Now Scream This: Beat The Heat With These Summer 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: This week's theme on "Now Scream This" is brought to you by New Orleans' melting heat. As both Chris and myself attended the Overlook Film Festival last weekend, perspiration dripped early, often, and whenever we wandered outdoors. It's summer, what did we expect? In honor of Louisiana's sticky-wet humidity, we've got some streaming horror recommendations all about frights under the sun. Praise be indoor air conditioning. 

Chris: Matt is correct: New Orleans is the sweatiest place on the planet. I'm not a big fan of summer – I like the weather to be as cold as a tomb. But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy some summer-themed horror movies. Sure, horror tends to stick to the shadows, but sometimes, it steps out into the sun. 

Jaws

Now Streaming on Starz On Demand

Matt: Might as well start with a classic! Steven Spielberg's New England shark attack still stands as superior aquatic horror even decades later. Veteran actors wage war against a mechanical foe munching beach vacationers whose splish-splashing turns into a bloody cloud of air bubbles frantically rising. Jaws is a masterclass in tension, creature reveals, and attacks from murky depths be it lunchtime or midnight. There's a reason people didn't go back into the water after watching Jaws. Give a watch to remember why.

Chris: God, here Matt goes again, picking a movie I've never seen! I'm kidding, of course. I've seen Jaws. It's the one about the alien who befriends a small boy, right?

Carnage Park

Now Streaming on Hulu

Matt: Mickey Keating's sun-scorched sniper thriller is everything that sunny or sweaty scares are about. Blistering daylight can't stave off psychopaths, as Pat Healy kills those unfortunate enough to find themselves centered within his scope. Ashley Bell flees through target ranges and deserted mountain terrain decorated like nuclear testing once took place, instituting a constant sense of paranoia as bullets whiz free. Carnage Park is some post-fallout fun borrowing from Quentin Tarantino's all-roads-leading chaos that, for my money, is Keating's best. Absolutely his most fun, deranged, and burned to a crisp.

Chris: This movie is pretty damn weird. It starts off seeming as if it's one type of movie before turning into something completely different, and wacky. I don't know if I like it, but I appreciate it.

Wolf Creek 2

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime

Matt: Australia's outback plays host to plenty of natural horrors from predators to dehydration, none scarier than John Jarrett's mental trapper. Greg McLean returns with Wolf Creek 2; a bloodier, meaner brushland slasher that wipes away equal parts blood and sweat. I mean, I *really* like this movie. Horror hasn't birthed any truly iconic slashers in the last however many years, but I believe Mick Taylor belongs in such a discussion. Hell, my review from five years ago says it all: "Wolf Creek 2 is the ferocious kick in the ass that the slasher genre needs right now – bloody, brutal, and lead by a slasher icon in Mick Taylor that rivals the most memorable horror villains produced in the last decade."

Chris: The Wolf Creek movies are pretty damn nasty, and definitely not for everyone. But I do appreciate the sense of place they create. You can practically feel that hot Australian sun beating down.

Donkey Punch

Now Streaming on Shudder/Tubi

Matt: Olly Blackburn's open-waters thriller is, indeed, about the sexual act known as "Donkey Punching." The move itself is disgusting, violent, and abusive. Blackburn's film, fortunately, is some vacation-gone-wrong partying that turns a night of lurid coed fornicating at sea into a fight for survival when one female ends up dead via "Donkey Punch." If Blackburn's setup sounds downright atrocious, it's supposed to be. What plays out oozes sunbaked and claustrophobic paranoia as trapped women fight against the men attempting to hide their crime. A relevant stranger-danger warning reminder to anyone traveling this summer.

Chris: It took four entries, but we finally hit our prerequisite Matt pick that I haven't seen.

Anaconda

Now Streaming on Showtime On Demand

Matt: I'm just going to say it - Anaconda is a blast. Right up there with the late 90s holy triumvirate of aquatic creature features including Deep Blue Sea and Lake Placid (Deep Rising an honorable mention). Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Owen Wilson and more must fight a massive Amazonian water demon or be crushed via constriction. Practical effects are fun as hell when the film's rubberized snake goes to strike, driving home that fun-in-the-sun midnighter feeling that plays so well in a group setting. This is the nightmare National Geographic doesn't want you to see.

Chris: I saw this in the theater with my father. I'm pretty sure he fell asleep during it. If so, he missed Jon Voight being regurgitated.

47 Meters Down

Now Streaming on Netflix

Chris: When it comes to recent sharksploitation films, The Shallows outswims 47 Meters Down on every single level. But this tale (or should I say fin???) of two vacationing sisters (Claire Holt and Mandy Moore) trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean gets incredibly tense at moments, and features some twists and turns you won't see coming. The script is an absolute mess (Matthew Modine is on hand to more or less narrate what is happening in every scene), but every time a shark attacks, the film gets pretty damn thrilling. My only real complaint is that I wish they had gone for a hard-R rating here, and shown more gore, because there are plenty of opportunities to get icky.

Matt: I remember going into my 47 Meters Down screening with minimal expectations and being blown away. Give Johannes Roberts the Aquaman "Trench" spinoff, you cowards. Also, killer "fin" pun Chris!

Creepshow 2

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Chris: The first Creepshow is better than its sequel, but I'm including Creepshow 2 for one very specific summertime segment in the Stephen King-inspired anthology: "The Raft." In this particularly gruesome story, a group of horny teens end up on a wooden raft floating in the middle of a lake on a sunny summer day. What's so scary about that? Well, there's some sort of viscous goo floating in the water, and anyone who comes in contact with it ends up getting their goddamn skin melted off. The makeup effects are extra nasty, with our hapless youngsters falling apart right before our eyes as the sun shines down.

Matt: Who *isn't* in the mood for killer goo, am I right?

Carnival of Souls

Now Streaming on The Criterion Channel

Chris: What could be more summery than a carnival?! How about a carnival...of souls. Herk Harvey's low-budget wonder Carnival of Souls focuses on Mary (Candace Hilligoss), a troubled young woman who survives a car wreck and then decides to move to Utah, as one usually does when they survive a car wreck. But Mary is soon tormented by a ghoulish figure (played by director Herk Harvey himself), and finds herself drawn to a spooky abandoned carnival by the Great Salt Lake. You can see shades of future David Lynch films in the weirdness afoot in this spookshow. And sure, you might be able to see a twist coming, but that doesn't make the movie any less effective.

Matt: My classical blindspots show whenever Chris digs into his Criterion backlog. Adding Carnival Of Souls to the list!

The Wicker Man (2006)

Now Streaming on HBO Go

Chris: Yes, that's right, I'm picking the goofy Nicolas Cage Wicker Man, not the original (I actually picked the original on a previous entry). The 2006 The Wicker Man has a reputation for being so damn silly, and I'm not here to argue that. It is silly – and that's what makes it so much fun. Cage goes above and beyond as a cop trying to solve a mystery on an island full of women who are part of a pagan cult in the midst of celebrating the summer solstice. Speaking of, for all the dumb stuff this remake does, I will say that the idea of making all of the island cultists female is a pretty inspired choice, and could've made for a much better film with a more polished script. No matter, at least we get scenes where Cage puts on a bear suit and punches people in the face. It's a hoot. Just watch out for the bees...

Matt: Nothing but respect to my writer in arms for picking a movie in which Nicolas Cage goes FULL-ON Cage. Oh yes, friends. The bees indeed.

The Lost Boys

Now Streaming on MAX Go

Chris: Joel Schumacher's very '80s vampire film sends two brothers (Jason Patric and Corey Haim) to sunny California. And wouldn't ya know it, the beach town the brothers move to just happens to be overrun with vampires. And not just any vampires, but handsome teen bad boy vampires. Homoeroticism and bad hair abounds as Patric's character finds himself slowly turning into a bloodsucker. This is one of those '80s-centric films that still holds up, at least in my opinion. The highlight is, of course, vampire gang leader Kiefer Sutherland, with his dumb haircut and cool jacket and his ability to make people think they're eating worms. And dig that hip soundtrack, man. I'm shocked they haven't remade this yet, although there have been a few direct-to-video sequels, and an upcoming TV series, too.

Matt: Now this is MY kind of classic. Sexy Sax Man for the win!