(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: Welcome back to Now Scream This, your one-stop shop for streaming horror recommendations. The haze of summer swelter is upon us, and for those days where air conditioner breezes better combat Mr. Sun’s rays, we’ve got some cool-down entertainment picks. If you’re like me, you can only watch Joe Dante’s Piranha and Alexandre Aja’s Piranha 3D on repeat so many times to celebrate the splashy-savage horror season. Let’s see what nightmares await this week?
Chris: Matt and I are back with more horror recommendations for you, dear reader. This week’s efforts are theme-less, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth checking out. We like themes to keep things fun and fresh around here, but we also like to step back and just rattle off a list of great horror movies that may have slipped through your fingers, especially if you’re the type of person in the market for something scary to watch, right now. Thankfully, we’re here to help! You’re welcome.
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(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The Movie: Annabelle Comes Home
Where You Can Stream It: HBO Max
The Pitch: This is sequel/prequel in The Conjuring Universe that finds that hideous doll Annabelle unleashing spooky havoc in the home of ghost hunters the Warrens. And to make matters worse, the Warrens aren’t home, leaving their young daughter and her babysitter (and babysitter’s friend) in ghostly peril.
Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: It’s spooky season, and a lot of us can’t go out and attend Halloween haunted houses right now. Most are closed, and even with precautions, it doesn’t feel safe to go to the haunts that are open. The good news is that if you’re craving that Halloween haunt fun you can get it in the safety of your own home with this film.
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This week’s physical media round-up brings home your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. You’ll also have a pleasant time at a midsummer festival, and hang out with not one, but two creepy dolls. These are the new Blu-ray releases you should check out this week.
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Marvel and Sony’s release of Spider-Man: Far From Home had no problem taking over the box office this past weekend. But rather than having a gigantic three-day weekend, the blockbuster release spread out the box office love across the holiday week thanks to an early opening on July 2. That allowed the movie to break several records that Avengers: Endgame was not able to shatter.
Meanwhile, on the indie side of things, A24’s release of the cult horror movie Midsommar debuted with the biggest indie opening of the year despite arriving outside of the top five on the box office chart. Read More »
Surprising absolutely no one, Disney and Pixar were able to hold onto the top of the box office for a second weekend with Toy Story 4. The movie is still performing below expectations, but it’s not as if the movie is hurting for money.
Meanwhile, Disney and Marvel Studios also aren’t upset with the box office performance of Avengers: Endgame, which was re-released in theaters with some bonus footage after the credits this past weekend. Unfortunately, the last ditch effort to rake in some extra cash won’t be enough for the movie to topple the all-time record set by Avatar.
Find out how much the Toy Story 4 box office added last weekend and the rest of the numbers below. Read More »
Sometimes, the cinematic stars align, and release similar-minded movies in theaters at the same time. Case in point: this summer, in the span of a week and a half, cineplexes were haunted by several sentient toys. The remake of Child’s Play and Toy Story 4 both ended up on movie screens the same exact day. And a few days later, Annabelle came home with Annabelle Comes Home. But how do these movies about living playthings stack up to one another? And what do they want from us?
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Gary Dauberman has become a key figure in the horror world, and particularly the Conjuring Universe having written all three Annabelle films and The Nun, plus the two-part Stephen King adaptation It. He makes his directorial debut with the third Annabelle spin-off, Annabelle Comes Home.
Taking place immediately after the first Conjuring film, the new movie finds Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) bringing the cursed Annabelle doll to their private Artifact Room. While they’re out for the night, Mary Ellen (Madison Iseman) babysits for Judy Warren (McKenna Grace). Mary Ellen’s friend Daniela (Katie Sarife) sneaks into the Artifact Room and opens Annabelle’s case. Things don’t go well.
We just spoke with Dauberman a month ago for the DC Universe premiere of Swamp Thing. Just to show how quickly things can change in Hollywood, Swamp Thing was cancelled shortly thereafter with many stories emerging about why. Dauberman spoke about that, as well as his adaptation of Salem’s Lot. Annabelle Comes Home is in theaters this Friday.
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At some point, the ghost-chasing Warrens might want to consider getting rid of all that spooky stuff they have locked away in the spare bedroom. As played memorably by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, the couple – based very loosely on real-life paranormal investigators – were first introduced to movie audiences with 2013’s superior haunted house flick The Conjuring. In that ghost adventure, we got our first glimpse of the Warrens’ artifacts room, loaded floor to ceiling with seemingly innocuous objects that are far more dangerous than they look. We didn’t realize it at the time, but we were being set-up.
This room, with its many terrifying tchotchkes, was the breeding ground for an entire cinematic universe. Each of the items in this room has a story to tell – and the so-called Conjuring Universe is thrilled to tell them to willing audiences. Which brings us to Annabelle Comes Home, the latest installment in the franchise that practically turns the artifacts room into a supporting character.
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Cool Posts From Around the Web:
Gary Dauberman has been one of the key creative forces responsible for building out James Wan‘s extended Conjuring Universe. He wrote the first two Annabelle movies – the first of which was widely derided, but the follow-up was seen as a significant improvement. Dauberman also wrote the third entry, Annabelle Comes Home, and that new film also marks his directorial debut.
So how did he do? How does this latest Annabelle stack up against the previous entries? The first reviews have arrived, so read on to find out. Read More »
Dolls can be inherently creepy, particularly ones made to resemble us. From their glass eyes and rictus grins to their stubby fingers and obvious maliciousness, dolls suggest a soulless reproduction simply biding their time until they can strike at our kneecaps or steal our breath while we sleep. They’re empty vessels, and while we can ostensibly fill that hollow void with the emotion or action of our choosing – aggressive combat tactics for our Barbies, deciding what tactical gear to pack for our G.I. Joes – each of us has thought at one point or another that our dolls might have ambitions of their own. The movies have been confirming that theory for years.
Some horror fans enjoy slashers, others love creature features, and a small contingent like seeing pint-sized inanimate dolls come to life and begin slaughtering anyone within reach of their tiny hands. Okay, maybe the contingent isn’t that small as movies about killer dolls are often good fun and occasionally creepy. This month is a big one as two of the sub-genre’s heavy hitters are returning to theaters – Child’s Play is a reboot of the popular seven-film Chucky franchise, and Annabelle Comes Home is the third film about the dead-eyed doll that was first introduced to viewers in The Conjuring (2013).
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