Stream of horror: Best movies to stream at home this Halloween
Looking for an appropriate movie to stream this Halloween weekend? I'm here to help. Here are recommendations on the ever-rotating selections of the major streaming services.
OK, this one is a no-brainer. One of the scariest movies of the decade, this one calls for turning all the lights off. The older and creepier your house, the better.
Here's a twist: a terrifying documentary. This look at the nightmarish world of sleep paralysis comes from the director of "Room 237," a documentary focused on fan theories about Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining."
"The Monster Squad"
Kids battle Dracula and other classic monsters in this unsung favorite from 1987. Fits nicely among other movies from the era like "The Goonies" and "Gremlins."
More stylish than spooky, but this Iranian vampire flick was one of the best movies of 2014.
The Norwegian import "Dead Snow" introduced Nazi zombies (doubly satisfying to watch die), but the English-language sequel took things to even more ridiculous extremes of horror-comedy. You can even skip the first one and go right for the goods. Recommended for Sam Raimi fans.
"Let the Right One In"
This Swedish import is haunting - equal parts moving and terrifying. It has lived on Netflix for a long time now, but if you haven't seen it, queue it up.
Roman Polanski's 1968 classic still holds up in delivering chills in a slow reveal that gets under the skin more than a jump-scare.
Here's a darkly comic under-the-radar pick. It's the story of a young medical student who enters the world of underground surgeries to pick up some extra cash.
"The House of the Devil"
If you like it old-school, you owe it to yourself to see Ti West's 2009 breakout horror flick, a pitch-perfect homage to the slow-boiling slashers of the '80s. It was even shot on 16mm film. This is perfect Halloween fare.
"Return of the Living Dead 3"
You won't need to have seen the first two installments of this zombie series to appreciate the camp or the gore, with a heavy focus on body modification.
Welcome to a claustrophobic nightmare. A cave exploring expedition goes bad for a group of friends. Truly, deeply terrifying.
"The Gingerdead Man"/"Jack Frost"
For fans of ridiculous horror that turns unassuming things into slashers (think "Leprechaun" or "Child's Play"), here are a couple of really ridiculous entries. "The Gingerdead Man" stars Gary Busey (!) as the voice of a cookie possessed by a murderer. "Jack Frost" is about a serial killer who possesses a snowman. If this sounds like your thing, have at it.
"Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2"
In all the years I've been a film critic, this may be the one movie where I'm the only one who actually recommends it. I thought the original "Blair Witch" was an undercooked stunt of marketing that devalued actual documentaries. The sequel - which ditches the found-footage nonsense - boasts some creepy atmosphere and a lot of commentary on the first, courtesy of director and actual documentarian Joe Berlinger (of the "Paradise Lost" series).
I called Kevin Smith's wild horror-comedy "the most WTF movie of 2014." I stand by that. Watch it at your own risk.
The filmmakers behind "You're Next" found an all-too-rare twist on the slasher genre. It starts off like a Woody Allen movie and finishes like a fight for survival with a badass female protagonist. (also available on Hulu Plus)
"Night of the Living Dead"
The movie that put zombies on the map still holds up. If you watch "Walking Dead" ever week and have never seen this, fix that.
As I'm enjoying the campy, self-aware and gore-filled "Scream Queens" on TV, I'm struck by what a debt it owes to "Scream." Wes Craven's return to form was both funny and actually scary.
Not a horror movie, but it's hypnotically beautiful and full of a palpable dread. Recommended for fans of Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch and Lars von Trier.
Although I recommend you save this one for Christmas.