Now Scream This: Do October Right By Streaming These Horror Movies

(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: Sorry, all! We're back on our normally scheduled "Now Scream This" programming after festivals upon conventions upon workload buildup. Chris is a stronger man than I since he provided entries while away at TIFF. The same can not be said for this Fantastic Fest attendee. The last two weeks have been travel-palooza between Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights, Austin's Fantastic Fest, and then catching the Black Plague after forgoing sleep some two straight weeks. In any case, all systems once again go! Back to the streaming recommendations. That's more important, anyway.

Chris: It's good to be back! I promise that we'll get back to themes again soon, as I always find this column goes down better with a common throughline. That said, I'm just happy to be here to recommend some great horror. It's Halloween season, the most wonderful time of the year. While I think I'll save my specific Halloween faves for closer to the holiday itself, you can't go wrong with most of the titles below.

Satan’s Slaves

Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: If you follow me on Twitter, you've been barraged by Satan's Slaves tweets ever since my review hit /Film back in April. Joko Anwar's impossibly terrorizing familial paranormal nightmare does "James Wan" with an Indonesian flavor. Festival after festival acceptance passed with no distribution until horror streaming juggernaut Shudder *finally* snatched it up. While Anwar's heavy-duty haunted house flick deserves the widest of releases, it's found a perfect home on Shudder where it'll be promoted, praised, and talked about in all the right circles. This is the scariest movie of 2018 you've never heard of – until now. Two separate screams are destined to make my "Most Disturbing of 2018" list come December, one involving a sheet and hallway portrait that's...well...not to unleash my stereotypical Italian excitement, but – *chef's kiss" – Mama Mia!

Chris: I just watched this over the weekend, and was mightily impressed. Satan's Slaves is a bit like Hereditary in that it focuses on a family facing supernatural forces after the death of a grandmother. But it goes to much different places.

Stitches

Now Streaming on Netflix

Matt: Conor McMahon's Stitches should have spawned a modern-day slasher icon. The titular killer – an undead party clown played by comedian Ross Noble who preys on naughty children – slays with a demented jester's spirit. Deaths are gloriously over-the-top, pitch-black comedy benefits from Irish wit, and big-top backstories build ancient clown mythos surprisingly worth a damn. But best of all? Almost *all* the deaths are practically crafted. Heads inflate like balloons about to burst. Craniums split open and brains scooped into an ice cream bowl. Stitches evokes everything about '80s slashers that makes them so laughably memorable, which is why its pedestrian and underrated lifecycle bums me so. These are the kind of films I'd love to see reclaim primary genre focus. It's not too late to bring Stitches back from the dead for another blood-soaked party!

Chris: It wouldn't be an edition of Now Scream This without at least one Matt recommendation I haven't seen. And here it is!

The Devil’s Candy

Now Streaming on Netflix

Matt: Sean Byrne should have five movies under his belt by now, at minimum. The Devil's Candy is only his sophomore feature, following-up The Loved Ones (a perfect debut) some seven years later. I'll never understand how this cherry-red satanic metal ballad sat around *two years* after premiering at TIFF 2015. Ethan Embry's performance burns with creative rage, artistic intensity, and possessed conviction that makes me hope he'll stay a genre actor forever. Scoring drops Metallica needles and hums a blistering guttural blend of heretic chants with crunchy distorted guitar riffs. Byrne is too talented, too ambitious, to be sidelined while countless others are handed new opportunities. James Wan, adopt Mr. Byrne into your Conjurverse collective and watch what he does with his own feature. Need reference material? Well, why don't you try this little ol' flick titled The Devil's Candy. It's a decadently sweet treat (with the wickedest intentions).

Chris: The Devil's Candy is a little too unfocused for its own good, introducing subplots that go nowhere. But there's so much style and energy here that it almost doesn't matter. Also: when did Ethan Embry get so ripped?

Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil

Now Streaming on Netflix and Hulu

Matt: Eli Craig's Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil is one of the funniest horror comedies of the last decade. Tyler Labine. Alan Tudyk. College bozos who can't stop accidentally killing themselves because they think Tucker and Dale are backwoods maniacs. It's genius concept – two bumbling oafs are mistaken as serial killers – as they try everything in their power to save the same kids who're trying to kill them (and fail miserably). Again, practical deaths are a shining star in this gory production – especially when a woodchipper accepts a whole human body as flesh sacrifice. What, are you worried the concept wears thin? Impossible. Tudyk and Labine are gifted comedians who own their beer-swilling numskull roles as death regrettably becomes part of their life. Now if we can just get that teased sequel where Tucker and Dale go to college...

Chris: Horror-comedy is a hard subgenre to pull off. More often than not, I find myself cringing at filmmaker's attempts. But Tucker and Dale vs. Evil works, blending gore and gaffs in equal measure.

Pyewacket

Now Streaming on Hulu

Matt: If you notice, my picks don't always span eras and generations like Chris' do. That's because my favorite aspect of this column is alerting readers to new, exciting genre titles the minute they hit VOD. Something like Adam MacDonald's Pyewacket, starring Laurie Holden and Nicole Muñoz. Imagine Lady Bird, but instead of understanding her mother and making amends, Lady Bird impulsively summons a demon to enact "revenge" on an angsty whim. Emotions of grief and abandonment run high, while one of the film's scariest scenes actually beat Hereditary to market (but not enough of you saw Pyewacket to know that). It's terrifically witchy, deathly impactful, and one of the greatest examples of parental horror we have in a year where family units are deconstructing under hyper-sensitive genre treatment at an alarming rate.

Chris: I was skeptical about this film simply because the title is really dumb (yes, I know it was the name of the cat in Bell Book and Candle, and I don't care). But this movie hooked me. It has a wonderfully ominous atmosphere, and Nicole Muñoz's anguished performance is remarkable.

A Cure for Wellness

Now Streaming on HBOGo

Chris: Accept the diagnosis: A Cure for Wellness is a new cult classic. I remain in awe of this film. How on earth did Gore Verbinski convince a studio to give him a huge sum of money to make this utterly bonkers movie? I don't know, but I thank my lucky stars they did. Gorgeous to behold, and confusing to think about, A Cure for Wellness sends Dane DeHaan to a picturesque asylum run by crazy medical professionals with a fondness for eels. Does any of this make sense? I don't think so, but it's impossible to look away. Ghoulish, gothic and unapologetically over-the-top, A Cure for Wellness takes risks, and deserves acclaim for that. The film flopped, which is a shame, because we need more batshit horror like this, not less. And yet the fact that A Cure for Wellness is an anomaly is part of its charm. You won't see a studio movie like this for a long time, or maybe ever again.

Matt: My enthusiasm towards Gore Verbinski's A Cure For Wellness may not reach the plateau of /Film contributor and Twitter sensation Karen Han's, but I must admit, this film is freaky fun (if a bit overlong). Dane DeHaan becomes such a fascinating actor when given the right material, and A Cure For Wellness' Hammer-horror vibe is certainly that. I would've loved to have been in the room when Verbinski secured Wellness funding. An astounding accomplishment itself.

Hold the Dark

Now Streaming on Netflix

Chris: Hold the Dark is No Country for Cold Men, as I called it in my TIFF review. While this isn't as incredible as Jeremy Saulnier's previous two films – Blue Ruin and Green Room – it fits in nicely with his nihilistic, bleak, unforgiving filmography. Hold the Dark is an existential mind-fuck; a film about darkness both metaphorical and literal. Jeffrey Wright is a wolf expert summoned to a remote Alaskan town to track down wolves who snatched several children. What he finds is something much more surprising, and twisted. Blending mystical elements with cold hard reality, Saulnier's film seeps under your skin like an icy chill, and doesn't let up. Don't expect to walk away from this feeling good.

Matt: Caught this one at Fantastic Fest on a theater screen and I'm happy I did. That shot of Alexander Skarsgård standing atop a wooden platform in his wolf mask, an orange glow emanating from the cave behind, that's top-quality cinematography. But the rest? As a Murder Party, Blue Ruin, Green Room fan, Hold The Dark is my least appreciated Jeremy Saulnier film.  He's a filmmaker who thrives under brutal simplicity, and the more "mystical" elements here feel mishmosh.

The Devil’s Advocate

Now Streaming on Netflix

Chris: Thank Satan for this goofball extravaganza. Al Pacino is at his over-the-top best as THE DEVIL HIMSELF, who also happens to run a very successful law firm (of course he does). Pacino's Prince of Darkness recruits good old boy Keanu Reeves to come to the evil Big Apple and help him do dirty deeds. Reeves, the son of a very religious woman, moves himself and his wife (Charlize Theron) to NYC and proceeds to lose his soul. The film takes its time revealing that Pacino is the devil himself, but of course, you know it's coming. All the while, Theron's character is slowly losing her mind while Reeves seems oblivious to her torment. There's a "twist" ending here that's a bit of a cheat, but no matter – The Devil's Advocate is a hoot.

Matt: Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino. KEANU REEVES AND AL PACINO. Did I mention Charlize Theron and Connie Nielsen? There's that, but also REEVES AND PACINO.

As Above So Below

Now Streaming on Netflix

Chris: One of the better latter-day found-footage horror films, As Above So Below sends a crew into the catacombs of Paris in a search for Flamel's Philosopher's Stone (yes, the one from Harry Potter). What the team finds beneath the Paris streets, however, is far more hellish. Using clever visual tricks, director John Erick Dowdle, who also helmed the underseen found footage flick The Poughkeepsie Tapes, manages to create a foreboding sense of horror and hopelessness. The characters go deeper and deeper, unable to find their way out, and we're trapped right there along with them.

Matt: My first watch was not a favorable one. As Above So Below is said to have been forgotten due to "found footage fatigue," but as someone who enjoys found footage more than any horror fan he knows, what's my excuse then? Maybe I should give this one Halloween rewatch.

Hideaway

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Chris: Dean Koontz movie adaptations don't get the same attention as those of Stephen King, probably because Dean Koontz isn't half the writer King is. But gosh darn it, there's something I love about Hideaway. I wouldn't call this movie good, at least not in the traditional sense. But here is a film where Jeff Goldblum dies, goes to a CGI-enhanced heaven, then comes back to life and has to battle a serial killer, played by Jeremy Sisto. It's wild, folks. The special effects in this film were cutting edge at the time, but they look wonderfully antiquated now. And yet, there's a surprisingly creepy quality to the film's depiction of the afterlife, particularly hell, which is shown as a writhing ball of screaming souls.

Matt: Here's my weekly "haven't seen this one" from Chris, but you've hooked me with Jeff Goldblum. I don't want to know anything else.