The Shining

Now Streaming on Hulu

Chris: I feel a bit like a basic bitch picking The Shining. But sometimes you just want to kick back and watch a rock star play the hits. Stanley Kubrick’s chilly adaptation of Stephen King’s novel is the ultimate kid-in-peril story, with psychic Danny Torrance having to deal with the malevolent spirits at the Overlook Hotel, and also his bonkers father. Kubrick ignores most of the themes King introduced involving alcoholism, addiction, and family violence. Instead, he was far more interested in claustrophobia, and the sense of being trapped in a place and a situation that’s slowly spiraling out of control. Even if you’ve watched this hundreds of times (and you probably have), The Shining never gets old. Or I suppose you could watch the terrible miniseries adaptation with Steven Webber. In any case, it’s time to rewatch The Shining now, since the sequel – Doctor Sleep – is arriving this November.

Matt: You need some prime child endangerment, look no further. You know the movie, why not watch it once more for a waltz down memory lane?

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

Now Streaming on Shudder

Chris: After the lackluster box office of Halloween III: Season of the Witch (which is a great movie), franchise produce Moustapha Akkad realized audiences wanted Michael Myers back. So the Shape slipped on his mask, picked up his knife, and headed back to Haddonfield to rack up another body count with Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. The big twist here is that Michael’s target is a young child – his niece, Jamie (Danielle Harris). Sure, there are plenty of dumb teens for Michael to hack-up along the way, but it;’s Jamie he wants. And poor Danielle Harris goes through hell, shrieking and running, in constant peril. Under all this is a dark, but not fully explored, subplot suggesting that evil is something that runs through the Myers bloodline, and that Jamie might one day inherit her uncle’s murderous ways. As usual, Donald Pleasence is on hand to lend class as Dr. Loomis, who is really fed up with having to deal with this Halloween shit.

Matt: I got to walk the Halloween Horror Nights maze for Halloween 4 and had a blast dodging costumed Michael’s swiping fake daggers my way – maybe a little more than I enjoyed the movie?

When a Stranger Calls Back

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Chris: Have you checked the children? When a Stranger Calls Back is a sequel to the 1979 horror film When a Stranger Calls, and it’s mostly just a remake of the first film, with a few unique twists. You’ve likely heard the urban legend about the babysitter who keeps getting threatening phone calls, only to learn the calls are coming from inside the house! When a Stranger Calls brought that story to life, with Carol Kane playing the babysitter who ran afoul of a crazed killer. In this film, Kane’s former babysitter is now a counselor trying to help a young woman named Julia (Jill Schoelen) who went through a similar experience. Julia also received threatening calls while babysitting, and found they were coming from inside the house. The caller abducted the kids in Julia’s care, and the missing children were never found again. Five years go by, and Julia remains haunted by the experience. And things are about to get worse, as the killer is still out there. This is low-budget horror that gets by on some genuinely clever, creepy moments.

Matt: Congrats, Chris. You’ve found one I haven’t seen. I’m here for anything with Carol Kane!

Summer of 84

Now Streaming on Shudder

Chris: Summer of 84 is cut from the same cloth as Stranger Things – Spielbergian and Amblin-inspired horror set firmly in the 1980s. It’s not as well produced as that Netflix series, and the cast of characters isn’t as memorable. But what Summer of 84 has going for it is a surprising darkness. The kids in this movie really are in peril, and some of them are in danger of meeting bloody ends. The story centers on a group of friends who begin to suspect a local cop (Rich Sommer) is a serial killer. No one believes them, of course, so the kids decide to take things into their own hands. What could go wrong?

Matt says: Summer of 84 is predictable when it comes to suburbia gone sour, but I’m here for the performances (less the script). A meaner, more immature Stranger Things nostalgia riff that gets nasty when it counts.

Monster House

Now Streaming on Netflix

Chris: A charming, creepy, entertaining animated film that owes a great deal to the work of Ray Bradbury, Monster House follows a group of young friends who believe the spooky house in their neighborhood is alive. Alive and hungry. The kids want to destroy the house before Halloween arrives, so it won’t gobble up hapless trick-or-treaters. Visually appealing, spooky but not too scary (if you want to show it to kids), Monster House is the type of fun family-horror that doesn’t get made often enough.

Matt: Monster House and Paranorman make for a brilliant “Intro To Horror” double feature for young soon-to-be genre fans!

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