Now Scream This: Have A Spooky Valentine's Day 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: I hope, I presume, you've clicked into another edition of "Now Scream This" searching for the latest and greatest streaming horror recommendations. If not? Well, can Chris and I interest you in viewable-this-second selections with thrills, chills, and copious amounts of gore? Maybe we should have played into Valentine's Day with lovey-dangerous titles, but instead, we've turned our attention to newfound favorites you can discover alongside your partner. Pop the bubbly, de-thorn the roses, and scream the night away (wink wink). Hell, even take that trip to Indonesia you've been discussing without leaving your couch!

Chris: Matt and I have returned from the horror movie mines with some gems just for you, loyal reader! We've worked tirelessly to find you the best of the best of streaming horror, and the least you could do is read what we wrote below. And also maybe send us an Edible Arrangement or something like that. 

The Queen Of Black Magic

Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: Now that the "Mo Brothers" are pursuing individual avenues, both Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel can release separate movies alongside one another. Yay! The Queen Of Black Magic is an Indonesian horror "remake" that sees Stamboel tag-team with another Indonesian horror superstar in Joko Anwar. So much talent in a single haunted orphanage production, one that envelopes audiences in grimness as once-inhabitants unlock the forgotten darknesses of their memories. You're here for a black magic curse, the creepiest of crawlies, and one slithery serpent of a horror tale that's impossible to contain. Kudos to Shudder for continuing to be at the forefront of promoting Indonesia's horror boom to stateside audiences.

Chris: It's in my Shudder queue! 

Queen Of Black Magic

Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: Stamboel's The Queen Of Black Magic is a loose remake of Liliek Sudjio's Queen Of Black Magic from 1981, which reminds that Indonesian horror isn't *only* a recent phenomenon. Joko Anwar's Satan's Slaves is, itself, a loose remake honoring Sisworo Gautama Putra's Satan's Slave. Indonesian horror in the 70s and 80s is more about low budgets and zaniness over the outright terrifying conjurings of late, and Queen Of Black Magic is no different. Characters bounce on trampolines in the moonlight and skin boils using wonderfully cheesy-but-gross practical effects, as queens summon their black magic to punish out of vengeance. Peep the trailer, and if you're into it, why not program this as a Shudder double-feature in comparison to Stamboel's nastier reincarnation?

Chris: Got very confused for a second because I thought Matt was being a cheeky fellow and putting the same thing on here twice. What a scamp! Anyway, I haven't seen this one either. 

Hell Fest

Now Streaming on Netflix

Matt: For whatever reason, even amusement park horror faithful continue to sleep on Hell Fest. Maybe because it hit theaters near Rooster Teeth's Blood Fest, which featured countless similarities from theme park settings to top-hatted hosts who deliver an on-stage speech? Well, Gregory Plotkin's Hell Fest has Tony Todd and Bex Taylor-Klaus, so beat that! But honestly, there's no contest. Hell Fest sneakily flew under the radar as a stylish haunted attraction slasher that smells of buttered popcorn and is finger-sticky on account of spilled guts. Everything I want in my ticket-punching, entertainment-heavy horror. Sadly, Plotkin has been relatively open about how the film's mediocre reception all-but assures we'll never walk through prequel or sequel doors opened by the script's finale.

Chris: Hell Fest is certainly better than Blood Fest, which has the same premise. That said, I'm more of a fan of Haunt, which also has the same premise, but on a much smaller scale (it's a local haunted attraction instead of an amusement park). 

12 Hour Shift

Now Streaming on Hulu

Matt: Brea Grant's 2020 was ceremoniously busy between Lucky, After Midnight, and 12 Hour Shift. The latter sees Grant behind the camera, playing around in a Coen-esque slice of midnight criminality. "There ain't no rest for the wicked, the innocent, or anyone caught in between when halfwit organ traders screw the pooch," I wrote elsewhere. A paranoid cast of nurses, serial killers, and ditzy package transporters (including David Arquette and Angela Bettis) dodge blame as schemes continually backfire – whether that's multiple misplaced guts, angry Mick Foley, or extremely unfortunate patient murders. No doubt a comedy of errors, as the cast's foolish charms and Grant's B-Movie tendencies encourage some slick, chaotic laughs.

Chris: I caught this at Fantasia with Matt, and I am decidedly not a fan. I love me some Angela Bettis, but everyone in this movie is going wayyyyy over the top, and I just wanted the majority of the cast to dial it down a smidge. 

Diablo Rojo PTY

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime

Matt: Around these parts, we respect when countries attempt their first horror films. In Panama's case, that's Sol Moreno and J. Oskura Nájera's Diablo Rojo PTY. Do yourself a favor and research "Red Devil" buses beforehand to learn about Panama's national issue with these speedster transports that compete for mega-cheap fares. They're dangerous, but not as hazardous as the witchcraft leveled against a driver, his helper, a priest, and two police officers. From gigantic practical demon puppets to goopy supernatural effects, Panama is undoubtedly on the right track (recalls Sam Raimi's early work in aesthetics). Tenaciously independent, ambitious in its horror scope (evils in many forms), and proficient in marrying culture with genre filmmaking to allow viewers into a Panamanian nightmare that becomes universally understandable thanks to the language of screams.

Chris: ...I have no idea what this is. I just want to point out that while I love writing this column with Matt, I also often feel like a complete idiot because he's constantly whipping out these titles I have never even heard of. That's why he's the best and I'm pond scum! 

Possessor

Now Streaming on Hulu

Chris: My favorite film of 2020. Possessor is an unflinchingly brutal movie about losing humanity (and also about how it's really tough to balance your career and your family, especially if your career is killing people). Director Brandon Cronenberg (son of David) crafts this gruesome horror/sci-fi flick about an assassin (Andrea Riseborough) who can upload her mind into another person's body and take control of them. She then carries out her hits with her temporary host body, frames that poor person for the kill, and gets away free. At least, that's how it's supposed to work. But Riseborough's actions are becoming increasingly erratic and her hits have become shockingly savage. Things get further complicated when the latest person she ends up possessing, played by Christoper Abbott, wakes up and tries to fight back. That may sound like the set-up for a big, dumb action pic. But that's not what Possessor is. It's more interested in how any semblance of empathy can be stripped away from people and be replaced by horrifying violence. 

Matt: It's bleak, gets bleaker, and goes bleakest as the film finishes; I just wasn't into Possessor AS MUCH as everyone else. Still worth the recommendation and watch, for trippiness, Andrea Riseborough, and Christopher Abbott.

30 Coins

Now Streaming on HBO Max

Chris: Okay, 30 Coins is a TV series and not a movie. But I can do whatever the hell I want here. This is my world, baby! This Spanish-language series comes from Álex de la Iglesia, director of Witching and Bitching, The Last Circus, and more. The basic set-up: the forces of evil are trying to get ahold of the 30 pieces of silver that Judas earned selling out Jesus to the Romans. The specifics are a little murky, but the bottom line is that if they get hold of the coins, they'll have all the power. So who can stop these massive legions of hell? Why, a boxer priest, a local veterinarian, and a small-town himbo mayor, of course! Each episode introduces one wild, scary element after the next – haunted mirrors, spider-monster-babies, secret Vatican sects, witches, ouija boards, and on, and on. The ends result is a bombastic, blasphemous show that has the same kind of sacrilegious energy as the Preacher comics. 

Matt: Álex de la Iglesia can do no wrong, and that continues here. Blasphemy, creatures, comedy, horror; it's all intertwined as Iglesia does best.

Alone

Now Streaming on Hulu

Chris: John Hyams directed the surprisingly good Universal Soldier sequels Universal Soldier: Regeneration and Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (Day of Reckoning has one of the best movie fights you'll ever see, watch it here). And now he's directed Alone, a tight, nifty, effective little horror-thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. Jules Willcox is Jess, a recent widow who packs up all her stuff and heads out on a multi-day drive to a new location. Along the way she comes across a mysterious man (Marc Menchaca) who seems annoying but harmless. His mustache and glasses combo even make him look like Ned Flanders. But as it turns out, the man is a deranged killer, and he kidnaps Jess and locks her in the basement of his cabin in the woods. Jess escapes, and the man gives chase, setting up a thrilling journey as Jess tries to stay one step ahead and survive. Hyams uses long stretches of silence to build extreme tension, and he crafts several great little set-pieces – like a scene where Jess is hiding in a closet, waiting for the man to leave a room before she can escape; or a moment when she hides face-deep in a body of water to evade capture. It's a simple-but-memorable film, and Willcox makes for a great heroine. 

Matt: I watched A LOT of 2020 horror, but for whatever reason, Alone escaped me. NOT FOR LONG.

The Witch Who Came from the Sea 

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video & The Criterion Channel 

Chris: The Witch Who came From the Sea is a strange, unsettling story of a woman going out of her mind. Mollie (Millie Perkins) is a sexually repressed woman who fantasizes about murdering good-looking guys. But is it really a fantasy? When two hunky football players turn up murdered, the details of their deaths are incredibly similar to a lurid dream Mollie had, setting off a chain of events where reality and fantasy combine in a dreamy, sleazy haze.

Matt: If it's Criterion, nine times out of ten, it's a Chris recommendation I, myself, am going to note.

Fuck It, All of the Saw Movies

Now Streaming on HBO Max

Chris: God, you know what? Fuck it. Go watch all the Saw movies. They're all on HBO Max right now. Are they all good? Absolutely not. But they are weirdly fascinating – a horror film series that keeps creating crazy storylines and twists that writers are then forced to make work within the established continuity. Also there's a puppet on a tricycle. Do I earn extra credit for this entry since it's several films, not just one? I think so, yes. 

Matt: I miss the dependability of Saw movies hitting every Halloween season. Big budget, splattery, formulaic "event horror" that would deliver precisely the disgusting torture thrills on the package. Are they all winners? No. Can I stream them all without losing attention? Again, "dependable" is the descriptor I'll use (Saw and Saw II are legitimately outstanding).