Now Scream This: The Best Horror Movies To Stream For Halloween 2019

(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: Halloween is so close I can *taste* and wow, it tastes rank. How else would rotten zombie flesh, newt eyes, and intestinal slasher trophies tickle your taste buds? There's no deception there, but sometimes when seeking spooky October cinema, we're tricked by unassuming titles or treated to hidden gems. In the spirit of finding something more palatable for y'alls seasonal parties, Chris and myself are going to spotlight some tricky winners and horrific treats to watch.

Chris: October feels like it's flown by, but I hope you've been enjoying it, boils and ghouls. As Halloween approaches, Matt and I have put together a list of cinematic tricks and treats sweeter than any candy apple and chewier than a handful of candy corn. So put on your full Dracula costume, grab your rubber skeleton mask, and get ready to scream your face off! 

Uncanny Annie

Now Streaming on Hulu

Matt: Into The Dark has been a hit-or-miss bag of tricks and treats itself, but October's Uncanny Annie is a fun festive delight. You can read my full review already posted here on SlashFilm, but in summation, Paul Davis finds a way to subvert normal Halloween architectures while still overseeing darkened entertainment. Play spectator to Annie's board game of doom, as players are forced to answer "Truth" questions or take part in "Mischief" dares – and refusal means DEATH. Think deadly Jumanji with Grim Reapers and final execution over jungle imprisonment. Solid slumber party creepiness worth your streaming time.

Chris: I have not enjoyed any of the Into The Dark segments. Will I enjoy this one if I watch it? We'll see! 

The Mutilator

Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: Buddy Cooper's hilarious trick within The Mutilator is a first-act fake out that sells something completely different than the gruesome slasher marketed. As the film hits opening credits, students prepare for a beachside vacation during the fall. Then it happens – "Fall Break" reads the title card. Cue Peter Yellen's 80s sitcomy original theme, and horror fans can only scratch their heads at the silliness being put forth (supposedly a grindhouse classic). Bodies start piling up and we eventually discover how The Mutilator earns its reputation, but don't get me wrong. It's poorly edited, poorly acted, poorly filmed – and I can't wait to watch Cooper's vicious laugher twenty more times.

Chris: I haven't seen this, but I misread the name above as Bradley Cooper for a second and got very confused. 

The Taking Of Deborah Logan

Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: Adam Robitel has been candid about how Netflix saved The Taking Of Deborah Logan, given Millenium Entertainment's burial after a notably poor test screening. Consider this a treat, because without streaming resurgence, Robitel's mockumentary nightmare might have been forever buried under bargain bin piles. I can't heap enough praise on Deborah Logan herself, Jill Larson, who portrays an Alzheimer's patient afflicted by something vastly more sinister and unholy. Plus, that gifable snack sequence you'll all seen – even more despicable in the film's context. No tricks here, only lights-off terror to unwrap

Chris: I just rewatched this recently – it holds up. It's super creepy, and uses the found footage trope well. And yes, that snack sequence Matt mentions is aces. 

Head Count 

Now Streaming on Netflix

Matt: Dial up another treat, as one of my favorite Overlook Film Festival titles barely got the release it deserves. Head Count - a Joshua Tree creepypasta tale – hit select theaters, but more horror fans need to be discussing Elle Callahan's name. Now on Netflix, I'm hoping subscribers discover this vexing vacation of shapeshifters and optical tricks. It's the kind of engaging cinema that has you counting heads, scouring every background detail just to try and stay one step ahead of Callahan's storytelling. Math is dumb, but Head Count's usage of numerical nastiness is sinister statistics I can get behind.

Chris: I was at the Overlook Film Festival with Matt, but I don't remember seeing this. To be fair, most of the Overlook is a haze, because it's held in New Orleans, aka the city where you can carry fishbowls full of liquor out onto the street. 

Dolls

Now Streaming on Tubi

Matt: I played a trick on myself by not seeing Dolls for so long. In no way did I know this was a Stuart Gordon/Charles Band collaboration, or that it starts out with a gigantic killer teddy bear sequence. A fellow film critic finally sat me down for the cheesy 80s doll "puppeteering" and overacting that awaited, which was just delightful. It fits the promise of a Gordon/Band hookup, and for good measure, Brian Yuzna's name is *also* listed in the producing credits. If that's not a good enough telltale for the zany tone that awaits, go brush up on your Gordon, Band, and Yuzna. Every party needs a jokester in the mix!

Chris: Oh hell yeah, Dolls! I love this cheesy nonsense. 

Hell House LLC

Now Streaming on Shudder and Amazon Prime Video

Chris: I avoided Hell House LLC for a while because the footage I saw looked rather amateurish. Then one Halloween I decided to sit myself down and give this a chance, and what a wonderful treat it was. This isn't the most sophisticated of fright films, but it uses its premise – a Halloween haunted house that really is haunted – perfectly. Director Stephen Cognetti is very good at staging scares, usually by having something appear in the corner of the frame that shouldn't be there. This spawned an unexpected franchise, and while I think the sequel Hell House LLC II: The Abbadon Hotel, has its charms, you should avoid the third and final film – Lake of Fire – at all costs. 

Matt: Hell House LLC gives me the quivers and shakes. I really dig this mashup of "found footage" and "haunted attraction" horror.

S&Man

Now Streaming on Tubi

Chris: I'm going to give a spoiler away here, because it ties directly into the trick and treat angle of this list. So if you've never seen S&Man, and want to go in surprised, turn back now! Okay. Still here? S&Man (pronounced Sandman) is a documentary from J. T. Petty about extreme, underground horror movies. Petty talks to real underground horror figures – like director Bill Zebub. He also talks to horror experts, like Carol J. Clover, author of Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in Modern Horror. Petty claims to be studying the hardest of hardcore horror in an attempt to find out what drives people to watch them. On his journey he encounters Eric Rost, the director of a whole series of amateur horror movies under the S&Man title. The videos involve Eric stalking, and murdering, young women. And Petty assumes this is all staged – more gross-out stuff being created for perverts. But as the film progresses it becomes clear that Eric's movies are real, and he's really killing people. Here's where the spoiler comes in: all of this is fake. But I didn't know that when I first saw the film. I thought everything here was real, and I grew more and more disturbed as the story progressed. It wasn't until the very end (and a quick trip to Google) that it finally dawned on me that Petty had played a very clever trick on the audience. I'm not easily duped, but S&Man got me. 

Matt: "I don't shoot movies to make art; I shoot movies so perverts will give me money." Thank you for putting S&Man on my radar, Chris.

The Canal

Now Streaming on Hulu

Chris: I watched The Canal with zero knowledge of what it was. In my line of work, you get a lot of emails from PR folks asking to watch and review the movies they're working on. The Canal was one of those films, and it came at the start of my film writing career – back when I was hungry to say yes to everything to prove myself. So I said, "Sure, send me a screener!" And then I watched...and came away pleasantly surprised. This movie hadn't been on my radar at all, and quickly became a great horror title to revisit. In The Canal, Film archivist David (Rupert Evans) moves his family into an allegedly haunted house. But ghosts are the least of David's problems: he begins to suspect his wife is cheating on him. As The Canal progresses, David's mental state begins to fracture, and we're left wondering if he's seeing ghosts – or cracking up. 

Matt: Yeah yeah, another one I haven't seen but this has been on my list. I promise I'm getting there, Chris. I'm stilling winning in the "haven't seen" category, though! (Wait, am I still?)

Alice Sweet Alice

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Chris: I somehow had avoided seeing Alice Sweet Alice all my life. I can distinctly remember seeing the VHS cover – it featured a creepy mask in a paper shopping bag, and a bloody knife stabbed into a baby doll – in the video store (I'm old, okay), but never renting it – even though I was a budding horror fanatic. I finally gave this a shot when Arrow Video put out a new Blu-ray, and had a blast. This is a sleazy, grainy, nasty horror movie about bratty little girl Alice (Paula Sheppard) who may or may not be a serial killer. Director Alfred Sole does a great job giving the film a weird, dream-like quality while also creating gruesome murders and scenes designed to repulse you. Also, look for a very young Brooke Shields as Alice's sister! 

Matt: Ugh. OK. Maybe we're neck and neck at this point. Maybe this'll be my spooky October watch for tonight.

Chasing Sleep

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Chris: Chasing Sleep is one of those obscurities that I'm pretty sure most people haven't heard of. It was recommended to me by a friend years ago and I decided to give it a go. I'm glad I did. This is essentially a one-man show, with Jeff Daniels playing a college professor who grows concerned when his wife doesn't come home. Occasionally a supporting character or two will pop-in to check on Daniels, but the actor spends the bulk of the movie on his own, navigating his spooky house. There's something terrible wrong here, and as Daniels tries to piece together what happened to his wife, Chasing Sleep grows more surreal and unsettling. 

Matt: Wow. Only one out of five seen this week. Oh how the tables have turned.