Hooray for the Halloween preseason with a menu of horror films that can be streamed via Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime. And this year I have a surprise for you. The full line-up of September pre-season streaming has been pre-selected, pre-screened, and published in advance so you can plan your preseason viewing to suit your schedule. Year ‘round horror is a lot of hard work, but you’re worth it. And you’re welcome.
I thought it would be fun to kick off the preseason with a movie about movies. You know I love lists so I think you’ll enjoy the 50 Best Horror Movies You’ve Never Seen. Don’t worry about writing all of them down, I’ve done that for you as well as researching which movies are available for streaming here. Only two of the films in this documentary made it to the preseason list: The Descent and Tourist Trap. The opening scene in The Descent is probably a top ten, good enough on its own to earn your commitment through to closing credits. I put Tourist Trap on the list because I agree that it must be seen to be believed. And because it earned high praise from Stephen King in his book Danse Macabre. Expect sound, style, and B-movie performances that define this era of horror.
By the way, did you know that more horror movies were made in 1981 than any other year? At least that is what 50 Best claims.
New to preseason screening are three binge-worthy series that are sure to wreck your September weekends. My personal favorite is The Exorcist, a damn scary television series based on the original story. This series was carried on Fox network television meaning no nudity or profanity so technically, you won’t have to send the little ones away. But do send them away as there are plenty of disturbing and utterly terrifying scenes that even kept me up at night. Season 1 consists of ten episodes so you’ll have plenty of time to move on to Season 2 if you have your meals delivered. Both seasons are available in their entirety on Hulu.
Slasher is a Netflix original series and everything you need to know about what to expect is in the title. I dare you to stop after the opening scene of the first episode. Both seasons of Slasher are available on Netflix. If you want to get anything done in September, stop after Season 1 and save Season 2 for another time. I found the second season weak by comparison, but binge worthy all the same. Season 3 is in production.
I saved Castle Rock for last because I want all ten episodes of Season 1 to be available so you can close the curtain on the preseason with a binge worthy of a King – Stephen King, that is. I am thoroughly enjoying this brilliant tale that is based on themes and characters from the world of Stephen King, but having to actually wait until the next episode is killing me. It’s hard to believe this is how we used to watch television. Castle Rock is a Hulu original.
While we’re talking about Stephen King, three of the pre-season films are Stephen King stories: Dreamcatcher, Gerald’s Game, and 1922. If I were to create a genre, it might be Western Horror and there we would find 1922. And Bone Tomahawk. Kurt Russell reprises his role as the sheriff of an old west town, almost as if he walked off the set of Tombstone and into a world not of this world. I’ve loved Kurt Russell ever since he stepped onto the big screen in a pair of tennis shoes, waking the inner nerd in all of us. The Stephen King films are all available on Netflix; you’ll need Amazon Prime for Bone Tomahawk.
I can't in good conscience recommend Open House. I think Netflix dropped the ball on this film that started out strong but didn't deliver for me. You may feel differently. I heard a comparison of Netflix originals to HBO originals that went something like this. HBO does a few things extremely well (Game of Thrones) while Netflix does a lot of things pretty good. I agree, and Little Evil is amazing so I can forgive. Also, be prepared for subtitles when you watch Veronica. They flash across the screen pretty fast and I found it difficult to follow the story. It's also why I haven't watched Audition yet.
One final mention and then I’ll let you browse the rest of the preseason line-up for yourself. In my opinion, Halloween H20 is the best of the Halloween sequels. While it falls short of the original – how can it not? – it’s a decent if not predictable Halloween film. Bonus points for Jamie Lee’s mother who has a minor role with a major line: "It's Halloween, I guess everybody deserves one good scare." Heh, heh, heh. I put this film on the list partly because it has been missing from streaming for a long time and it is a good sequel, but mostly because it is your last chance to see a Halloween sequel before you have to forget there were any Halloween sequels. October celebrates Jamie Lee’s return to Haddonfield with a caveat – the film picks up 40 years after the original as if none of the five sequels happened. Forget the hospital scene and a melting Michael Meyers in Halloween II; or the return and defeat of Michael Meyers in Halloween 4 followed a year later by Halloween 5. Then the curse of Michael Meyers and finally, Halloween H20. It’s remarkable that five sequels were spawned in the 20 years after the original, yet zero in the last 20 years. Maybe that will make the amnesia easier. I am all for ignoring the lesser sequels to see what happens. Catch Halloween H20 on Hulu.
There is plenty to keep you busy with streaming media as you gear up for the Halloween season. Enjoy the line-up and check in for reviews of a few movies that appeared on the big screen this year.
Happy pre-season, the fun is just starting!