Now Scream This: Science Gone Wrong!

(Welcome to Now 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: If anything can be learned from this week's "Now Scream This," I'm left with two lessons. One: humanity needs to accept its universal role and stop tampering with unknown forces. Two: never let Chris pick all his movies first because there will be nothing left. Sci-fi horror has always been less represented on streaming platforms (which we found out already), and sticking with our Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom tie-in, history hath repeated itself. No bother. I'm back at it, fudging rules and making it all work. Or, like, salvaging a raging dumpster fire. Both descriptions fit.

Chris: When will man learn to never tamper in god's domain? Beats me! Until then, we'll have to make do with movies focused on science gone terribly wrong. In honor of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Matt and I have scoured the net to bring back these perversions of science – films that follow the Jurassic tradition of scientific hubris gone wild. As a side note: I really wanted to put David Cronenberg's The Fly on here, but The Fly isn't streaming. At all. What hellscape is this?

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: First up, Repo! The Genetic Opera! It's not exactly about playing God, but "Genetic" is in the title and addictive painkiller Zydrate is sucked from dead bodies, soooooo it counts in my book! Darren Lynn Bousman directs a musical script by Terrance Zdunich and Darren Smith, who both composed this 2008 sci-fi-screamin' rock opera. In their future dystopia, biotech megacorp GeneCo keeps patients alive with organ transplants after a medical epidemic dooms civilization. Sounds pretty angelic, right? That's until you can't pay your usage bill, and Repo Men come to harvest company "property." Gruesomely, without guilt. Operatic synth ballads wail and "wow" in this new-age societal odyssey, influences ranging from Italian Renaissance lavishness to steampunk underworld dregs. Mix that with a randomly exquisite cast including Paul Sorvino, Alexa PenaVega, Anthony Head, Bill Moseley, Paris Hilton and more, then watch the grotesquely melodic mayhem rage against Hollywood's machine. Rock on, Mr. Zdunich. Here's hoping we get more sinful songs of sorrow sometime soon...

Chris: There's a lot to love in his movie – the songs in particular. That said, there are moments in this film where it feels like someone put every high school theatre nerd in the world in a blender, mashed them together, and then splashed the contents onto the screen. It's a bit much.

Jack Frost

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime

Matt: "Matt, what the hell does a killer snowman have to do with genetic/scientific experimentation?" Simple. Jack Frost (Scott MacDonald) is a convicted serial killer being driven through sleepy Snowmonton. This is where his correctional driver collides with a chemical transportation truck transporting engineered sludge. Jack is apparently left for dead, until his body combines with some of the leaked mutation formula. His molecules bind with freshly packed snow, forming the murderous Frosty who tears through townsfolk with hilariously festive regard. Child's Play minus the voodoo transference, if you will? Call it midnight schlock, call it B-grade fun, but whatever you do, don't sleep on Michael Cooney's decked-out slasher when December rolls around. If only for Shannon Elizabeth's early entrance and all-time great shower disappearance.

Chris: Michael Keaton is so good in this. Oh, wait–

Manborg

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime

Matt: Manborg comes from Canadian troupe Astron-6, who have made their name pushing low budgets and heavy practical effects. The Void directors Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski went out and did the damn thing themselves on Manborg, slapping together this festival favorite "brought back to life as a cyborg" horror-ish comedy that you might assume premiered on cable access. It's absolute insanity in the form of claymation, excessive green screens, committal to satire, Draculon, G.I. Joe mockery, bad accents, kung fu, metal as f#*& vengeance, and absolutely zero desire to deliver anything more than popcorn fun in a small package. Translation: this isn't for those who only watch blockbuster quality productions. Funds are tight, leaving Astron-6 with junkyard leftovers to cobble together costumes, sets, and anything else Manborg might need. The Six Thousand Dollar Man, if that's your kind of thing!

Chris: I love me some Astron-6. Manborg isn't quite as good as their The Editor, but it's a hell of a lot of fun. At the very least, you'll end up appreciating how creative the filmmakers are with such a low budget.

Frankenstein’s Army

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime

Matt: Richard Raaphorst's Frankenstein's Army is the Nazi steampunk Frankenstein mashup I never knew I needed. Wait, sorry. Nazi steampunk Frankenstein found footage mashup. Russian WWII soldiers stumble upon a German laboratory cooking up some undead monstrosities while using Victor Frankenstein's journal, and we watch as they encounter each and every one. Stilts And Gas Mask Crawler. Poker Hands. Propeller Head. Raaphorst's team births vicious amalgamations of wrecked battlefield machine parts and grave robber leftovers, to the point where you can't imagine what might appear next until the next half tank/half human rolls into frame. Once again, practical effects show how much filmmakers can accomplish just by giving us something original and lifelike to fear (or call "rad as hell").

Chris: The acting, story and just about everything else in this movie is baaaad. But the creature effects are surprisingly great! If you can sit through all the other nonsense, you'll be rewarded with some cool practical monster effects.

Big Ass Spider!

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime

Matt: Mike Mendez's Big Ass Spider! features one of my favorite opening sequences in cinema history. As as a soot-covered Greg Grunberg comes to, L.A. smolders apocalyptic panic around him. SWAT team agents roll around on fire, civilians run from something undeniably bad. Storm Large's soothing cover of "Where Is My Mind" plays as Grunberg's exterminator walks by the passing chaos, confused and dazed. Debris crashes down. Then it happens. The camera pans 180 degrees from Grunberg's bewildered face to his backside, and we see what he's seeing – a massive (CGI) super-arachnid that's tearing skyscrapers apart like King Kong. Never to be taken serious from this point on.

Boom. That's Big Ass Spider! Which, I will admit, plays like a proportionately on-the-good-side SyFy special, more in touch with Saturday primetime slots that end up supporting their buzz. Fear not of possible Asylum damnation. Mike Mendez knows what he's doing.

Chris: I've never seen Big Ass Spider!, but really, that title pretty much speaks for itself.

Re-Animator

Now Streaming on Shudder

Chris: Director Stuart Gordon injects macabre humor into the work of H.P. Lovecraft for this bonkers 1985 horror flick. Part Frankenstein, part Evil Dead, Re-Animator features Jeffrey Combs in an Oscar-worthy performance (that's right, I said it) as smug mad scientist Dr. Herbert West. West has perfected a glow-in-the-dark goo that has the power to raise the dead. Unfortunately, everyone who comes back from that undiscovered country tends to be a raving lunatic. Practical effects fly left and right as gore and guts pile up. It's funny, it's creepy, it still holds up. Re-Animator spawned a franchise, but none of the subsequent films could ever live up to this mad-cap original. Bonus: Barbara Crampton is in this movie. That's always a good thing.

Matt: I knew it was all downhill when Chris claimed Re-Animator. An all-time Donato favorite featuring patron genre saints like Barbara Crampton and Jeffrey Combs. Cat's dead, 'nuff said.

Dead Ringers

Now Streaming on Shudder

Chris: Hey, do you want to feel uncomfortable? Then check out David Cronenberg's eerie, body-horror-laced thriller Dead Ringers. Jeremy Irons gives not one but two amazing performances, playing a pair of twin brothers who run their own successful gynecological practice. The duo engage in a twisted mind game, each taking turns dating women while pretending to be the same person. Things get complicated when the weaker, more docile twin falls for a patient (Geneviève Bujold), causing a rift between the twins. From here, Cronenberg's film descends into madness, including some medical procedure scenes tailor-made to make you squirm. The real draw here is Irons, who does an astounding job making his two characters seem wholly distinct.

Matt: Cronenberg and Irons work genre magic here. I repeat, Cronenberg and Irons. MULTIPLE IRONS. Not a drill.

Mimic

Now Streaming on Starz

Chris: Guillermo del Toro made his American directorial debut with Mimic. It didn't go so well. Interference from the Weinsteins forced del Toro to compromise on a lot of his choices, but even with this in mind, Mimic is still a fascinating film. Del Toro's voice shines through, even if it has been diluted ever-so-slightly. Mira Sorvino plays a evolutionary biologist who breeds a new species of insect to help wipe out a plague. It works...and then backfires. The specially bred bugs mutate, and evolve into much bigger, much scarier creatures that lurk in the sewers. A lot of creepy bug stuff follows.

Matt: Blind spot alert! I was a later convert to GDT's religion than some, and Mimic is an unfortunate casualty. Maybe not unfortunate. I hate bugs. I'll do it for you though, GDT.

Deep Blue Sea

Now Streaming on Netflix

Chris: "Deepest. Bluest. My hat is like a shark's fin." Those immortal words of Mr. LL Cool J will echo through eternity. Deep Blue Sea asks a very simple question: what if sharks started doing stuff that no shark has ever done in history? The result is surprisingly fun. A bunch of scientists have genetically altered sharks in an attempt to find a cure for Alzheimer's. Unfortunately, this has made the sharks smarter, faster, and deadlier, and now the fierce fish are wreaking havoc in an underwater lab. This movie is dumb, but it never slows down long enough for you to notice.

Matt says: The best shark movie since Jaws. A cast we didn't deserve. The theme track that rocked our world. The only thing this movie is missing is nothing. I'll be swimmin' these deep blues until the day I die. Bless you, Renny Harlin.

Species

Now Streaming on HBOGo

Chris: "What if aliens were sexy?" That's the noble question at the heart of Species, Roger Donaldson's sleazy 1995 sci-fi horror flick. A team of scientists (Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Alfred Molina, Forest Whitaker, and Marg Helgenberger) come together to try to stop an alien-human hybrid (Natasha Henstridge) who also happens to be a sexy lady (cue the cartoon wolf whistle). Despite the film's B-movie trappings, Species was a surprise box office hit, launching an entire franchise. This isn't high-art, but it gets the job done. Also, when was the last time you saw a movie where Michael Friggin' Madsen was the heroic male lead?

Matt: Hot alien lady murders men while seducing them and that's, I promise, hardly the weirdest shit that happens. Alfred Molina's performance especially. If you can make it through Species, you have my blessing. Don't try and be a hero with the sequels, though.