Horror Movies to Watch Before It Chapter Two

(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: With the release of It Chapter 2 next weekend, Chris and I are tackling horror films based on common phobias. Trigger warning and all that. Not specifically just clowns, either. I’ll leave Chris to recommend any eight-legged scare flicks, because yes, even the fearless Matt Donato has a phobia or two. Everyone’s got their own worst nightmare; mine happens to involve creepy crawlies of a particular kind.

Chris: What scares you? If you’re like me, the answer is: everything. But there are a handful of horror films that hone in on very specific fears, with It and the upcoming It Chapter Two being two of the most high-profile examples. With the impending It Chapter Two release, Matt and I have delved into films that exploit certain phobias. So watch out! 

The Perfection

Now Streaming on Netflix

Matt: Those who have Entomophobia may want to steer clear of The Perfection, thinking of gruesome insect inserts. Places where nasty buggies very well should crawl or squirm. Also, hypochondriacs will turn ghost-pale at the notion of a contagion spreading through airborne pathogens. Richard Shepard forces actresses Allison Williams and Logan Browning to endure a crucible of horrors as orchestral rivals duke wits and schemes, always favoring absurdist overstretching. It’s wild, disgusting, and topsy-turvy in unforgettable ways. A rare modern midnighter that embraces whiplash twists and somehow doesn’t leave viewers in pain.

Chris: The Perfection really is as crazy as you’ve heard. I like the first half more than the second, but I appreciate how unflinchingly bonkers the whole experience is. 

The Autopsy Of Jane Doe
Now Streaming on Netflix

Matt: Necrophobia, not to be confused with another “necro” habit, is a phobia exposed by André Øvredal’s The Autopsy Of Jane Doe. IFC Midnight’s father-son coroner’s nightmare works some solid spooks into the family funeral business. Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch forced to survive an onslaught of terrors brought upon when a “Jane Doe” corpse brings along supernatural forces. As Øvredal proves in Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, he can deliver the “scary” – previously asserted in this 2016 cold case. A film that many lauded as one of the year’s best when it was released.

Chris: Super creepy, super subtle, super stylish. I love this movie and all its spooky charms. 

The Lift

Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: Dick Maas made a Dutch movie about a killer elevator. For real. Those who have Claustrophobia or Cleithrophobia (the fear of being trapped) will want to avoid Maas’ downright outrageous shaft-happy horror film. You’ll get everything you envision from a foreign killer elevator movie with Mass’ creative juices splashed everywhere. Maas himself even provides another winning original score worth prime placement in any collector’s vinyl library – a cherry atop this “mind of its own mechanical devil” flick. I repeat, “KILLER ELEVATOR MOVIE.” Iconic enough to spawn a 2001 remake titled Down starring Naomi Watts.

Chris: I have not seen this yet, but I’m well aware of it. 

Hagazussa

Now Streaming on 

Matt: This one’s for the Galaphobia contingency out there! I see you, those afraid of milk. Hagazussa is a pagan slow-burn that drips period atmosphere – almost as much as it drips streams of dairy liquids. Some herald Gwen this year’s The Witch, others choose The Wind for that comparison, but in terms of the year’s best era-specific selection of dreadful satanic horror, Hagazussa is the clear winner. If only for a gothic and striking glimpse of top-tier cinematography inside a cave lined with bone-white skulls.

Chris: A slow-burn freak-show, Hgazussa is like The Witch crossed with a Werner Herzog film. 

Possum
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime

Matt: Matthew Holness, the visionary behind Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, exploits Pupaphobia and Arachnophobia in his directorial debut. Sean Harris’s disgraced children’s puppeteer returns home and attempts to discard of Possum – his monstrous marionette friend. Long, pincer-like spider legs with a baby doll’s head attached. Possum’s physicality is like some antique torture chamber mascot, as Harris sells a tremendously paranoid leading performance alongside his unsettling sidekick. Traces of parody hide behind Holness’ style, but the tone remains effectively dire under the gravest of reappearing Possum circumstances. Freaky as hell, that’s emphatically sure.

Chris: This movie is very upsetting! Puppets! Spiders! Sean Harris! 

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