(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: Looking back, this week’s “Now Scream This” theme should have recognized my impending up-and-move from New York City to Los Angeles. Maybe travel horrors? Something about midlife crisis horror? My life is a certifiable *mess* right now, so Chris was gracious enough to waive any thematic parameters beyond, “Hey, watch these movies!” All streaming, all accessible, all coming with our seals of approval. I think cross-country relocation grants me a pass.
Chris: While we don’t really have a theme this week, I went ahead and added three films with one connection: Rutger Hauer. The actor died recently, and I thought it was important to pay tribute to his weird, impressive career by highlighting three of his very different horror films. Then there are two other movies after that, because I have a quota to fill, folks.
I Trapped The Devil
Now Streaming on Hulu
Matt: Disclaimer: I met Josh Lobo at Fantastic Fest a few years back, and we’ve remained friendly since. Back then, we were kids with dreams living their best festival lives while slugging Shiners and devouring wackadoo genre content. When chatting about our aspirations, Lobo confidently claimed, “I’m going to make my own movie.” Four(ish) years later, his feature debut I Trapped The Devil scratches my psychological Christmas horror itch in line with The Twilight Zone vibes. Is there anything cooler than watching a friend achieve all their goals in a way you can also share and promote? Sure as hell helps that I dig I Trapped The Devil as a cinematic entity, chumminess be damned. Horror bros can get sappy too, ya know!
Chris: I Trapped The Devil is a neat little slow-burn chiller that makes great use of Christmas lights, and owes more than a few debts to The Twilight Zone and John Carpenter.
Girls With Balls
Now Streaming on Netflix
Matt: Do I love Netflix because it grants smaller indie horror flicks access to subscriber viewership numbers regular VOD can’t solely attain? Yes. Do I wish Netflix would give any promotion or warning before movies randomly appear as streamable? You betcha. Olivier Afonso’s Girls With Balls is the latest festival acquisition to land on Netflix without prompt, buried under an avalanche of “Original” content. I’ve got a full review out of last year’s Fantastic Fest on this “volleyball vixens vs. killer rednecks” flick if you’d like more established critical analysis, but for the purpose of this column, know Afonso’s flick is a slasher with teen spirit, a midnighter with malice, and the gory corpse counter that’s suggested. Kudos for the Dead & Breakfast singing narrator nod, intentional or by chance.
Chris: There Matt goes, making up movies again. Nice try.
Into The Dark: Culture Shock
Now Streaming on Hulu
Matt: Gigi Saul Guerrero’s Culture Shock is the first Into The Dark recommendation around these parts because, frankly, it’s the first one that demands to be seen. My love for March’s Treehouse is nary replicated, but Culture Shock has unanimously become a favorite amongst series critics. It’s a July 4th tale of xenophobia, blind consumption of an “American Dream,” and heritage erased for the price of freedom. Guerrero works with agency and unrest, crafting a Mexican horror story quite personal given her ethnicity. It’s about time the Blumhouse and Hulu series used its holiday horror platform to speak outwardly about modern terrorization. Let’s hope this trend continues.
Chris: I’ve pulled the plug on Into the Dark – I’ve been disappointed by every segment. But this one features the always-welcomed Barbara Crampton, so maybe I’ll check it out.
Party Hard, Die Young
Now Streaming on Shudder
Matt: From Attack Of The Lederhosen Zombies director Dominik Hartl comes Party Hard, Die Young, a sunburnt slasher throwback to ’80s carefree structures. “X-Jam” plays location for a masked killer’s rampage, where European students are permitted a week of regulated partying before running off to their next level of schooling (jealous). From here it’s about sins of our past, consequences experienced, and bloody deaths as the film’s killer picks off targets one by one. There’s a lot of fun gore here, plus a “Whodunnit” mystery that keeps viewers guessing as clues wash ashore. For those who’re waiting for a genre-spread slasher renaissance, Party Hard, Die Young will tide you over.
Chris: Is this about Andrew W.K.? (But seriously folks: the minute I saw this on Shudder, I thought: “Well, that’s a Donato movie.”)
Now Streaming on Shudder
Matt: Vampire cinema became a disco-reflective punchline during the late 2000s and early 2010s thanks to Twilight, but Jim Mickle’s Stake Land reminds you how horrifying vamps can be. In a dystopian world where bloodsuckers roam free, Martin (Connor Paolo) and his mentor “Mister” (Nick Damici) are trying to survive. Damici co-writes a screenplay alongside Mickle entrenched in a rural America now reduced to safehouse communes where citizens fear nightfall. It’s the gritty, snarly, tear-out-your-esophagus brand of vampire story that 2010 needed — and still stands the test of time almost a decade later.
Chris: Stake Land is a cool vampire indie that has atmosphere to burn. The sequel ain’t half-bad either.
Continue Reading Now Scream This: Unsung Indie Horror and Rutger Hauer
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