The Horror Corner took a week off to enjoy the amazing Fantastic Fest, where there were lots of horrors afoot, and I don’t just mean Eric D. Snider wearing a wacky wrestling singlet for three days. (He lost a bet!) Several of these horror films will be hitting VOD services and/or Netflix some time soon, and we’ll be sure to keep you informed on those. For now, here what’s new on the horror streams for early October.
Mandy — You’ve heard about it, you’ve seen the tweets about it, you probably even read Eric’s review of the damn thing, and I’m just here to remind you: one of the year’s weirdest, freakiest, and most unexpectedly moving post-apocalyptic horror action revenge stories you’ll ever see. On the page Mandy sounds like “Nicolas Cage seeks revenge,” but it’ll take less than five minutes with the movie for you to realize you’re in store for something monumentally different — in a good way. Let’s be honest: Movie fans generally don’t flip out en masse over a basic Nicolas Cage action flick. Mandy is something very weird and very special.
Cold Skin — French genre fan Xavier Gens (director of Frontiere(s), The Divide, and Hitman) returns with a calm, quiet horror story that may just be his finest feature yet. Set in 1912, it’s about a lone scientist who visits a remote Antarctic outpost to study the weather, only to realize that there are ferocious creatures living somewhere nearby. Only they might not be quite as primitive as he believes. Sort of a cool mash-up of Lovecraft, del Toro, and The Thing, only without the non-stop carnage — but don’t let that turn you off. This is an unexpectedly compelling genre film that starts out familiar but heads to some pretty interesting places.
Tales from the Hood 2 — Horror anthologies are a strange beast. Very few of them manage to make any money while playing in theaters, but lots of them turn out to be big-time fan favorites when October rolls around. Examples? Fine! How about V/H/S, Trick ‘r Treat, Southbound, Cat’s Eye, and Tales from the Hood! Director Rusty Cundieff and co-writer Darin Scott have returned (along with executive producer Spike Lee) to deliver a low-budget collection of horror tales told from a decidedly black perspective. Like almost all horror anthologies, Tales from the Hood 2 is a mixed bag, but none of the segments are outright boring, and two of ’em are downright inspired. (I’ll let you decide which two.)
Satan’s Slaves — Who better to remake one of the finest Indonesian horror films than one of today’s finest Indonesian filmmakers? Joko Anwar (Ritual, The Forbidden Door) achieves a childhood dream by remaking 1980’s Satan’s Slaves, and it’s safe to say that he does the original film proud. It’s a simple story of a grieving family, a creepy house, and all sorts of horrific things that go down unexpectedly (hint: It involves demonic possession and other grim horrors). This one’s gone on to become one of Indonesia’s biggest hits, ever, so surely it’s worth a look for the intrepid horror enthusiasts out there. Plus come on, when’s the last time you watched a horror movie from Indonesia? Try something exotic.
Hold the Dark — This one isn’t precisely a horror film but (much like the director’s previous films, Blue Ruin and Green Room) it is certainly dark, violent, and intense enough for genre fans to take note. It starts out as a story about a grieving mother, several hungry wolves, and a tracker brought up to Alaska to do what he does best — but then the story goes off into all sorts of dark, weird, and thoroughly unpredictable places. Based on the novel by Bill Giraldi, this is a rough and willfully difficult psychological thriller, but it’s also beautifully shot and remarkably well cast, with Jeffrey Wright the standout. As usual.
Sleep No More — It’s Flatliners meets From Beyond in this indie chiller about a bunch of cocky grad students who mess around with some sleep deprivation experiments, only to discover something scary occurs when a person refuses to get some sleep for like 200 hours. It’s not good.
Strange Nature — Stephen Tobolowsky stars in a low-budget tongue-in-cheek piece of bio-horror in which pollution turns a small town’s water supply into a breeding ground for horrible mutations! It’s pretty slight, but the flick does boast some pretty impressive practical effects in the departments of slime, fish lips, and random goopy mutations.
The Toybox — Mischa Barton and Denise Richards star in this tale of a family on a road trip across the desert who realize that something — nope, not cannibals — is picking them off one by one. Despite what the title suggests, they’re not dealing with a haunted crate of toys. Turns out their actual RV is haunted by the spirit of a serial killer! (Hope they kept the receipt.)
Frenzy — You know those movies in which someone is trapped by sharks and can’t make a swim for it without risking becoming the animal’s dinner? Like Open Water and The Shallows and 47 Meters Down? Well here’s another one! This time it’s about the survivors of a plane crash!
And over in the Scream Factory collector’s corner we have all sorts of goodies: the full four-movie [REC] box set is pretty great. They’ve also got Jennifer Beals and Sting in 1985’s odd and underrated The Bride, the utterly infamous Exorcist II: The Heretic, and Richard Crenna in 1978’s all-but-forgotten The Evil! Now that’s a lot of horror!