Now Scream This: 10 Great Horror Movies To Stream For Father's Day

(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 on Now Scream This, we honor fatherhood. Specifically, Horror Daddies. Those nurturing and protective characters whose intentions are hopefully pure, but not always. In any case, this is their holiday, and we're surely not trying to ignore anyone. Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, but especially those dads who let us stay up after midnight to catch horror flicks mom never knew existed. If that was your experience. My father and I will never share a love of horror, but that's alright because we'll always have The Replacements.

Chris: Ah, Father's Day! The holiday where we are encouraged to buy power tools or neckties with golf balls on them for dear old dad, even if he doesn't give a shit about those things. But here at Now Scream This, we're taking a different approach. This one goes out to all the dads out there, baby! All the horror dads, that is. The dads who are either very good at fatherhood, or absolute monsters – sometimes literally. As Father's Day approaches, let us pay tribute to the big daddies of horror. 

Cargo

Now Streaming on Netflix

Matt: Martin Freeman plays an incomparably "Good Dad" who must traverse Australian bushlands, with his infant daughter, during the zombie apocalypse. There's even more emotional depth considering stakes, but that's better left for a first-time watch. Cargo gets a lot right about humanity, parenthood, and selflessness when it comes to bloodlines, while also nailing the mark on zombie cinema. It's a mixture of indigenous representation and fatherhood's unrelenting gauntlet of responsibilities, and maybe one of my favorite Netflix Original horror films. That ending gets me every damn time.

Chris: I've somehow never heard of this movie. Or if I have, I completely forgot about it. My mind isn't what it used to be these days. 

Train To Busan

Now Streaming on Shudder and Netflix

Matt: Enter "Good Dad" #2, Yoo Gong. His role in Train To Busan as a divorced father trades workaholic neglect for the warmth of his daughter's love. Again, there are zombies. Again, there is immediate danger. Viewers are rewarded by not only breakneck zombie cinema, but as Cargo achieves through Martin Freeman's performance, Yoo Gong's mission of protecting his child (played by Su-an Kim) adds more than base-value emotional stakes. One scene involving a comforting song is so tender and such a beautiful moment amidst a crumbling pandemic cityscape. All as we behold one of the most vicious, relentless, and outright exciting modern feats in zombie cinema (which only looks to amplify in sequel Peninsula).

Chris: Train to Busan is the rare zombie movie that will make you well up with emotion. 

The Wailing

Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: Do-won Kwak's performance in The Wailing still plants him in "Good Dad" territory, albeit a more muddied and darker internal struggle. I love this South Korean thriller because all three acts are distinctively signature, from a police procedural to dark comedy to full-tilt possession thriller. As the film evolves, so does Do-won Kwak's policeman father, given how his daughter becomes infected with a mysterious disease that leads to murdered families. Maybe "The Devil" gets involved. Perhaps it's all mind games. Maybe a lot of things, but what rings truest is the mystical accomplishment of this horrific fact-versus-fiction hybrid. An officer forced to challenge his beliefs, eventually motivated only by the safety of his loved ones. Plus, supernatural influences!

Chris: This is a very impressive horror film that goes on just a little too long, but still packs a punch. 

Insidious

Now Streaming on Netflix

Matt: It's a rule of thumb in my apartment that when you get a chance to talk about, praise, or reminisce over Patrick Wilson, you 'effing do so. In this case, as a frantic father in James Wan's haunted masterpiece (I said it) Insidious. Wilson's panicking parent is willing to do whatever it takes to save his son, including entrance into a purgatorial realm where spirits remain lost forever. He's, like, "Good Dad" to the billionth degree, but let's ignore when he's "Bad Dad" in an inevitable sequel. Not his fault! "Good Dads" awaken their repressed abilities of astral projection when it comes to rescuing their kin from red-faced demons, no matter the dangers.

Chris: I love this movie, and I love pretty much every single James Wan horror movie (and Aquaman, too!). I'm very excited for Malignant, Wan's upcoming return to horror. 

Before I Wake

Now Streaming on 

Matt: Unpopular opinion: Before I Wake is my favorite Mike Flanagan film. It's with this entry that I honor "Good Dad" Thomas Jane, who has his own brush with a different kind of purgatorial realm. This one concocted by Jacob Tremblay, who can bring his dreams to life whenever the little man slumbers. Jane does his best to be a loving foster parent whose new child comes with a tremendous gift, in a way that his wife (Kate Bosworth) might advantageously exploit. In any case, this is a case of "Good Dad" getting lost in the shuffle when "The Canker Man" comes to...feast? Whatever it does. An "In Memoriam" for the Jane Train.

Chris: Not my favorite Flanagan, but I consider him to be one the best in the biz right now, so this is definitely worth a watch. 

Eraserhead

Now Streaming on HBO Max and the Criterion Channel 

Chris: David Lynch's weird, wonderful meditation on fatherhood finds Jack Nance as a man who fathers a strange, hideous creature that may or may not be a baby. It certainly cries like a baby, and when Nance's character is left alone with him (it?), things start to get even more unnerving. Eraserhead was Lynch's feature debut, and while on the surface it may seem impenetrable, its themes are clear as day once you look beyond all the weirdness. 

Matt: Nope. Haven't given Eraserhead a go yet.

Come to Daddy

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Chris: Come to Daddy is one of those movies that is best viewed cold. Try to avoid reading reviews of this thing, because the less you know, the more surprised you're going to be – in a good way. Here's what I can tell you: Elijah Wood plays a hipster who travels to a remote location to reunite with his long-lost father (Stephen McHattie). The two haven't seen each other since Wood was a small child, and, as you might guess, the reunion is bound to be a bit awkward. But awkward doesn't even begin to cover it. Just wait until you see what happens next... 

Matt: Stephen McHattie plays one hell of a "Bad Dad," let me tell you.

The Stepfather

Now Streaming on HBO Now

Chris: Terry O'Quinn gives an Oscar-worthy performance (yes, I went there) in The Stepfather. As the film opens, O'Quinn's character has already brutally murdered his family. After shaving off his beard, he disappears...only to resurface a year later. Now, he's about to get hitched again, and his future step-daughter (Jill Schoelen) doesn't trust him. Everyone assumes she's just being a difficult teen, upset that her mother is remarrying. Of course, we know the truth, and everyone surrounding O'Quinn is in serious danger. 

Matt: Yeah, I mean, it goes without saying that this is some prime "Bad Dad" content. Right?

Oculus

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

Chris: I remember when I first heard the premise of Oculus: a movie about a haunted mirror. I laughed, I scoffed, I rolled my eyes. And then Mike Flanagan, talented filmmaker that he his, knocked me on my butt with a creepy, fascinating horror film. Flanagan is big on family-related horror, and many of the elements he's using here – cutting back and forth in time, following one family's slow decent into hell – he would later repurpose for The Haunting of Hill House Netflix series. Also: Karen Gillan's performance here is dynamite. The film follows Gillian and her brother (Brenton Thwaites) dealing with their traumatic past, where it's believed their father went insane and killed their mother. But Gillian's character knows better – the family's huge antique mirror is to blame. Again: I know that sounds silly, but trust me on this one. 

Matt: Double Mike Flanagan representation? It's getting to the point where Chris and I can probably finish each other's...

Pumpkinhead

Now Streaming on Tubi

Chris: I like Pumpkinhead...in theory. It has great special effects (it's the directorial debut of legendary FX guru Stan Winston). It has the always-great Lance Henriksen in the lead. And it has a neat premise: after his beloved son is killed, backwoods fella Ed Harley (Henriksen) goes to a witch to summon a demon to seek revenge. Again, all of this is great...in theory. The execution leaves something to be desired, but I still have a soft spot for Pumpkinhead

Matt: My memories of Pumpkinhead are foggy at best, after watching it late-night on syndication. Chopped up by commercials and such. Trust Chris.