(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’s theme of “Wild Surprises” is 100% brought to you by Charles Philip Moore’s Demon Wind. As Chris can confirm, there was going to be a Demon Wind sighting on my list no matter what. My own topical suggestion was “Matt writes about Demon Wind and Chris does what he wants.” If you’ve been good little boys and girls, you’ve already read through my ode to insanity posted Friday – a breezy 2,000 word regurgitation of my first Demon Wind experience – so you know what to expect. Or what not to expect? Nothing can prepare you for Demon Wind! And the four other movies I recommend that totally aren’t Demon Wind but you can watch instead, I guess. Not sure why other movies exist besides Demon Wind, anyway.

Chris: This might be my favorite Now Scream This entry yet, just because almost all these movies are so abnormal that you might think we’re making them up. But no, I swear: these movies are real! Will you enjoy them? I have no idea. But if you do dare to watch any of these movies, I swear to you, you will not be bored. You may come away muttering, “What the hell did I just watch?” But boredom certainly isn’t an option on the table here. 

Demon Wind

Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: Demon Wind is not passively watched. Demon Wind is an all-immersive experience. Nothing makes sense, but scenes fly by with effortless entertainment value. Some might describe dialogue and performances as “so bad they’re good,” and they wouldn’t be wrong. My choice descriptors are more “midnight madness perfection” or “an inherently enjoyable mess of subgenres in the vein of Trolls 2.” You can expect bumpy faced demons, gusts of time-warp fog, heaps of Sam Raimi inspirations, invisible cabins, hambone cheesiness – there’s no point in explaining further, really. Watch the trailer and try to prepare. Go ahead. You’ll still be spit-taking liquids and enthusiastically scratching your head as Charles Philip Moore stumbles through what appears to be a slapdash possession story with nasty practical makeup work and sentiments that could only have come out of the ’90s. A hidden gem in every sense of the phrase that epitomizes long forgotten oddities. Demon Wind is a beautiful anomaly and should be worshipped with cult-like enthusiasm. I drank the Kool-Aid. You should too.

Chris: I’m almost afraid to watch Demon Wind at this point, just because I’m finding it hard to believe it’ll live up to the hype. But I will give in and watch this curiosity sooner rather than later, and I look forward to having it blow my mind.

Would You Rather
Now Streaming on Netflix and Showtime

Matt: There’s no greater joy than watching a movie you’ve not heard of, nor seen a trailer for, that delights in every way. David Guy Levy’s Would You Rather won me over under those exact circumstances, mixing an age-old genre formula with tight execution. Down on their luck “players” are invited by a “sadistic aristocrat” to participate in a deadly game based on the film’s title. The likes of Brittany Show, John Heard, Sasha Grey, Rob Wells, June Squibb and more are “tortured” by question asker Jeffrey Combs. Stakes increase as the rounds move on, including everything from electrocutions to stabbings. Drownings to miniature explosions. You’re correct to assume there are underlying complications and sometimes things don’t go as planned, but survival instincts never go out of style. People are promised second chances and given choices, forced to weigh what’s most important in life. Impulses create rivalries, panic erupts and the game turns into a slumber party nightmare. If you missed this indie when it coasted onto VOD and was never really heard from again, rectify your situation. In the post-Saw era of competition based horror, Would You Rather is one of the better efforts to capitalize off popular trends.

Chris: As much as I love me some Jeffrey Combs, I’ve avoided Would You Rather, but Matt makes it sound much more interesting than I suspected it of being. So I guess I need to make a date with this film.

Haunters: The Art Of The Scare
Now Streaming on Netflix

Matt: For me, Jon Schnitzer’s horror attraction documentary is a “wild surprise” primarily because of the lengths some owers push their patrons. Onlookers too often question those who’d subject themselves to situations of such fearful abuse, to whom I’d urge a watch of Haunters: The Art Of The Scare. The film does a good job diving into “Haunt Widows” (spouses who never see their loved ones around Halloween), scare veterans who live to bring characters to life, and the paying customers who drop everything to be sensationally destroyed by haunts. But more enthralling are the ones who go “too far,” and where that line is drawn. Particularly Russ McKamey and McKamey Manor. You’ll witness footage that’ll speed your heart rate and cause a queasy feeling, as McKamey revels in his victim’s pleas for release – which go unanswered. No safe word, no escape. There’s a blurry boundary that Schnitzer never takes a side on, but positions for viewers to debate like a good documentary should. Just, maybe don’t sit down for dinner in front of this one? Russ McKamey is a merciless sonofabitch who likes to put things back from where they came – I’ll leave it at that.

Chris: I’ve never even heard of this. Nice try, Matt. You clearly made this movie up. I’m on to you.

Borgman
Now Streaming on Shudder, Amazon Prime and Hulu

Matt: Some of you might object to my classification of Alex van Warmerdam’s Borgman as horror, but no 2014 movie better captures true evil’s many charismatic forms. Jan Bijvoet’s portal of Camiel Borgman staunchly hardwires a very “mysterious grifter with no readable characteristics” brand of invasiveness. He’s a displaced hobo looking for hygienic refuge when Warmerdam’s film begins. No one extends their shower the drifter’s way, until a wife starts caring for Borgman in secret after her husband denies such a request. From this point on, Borgman begins forcing himself into the otherwise picturesque household and it’s all ‘effing downhill for the film’s protagonists. Who is Borgman really? What are his true intentions? Is that what you get for trying to pay it forward unto the universe? Still don’t know, obviously nothing good and this is why I’m an ass to everyone. What I do know is that Borgman is a tantalizingly tense thriller from start to finish that’s loaded with sinister surprises and one hell of a befuddling but tremendous slow-burn watch. Worth enough for the look on Borgman’s face as he sips wine in the tub. Goddamn this movie is as bizarre as it is moody and traumatizing.

Chris: Hey, finally! A film on Matt’s list that I’ve seen! I thought Borgman was an artfully made piece of weirdness. But by the film’s admittedly shocking, unsettling conclusion, I’d sort of given up on the whole affair. But I definitely think it’s worth watching at least once.

The Horseman
Now Streaming on Shudder and Amazon Prime

Matt: Humor me, if you will, as nostalgia transports me back to the very first movie I ever streamed on Netflix. It was Steven KastrissiosThe Horseman. A brutal Australian revenge thriller directed, written, edited and produced by Kastrissios. Everything here is a callback to exploitation era darkness and sadistically violent retribution, as a divorced father sets on a warpath after receiving a video tape of his daughter being mistreated. This movie is nasty, angry and everything you’d expect from an exterminator with nothing to live for (re: tools of torture), but noticeably in-tune with the subgenre’s penchant for character rebuilding. Enter a hitchhiking girl who becomes the man’s defacto daughter figure, and The Horseman digs for something deeper than bashed skulls. Admittedly not straight forward horror in the sense of ghosts and spooks, but you better believe the savages in this movie getting picked off are nothing short of ghouls or demons. Think of it more as horrors of society if you need justification.

Chris: At first, I thought Matt was talking about the terrible 2008 horror film The Horseman, starring Dennis Quaid. I had this whole write-up planned based on that movie, and how bad it was, and how no one talks about it anymore. Then I realized Matt was referring to a completely different movie. So…never mind. The Horseman!

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