Embracing the home box office, filling the quarantine queue, indie horror recommendations, the stuff you can’t make up, killer shops, and more
We’re not going to sugarcoat it: we’re living in strange and scary times. For us horror fans, it’s surreal and discomforting to see familiar plot lines played out in real life. But while we’d never downplay the seriousness of what’s going on, we also believe that, now more than ever, we need the power of film and art to help us escape and help us heal. In that spirit, we are happy to bring you some of the best in genre content so you can stay sane and entertained during mandatory quarantine.
As much as I appreciate the ability to watch whatever I want, whenever I want, from the comfort of my couch and PJs, nothing compares to the immersive experience of watching a movie in a theater — surrounded by fellow film lovers. Sadly, in the age of social distancing, we have to settle for the next best thing. And fortunately, studios are delivering by giving us instant VOD access to box office hits. (The Angry Princess)
The Hunt has been garnering attention since we first heard about it, and now you can rent this Blumhouse-produced theater film on demand while you’re spending time at home. The story sounds familiar – a group of people are abducted, wake up outdoors, and don’t know where they are. But they’re not being chased by a group of slashers; they’re being hunted by a group of rich people who pay for the pleasure of the human hunt. This somewhat satirical look at politics via the horror film finds that the hunted aren’t so random – this may all be based on politics. So, can horror and politics successfully be combined? Check out The Hunt and see for yourself. (Christi Bandy)
THE INVISIBLE MAN
If you missed this great film in the theater, now’s the time to check out The Invisible Man via VOD. This suspenseful story keeps you on the edge of your seat as Elizabeth Moss, as a woman escaping from domestic abuse, runs from her husband who’s allegedly dead. However, when she suffers from the terror of fighting an unseen force, the scares ramp up as she discovers the terrifying truth about her husband and just how far he’ll go to get to her. This modern update of the classic HG Wells story could be the first in a line of classic monster movie remakes. (Read our full review.) (Christi Bandy)
On the surface, Hunter (Haley Bennett) appears to have it all. A newly pregnant housewife, she seems content to spend her time tending to an immaculate home and doting on her Ken-doll husband, Richie (Austin Stowell). However, as the pressure to meet her controlling in-laws and husband’s rigid expectations mounts, cracks begin to appear in her carefully created facade. Hunter develops a dangerous habit, and a dark secret from her past seeps out in the form of a disorder called pica – a condition that has her compulsively swallowing inedible, and oftentimes life-threatening, objects. A provocative and squirm-inducing psychological thriller, SWALLOW follows one woman’s unraveling as she struggles to reclaim independence in the face of an oppressive system by whatever means possible. (The Angry Princess)
If real life horror is your thing, boy, are you ever in luck! While life is busy imitating art, we encourage you to enjoy some art that reveals the darker side of life and human nature. (Contributer and section editor: The Angry Princess)
FACING EAST (DOCUMENTARY)
Tommy Baker’s chilling and captivating Facing East, an expose on a graveyard that would re-use graves over and over, just premiered On Demand. With over 100,000 documented disturbed burials the owners and operators of Eastern Cemetery systematically re-used graves over and over, taking advantage of low-income families during one of the most difficult times in their lives.
TRUE TERROR WITH ROBERT ENGLUND (LIMITED SERIES)
True crime and horror fans rejoice! Genre icon Robert Englund journeys into the darkest corners of America’s past to uncover stories that are as terrifying as they are real. Check out our review of the premiere episode here, and then tune into Travel Channel every Wednesday and 10/9 Central for new episodes. If you have a cable subscription, you can stream the episodes live from TravelChannel.com, or watch on Hulu with a Live TV subscription. You can also purchase individual episodes or the entire series on YouTube.
My favorite new column in our bi-weekly horror roundup is this one, dedicated to supporting the truly independent filmmakers and creators who pour their hearts and souls (and often their personal bank accounts) into making great art — with limited resources but no shortage of passion and creativity. (Contributor and section editor: The Angry Princess)
MOTHER NOOSE PRESENTS: ONCE UPON A NIGHTMARE
From the sick minds that you brought you Frankenthug and Room for Rent comes their next tale of terror: Mother Noose presents Once Upon a Nightmare, an anthology of twisted fairy tales! Erin Brown, Jezibell Anat, Nathan Hamilton and Jon Devlin star in the 4th film by indie horror filmmaker Richard Tanner. Sit back, relax, and poke a hole in the bottom of your popcorn bucket. Because once these tales get started, there is no happy ending.
The good news is, there is no risk to those who help support this film. Production is complete, and this is simply a pre-order to help with distribution of the DVDs and Blu-rays. Amazing perks have recently been added to help the campaign reach its stretch goals — including hand sanitizer, a bonus disc, and even a Men of Buck Short Calendar.
While there is an abundance of great content available on the major streaming platforms, this column is dedicated to highlighting some of the smaller films that may have flown under your radar. These are films that may be off the beaten path, but we think they deserve your attention. (Contributor and section editor: The Angry Princess)
SLAUGHTERHOUSE SLUMBER PARTY
What started as the debauched annual slumber party for a tight knit group of gal pals becomes a fight for their lives when supernatural evil threatens to destroy the world–and even worse, ruin the one night of the year the ladies get to have a nude pillow fight. Trapped by magic, surrounded by evil, and very underdressed, will they survive the night? Or will this slumber party become a slaughterhouse?
Gruesome, raunchy, and hilarious, SLAUGHTERHOUSE SLUMBER PARTY is the unholy hybrid of HARD TO DIE, EVIL DEAD II, and PARKS & REC the world never knew it needed. Click here to rent it on Vimeo VOD.
THE HORROR AT GALLERY KAY (NOW AVAILABLE)
An estranged couple’s therapy appointment reveals the existence of a hidden world. “Small in scale but brimming with huge ideas, The Horror at Gallery Kay is an absolute triumph of both horror and human drama.” Click here to read our full review.
Watch it on Amazon Prime (US and UK): https://amzn.to/2xe8SMM
Here at Morbidly Beautiful, we are big fans of horror shorts. It’s a medium that often delivers some of the most succinct, creative, and compelling content you’ll see anywhere. However, these bite-sized bits of genre greatness so often go unnoticed and uncelebrated. We’re here to do our part to change that, one satisfying short at a time. (Contributor and section editor: The Angry Princess)
If you’ve every been invited to the wake of someone you don’t really know, it can often feel a bit awkward, especially if you are unaware of the religious customs. Irish wakes in particular are full of strange traditions and superstitions. The Wake, is a short film by Rik Gordon that follows Peter, a young Englishman, who is brought to the wake of his new girlfriend’s deceased uncle. After being offered a few drinks, he soon finds himself alone in the house. Strange things occur when noises start coming from the coffin.
Close the blinds and turn up the volume for this spooky 10-minute short film which you can now watch for free following its very successful run on the festival circuit.
We may be living in the digital age, but there’s still something so satisfying about physical media that streaming, in all its glory, just can’t compare to — especially for those of us who grew up in the days of video stores gone by. If beautiful Blus make your heart skip a beat, we’ve got you covered. And if streaming is more your speed, we’ve got your back, too. (Contributor and section editor: Christi Bandy)
COLOR OUT OF SPACE (RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 25)
Nicholas Cage (Mandy) stars as Nathan Gardner in this adaptation of HP Lovecraft’s sci-fi short story. When Gardner finds a meteorite in his front yard, he and his family find themselves in a fight for their lives against some type of alien life form. This cool creature feature has been lauded for its thrilling visuals and amazing acting. (Read our full review.)
NEFARIOUS (RELEASE DATE: MARCH 17)
Directed by Morbidly Beautiful’s own Richard Rowntree, Nefarious explores what happens to a group of criminals when the tables are turned. This suspenseful story keeps you on the edge of your seat and gives a whole new dimension to home invasion as the criminals are caught trapped in a home during a robbery attempt gone bad. Though the story seems simplistic, it’s taken to the next level with top-notch performances from actors Buck Braithwaite, Gregory A. Smith, and Toby Wynn-Davies. (Read our full review.)
THE FURIES (RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 27)
A fresh take on survival horror films, The Furies is about a group of women who are abducted and dumped outside. It doesn’t take them long to figure out they’re being hunted down and killed by a group of masked slashers. Though the plot sounds similar to other films, the strong female presence in this film makes it unique. The suspense ratchets up at a great pace, and this is a fun movie that’s packed with great gore effects and creepy masks you won’t forget!
Click here to purchase this blu-ray. You can also stream this film now on Shudder.
MIRROR, MIRROR (RELEASE DATE: MARCH 17)
If you haven’t seen Mirror, Mirror, you’re missing out on a truly weird, cool, and interesting film from 1990. Starring icons like Karen Black and Yvonne De Carlo, this story follows a teenage goth girl named Megan (Rainbow Harvest, a Lydia Deetz lookalike who was mysteriously never seen again after this film, making it even more fascinating) who moves to a new house with her mother (Black). An old antique mirror in Megan’s room is more than just a mirror, and the bullies who torture Megan will soon find out what happens when they mess with the mirror’s magic!
VFW (PRE-ORDER: MARCH 31)
What happens when war veterans go up against a gang of punks? You’ll see in VFW. When vets are hanging out at their VFW, it’s not the same as it usually is when a young woman runs inside looking for safety. She’s harboring a bag of drugs and being chased by a group of men who want what’s theirs and will kill whoever it takes to get it. Joe Begos (Bliss) directs this fun film that has assembled an all-star cast of acting heavyweights, including William Sadler, Martin Kove, and Stephen Lang. Amazing effects and a fast pace make this movie a winner. Reviews are calling it “Carpenter-esque.” (Read our full review.)
So you can’t leave the house? Never fret. There’s more genre content at your fingertips than you can consume during months of quarantine. Not only do the big players — Netflix, Hulu, and Shudder — offer a vast selection of films and series, but new providers are joining the fray to give you even more choice. Here are some of our top recommendations. (The Angry Princess)
MARATHON-OF-HORROR: INTO THE DARK ON HULU
Looking for thrilling jump scares, feel-good moments, and everything in between? INTO THE DARK has got you covered. From New Year’s Eve to Christmas — and everything in between — celebrate 18 holidays with about 27 hours of episodes now available to binge-watch at home. You can also catch the series’ latest installment, Crawlers, just in time for a belated St. Patrick’s Day celebration. (The Angry Princess)
Start from the beginning and watch them all, or click here to check out our countdown of the top ten INTO THE DARK episodes so far.
AMERICAN HORROR STORY 1984 ON HULU
Behind on AHS? The newest season has dropped on Hulu, so now’s the time to catch up! This season is super cool and ‘80s-themed, with a slasher plotline, great music, and fab fashion. Returning AHS stars you’ll see include Billie Lourd, Emma Roberts, Cody Fern, and John Carroll Lynch as “Mr. Jingles,” a serial killer terrorizing Camp Redwood. (Christi Bandy)
THE ROOM ON SHUDDER
Imagine moving into a house with a magic room. All you have to do is sit inside the room and say out loud what you wish for and it happens. Now, imagine all the ways this could go wrong, and you’ve got The Room. The dread begins early in the film when you discover how it will likely end, and don’t look too forward to getting there. The Room is a Shudder original film. (Christi Bandy)
This is a fun watch, and Shudder is offering a 30-day free trial with the code SHUTIN so don’t worry if you don’t have a subscription!
LOST GIRLS ON NETFLIX
Check out Lost Girls on Netflix, based on the book of the same name. The Office star Amy Ryan stars as a mother desperate to find her missing daughter. As she copes with getting the cops on her side, she discovers an even larger crime; the search for a Long Island killer and abductor who targeted prostitutes. This mystery is still unsolved, making the movie even more memorable. (Christi Bandy)
STREAM FREE: DARKMATTER TV
DarkMatter TV is a free streaming service available across all devices. Binge watch over 400 titles of unlimited horror, sci-fi, action, and true crime entertainment. You can download the DarkMatter TV app on an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, or on Android devices. The app is also available on OTT devices, like Roku an Amazon Firestick, Smart TVs, and gaming consoles. There’s even a commercial-free option for just $4.99 per month.
We recommend you check out their collection of “Contagious: Movies to Quarantine To” which includes: Epidemic, Rabid (David Cronenberg), Domain, Night of the Living Dead, Antisocial, The Last Man on Earth, Last Woman on Earth, Blood of the Vampires, and more. (The Angry Princess)
With the mass cancellations of horror conventions and events, as well as shop closures, many small businesses, entrepreneurs and artists have been it hard financially by the coronavirus. Without significant support during these difficult times, some may have to close up shop for good. We don’t want to see that happen. Thus, we’re highlighting some of our favorite killer shops (and will continue to do so) that we think truly deserve your support. (Contributor and section editor: Christi Bandy)
Small business owner Joce makes everything from bralettes and crop tops to skirts, panties, and tote bags featuring everything from bats and pumpkins to The Munsters and Freddy Krueger. She creates all of her clothing to fit, so you can easily get a custom design using your measurements, or buy something pre-made and ready to ship from her. Hit her up on Instagram for a custom order with any fabric you like that she can get in the design of your dreams, or choose from some of her most popular prints, including Baby Yoda, spiderwebs, and Pennywise.
SHOP NOW: https://jocebossboutique.storenvy.com
HOUSE OF MYSTERIOUS SECRETS
Horror fans can find so much cool stuff on House of Mysterious Secrets, ranging from masks, collectibles, clothing, and home décor to movies, posters, and hats. They have some truly unique and cool stuff, so spend your downtime shopping and indulge in the clearance page, which just got bulked up today!
SHOP NOW: https://houseofmysterioussecrets.com
Fill out your shelves with some amazing horror toys courtesy of Nightmare Toys. You may have seen Nightmare Toys at a horror convention near you, but you can also order from this small business online. Nightmare Toys also has clothing, home décor, masks, jewelry, air fresheners, pillows, and just about everything a horror fan could possibly want! Say goodbye to your wallet and click the link!
SHOP NOW: https://www.nightmaretoys.com
I get compliments on my Sammi Curr shirt all the time, so I highly recommend the nice folks at Pallbearer Press, a convention staple. They have pins, shirts, leggings, toys, hats, and even some vinyl, so add some really unique stuff to your horror stash. You know you need a Demon Wind or a Pieces T-shirt! Get a shirt like nobody else has and prepare for the onslaught of compliments from your fellow horror fans! Check their IG page for sales and new merch drops.
SHOP NOW: https://pallbearerpress.com
Recently, while talking to the other Morbidly Beautiful writers, we stumbled upon a mutual distaste for the same “Breaking News” that every site heavily promotes: Hollywood Trailer Releases and Announcements. This is why we have decided to start focusing on the indie film news you might otherwise miss, so you can actually have your finger on the pulse of the genre’s rising stars and future cult classics. (Contributor and section editor: Richard Tanner)
ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT STREAMING: TROMA NOW
Troma Now is the online streaming platform featuring exclusive world premieres, Troma classics, and endless video content from the independent film production and distribution company Troma Entertainment. New content, like festival selects and cult classics, is added every month. Right now, you can catch classic flicks from Gatorblade Films and The Sleaze Box: Death-scort Service and Amerikan Holokaust.
COMING SOON: PROJECT 88
Taylor Morden, the director of The Last Blockbuster, has launched Project 88, a shot-for-shot remake of Back to the Future 2 that is split between 88 different directors filming 40 to 100 seconds at a time. There are lot of great directors stepping up to the plate on this one during this time of isolation, including: Brian Williams (Space Babes from Outer Space), Dayna Noffke (WiHM’s Blood Drive), and Dan Beck (Arte Factum).
Learn more: www.bttftoo.com/
WORLD PREMIERE: HELL’S BELLS
Mark your calendar for April 18th for the world premiere of Los Bastardz‘ Hell’s Bells. The long-awaited rock comedy/horror feature film stars Marc “Skippy” Price (TV’s Family Ties), Jim o’Rear (The Hospital), and Scott Tepperman (Ghost Hunters International).