Morbidly Beautiful

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Netflix has made great horror more accessible to the masses, but the platform’s best original content deserves physical releases.

The Morbidly Beautiful writing team celebrates 18 must-see Netflix original films and series that are more than worthy of the Blu-ray treatment. 

Physical media is important to many because it is a way to preserve and connect with a creative piece on a deeper level. In addition to personal accessibility, physical media can include commentaries from the film’s creatives and other bonus features that demystify the process of filmmaking. It provides cultural and historic context that a streaming release does not allow for. Bonus materials are a huge reason that a lot of people collect physical media.

But one of the biggest streaming services in the world, Netflix, refuses physical releases.

Some of their films and shows are released on DVD and Blu-ray because they are in affiliation with another studio. For example, The Haunting series was made via a partnership with Paramount and thus was able to be released on disc thanks to Paramount. (Truly, thanks, Paramount!) However, Mike Flanagan’s other Netflix release Midnight Mass was made exclusively with Netflix, and as of now, Netflix will not release the series to home media.

Mike Flanagan himself has pleaded with the company to release not only Midnight Mass but also his other films either made with or acquired by Netflix.

Spurred by Flanagan’s enthusiasm to see his work in physical form, which every creative deserves, we are here today to look at some Netflix releases that haven’t gotten the physical release treatment. All of these films and shows are brilliant and should absolutely be given the nice Blu-ray treatment with features and commentaries. (- Jamie Alvey)

1. Midnight Mass

(Recommended by Frankie Lyle)

I was beyond thrilled when I heard about Mike Flanagan’s Midnight Mass premiering on Netflix. After watching (and crying over) his other shows and movies, I was curious to see how he would portray Christianity in this mini-series. It ended up being one of the most authentic representations I’ve seen in a long time.

It’s a phenomenal story with stellar performances from the entire cast that hooked me onto the show and is one that I’ll continue to recommend to anyone looking for something new to binge. The intricate and strange mysteries left enough clues for the audience to piece together but still managed to surprise in a way that was authentic to the plot.

Something odd is happening to the residents of Crockett Island, a small village where the once-booming fishing industry was smothered in the wake of an oil spill. The arrival of a new priest marks the beginning of strange miracles that amaze and terrify.

Most horror plots that feature theology tend to fall under unintentional Christian propaganda.

I struggle to think of any mainstream supernatural horror film where the solution isn’t a Catholic exorcism. It’s one of the first chances to see both the Church and its community as the ones at fault.

However critical these points may be of Christianity; Flanagan’s point wasn’t to disparage it. Instead, it offers a refreshing view of the Church for what it is: human and not without flaws.

The series beautifully taps into the existentialism of the Church within the lens of addiction, community, the things that we’ve done, and the things that have happened to us.

It highlights doctrine to get the views to think critically about it.

Is everything truly an act of God? Including all the bad things we’ve done or have happened to us?

I was raised in a Catholic community, and we all knew a Bev Keane: a devout member of the congregation who uses service and volunteering to curry the favor of the Clergy and God. Despite a biblical monster running around the island, she was the story’s true villain. There are few words to describe her other than cold, fanatical, and delusional. Her interactions with the community, especially with Sherriff Hassan and his son, Crockett’s only Muslim residents.

She finally shows her true colors by trying to manipulate his son into converting to Christianity and refusing to drink the Sherriff’s “dirty blood” after a night of insatiable bloodlust. It was a chilling moment that showed how deeply rooted her hatred was. With how she was crafted, it came as no surprise that Flanagan grew up in a Catholic community based on how much he got right.

By the fourth episode, most viewers had a solid idea of what sort of creature was lurking around the island under the guise of an angel, but that doesn’t detract from the story. Even with this knowledge, it was difficult to predict where the story was going. The Easter Vigil scene was one of the most shocking that I’ve seen in a long time, and truly paid off after five episodes of build-up.

If you’re looking for something with a happy ending, I suggest you search elsewhere.

Instead of a great flood, the fire and brimstone brought upon the small island on Easter is devastating with a gut-punch final line that brings relief and despair. Some may survive, but nobody truly wins. This doubles back to the existential questioning of God’s will. Can something so bleak truly be God’s purpose? And, if so, what possible justification could there be for that level of destruction?

In my opinion, it’s a Netflix must-see and one of Flanagan&