The Best Movies Streaming Right Now: Last Action Hero, Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer, The Village, House Of Wax, The Exorcist III

(Welcome to Now Stream This, a weekly column dedicated to the best movies streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and every other streaming service out there.)

Another weekend is upon us, which gives me an excuse to recommend some movies you can stream right now! This list is a bit horror-heavy, but hey, we are in the midst of spooky season. In this latest issue of Now Stream This, you'll find multiple underrated films and a disturbing serial killer classic. Let's get streaming.

Last Action Hero

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

"Last Action Hero" was a notorious flop – the victim of an unfinished script, poor planning, and the bad luck of opening close to "Jurassic Park." But you know what? It's not all that bad! This is a mostly clever send-up of action movies, and say what you will about Arnold Schwarzenegger, he's trying here, damn it! The entire movie rests on his brawny shoulders, and he gives the pic all he can, playing both Jack Slater, a movie action hero, and also himself. 

When super-annoying kid Danny Madigan (played by the super-annoying Austin O'Brien) gets himself a magic ticket (like I said: bad script), he ends up sucked into the movie world of Jack Slater. There, the rules of world don't apply – the police station Jack works out of looks like a palace; there are cartoons strutting around; and stuff is constantly exploding. Danny has to find a way back to his own world, but he's also really excited to be hanging out with his movie hero. Meanwhile, a villain named Benedict (Charles Dance, who is really having fun here) gets his hand on the ticket and finds himself able to jump into our world.

You get the sense that with just a few more rewrites, "Last Action Hero" would be completely solid. Instead, it's a bit of a mess – but it's a really fun mess. And John McTiernan doesn't skimp on the direction, staging several great action set pieces that put modern-day action movies, with their abundance of digital work, to shame. 

For fans of: "The Nice Guys," "Lethal Weapon," unexpected Ian McKellen cameos. 

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

Now Streaming on The Criterion Channel

"He's not Freddy. He's not Jason. He's real." So warned the tagline for "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer," John McNaughton's immensely disturbing (and fictionalized) portrait of real-life serial killer Henry Lee Lucas. The real Lucas confessed to a slew of murders, although most people agree that he was making most of them up (the Netflix docuseries "The Confession Killer" explores this in detail). Real or not, "Henry" often feels real. The low-grade, grainy quality of the film makes it look like a documentary at times, as if we're following a real serial killer around as he leaves a bloody path of death in his wake.

Michael Rooker, a relatively unknown actor at the time, plays Henry, a disturbed, violent man who pals around with the even more disgusting Otis (Tom Towles). The two men team up and start murdering people for no real reason other than their own perverse satisfaction. But when Otis' younger sister Becky (Tracy Arnold) comes to live with them, Henry's already tenuous grip on sanity begins to slip even more. 

Raw, brutal, and not even the least bit pleasant (or entertaining), "Henry" is so far removed from the slasher pics of the era that it stands completely on its own. And 35 years since it was released, it remains one of the most unsettling horror movies ever made. 

For fans of: "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre," "Silence of the Lambs," bad vibes. 

The Village

Now Streaming on Hulu

M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village" felt like the beginning of the end for the wunderkind director. He had been on top since "The Sixth Sense," but critics and audience began to turn on him. Eventually, he had a comeback – but I was one of the people who never really gave up on him. Because while I'll freely admit Shyamalan has made some duds, "The Village" is not one of them. It's a beautiful, melancholy reflection on grief and loneliness. Of course, it's hard to sell a movie like that to the general public, so the marketing for "The Village" billed it as a terrifying horror movie. Which it's not. And thus, backlash formed.

But the reputation of the movie has improved over the years, and rightfully so. This is one of Shyamalan's best; a lovely, poetic movie featuring a killer performance from Bryce Dallas Howard (she's never been better than she is here). Howard's character lives in a secluded village in 19th century Pennsylvania. Life is simple and usually quiet – but everyone is aware that the woods that surround the village are home to a group of dangerous monsters. The villagers have lived unbothered by the monsters for years, but that's suddenly changing. And things get even more complicated when Howard's character has to head to the towns beyond the village to retrieve medicine for her dying love (Joaquin Phoenix). 

Yes, there are twists here, and yes, they may not work for everyone. But "The Village" is so much more than its twists. It's a quiet, beautiful film that didn't deserve the vitriol it received, and I continue to hope that Shyamalan will attempt to make something like this again some day.

For fans of: "The New World," "Wuthering Heights," beautiful violin music. 

House of Wax

Now Streaming on HBO Max

When Jaume Collet-Serra's "House of Wax" remake was hitting theaters in 2005, the marketing kept playing up the fact that Paris Hilton was in the movie, and that she was going to die at some point. (Hilton even sold t-shirts that read SEE PARIS DIE.) But there's a lot more to the movie than that. Collet-Serra, a stylist who specializes in blending trash with high-art, creates a gorgeous, grisly, bloated slasher pic that bears almost no resemblance to the original "House of Wax" (it's much closer to the gonzo horror movie "Tourist Trap"). 

A group of youths end up running afoul of a lunatic who runs a wax museum in a town where everyone has been replaced with wax dummies. But here's the twist: the dummies are actually dead bodies covered in wax. It's ridiculous, but it works, and it works well. While "House of Wax" is a little too long, you get more bang for your buck here, and Collet-Serra doesn't skimp on the details. So, yes, see Paris die. But see all the other cool stuff, cool.

For fans of: "Orphan," "The Shallows," My Chemical Romance needle drops. 

The Exorcist III

Now Streaming on Netflix

"The Exorcist" sequels have a bad reputation, and for the most part, that's earned. The majority of the sequels are bad. But there's one key exception: "The Exorcist III," a damn good flick that deserves more love and attention. Directed by original "Exorcist" writer William Peter Blatty, "Exorcist III" follows cop William F. Kinderman (George C. Scott), who was a minor character in the original film, as he deals with a series of serial killings that match the work of the notorious Gemini Killer. But – cue the scary music – the Gemini was executed!

Further complicating things, Kinderman discovers a mental patient who looks exactly like Damien Karras (Jason Miller), the priest from the first film. As it turns out, the Gemini (played brilliantly by an unhinged Brad Dourif) has possessed Damien's body, keeping the poor priest from resting in peace. Can Kinderman save the tormented cleric and also stop the murders? Or will he lose his soul in the process? Weird, bloody, and often quite creepy, "Exorcist III" proves that while sequels to the "Exorcist" sound like bad ideas on paper, they can occasionally surprise you. 

For fans of: "The Exorcist," "Angel Heart," scary old ladies.