Netflix

Halloween Movie Picks 2018

I love Halloween. Psychology Today interestingly noted that it best holiday because we don’t have to worry about it.

“Nobody frets about being lonely, abandoned, heartbroken, alienated, or bereft on Halloween.”

When I am not donning a costume, one of my favorite things to do is to load up on the horror and thriller films. Below are my 2018 recommendations currently available on various streaming services (I cut the cord three years ago).

Let me know if you have seen any of these. Let me know if see any based on my recommendations. I would love to hear your thoughts. And be sure to explore my recommendations from the previous two years: 2017 and 2016.

The below film titles are linked to their respective trailers.

Netflix:

47 Meters Down: Two young women are trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean with less than an hour of oxygen and sharks circling. Claustrophobic with hungry sharks!

Gerald’s Game: While trying to spice up their marriage in a remote house, a woman must fight to survive when her husband unexpectedly dies, leaving her handcuffed to the bed. You can’t help but think of what you do in that situation. Also, you may actually think twice about letting someone tie you up for fun.

As Above So Below: When a team of treasure hunters venture into the Paris catacombs and discover more than they bargained for. Seriously claustrophobic and the scenes where they emphasize that are the best.

Classics you may have missed that are available on Netflix: The Shining (my go to film during a snowstorm); Hellbound (Horror S & M); Interview with The Vampire (Brad Pitt as Louie and Tom Cruise, who gave an unexpectedly superb performance, as Lestat in the film based on the classic Anne Rice book of the same name).

Honorable mentions featured last year that are still available: Train to Busan, Death Note and The Void.

Amazon Prime:

The Skeleton Key: A young nurse cares for a mute senior citizen in an old, remote and really creepy Louisiana plantation. She discovers the family’s dark and dangerous past.

The Stepford Wives (1975): An aspiring photographer and full time housewife has come to the little town of Stepford, Connecticut with her family, from New York City and discovers a sinister secret in the flawless demeanor of the other wives. This film has aged really well.

The Strangers: A young couple staying in an isolated vacation home are terrorized by three unknown assailants. After seeing this film, soft knocks on the door will scare you for months to come.

Stir of Echoes: After being hypnotized a man begins seeing a girl’s ghost in his home and works to solve her murder.

Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist: I was not sure about including this because it is one of those films that has an excellent concept, but is not executed well. Interestingly, there are two versions of this film (the other being called, Exorcist: The Beginning) and the other also has an excellent concept, but is poorly executed. The film takes place about 20 years before Father Merrin helped save Regan MacNeil’s soul in The Exorcist. The film details his first encounters with the demon Pazuzu in post-World War II Africa.

The Cell: I actually reviewed this film 18 years ago when I worked at the now defunct, on-line magazine Latiknow. I recently saw it and was impressed with how well it has aged. It is a masterwork of surrealism that stars Jennifer Lopez at the height of her powers. She plays a social worker who is experienced with technology that allows here to enter the mind of a serial killer who is in a coma.

The Satanic Rights of Dracula: I have always loved Christopher Lee’s Dracula films. They have this wonderful texture and excellent gothic horror.

Horror Express: Speaking of Christopher Lee, he stars as a British anthropologist who discovers a frozen prehistoric creature and must transport it to Europe by train. But is the creature frozen?

The Woman in Black: A young clerk travels to a remote village where he encounters the vengeful ghost who is terrorizing the locals. The direction on this film is nothing short of brilliant.

Daybreakers: A plague has transformed almost every human into vampires. Faced with a blood shortage, the vampires plot their survival, while a researcher works on a way to save humankind. Sleek and modern stainless steel horror.

Hulu:

The Others: A woman who lives in her darkened family mansion with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that the home is haunted. But is it?

Blow Out: John Travolta stars as a movie sound recordist who accidentally records a car accident which turns out to be a murder and eventually finds himself in danger. Terrific 1970s horror.

Insomnia: Brilliant performances from Robin Williams and Al Pacino. Pacino stars as a detective dispatched to a northern town where the sun doesn’t set to investigate the murder of a local teen.

I am actually still exploring some other films listed on Hulu’s Huluween and may have an addendum to this blog entry. If I do, it will be before Halloween.

Frightpix:

Firghtpix, which is a completely free, but loaded with commercials, streaming service, has the following worth watching:

You’re Next: A family is attacked but the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one of the victims has an unknown talent for fighting back.

 

edwinroman.com

P.S. I need to write this blog today. After all of the domestic terrorism we experienced this week, I needed the escape.

 

 

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Halloween Movie Picks 2017

I love Halloween. One of my favorite things to do is to load up on the horror and thriller films. Below are my 2017 recommendations currently available on various streaming services. Let me know if you have seen any of these. Let me know if see any based on my recommendations. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Netflix

Train to Busan: If you only see one film for Halloween, this should be it. Train to Busan shines in the Zombie genre. Superbly acted, directed and produced, the film tells the story of a father and daughter’s harrowing train journey to reach the only city that has not been affected by a massive zombie outbreak. A real nail biter.

Korean with English subtitles.

What Happened to Monday: This is my second must-see after Train to Busan. What Happened to Monday is a dystopian thriller where overpopulation and famine have forced governments to undertake a draconian one child policy. The film follows the story of seven identical sisters living a hide-and-seek existence. Brilliantly directed and produced, Noomi Rapace is superb playing the part of seven distinct sisters. I feel this film is a severely overlooked gem.

Hush: If you loved Wait Until Dark, then you are going to love this one. Hush tells the story of a deaf woman who lives a near solitary life in the woods and fights for her life when a masked killer suddenly appears. Supremely suspenseful.

The Void: If you loved John Carpenter’s The Thing, then this one is for you. After a police officer rushes an injured man to an understaffed hospital, mysterious figures surround the building’s exterior as strange things begin to happen inside. The plot can be confusing at times, but this film made my list for its texture, visuals and throwback feel.

Death Note: Many did not like this American, live-action remake of the popular Japanese manga series because it deviated from the original. I liked it for that very reason. Why re-enact the original? I think this version has excellent texture and tone. Death Note follows Light, a high school student who discovers a supernatural notebook from a demon named Ryuk (played brilliantly by Willem Dafoe) that grants its user the ability to kill anyone whose name and face he knows. Both the American live-action remake and the animated original are available on Netflix.

The Windmill: A young woman on the run attempts to evade authorities by joining a tour of Holland’s windmills. When the bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere, she and the other tourists, who, like her, have a dark secret, are forced to seek shelter in a windmill where a legendary Devil-worshiping miller once grounded the bones of locals. They start dropping one by one in rather gruesome ways. Definitely the goriest film on this list.

Notable classics on Netflix: Children of the Corn, The Legend of Hell House, Hellraiser, Sleepy Hollow and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

 

Amazon Prime

Sleep Tight: A concierge who believes he was born without the ability to be happy decides to make everyone in his building miserable. While most of his tenants are easy to upset, one young and very cheerful woman proves herself to be a challenge in his quest to spread misery. He goes to the extremes to make this woman lose it.

Spanish with English subtitles.

Pan’s Labyrinth: Set a few years after the end of the Spanish Civil War and during World War II, Pan’s Labyrinth tells the story of young girl named Ophelia and her mother who arrive at the post of her mother’s new husband, a merciless military captain (played by Sergi López, who brilliantly embodies Franco’s fascism) who is working to suppress a revolt in the area. In the middle of this, Ophelia explores an ancient maze where she encounters a faun named Pan (based on the ancient Greek deity of shepherds and flocks) who tells her that she must complete three tasks in order to become immortal. This film is beautiful, dark and seems apposite to what is currently going on in Spain and Catalan.

Spanish with English subtitles.

Notable classics on Amazon Prime: The Oblong Box, The Blob and Pumpkinhead.

 

Hulu

The Babadook: A child’s recurrent tantrums become ominous when a creepy children’s book mysteriously appears in his room and he asks his widowed mother, “Do you want to die?” The Babadook is a snaggletoothed, black-hatted monster with the ability to inflict harm and just scare the hell out of you!

Room 237: Okay, this is technically not a horror film, but a documentary about the horror classic, The Shining (a favorite film of mine). It is so good that I had to include it on this list. Interestingly, Hulu has placed it in the “Stephen King” category, which is kind of funny because the film notes how much Stephen King disliked the film version of his novel.

Click here to read last year’s picks.

 

edwinroman.com

Halloween Movie Picks 2016

Halloween Movie Picks 2016

I love Halloween. One of my favorite things to do is to load up on the horror and thriller films. Detailed below are my recommendations currently available on various streaming services. The films here are certainly not mainstream and, by and large, foreign. Let me know if you have seen any of these. Let me know if see any based on my recommendations. I would love to hear your thoughts.

On NETFLIX:

Rabid Dogs: A new French favorite of mine. The ending was so unexpected that the following day I watched it again to see what clues I may have missed. Rabid Dogs has my highest recommendation of all the films on this list. A must watch. There is even a rendition of my favorite Radiohead song “Creep” in the soundtrack.

High Lane: This is a French film and pretty intense. If you can take it…you have been warned…seriously.

Horde: A French zombie film, which I think may have inspired the visual feel of the hit television series, The Walking Dead.

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night: I thought the vampire genre was done until I saw this Persian language film. I loved the direction and cinematography of this one; a truly unique film.

Dark Was The Night: Mysterious creature thriller starring Kevin Durand from The Strain television series. This has some great moments of suspense.

Odd Thomas: This is much lighter than most of the other films on this list. I loved that it was filmed in and around Santa Fe, New Mexico. It stars the late Anton Yelchin of the contemporary Star Trek films.

On HULU:

The Barrens: Is the Jersey Devil real? Stars Stephen Moyer from the True Blood television series.

The Descent: Cave exploration, claustrophobia and something unexpected. Highly recommend this one, but quite intense.

High Tension: Insanely intense French horror film with a surprise ending. Perhaps the most tense of all the films on this list.

Horror Express: A Spanish English language film from the early 1970s that stars Christopher Lee as an archeologist who makes a horrifying discovery. It reminds me of something I would have seen on Chiller Theater via WPIX in New York City.

Psycho Beach Party: The crashing of genres: a spoof of the horror and beach films of the 1960s. This one is a lot of fun.

Them: Another supremely intense French film. This one is based on a true story.

On FILM MOVEMENT:

Wolves in the Snow: A French Canadian film about a woman who kills her husband only to find out that he has ties with the criminal underworld and now they are after her.

Remarkably, Amazon Prime did not have any films I would recommend.