(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: This week on “Now Scream This,” Chris and I put on our “Film Programmer” hats. Weekly themes typically coincide with popular movies released in tandem with posting dates, but we’re trying something different. I posed to Chris, what if we curate five-film streaming marathons? Piece together mini-festival by whatever parameters we set? Chris obliged, titles were selected, and here we are. Allow us to be your masters of ceremonies should you want to spend an entire day/weekend indoors? Let us know whatever themed foods and drinks you come up with to serve during our provided programming.
Chris: I wanted to change things up a bit with my selections this week. The result: horror documentaries. Docs that focus on both scary subjects, and horror films in general. Shudder is a great one-stop shop for this sort of thing – they’re loaded-up with horror docs. But there’s an entire world of documentaries out there focusing on things that go bump in the night. Why not check some of them out?
Lords Of Chaos
Now Streaming on Hulu
Matt: Kicking off my “Heavy Metal Horror” setlist is 2018’s Lords Of Chaos. Jonas Åkerlund recounts the birth of Norwegian Black Metal through Mayhem guitarist “Euronymous.” Rory Culkin stars as the big-dreaming scene rocker, narrating at the onset it’s “his story” and it will all “end badly.” That it does for a large group of people, from Jack Kilmer’s vocalist “Dead” to Emory Cohen as barbarian Varg. Euronymous’ story is one of betrayal, posers, and crunchy guitar riffs, coming together like Super Dark Times for black metal fans. Purists still rage over the legitimacy and representation of Mayhem on screen, but as someone watching from an outside standpoint, Lords Of Chaos remains one of 2018’s most engaging portrayals of tragedy.
Chris says: Hey kids, do you like violence? If so, this is the film for you!
The Devil’s Candy
Now Streaming on Netflix
Matt: My second film continuation is Sean Byrne’s The Devil’s Candy, a “possession” tale where runnin’ with the devil isn’t as fun as Van Halen made it sound. Ethan Embry stars as Jesse Hellman, a father and husband whose family moves into a cursed Texas home. Jesse’s artwork starts to take a mind of its own when visions plague his barnyard work sessions, while a cherry-red Flying V guitar evokes the devil’s chords. Byrne’s soundtrack includes Metallica, Pantera, Slayer and more, plus Sunn O))) lends straight-from-the-underworld black metal chants. The Devil’s Candy is a “Metal AF” home invasion that rocks hard and rolls into uncompromising devastation. I’d give anything to wail on that red-devil axe, even my soul (especially if it meant we’d get another Sean Byrne horror movie).
Chris: You know, when I first saw this movie, I felt like it didn’t work for me. And yet I was unable to get it out of my head. So job well done, Devil’s Candy.
Now Streaming on Hulu
Matt: Adam MacDonald’s Pyewacket may wear musical influences on denim jackets more than through audible background tracks, but that doesn’t make it any less metal. Nicole Muñoz’s Leah Reyes calls upon a vengeful demon when lashing out against her mother, finding comfort in the soothing satanics of bands like Carach Angren. What Reyes forgets is that emotions pass, yet black magic incantations cannot be as easily aborted. Following in-step with The Devil’s Candy, Pyewacket is a family’s fight against advancing evil. Laurie Holden such a standout amidst grief-stricken parenting as Muñoz acts on her teenage angst in the worst way imaginable. As I’ve said many times, MacDonald’s film is Lady Bird for horror fans. I promise my marathon is about to balance out all this emotional heaviness.
Chris: This is one of my favorite recent horror movies; it’s bleak, creepy and endlessly surprising.
Now Streaming on Shudder
Matt: My fourth selection is a necessary palate cleanser in the form of Jason Lei Howden’s Deathgasm. Howden won New Zealand’s 2013 Make My Horror Movie contest with nothing but a tagline (if interview memory serves me correctly), which translates into a Sam Raimi-inspired horror comedy reverberating the aggressive riffage of 10,000 Drop-C-Tuned Schecter guitars. Practical effects are magnificently gruesome and unforgivably bloody, but what’s better is a loner’s accidental summoning of apocalyptic forces then having to rebox them. Milo Cawthorne sells a pitch-awkward underdog hero, but my favorite performance still goes to good-girl Kimberley Crossman after metal music corrupts her purified soul. Deathgasm deserves all the metal horns, and still stands as one of my favorite rewatchable horror films of the decade.
Chris: I like the concept of this film, and some of the ideas. But it ultimately felt more like a clever short film stretched to feature-length. Your milage may vary.
Phantom Of The Paradise
Now Streaming on Shudder
Matt: Last but not least is a – *checks notes* – Brian De Palma movie? Indeed! Phantom Of The Paradise hit Shudder not too long ago, which would be hard information to miss if you follow don’t Fangoria’s chief Phil Nobile Jr. on Twitter. In any case, this eccentric Phantom Of The Opera retelling is an extravagant feast for the eyes that makes a bonkers tonal comparison when starting this marathon with Lords Of Chaos. More “glitz and glamour” arena extravagance that some characters listed above might mock, but how can you deny the performative hypnosis laid down by Gerrit Graham’s “Beef?” This movie is wild, lively, and updates a classic with the most sensational enthusiasm. As much as I hate to agree with Phil, this movie rocks so freakin’ hard.
Chris: This is a masterpiece, without question. From the very first few moments, accompanied by narration from Rod Serling, you know you’re in for something special. God help us all if someone ever attempts to remake this.
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