(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: Whenever theres a new M. Night Shyamalan release or announcement, Chris and I feel implored to compile a list of recommendations around twists. This week? Were bucking that trend and fighting our urges. Since Old is this weeks mainstream horror draw, were using old as our streaming column keyword. Were not just talking about those horrifying holiday gifts you might have received from your grandparents, either. (Is that even a holiday movie trope anymore?)
Chris:Getting old is scary! Im approaching 40, which means that if Im lucky, my life is probably half-over. This realization has sent me into a bit of an existential crisis, but nothing helps cure an existential crisis like a series of bloody horror movies, am I right, kids? Anyway, with M. Night ShyamalansOld hitting theaters this week, Matt and I have put together a list of streaming horror movies focused on the elderly. Spooky!
Matt: For an in-depth critique on Sator and where this recommendation originates, check out my Fantasia Fest 2019 review! Jordan Graham creates a generational ode to grief and heritage that would make a delicious marathon sandwich between Relic and The Dark And The Wicked. June Peterson to whom Graham dedicates the film plays a grandmother whose words about Sator being a watchful caretaker haunt the films main character. Loner Adam (Gabriel Nicholson) is convinced Sator lurks outside his cabin, and becomes obsessed with capturing the beast in whatever form it appears. Hunker down for a slow burn, but dont let that scare you away from this devastating and heartfelt slice of humbling horror catharsis.
Chris: I tried with this one, I really did. And while I think it has an incredible atmosphere, the film as a whole is a bit of a bust, at least for me. Also, this is going to be the first Now Scream This in a while where Ive actually seen all of Matts picks! What a time to be alive!
Matt: I shout out Insidious once more in this series because Lin Shaye is genuinely one of the must-watch veterans in horror. Shaye stars as spectral communicator Elise Rainier, who also keeps sidekick goofballs Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson) in line. Shayes so tremendously talented at being a calming presence in an otherwise horrifying film. Yet, when the gas mask goes on, she throws herself into fits of exhaustion as you can feel her characters energy drain while giving herself to an outcast craft. Elise Rainier is vital to Insidious, which might go acknowledged scene by scenebut thats a testament to Shayes character acting prowess. When shes not there? You wish she were.
Chris: Love me some James Wan horror, and I cant wait forMalignant.
Matt: When John Lithgow was announced as the Pet Sematary remakes Jud, my response was simple: Oh, yeah. Its a character whose purpose is to stoke distrust, breathe life into mythology, and then die. I enjoy 2019s Pet Sematary so lets get that out of the way and I enjoy Lithgows Jud for many of the reasons that work for backwoods exposition characters who exist to serve a specific purpose. Whether thats the ax-chopping scene where Ellies reanimated cat is discussed or his death by a thousand child-powerful stabs, its always nice to see todays actors make an older role their own.
Chris:I know a lot of people have already forgotten about 2019sPet Sematary, and many were upset that the film dared to divert from Stephen Kings source material. But I remain a big fan of this film.
Matt: This entry could be a shout-out to Sid Haig or Bill Moseley, seasoned horror veterans who play their parts to perfection in House Of 1000 Corpses. The late Haig plays Captain Spaulding, a roadside attraction owner, purveyor of eats, and leader of the Firefly clan as a murderous clown. Moseley portrays Otis Driftwood, a maniacal sadist and abuser who is the most violent of the Firefly family. Together they imbue so much demonic evilness and incalculably vile personality into Rob Zombies directorial debut, building a legacy akin to Leatherfaces clan on stripped flesh and killing sprees. House Of 1000 Corpses is truthfully one of the more eye-catching and stylistically confident horror debuts of the 2000s, whether youre appalled or enthralled.
Chris: I reallywant to like Rob Zombies movies. I dig his aesthetic and I dig his love of monsters. But gosh almighty, I wish hed hire a writer. While I think Zombies directorial skills are solid, his screenwriting leaves a lot to be desired. Which meansHouse of 1000 Corpses has a lot of great visuals and a lot of awful dialogue.
Matt: To scratch your exploitation itch, why not watch Rutger Hauer explode heads with shotgun blasts in the Canadian midnighter Hobo With A Shotgun? The wrapper says it all. A homeless vigilante blows away crooked cops, pedophile Santas, and other scumbags with his trusty pump-action shotgun. Its from the vision of Jason Eisener, who is responsible for one of my favorite Christmas horror shorts, Treevenge. Expect gore, gunsmoke, more gore, and a dedication to practical effects as Hauers gruff voice brings us back to an almost Carpenteresque reality where justice is served bloody red. Youll know if you dig it within the first couple of minutes, if thats any bonus.
Chris:I think this whole concept works better as a fake trailer, but I sure do miss Rutger Hauer.
Chris: I dontlove Sam RaimisDrag Me to Hell. For one thing, its too over-the-top. I know over-the-top is kind of Raimis thing, but here he goes completely bonkers. There are approximately 100 scenes where characters have goo and bile vomited into their faces, and after the second or third time, I was thinking, Okay, thats enough. The story involves a bank employee (Alison Lohman) who tries to impress her boss by denying a Roma woman an extension on her mortgage. Furious, the woman places a curse on Lohmans character, and unless Lohman can break it, shell bedragged to hell. Gross, gooey, and featuring a talking goat,Drag Me to Hell wants you to laugh as much as scream.
Matt: The harvest cake sequence is some prime food-based horror, and the goat gets me every time. Raimi knows whats up.
Chris:Theres probably some sort of ethical line this film crosses, but Im going to recommend it anyway. InThe Taking of Deborah Logan, a film student and her crew set out to make a documentary about Alzheimers disease. Their subject is an elderly woman named Deborah Logan, played byJill Larson. But the more the crew films Deborah, the more they begin to realize that theres something else going on here that has nothing to do withAlzheimers. Full of impressive practical effects and some genuine scares, this is one of the better found footage films of the last decade.
Matt: I dont understand how people can still claim found footage horror is devoid of quality when even past all the mainstream examples, hits like The Taking of Deborah Logan still exist.
Chris:Poltergeist II: The Other Sideis nowhere near as good as the first film. But it does have its moments, including ahaunted tequila worm. This time around, the very unluckyFreeling family are targeted by more supernatural forces, lead by the ghost of the ghastlyRev. Henry Kane, played with the perfect amount of menace byJulian Beck. Beck was dying of cancer during the filming, and the actor uses his unhealthy appearance to make his elderly villain all the more terrifying.
Matt: A sequel to classic horror? Chris knows my blind spots.
Chris:Bubba Ho-Tepis just your typical movie about Elvis and JFK teaming up to save their nursing home from an ancient mummy.Phantasm directorDon Coscarelli helms this gloriously goofy adaptation of the book byJoe R. Lansdale, telling a story in which Elvis (Bruce Campbell) is still alive, and locked away in a nursing home. Meanwhile, another nursing home resident, played by Ossie Davis, claims that hes John F. Kennedy despite the fact that JFK is very dead and, ya know, a white guy. JFK explains this away by saying the government painted his skin to put him in hiding after the assassination attempt. All of this would be pretty great on its own, but then you throw in a murderous mummy, and youve got a stew going.
Matt: Honestly, I need a rewatch of Bubba Ho-Tep because in my college binge-Netflix-constantly days, I dont remember it making thatbig an impression on me. In Campbell we trust, though.
Chris: Guillermo del Toros first feature film,Cronos is a weird, icky twist on the classic vampire story. An elderly antique dealer (Federico Luppi) finds a mechanical device from the 1500s but this is no prize. The device, which looks like a big gold bug, latches onto the dealers skin and injects him with a mysterious fluid. Soon, the old man finds his vitality returning. But healso has a thrist for human blood. Meanwhile, an even older man and his goon son (del Toro mainstay Ron Perlman) want to get their hands on the magical gold bug vampire thingy. Its all so weird and beautiful.
Matt: Dipping into the Criterion Channel will get me every time. Touch, Chris.
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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero