Now Scream This: Celebrate Halloween Season With These Streaming 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: With October's howl now at full volume, Chris and I have so many different weekly themes to choose from! Maybe "Werewolf Wonders," or "Sleepover Slashics," or – well, let me rephrase that. If Chris and I had the time to follow such possible themes, we'd have a bounty to choose from. Unfortunately, we are busy little beavers inundated by Halloween articles on tight deadlines so you're getting another grab bag! BE THANKFUL FOR WHAT YOU GET, GREEDY PIGGIES.

Chris: What do we have here? Why, a whole bunch of streaming horror! Just for you! Aren't you lucky? In case you haven't noticed, I've also been writing about one streaming horror movie a day, every day, this month in honor of Halloween. You can read every entry so far here. With that, and our latest column, I'm giving you a ton of options for Halloween season, folks. You're welcome. 

The Slumber Party Massacre

Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: The greatest trick Amy Holden Jones ever played was crafting the horniest slasher film ever as an unsubtle commentary on the male gaze in horror cinema. The Slumber Party Massacre weaponizes norms of the fleshiest sins. Hot high school chickadees gather, invite some boys over, then are attacked one by one as a killer drills through their bodies. Oh, and in case you don't get it by the multiple cinematic shots of the drill dangling between Mr. Driller Killer's legs, the drill is a phallic reference. You know, just in case symbolism isn't obvious! (It is, and that's what makes Jones' commentary so biting and noteworthy).

Chris: Did you know that Slumber Party Massacre screenwriter is also a popular mystery writer who wrote a series of books co-authored with her cat Sneaky Pie Brown? You do now. 

The Slumber Party Massacre II

Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: The greatest trick Deborah Brock ever played was – ha, just kidding. There's no trick in her pop-rock sleepover followup. The Slumber Party Massacre II advertises Atanas Ilitch's rockabilly "Driller Killer" right on the poster, holding his cherry-red demon guitar with a drill bit where his instrument's headstock should be – but wait, there's more! Illitch doesn't just kill people with his body-piercing axe. Every death is accompanied by Illitch's dance moves, his fake shredding, and '80s-rock serenading to the tune of melodic mayhem. Did I mention he materializes from a young girl's dreams, one of the survivors of The Slumber Party Massacre? Believe me when I say this sequel is something unpredictable and special.

Chris: Matt you cheeky bastard, including one film and its sequel here? I'm calling the cops. 

The Furies

Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: The Furies is yet another reminder that the best video game movies are hardly based on actual gaming properties. This live streaming deathmatch pits "Beauties" (kidnapped women) against slasher villain "Beasts." Contestants can survive by killing predatory "Beasts," which becomes more complicated when it's discovered each "Beauty" is tied to a "Beast" in some unforeseen way. Cue scream queen training grounds that deliver some of the year's nastiest and most accomplished practical kill sequences, with all credit paid to special effects wizard Tony D'Aquino. Maybe not the deepest commentary on burning down the patriarchy, but still one hell of a slaughter flick.

Chris: This film boasts some nifty gore (if you're into that sort of thing) and some cool masked killer designs. Is the story any good? Nah, not really. But it's fun. 

Insidious

Now Streaming on Netflix

Matt: Wait, when did Insidious sneak onto Netflix?! I hadn't noticed when I was perusing horror titles no farther than a few nights back, so consider this a Halloween miracle. Thank you, James Wan, for not giving us one knockout paranormal franchise in The Conjuring but two when you count the Insidious flicks. This is where it all starts, and I still can't remember being scared by a haunted house flick so efficiently since. (Even counting The Conjuring, which I adore as a moody gothic throwback.) The shadowplay, Mr. Red-Faced Demon behind Patrick Wilson, "The Further" – are Leigh Whannell and James Wan the top horror tag team of our generation?

Chris: I love me some Insidious. Sure, it borrows heavily from Poltergeist, and the second-half of the movie isn't as enjoyable as the first. But there's so much spooky fun here. I'm so excited about James Wan returning to horror with his upcoming Malignant

Horns

Now Streaming on Netflix

Matt: Having just seen Guns Akimbo, I've got Daniel Radcliffe on the mind. When better to recommend Horns? Alexandre Aja adapts a Joe Hill novel with Radcliffe and Juno Temple starring. Horns is a sad romantic tale at heart, but also a twisted horror comedy in a broader investigative sense. Get ready for hints of a hellish film noir slickness as Ig (Radcliffe) narrates his thoughts while driving around collecting information and working out clues in synch with his audience, while protruding horns and anarchic actions stir up heaps of trouble. Not without visual horrors and the fiery accents you'd expect from Aja's inclusion.

Chris: I actually never got around to seeing this, but I did read the book. And I didn't care for it! I think Joe Hill is a much better short story writer than a novelist, but that's me. 

Candyman

Now Streaming on Netflix

Chris: Candyman not only still holds up, it's even better than you remember. This isn't just another slasher. This is a surprisingly smart, deeply disturbing exploration of urban legends, racism, gaslighting, and more. Tony Todd's Candyman is instantly iconic, and Virginia Madsen makes for a great heroine. But the scariest parts of Candyman don't involve all the bloodshed. The scenes in this movie that really scare me involve Madsen's character being completely unable to convince everyone around her that a local boogeyman has come to life and is really killing people. There's a hopelessness there as the real, sane world pushes up against the supernatural, and refuses to bend, sending Madsen further and further into doom. 

Matt: Cultural representation in horror took a huge step forward with Candyman, for at least a brief moment in time. This movie is important and scary. Educate yourself.

Happy Death Day 2U

Streaming on HBO GO and HBO Now 10/12

Chris: Happy Death Day is a lot of fun, but Happy Death Day 2U takes things to the next level. It's more funny than scary, but it's also surprisingly emotional, and in a genuinely earned way. I actually teared up a little when I saw this the first time – something I never thought I would do with a film like this. The first film introduced us to Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe), a college student stuck in a Groundhog Day-like loop of reliving the same day over and over. That's bad enough, but she's also murdered over and over again on this same day by a masked killer. That film ended with Tree finding the identity of the killer and breaking the loop. Happy Death Day 2U expands the universe of the film, explaining how the loop started, and trapping Tree in a whole new loop involving alternate dimensions. Writer-director Christopher Landon goes wild with this material, and creates something that's a ton of fun. It's all anchored by Rothe's stellar lead performance. Why she isn't a bigger star yet I just don't know – she's phenomenal. 

Matt: I'm one of the few who will say they like Happy Death Day 2U more than Happy Death Day. Sue me. Actually don't, you won't get anything out of it.

Midnight Meat Train

Now Streaming on Hulu

Chris: Sometimes I think we should all stop and appreciate the fact that there's actually a movie out there in the world called Midnight Meat Train. How amazing is that?! Before he became a big star, Bradley Cooper led this gory, stylish Clive Barker adaptation from director Ryuhei Kitamura. Cooper is a photographer trying to capture real and gritty city shots. This takes him down into the subway where he ends up running afoul of the titular meat train. There's an imposing man on this train (Vinnie Jones), and all he wants to do is smash people's heads in and hang them upside down like slabs of meat. It's very weird, building towards a conclusion that's all kinds of ridiculous. But man oh man, what a ride. 

Matt: Vinnie Jones. Ryuhei Kitamura. Clive Barker. Bradley Cooper. Leslie Bibb. How is this movie so underseen?!

Paranormal Activity 2

Now Streaming on Hulu 

Chris: The Paranormal Activity franchise eventually went off the rails, but for a while there, things were running smoothly. Most people tend to shun Paranormal Activity 2, though, which I always found odd, because it's my favorite sequel of the bunch. This film expands on the story of the first film and adds even more creepiness to the proceedings, building towards another shock-inducing ending meant to make you leap out of your chair. Of all the sequels, this is the only one I've ever felt compelled to revisit. 

Matt: It's me, the guy who really dug Paranormal Activity 2 and thinks it's the second-best in the franchise (behind Peli's original, of course). The Marked Ones is a close third.

In the Tall Grass

Now Streaming on Netflix

Chris: In the Tall Grass is based on a short story by Stephen King and Joe Hill, and it's one of the most disturbing stories you'll ever read. With that in mind, I had high hopes for Vincenzo Natali's film adaptation. Sadly, the In the Tall Grass movie can never match the nasty horror of the short story. But that doesn't make it a bad movie. In fact, it's quite fun. Several unlucky people get trapped in an overgrown field where the laws of space and time don't seem to apply, and something evil is lurking. Best of all: Patrick Wilson is on hand to ham it up big time as a man slowly going out of his dang mind, constantly ordering people to touch a big rock. 

Matt: I enjoyed this one well enough, but wasn't blown away. Some of the time-splicing gets a bit murky, but sweet mama's milk is Patrick Wilson allowed to nail a wild performance that is worth your streaming selection.