(Welcome toNow 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: I hope, I presume, youve clicked into another edition of Now Scream This searching for the latest and greatest streaming horror recommendations. If not? Well, can Chris and I interest you in viewable-this-second selections with thrills, chills, and copious amounts of gore? Maybe we should have played into Valentines Day with lovey-dangerous titles, but instead, weve turned our attention to newfound favorites you can discover alongside your partner. Pop the bubbly, de-thorn the roses, and scream the night away (wink wink). Hell, even take that trip to Indonesia youve been discussing without leaving your couch!
Chris: Matt and I have returned from the horror movie mines with some gems just for you, loyal reader! Weve worked tirelessly to find you the best of the best of streaming horror, and the least you could do is read what we wrote below. And also maybe send us an Edible Arrangement or something like that.
Matt: Now that the Mo Brothers are pursuing individual avenues, both Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel can release separate movies alongside one another. Yay! The Queen Of Black Magic is an Indonesian horror remake that sees Stamboel tag-team with another Indonesian horror superstar in Joko Anwar. So much talent in a single haunted orphanage production, one that envelopes audiences in grimness as once-inhabitants unlock the forgotten darknesses of their memories. Youre here for a black magic curse, the creepiest of crawlies, and one slithery serpent of a horror tale thats impossible to contain. Kudos to Shudder for continuing to be at the forefront of promoting Indonesias horror boom to stateside audiences.
Chris: Its in my Shudder queue!
Matt: Stamboels The Queen Of Black Magic is a loose remake of Liliek Sudjios Queen Of Black Magic from 1981, which reminds that Indonesian horror isnt *only* a recent phenomenon. Joko Anwars Satans Slaves is, itself, a loose remake honoring Sisworo Gautama Putras Satans Slave. Indonesian horror in the 70s and 80s is more about low budgets and zaniness over the outright terrifying conjurings of late, and Queen Of Black Magic is no different. Characters bounce on trampolines in the moonlight and skin boils using wonderfully cheesy-but-gross practical effects, as queens summon their black magic to punish out of vengeance. Peep the trailer, and if youre into it, why not program this as a Shudder double-feature in comparison to Stamboels nastier reincarnation?
Chris: Got very confused for a second because I thought Matt was being a cheeky fellow and putting the same thing on here twice. What a scamp! Anyway, I havent seen this one either.
Matt: For whatever reason, even amusement park horror faithful continue to sleep on Hell Fest. Maybe because it hit theaters near Rooster Teeths Blood Fest, which featured countless similarities from theme park settings to top-hatted hosts who deliver an on-stage speech? Well, Gregory Plotkins Hell Fest has Tony Todd and Bex Taylor-Klaus, so beat that! But honestly, theres no contest. Hell Fest sneakily flew under the radar as a stylish haunted attraction slasher that smells of buttered popcorn and is finger-sticky on account of spilled guts. Everything I want in my ticket-punching, entertainment-heavy horror. Sadly, Plotkin has been relatively open about how the films mediocre reception all-but assures well never walk through prequel or sequel doors opened by the scripts finale.
Chris: Hell Fest is certainly better than Blood Fest, which has the same premise. That said, Im more of a fan of Haunt, which also has the same premise, but on a much smaller scale (its a local haunted attraction instead of an amusement park).
Matt: Brea Grants 2020 was ceremoniously busy between Lucky, After Midnight, and 12 Hour Shift. The latter sees Grant behind the camera, playing around in a Coen-esque slice of midnight criminality. There aint no rest for the wicked, the innocent, or anyone caught in between when halfwit organ traders screw the pooch, I wrote elsewhere. A paranoid cast of nurses, serial killers, and ditzy package transporters (including David Arquette and Angela Bettis) dodge blame as schemes continually backfire whether thats multiple misplaced guts, angry Mick Foley, or extremely unfortunate patient murders. No doubt a comedy of errors, as the casts foolish charms and Grants B-Movie tendencies encourage some slick, chaotic laughs.
Chris: I caught this at Fantasia with Matt, and I am decidedly not a fan. I love me some Angela Bettis, but everyone in this movie is going wayyyyy over the top, and I just wanted the majority of the cast to dial it down a smidge.
Matt: Around these parts, we respect when countries attempt their first horror films. In Panamas case, thats Sol Moreno and J. Oskura Njeras Diablo Rojo PTY. Do yourself a favor and research Red Devil buses beforehand to learn about Panamas national issue with these speedster transports that compete for mega-cheap fares. Theyre dangerous, but not as hazardous as the witchcraft leveled against a driver, his helper, a priest, and two police officers. From gigantic practical demon puppets to goopy supernatural effects, Panama is undoubtedly on the right track (recalls Sam Raimis early work in aesthetics). Tenaciously independent, ambitious in its horror scope (evils in many forms), and proficient in marrying culture with genre filmmaking to allow viewers into a Panamanian nightmare that becomes universally understandable thanks to the language of screams.
Chris: I have no idea what this is. I just want to point out that while I love writing this column with Matt, I also often feel like a complete idiot because hes constantly whipping out these titles I have never even heard of. Thats why hes the best and Im pond scum!
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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero