(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: I hope, I presume, you’ve clicked into another edition of “Now Scream This” searching for the latest and greatest streaming horror recommendations. If not? Well, can Chris and I interest you in viewable-this-second selections with thrills, chills, and copious amounts of gore? Maybe we should have played into Valentine’s Day with lovey-dangerous titles, but instead, we’ve turned our attention to newfound favorites you can discover alongside your partner. Pop the bubbly, de-thorn the roses, and scream the night away (wink wink). Hell, even take that trip to Indonesia you’ve been discussing without leaving your couch!
Chris: Matt and I have returned from the horror movie mines with some gems just for you, loyal reader! We’ve worked tirelessly to find you the best of the best of streaming horror, and the least you could do is read what we wrote below. And also maybe send us an Edible Arrangement or something like that.
The Queen Of Black Magic
Now Streaming on Shudder
Matt: Now that the “Mo Brothers” are pursuing individual avenues, both Timo Tjahjanto and Kimo Stamboel can release separate movies alongside one another. Yay! The Queen Of Black Magic is an Indonesian horror “remake” that sees Stamboel tag-team with another Indonesian horror superstar in Joko Anwar. So much talent in a single haunted orphanage production, one that envelopes audiences in grimness as once-inhabitants unlock the forgotten darknesses of their memories. You’re here for a black magic curse, the creepiest of crawlies, and one slithery serpent of a horror tale that’s impossible to contain. Kudos to Shudder for continuing to be at the forefront of promoting Indonesia’s horror boom to stateside audiences.
Chris: It’s in my Shudder queue!
Queen Of Black Magic
Now Streaming on Shudder
Matt: Stamboel’s The Queen Of Black Magic is a loose remake of Liliek Sudjio’s Queen Of Black Magic from 1981, which reminds that Indonesian horror isn’t *only* a recent phenomenon. Joko Anwar’s Satan’s Slaves is, itself, a loose remake honoring Sisworo Gautama Putra’s Satan’s Slave. Indonesian horror in the 70s and 80s is more about low budgets and zaniness over the outright terrifying conjurings of late, and Queen Of Black Magic is no different. Characters bounce on trampolines in the moonlight and skin boils using wonderfully cheesy-but-gross practical effects, as queens summon their black magic to punish out of vengeance. Peep the trailer, and if you’re into it, why not program this as a Shudder double-feature in comparison to Stamboel’s nastier reincarnation?
Chris: Got very confused for a second because I thought Matt was being a cheeky fellow and putting the same thing on here twice. What a scamp! Anyway, I haven’t seen this one either.
Now Streaming on Netflix
Matt: For whatever reason, even amusement park horror faithful continue to sleep on Hell Fest. Maybe because it hit theaters near Rooster Teeth’s Blood Fest, which featured countless similarities from theme park settings to top-hatted hosts who deliver an on-stage speech? Well, Gregory Plotkin’s Hell Fest has Tony Todd and Bex Taylor-Klaus, so beat that! But honestly, there’s no contest. Hell Fest sneakily flew under the radar as a stylish haunted attraction slasher that smells of buttered popcorn and is finger-sticky on account of spilled guts. Everything I want in my ticket-punching, entertainment-heavy horror. Sadly, Plotkin has been relatively open about how the film’s mediocre reception all-but assures we’ll never walk through prequel or sequel doors opened by the script’s finale.
Chris: Hell Fest is certainly better than Blood Fest, which has the same premise. That said, I’m more of a fan of Haunt, which also has the same premise, but on a much smaller scale (it’s a local haunted attraction instead of an amusement park).
12 Hour Shift
Now Streaming on Hulu
Matt: Brea Grant’s 2020 was ceremoniously busy between Lucky, After Midnight, and 12 Hour Shift. The latter sees Grant behind the camera, playing around in a Coen-esque slice of midnight criminality. “There ain’t no rest for the wicked, the innocent, or anyone caught in between when halfwit organ traders screw the pooch,” I wrote elsewhere. A paranoid cast of nurses, serial killers, and ditzy package transporters (including David Arquette and Angela Bettis) dodge blame as schemes continually backfire – whether that’s multiple misplaced guts, angry Mick Foley, or extremely unfortunate patient murders. No doubt a comedy of errors, as the cast’s foolish charms and Grant’s B-Movie tendencies encourage some slick, chaotic laughs.
Chris: I caught this at Fantasia with Matt, and I am decidedly not a fan. I love me some Angela Bettis, but everyone in this movie is going wayyyyy over the top, and I just wanted the majority of the cast to dial it down a smidge.
Diablo Rojo PTY
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime
Matt: Around these parts, we respect when countries attempt their first horror films. In Panama’s case, that’s Sol Moreno and J. Oskura Nájera’s Diablo Rojo PTY. Do yourself a favor and research “Red Devil” buses beforehand to learn about Panama’s national issue with these speedster transports that compete for mega-cheap fares. They’re dangerous, but not as hazardous as the witchcraft leveled against a driver, his helper, a priest, and two police officers. From gigantic practical demon puppets to goopy supernatural effects, Panama is undoubtedly on the right track (recalls Sam Raimi’s early work in aesthetics). Tenaciously independent, ambitious in its horror scope (evils in many forms), and proficient in marrying culture with genre filmmaking to allow viewers into a Panamanian nightmare that becomes universally understandable thanks to the language of screams.
Chris: …I have no idea what this is. I just want to point out that while I love writing this column with Matt, I also often feel like a complete idiot because he’s constantly whipping out these titles I have never even heard of. That’s why he’s the best and I’m pond scum!
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