(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: Having already injected Overlord’s glowing serum into my eyeballs at Fantastic Fest, let me assure you lovely readers that genre content this wild (typically) doesn’t get blockbuster treatment these days. Nazi experiments, bone-crunching body contortions, tough-as-nails military action blended with Re-Animator afterlife tampering? Overlord goes for it, and despite a lengthy attic stay during the film’s second act, delivers on making Nazis even more evil than history books profess. With that in mind, Chris and I decided to honor some other big-budget horror titles that embrace the lunacy of B-movie patchworking on the largest screen possible. Infected school lunches, snarling zombie clowns, Michael Rooker with tentacles. You know, the usual!

Chris: I’ve yet to see Overlord, because I don’t get out as much as Matt (I’m basically a shut-in, folks; get off my lawn). That said, I do love when B-movie sensibilities slip through into mainstream cinema. I was hoping to include M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening – the ultimate big budget B-movie – on this list, but sadly, it’s not streaming anywhere. Because life isn’t fair. So I had to include another M. Night movie instead. A side-note: some of the films on this list aren’t “big-budget” compared to something like a Marvel movie, but they’re certainly more well-funded than your standard, ultra-low-budget B-movie.

Don’t Kill It

Now Streaming on Netflix

Matt: Am I already cheating with my first pick? Yes. 100%. Mike Mendez’s Don’t Kill It is low-budget as dirt but deserves maximum exposure. The concept is simple: don’t kill “it.” What’s “it?” An ancient demon who terrorizes Mississippi townies. The problem is when you kill the demon – eviscerating whoever’s currently possessed – another nearby body becomes the new vessel. Dolph Lundgren saunters into frame as evil hunter Jebediah Woodley, Kristina Klebe his reluctant partner, and B-Movie hijinx sufficiently coat smalltown innocents in dummies-and-prosthetics gore when caught in this demon hunter vs. unstoppable foe meat grinder. On second thought, you want a tie-in to this week’s “big-budget B-movie” theme? Here’s my plea to grant Mendez a massive budget and full creative liberties with a mainstream sequel/revamp/remake/reimagining of Don’t Kill It. Click, click, BOOM.

Chris: I have no idea what this is. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Matt.

Now Streaming on HBOGO

Matt: When genre buffs discuss outbreak horror, Cooties too often gets forgotten in conversations. Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion’s horror comedy about “infected” children rebelling against authority figures is an absolute blast of playground face-chewing and brutal black humor. Leigh Whannell and Ian Brennan’s script first ruins your appetite for chicken nuggets, then launches into a world where only children can contract a spreading rage virus. Teachers played by Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill and more fight back through R-rated methods against waves of knee-high zombies. Laughs are steady, carnage kid-(un)friendly, plus Pepijn Caudron (aka Kreng) supplies lollipop-sweet synthwave beats on par with my favorite original scores that year. A hilarious frenzy of bloody kickballs and horrified educators. That’ll earn a passing grade any day.

Chris: Cooties is one of those rare horror flicks that isn’t afraid to bump-off zombie children. What more do you want? How about a really great cast, and co-writer Leigh Whannell stealing the show in a weird supporting performance?

The Belko Experiment

Now Streaming on HBOGO

Matt: Real talk: I caught some flak online for my “Battle Royale meets Office Space” pull-quote adorning The Belko Experiment’s poster and home release cover, but truly, my stance on Greg McLean and James Gunn’s dystopian conspiracy is exactly that. Blame this critic’s sense of humor, but scenes had me laughing. It’s conceptually bonkers – 80 American employees find themselves trapped in their Bogotá, Colombia office with instructions to kill one another – appropriately paranoid, and blow-up-brains vicious when it comes to Worksploitation horror. Those looking for something more straightforward in horror comedy realms should favor Joe Lynch’s Mayhem, and while I prefer Mayhem as well, The Belko Experiment nails that pitch-nasty “humankind is doomed” vibe with “Black Site” intrigue. Sue me. The Belko Experiment is the mean, cynical, smoking-gun kind of exploitation gunk this critic craves.

Chris: I am one of those folks who prefers Mayhem to Belko, but I do appreciate how unapologetically nasty this movie is.


Now Streaming on Starz On Demand

Matt: No disrespect towards Ruben Fleischer’s direction – he’s the glue who holds Zombieland together – but Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick’s screenplay is one of the most essential mainstream contributions to horror in the 2000s. No, really! Theirs is proof that audience-pleasing horror comedies can exist with a balance between gut-check laughs, zombie gore, and sneaky-but-slick worldbuilding. Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin the shotguns-and-banjos family we never knew we needed. Bill Murray the surprise cameo standout every movie needs. Twinkies, Harrelson’s emotional backstory, awkward teen romantics in a time of undead scourges – and yet the film *never* loses its B-movie grin. Rule #1? Never sleep on Zombieland.

Chris: I haven’t seen Zombieland since it played in theaters, and there’s a part of me that worries it won’t hold up. But I did enjoy it at the time, and appreciated how funny it was.

Now Streaming on Starz On Demand

Matt: James Gunn’s name is listed twice on a piece discussing B-movies? Color me surprised! Wait, don’t. This Troma graduate oozes exploitation and midnight markings, all of which squirm out in his cult-beloved 2006 invasion flick Slither. Universal pictures should be awarded a medal for releasing this gross-out, massively effects-driven creature feature bolstered by an *amazing* cast including Nathan Fillion, Michael Rooker, and Elizabeth Banks. Quaint backwoods locals must defend against slimy slug creatures who turn victims into mutant monsters, and it all gets so artfully outrageous as only Gunn’s vivid – grotesquely deformed – creativity can achieve. Fun with a capital “F-U.”

Chris: Before James Gunn graduated to blockbusters (and then got fired), he delivered this wonderfully cheesy monster movie, full of great practical effects. It’s a hoot.

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