Now Scream This: Horror Movies To Stream This Halloween

(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: Each week, my recommendations unlock a little piece of what makes "Matt Donato" tick, but with Halloween's party atmosphere in mind, I wanted to go "Full-Force Donato." Titles that'll kick your fiesta up a notch with significant ties to yours truly. It wasn't an easy task because I've already unleashed my go-to demon raves and midnight favorites on y'all, so these are going to cut deeper. Deathgasm? Re-Animator? Demon Wind? You've heard too much from me on those. Time to dive farther into streaming catalogs than I've previously thought advisable. Pray for me, and also thank your Gods or Spaghetti Monsters that you don't have to wade these murky waters yourself. 

Chris: It's the most wonderful time of the year! Halloween season is upon us in full-force, and as we get closer and closer to the big day, the need to binge horror movies increases. I don't know what your Halloween activities entail, reader, but I'll tell you what I do every October 31: I watch movies. With that concept in mind, Matt and I have each programmed our own individual Halloween movie marathons. With my choices, I've decided to give you a little bit of everything: zombies, witches, ghosts and good old fashioned monsters. The evening starts light, then eventually gets darker, before ending with fun. Happy Halloween, folks. 

Late Phases: Night of the Lone Wolf

Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: Adrián García Bogliano's Late Phases is a rumination on growing old, a creature-heavy retirement home werewolf flick, and another excuse to mention Ethan Embry on "Now Scream This." Granted, this is all Nick Damici's show as blind Vietnam veteran Ambrose McKinley and his investigation into why beasts of the night are harassing senior citizen residents. Damici's as grizzled and leathery as ever, evoking pop-pop strength on a level only conceivable through his gruff moonlight fights. Even more impressive is Bogliano's commitment to full werewolf suits that needn't hide from focus, which isn't a given for indie wolfy flicks. I had a blast with this one at SXSW some three or four years ago, confirmed by my first career poster quote. "A Howlin' Good Time – Matt Donato." Sometimes your writer's voice evokes intellectual sparks, other times you sip a few beers and make silly review puns. It's the latter that always gets quoted.

Chris: I'm not the biggest werewolf movie fan (except for American Werewolf in London), but Late Phases definitely works for me. It's clever and different, and is wise enough to use practical werewolf effects...unlike some other movies.

I Saw the Devil

Now Streaming on Hulu

Matt: Kim Jee-woon's I Saw the Devil is some of the darkest, most invasive filmmaking ever filtered through demonizing cinematography and hellish visions. "A secret agent exacts revenge on a serial killer through a series of captures and releases." Jee-woon redefines what it means to use the phrase "cat and mouse thriller" given how the mouse bleeds from every orifice and the cat carries a pitchfork. Such a sinful juxtaposition of Lee Byung-Hun, the "lawful" National Intelligence Service officer, and Choi Min-sik as his murderous prey – but roles continually flip. Not only does Lee see the devil, he becomes him. Planted trackers, sliced Achilles heels, and the *constant* re-release of Choi's bastard-turned-victim weights the cost of vengeance against innocent bystanders caught in between. You don't understand the depths of human "bleakness" until you've witnessed I Saw The Devil. An exquisitely self-serving slice of torment and one of the first films to leave my gut in knots hours after Lee's deed is done.

Chris: A nasty, nasty movie. A nearly three-hour journey through brutality, misery and pain. In other words, it's great!

[REC]2

Now Streaming on Hulu

Matt: Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza's [REC] is my The Blair Witch Project when it comes to found footage perfection. I've discussed this for a previous "Now Scream This." Now I'm back with [REC]2 because my opinion is not only that Balagueró and Plaza strike blasphemous gold twice, but [REC]2 is equal to – if not better than - [REC]. Mythos blossom, POV filmmaking doubles intensity, and confident storytelling waltzes us right back behind the plastic quarantine curtains of Spain's familiar patient zero apartment outbreak. Where [REC] sees filmmakers perfecting their craft, [REC]2 is how they have fun with SWAT agents, undercover priests, and purgatory realities meant to expand Medeiros knowledge bases. Fiercer, grander, and what I consider to be The Godfather: Part II regarding genre sequel success stories. A perfect continuation of my favorite found footage horror flick.

Chris: Matt's going to kill me for this one, but I do not care for [REC]2. The first [REC] is wonderful, and has a terrifying ending. What I like most about it, though, is how mysterious the outbreak is. The second movie trashes that by throwing in some nonsense about demonic possession, at which point I mentally checked-out. Your mileage may vary!

Train to Busan

Now Streaming on Netflix

Matt: Train to Busan is a modern zombie masterpiece. A full-throttle infestation nightmare that never derails nor reduces speed. Railway cars trap passengers inside with ravenous zombies who've taken over multiple sections, so very claustrophobic and hyperspeed intense in ways World War Z dreams it achieved. We know James Wan is producing an American remake, but that shouldn't stop you from watching this South Korean showstopper. Devastating, fast-paced, unrelenting when it comes to gnawing through characters without mercy – but also tremendously heartfelt between romance and father/daughter arcs. Director Yeon Sang-ho takes "Zombies On A Train" and creates one of the most prolific zombie entries in the last...decade? Of the 00s? Classify it how you will, just *don't* let this slide down your watchlist another notch.

Chris: Zombie movies have grown stale, but Train to Busan injects new life into the sub-genre. Blending kinetic direction with believable drama, here's a foreign horror film destined to be ruined by a dumbed-down American remake!

From Dusk Till Dawn

Now Streaming on Hulu

Matt: I can still remember childhood sleepovers before "streaming" and YouTube and VOD. Blockbuster wouldn't rent certain titles to minors and not everyone had "cool parents," so after chaperones fell asleep, you'd turn on pay-per-view channels in hopes the fuzz would clear enough to catch some video nasties past 1AM. From Dusk Till Dawn - an instant favorite – marks the rare anomaly where whatever cable provider we had at the time forgot to fully blur an early-morning showing. I giddily watched the whole damn romp with more ease than an online rental that buffers every five minutes. Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino unite for a oh-so-vicious vampire sleazefest starring George Clooney! Tom Savini as Sex Machine with his codpiece shooter! Explosive practical effects and face-mangling vampire makeup! Salma Hayek as the sultry bloodsucker queen Santánico Pandemonium (hello, coming of age moment). From Dusk Till Dawn is repeatedly selected whenever I need a maximum-entertainment viewing and forever will be. Cue Tito and Tarantula blasting through my earbuds as the vampire band who "sucks" (aka rocks).

Chris: There's nothing better than a trashy movie that knows it's trashy. From Dusk 'Till Dawn is such a film. Sleazy, gory, and loaded with corny jokes, this grindhouse style flick pits George Clooney against a bunch of over-the-top vampires in a strip club. What's not to love?

The Love Witch

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Chris: Let's start light! Anna Biller's The Love Witch is a delightfully twisted throwback to European art films, with a smattering of lusty romance novels thrown in for good measure. Samantha Robinson is Elaine, a beautiful witch on the lookout for love. The problem is her love spells tend to backfire, resulting in, well, death. The Love Witch is sexy, funny and unapologetically feminist – it's the perfect way to kick-off your Halloween viewing experience – not too scary, not too silly, just right. And then things will get darker from here...

Matt: The Love Witch is a technicolor potion that kicks back to an era of lusty thrills and vixen defiance. We don't get enough confident witches tales like this. I like it, but running at two hours on the nose, Samantha Robinson sometimes has trouble keeping us under her spell at such a long length.

The Witch in the Window

Now Streaming on Shudder

Chris: Because I'm a jaded horror fan, there aren't many movies that actually scare me. I may love watching the horror, but I very rarely get the creeps. So when something comes along and actually makes me uneasy, I'm thrilled. Andy Mitton's The Witch in the Window is such a film. A chilling, simple, slow-burn chiller that grows increasingly alarming as it progresses. A father (Alex Draper) brings his 12-year-old son to a house in Vermont with hopes of flipping the property. Unfortunately, the house is the home to a terrifying ghost – a ghost that has the ability to alter your perception, and play some dirty tricks in the process. One of The Witch in the Window's most remarkable feats is the way it makes scenes set in broad daylight so unsettling. Horror tends to stick to the cover of night. If you can make a movie that brings the fear in the light of the sun, you've done something remarkable.

Matt: The Witch in the Window lands two of my favorite scares of 2018 while also asserting its place as one of this year's best "family horror" films despite so many thematically-shared films already released. Andy Mitton's first solo work has me hoping he continues down his cinematic journey alone for a bit. Shudder, you've done it again.

The Fog

Now Streaming on Shudder

Chris: What would Halloween be without a good campfire ghost story? John Carpenter followed-up Halloween with this chilly tale of ghosts and blood curses returning to a seaside town. Antonio Bay has a dark, buried history – one that's about to rise from the grave. As a mysterious fog rolls in, people start dying in gruesome ways, as figures stalk out of that murky mist to lay waste to those in their path. The only one who might be able to fix things is Tom Freakin' Atkins, but he's busy knockin' boots with a hitchhiker, played by Jamie Lee Curtis. The Fog is the type of old school horror movie that no one makes anymore. Even in 1980, when the film was released, this type of horror was going out of style. But Carpenter knows just how to make it work, creating a spooky, fun horror flick in the process.

Matt: Without The Fog, we may never have gotten Demon Wind. For that reason alone we must pay our respects (also it's a fun Carpenter tale even if it's not my favorite).

Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Now Streaming on Crackle

Chris: Nothing can beat George Romero's original Night of the Living Dead, but Tom Savini's 1990 remake is pretty damn great. For one thing, the make-up effects on the zombies are stellar, and often genuinely terrifying. For another, this film's version of Barbara actually does stuff, and turns into a bit of an ass-kicker, unlike the original Barbara, who was rendered near catatonic by all the horror. The premise is the same: a group of strangers are trapped in a house as zombies roam the land. Savini's take on the material tones down the social commentary of Romero's original, which is unfortunate – he even changes the original film's very depressing ending. But despite all that, the 1990 Living Dead has a lot to enjoy. You can't beat those zombie make-up effects, folks.

Matt: I've heard such back-and-forth opinions on this remake and have avoided it for such reasons. Maybe it's time I fix that? Crackle's only gifted me such "presents" as Dead Rising and Office Uprising. Hopefully this will be the first worthwhile watch found on the service in my experience.

The Monster Squad

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Chris: If you've come this far, you need to close out the night with some fun. Enter: The Monster Squad. There are two types of people in the world: those who revere The Goonies, and those who love The Monster Squad. I'm the latter (Goonies stinks, folks, sorry). Fred Dekker and Shane Black teamed up to craft this funny, creepy homage to classic horror with a modernist bent. Here, a group of foul-mouthed kids gather together to fight Dracula, the Wolfman, the Mummy and the Creature From the Black Lagoon, who have all gathered together in town. The kids won't be alone in their fight: the Frankenstein Monster is going to help them. Silly, over-the-top, and sometimes surprisingly scary they don't make movies like The Monster Squad anymore, and that's a damn shame.

Matt: Don't listen to Chris – you can like both The Monster Squad and Goonies. That said, The Monster Squad is vastly superior because c'mon, Wolfman's got nards! It's the anatomically correct family horror flick every enthusiastic young genre fan deserves to start out with.

BONUS: Shudder’s Ghoul Log

This isn't a movie, but if you're looking for something simple and atmospheric to run on Halloween, I highly recommend Shudder's Ghoul Log. The horror streaming service offers this hour-plus video that depicts a Jack O' Lantern burning away on a leaf-blown street. Like the famous Christmas TV Yule Log, the Ghoul Log is here to get you in the holiday spirit. The candle in the pumpkin flickers, owls hoot, and an autumn breeze blows. It's perfect, and I hope Shudder leaves it up all year so I can watch it whenever the Halloween mood strikes me (which is often).