God-worshipping death cults, snake women, and co-dependent rat-whisperers, oh my!
Welcome to Horrorscope, a monthly column keeping horror nerds and initiates up to date on all the horror content coming to and leaving from your favorite streaming services. Here are your horror streaming highlights for September 2021:
Weve been very clear on this column that September is Halloween Lite. So fire up your All Hallows engines and put the kettle on because its the most wonderful time of the year, baby: Fall!
Say goodbye to sandals and shorts and say hello to sweaters and scarves. Rejoice as the sun sets earlier in the evening, providing the sweet, sweet cover of darkness to make movie-watching that much sweeter. Consider this your official warning: youve got precisely one month to plot out your All Hallows Marathons. But in the event that youd like to ease into the festive mood early, there are plenty of genre-friendly films streaming this month for you to pick through.
This September, horror fans can enjoy a spotlighted collection of horror fare by Latinx filmmakers, a masterful genre meld from low-budget legend Larry Cohen, an under-screened tokusatsu terror trip, and a classic creature feature about a boy and his rats. Folks in the mind to tackle a franchise will also find opportunities to dive deep onThe Evil Dead,I Spit On Your Grave, Jaws, and Phantasm.
Be sure to peruse the complete list below, calendar in hand, for a full picture of what horror movies are coming and going from your favorite streaming services in September 2021. Keep in mind that all dates listed below may not apply to viewers outside the United States.
Synopsis: In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, everyones favorite genre streaming service will be highlighting a sizeable chunk of horror offerings from Latinx filmmakers from the United States, Mexico, Central, and South America. These films are already available on Shudder. But collected all in one place, they offer the discerning viewer a chance to dive deep into the ooky spooky realm of Hispanic horror.
Our pick of the month is not one film but many. Even so, if youre looking for a place to start, we heartily recommend the Satanic gemBelzebuth, a top-tier Shudder Original about the sacrifice of innocents, ancient demons, and a veritable descent into the bowels of faith and fear. Set on the US/Mexico border, Belzebuthdirector Emilio Portes and co-writer Luis Carlos Fuentes deliver an intense and sharp-edged supernatural procedural that pulls no punches and takes no prisoners. The film follows Detective Ritter (Joaqun Cosio) a hard-working, short-tempered cop reeling from the tragic death of his newborn son. Years later, Det. Ritter discovers that the infants death was a part of a bigger, darker, picture. Soon, the harrowed detective finds himself sucked into a grim, religiously-tinged underbelly of Catholic conspiracy and child sacrifice.
The Hispanic Heritage Month collection features the following titles: Belzebuth (Mexico), 2017; Deadtectives (US/Mexico), 2018; The Funeral Home (Argentina), 2020; Good Manners (Brazil), 2017; La Llorona (Guatemala), 2019; Luz: The Flower of Evil (Colombia), 2019; Luciferina (Argentina), 2018; The Nightshifter (Brazil), 2018; Perfect (United States), 2018; Terrified (Argentina), 2017; Tigers Are Not Afraid (Mexico), 2017, and The Untamed (Mexico), 2016.
Synopsis: As the summer sun beats down on the sweltering streets of New York City, a lone gunman perched atop a water tower opens fire on the crowded streets below. Peter Nicholas, a devout NYPD detective, scales the tower to talk down the sniper. The gunman stares at Nicholas, tells him God told him to commit the murders, and jumps to his death. Reeling from the encounter, Nicholas soon discovers that this was no isolated incident. More New Yorkers, seemingly normal and unrelated individuals, are committing violent murders. The only thing that connects them is their final confession: God told them to.
DirectorLarry Cohenhas an unmatched talent for endowing even the most bananapants scenarios with an undeniable sense of humanism. Whether its the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl taking up residence in the Chrysler Building (1982s Q The Winged Serpent) or a mutated infant wreaking havoc on Los Angeles (1974s Its Alive), Cohen always sells his bonkers storylines with an open heart.
To get into what, exactly, makesGod Told Me To so off-the-wall would give away its secrets. And if youre flying blind, I highly recommend you keep it that way. Grounded in Tony Lo Biancos committed performance, and exemplifying Cohens raw vision of 1970s New York City,God Told Me Tois one of a kind. Once again, Larry Cohen does the lords work.
Synopsis: A young girl named Sayuri has spent most of her life locked away in an orphanage run by nuns. When she is reunited with her estranged family, it quickly becomes apparent that trouble lurks (slithers, if you will) within the walls of her new home. Her mother is an amnesiac, her sister is locked in the attic, and a housemaid dies suddenly right before Sayuris arrival. Somehowit all ties back to her fathers experiments on venomous snakes.
Finally: traumatizing snake-women for the whole family. Whether or not The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch (1968) is a horror film for kids or a scary kids movie for adults is unclear. But the result is a phantasmagorical fright fest in the tokusatsu tradition sure to unsettle any child (or adult) who sees it!
An unconventional effort by kaiju auteur Noriaki Yuasa (the man behind Daiei Studios much-lovedGameraseries),The Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch delivers a skillful adaptation of Kazuo Umezus manga while arguably anticipating numerous J-horror flourishes. Notoriously inaccessible outside of Japan, September marks the films first worldwide home video release. So if youre able, we highly recommend getting in on the ground floor of this disorienting, delirious, and Dali-esque nightmare of familial neglect and sibling rivalry. Who doesnt like a feverish helping of surrealism in their streaming queue?
Synopsis: Boy meets rats. Boy trains rats. Boy sicks teeming swarm of trained rats on those whove wronged him. A tale as old as time if ever there was one! A social misfit, but a kind soul at heart, a young man named Willard is ruthlessly mocked by his co-workers. To be fair he is, and I believe this is the technical term, an absolute loser. Hen-pecked at home by his ailing mother and bullied out of his inheritance by his conniving boss, Ben seeks stability in the one thing he can control: his tiny, furry friends.
Lets say, dear reader, that you are only familiar with the 2003remake starring an especially greasy Crispin Glover. Why then, you might ask yourself, would you need to slide on your galoshes and venture back three decades to check out the original? How different could the tale of a boy and his killer rats really be? While their plot beats are essentially identical, the two films take very different tonal approaches when it comes to depicting the tragic case of a boy and his rats. Instead of eccentricity and expressionism, Daniel Manns rodent terror trip grounds itself in a harrowing sense of realism.
The 2003 remake does its own, intentionally stylized thing. But Manns 1971 film excels at outlining the horrifying lengths self-loathing social outcasts will go to exact their revenge. As Willard Stiles, Bruce Davison puts in an engrossing performance; straddling the line between pathetic mamas boy and unhinged avenger to devastating effect. Striking supporting performances by genre legends Elsa Lanchester (The Bride of Frankenstein) and Ernest Borgnine (Escape From New York) are just icing on the cake.
Related Topics: Horror, Horrorscope
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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero