Now Scream This: 10 Streaming Horror Movies About Inanimate Objects That Want To Kill You

(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: With MGM's Child's Play reboot opening this week, Chris and I jumped at the chance to suggest streaming horror flicks where the antagonist is, in some way, an inanimate object. The film's villain may be a house, or a piece of furniture, or an auto part for heaven's sake. All of those films exist, most in multiple iterations. Sometimes evil spirits possess human vessels; other times they bring unspeakable damnation to satin-sheeted beds as comfortable as they are deadly. Can you blame horror cinema for getting a little creative?

Chris: I'm a big fan of possessed/cursed/haunted object movies, so I was excited to dig into this topic. Then I realized a lot of these movies are, well...bad. But I think Matt and I did a fine job of gathering together the best of the bunch. Especially me. Matt's picks, eh, not so much. 

Street Trash

Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: Street Trash is the only film James M. Muro has directed for reasons beyond my grasp. New York City's homeless underbelly has never been captured through such a filthy, grime-caked lens, thick with body melted goo thanks to a poison crate of "Viper" liquor. When I say vagrants who consume the tainted brew "melt," I mean a rainbow of colored liquids squirt from aerated flesh as globs of human mess sludgily pool tie-dye fluids where a man once stood (or sat on a toilet). As 80s exploitation goes, Street Trash is dated (slurs and insults, mainly). That said, there's nary a Troma effort that can match the low-budget disgustingness of Muro's rancid body horror showcase.

Chris: This is another of my blindspots, although I've been meaning to watch it for quite some time. I mean, it's called Street Trash. That's my kind of title.

Sinister

Now Streaming on Tubi

Matt: My tolerance for horror is boastfully stern-faced, but I can still vividly recall Scott Derrickson's Sinister chilling me to my squishy core. Packed theater, opening night, and Bughuul was collecting screams. Everybody remembers the video footage of murdered families, which contends with the creepiest shots in Sinister. Other competition includes whenever Baghuul breaks free of whatever film reel Ethan Hawke is watching, or ghost kiddos slinking into focus. Sinister 2 might have been a bust, but we'll always have Derrickson's home video violence to remind us of Baghuul's mortifying introduction into horror cinema. Still a mainstay at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights in the Blumhouse maze.

Chris: I love this movie, in all its ominous glory. Some of the jump-scares get a bit tedious, but everything else works like gangbusters.

Rubber

Now Streaming on Tubi

Matt: Quentin Dupieux will never apologize for his cinematic absurdity, nor should he. Rubber is about a "homicidal car tire discovering it has destructive psionic power," and it is brilliant. Onlookers watch from afar, with binoculars, as characters who act/react/commentate like audiences would. Dupieux is not only able to tell a splattery story of heads exploding and a killer tire, but weighs on aversions to Hollywood structures. Specifically, an audience's desire to be spooned easily digestible stories packaged for processed consumption. Rubber dares viewers to challenge their perception of moviemaking, jettison expectations, and willingly embrace a film's existence for what it's trying to be – not what we demand it to resemble.

Chris: You need to see this movie to believe it. Hell, I've seen it and I still don't quite believe it.

Evil Dead 2

Now Streaming on Tubi

Matt: Ash Williams' fight against the netherworld's worst brings one of my favorite evil tomes: the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis. Evil Dead 2, Sam Raimi's crowning Evil Dead achievement, embraces a more darkly comical fight against demonic forces than his original 1981 low-budget cabin calamity. As Deadites corrupt Ash's accompanying clan, Bruce Campbell is permitted to go batty while reality becomes a fracture plane. Deer heads cackle, headless corpses dance, Campbell fights his own hand – it's a slapstick comedic masterpiece that still honors rigid horror constructs. The Necronomicon is not to be underestimated and has become an iconic genre prop thanks to Raimi's Evil Dead franchise. Please tell me you're not still sleeping on this 1987 classic.

Chris: Come back, Sam Raimi. We miss you.

Waxwork

Now Streaming on Tubi

Matt: Anthony Hickox's Waxwork is some primo 80s horror in that it stars baby-faced Zach Galligan, favors kitchen-sink creature inclusion, and goes for monster broke. Based on the title, you're correct to assume teenagers are attacked by waxwork figures who come alive. The catch: Galligan's crew have to enter exhibits beyond velvet to be pulled into a werewolf's hunt or vampire's castle. Once in the character's world, sculpted figures are free to slay and claim souls as they please. Although, don't fret. There's a brawl between multiple waxwork creations and forces who'd rather see the establishment shut down come Act III. Waxwork Royal Rumble, y'all! How else can I sell this movie to you?

Chris: What I remember most from Waxwork is a lengthy sequence where a woman is eating bloody skin or something like that, and she thinks its steak tartare, and the scene refuses to end.

Christine

Now Streaming on Shudder

Chris: John Carpenter's sole Stephen King adaptation involves a big damn nerd (Keith Gordon) and his love for his haunted, killer car. It's slick and stylish, as well-polished as the hood of a blood-red Plymouth Fury. While Christine isn't exactly what I'd consider to be one of Carpenter's best films, it's so visually compelling – lens flares abound due to Christine's evil headlights – that it sticks in your mind. And who can forget Roberts Blossom talking about the smell of a brand-new car?

Matt: I do wish Carpenter attempted other King adaptations, and Christine is the reason why.

Annabelle: Creation

Now Streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now

Chris: The first Annabelle is terrible – a bland, lifeless, boring prequel that fails to justify its existence. Which makes its sequel (or rather, prequel – making it the prequel to a prequel), Annabelle: Creation all the more impressive. Before he helmed Shazam!, director David F. Sandberg found a way to make the Annabelle franchise interesting with this moody creepfest about a group of homeless girls who go to live in the spooky house of a dollmaker. Demons, jumpscares, and creepy-ass dolls abound. Since this is a prequel, we know where the story is going – which takes away from some of the scares. But Sandberg does such a good job with the film's atmosphere that it almost doesn't matter.

Matt: I'm not sure there's ever been a more accomplished jump in franchise quality from Annabelle to Annabelle: Creation. Sandberg not only works wonders within the Conjurverse's "Wanified" darkness, but scares us senseless during the daytime as well (Valek pushing the wheelchair). In that moment, he doubles-down on fear by subverting expectations. Get this dude back on the horror beat.

Dolly Dearest

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Chris: I'm nostalgic for the old days of the video store. How I would scan the shelves in the HORROR section, on the lookout for cover art that really popped. I can distinctly remember clapping eyes on Dolly Dearest, which had a nasty looking doll holding a knife, and the title spelled out in childish blocks. "TIME TO PLAY" screamed the tagline. Oh fuck yeah it is, my child-brain thought. This low-budget affair concerns a killer doll that screws with a family. It's a shameless ripoff of Child's Play. So much so that actor Ed Gale, who doubled for Chucky in the original Child's Play, also played the killer doll here. And I love every minute of it.

Matt: I've seen this VHS case countless times but never attempted a watch. Here's one *I* haven't caught yet, Chris. Happy now?

Pulse

Now Streaming on Shudder

Chris: Oh you want a list about haunted/cursed objects? Forget dolls and cars – how about the entire internet? This chilling J-horror film from Kiyoshi Kurosawa tells two different storylines about the world being slowly torn apart via ghosts who travel across the internet. It sounds hokey, but it's not. Instead, it's absolutely chilling – an eerie meditation on death and grief, with some genuinely scary ghost scenes throughout. In 2006, America attempted to remake Pulse, and did a piss-poor job. Ignore that remake at all costs, and stick with the original.

Matt: A hard-fast rule when it comes to American remakes of J-Horror is *always* watch the original. Movies like The Ring break the mold, asserting themselves as stateside horror classics, but for titles like Pulse, it doesn't get better than the source.

Primal Screen

Now Streaming on Shudder

Chris: This entertaining documentary short from Rodney Ascher (Room 237) focuses on several real-life people reflecting on their childhood fears of creepy puppets (most notably the puppet from the Anthony Hopkins film Magic), This plays like the first episode of a TV series, but so far, this is the only segment produced. I've been waiting for Shudder to pull the trigger and order a full season, but I suppose that's just not in the cards. Bummer.

Matt: Primal Screen doesn't dive into the fears of creepy puppets beyond what's already known, in my opinion. A quick documentary bite, but nothing of substance. As someone whose fears of Chucky are well-chronicled on this site, I would have loved a deeper dive than Ascher has time to accomplish.