let me recommend Alex Gibney’s second essential documentary of the last two months (joining HBO’s “Agents of Chaos”) for this damning dissection of the Trump administration’s pandemic response.
“It Comes at Night”
Director Trey Edwards Shults made a relatively traditional horror movie in between his brilliant indies “Krisha” and “Waves,” showing a hell of a lot of range for a director. The backdrop is a pandemic, so be warned.
“The Blackcoat’s Daughter”
Netflix is clearly moving towards original content, and its current horror library is weak, but hiding in there is another overlooked gem from my favorite distributor, A24 Films. It’s a slow-burn creeper starring Emma Roberts and Kiernan Shipka.
There are a couple of good finds on the non-subscription version of NBC’s streaming service, including this one. Director David Robert Mitchell’s debut was strong enough that he got to make an ambitious-but-disappointing next film in “Under the Silver Lake.”
This would make a perfect double feature with “Ready or Not,” if you want a whole night of sharp horror-comedy that takes on the elite class and features a strong female lead. Just sayin’.