Halloween's here, so here are the best new horror movies you can stream right now

'V/H/S 94' and 'Slumber Party Massacre' deliver the gory goods, but horror fans have a slew of good titles to pick from

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Not to be overlooked

The Ultimate Richard Pryor Collection: Uncensored: This impressive, immersive, definitive collector’s edition packs more than 26 hours of Richard Pryor onto 13 discs, and still leaves you wanting more. The late comedian’s legacy became more about his cinematic efforts and personal problems than his blistering and unapologetically honest stand-up routines, which form the core focus here. Included are four, full-length comedy specials; Pryor’s 1977 television special for NBC; four episodes of “The Richard Pryor Show”; a collection of TV appearances with talk-show hosts like Merv Griffin, Johnny Carson and more; the feature film that Pryor wrote and directed, “Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling”; previously unreleased footage from Pryor’s first film, “Uncle Tom’s Fairy Tales,” which had been lost since 1968; two documentary features; footage from Pryor’s final stand-up appearances before his death; an interview with his widow; and a handsome collector’s book. Check out timelife.com to purchase.

Also Available as of October 19, 2021:

“Old,” “The Protégé,” “Smoke and Mirrors: The Story of Tom Savini,” “The Devil Came Home,” “The Lockdown Hauntings,” "Coppelia," "Clarice: Season One," "Deadly Friend: Collector's Edition," "Corridor of Mirrors," "Yokai Monsters Collection: Limited Edition," "Demons I & II - Special Limited Edition," “Spirit Quest,” “Grave Intentions,” “Dashcam,” “Roadrunner: A Film about Anthony Bourdain,” “Free Guy,” “The Old Ways,” “Star Vehicle,” “Coming Home in the Dark,” “Sons of Steel,” “OId Henry,” “Implanted,” “Like Dogs,” “Dark Shadows and Beyond: The Jonathan Frid Story,” "Halloween 4K Ultra-HD," "Halloween II 4K Ultra-HD," "Halloween III: Season of the Witch 4K Ultra-HD," "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers 4K Ultra-HD," "Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers 4K Ultra-HD," "Night of the Animated Dead," "Witching & Bitching," “Blithe Spirit,” “Children of the Corn 4K Ultra-HD,” “The Forever Purge,” “Legend: Limited Edition,” “Companion,” “Between Waves,” “The Evil Next Door,” “The Snake Girl and the Silver Haired Witch,” “Nuclear Nightmares,” “Dreaming Grand Avenue,” “Sibyl,” “Hardball: 20th Anniversary,” “F9: The Fast Saga,” “The Nowhere Inn,” “Lady Usher,” “Apartment 413,” “Dead Pigs,” “Death Screams: Limited Edition,” “Cold War Creatures: Four Films from Sam Katzman,” “Censor,” “Tokoloshe: The Calling,” “Martyrs Lane,” “Death Drop Gorgeous,” “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” “Behemoth,” “Royal Jelly,” “Hostage,” “NCIS: New Orleans – The Final Season,” “In the Heights,” “The Brotherhood of Satan” and “Dune: Limited Edition”

click to enlarge "V/H/S 94," the fourth entry in the long-running horror franchise, is packed full of gory delights, all set in 1994. - Shudder
Shudder
"V/H/S 94," the fourth entry in the long-running horror franchise, is packed full of gory delights, all set in 1994.

V/H/S/94
4 star(s), 103 minutes, Shudder

The span of time between classic-worthy horror anthologies used to seem forever. For every “Creepshow,” released in 1982, it could take eons until a worthy counterpart, 2007’s “Trick ‘r Treat,” was released.

Starting in 2012, however, the horror anthology roared back with a vengeance with the debut of “V/H/S,” which used found footage and various other emerging technologies, to tell short films packed with gore, legitimate scares and tons of fun.

It has been seven years since “V/H/S Viral” was released, but thankfully, and just in time for Halloween, the fourth film in the franchise, “V/H/S 94” has debuted exclusively on the streaming Shudder platform. “V/H/S 94” unspools four short films with a wraparound story, and it’s fair to say that the franchise has never been better.

Three of the five films contained here, “Storm Drain,” “The Empty Wake” and “The Subject,” deserve inclusion among the best shorts that this series has produced.

“Storm Drain” follows an intrepid TV news reporter on the hunt for an urban legend, which results in one of the best closing moments of all the “V/H/S” films, as well as a loving homage to “The Howling.”

“The Empty Wake,” from “V/H/S” alum Simon Barrett, is a master’s class in mounting tension as he focuses on a young, female funeral home employee tasked with sitting alone with a casket at a wake no one seems intent on attending.

“The Subject” comes courtesy of Indonesian writer/director Timo Tjahjanto (“Killers,” “May the Devil Take You”), who previously co-directed the best “V/H/S” segment of them all, 2013’s “Safe Haven,” with Gareth Evans.

Do yourself a favor and take a trip back to 1994 as soon as possible. “V/H/S 94” will not disappoint.

Slumber Party Massacre
4 star(s), 86 minutes, streaming

In all of Roger Corman’s oeuvre of B-grade delights, few films stand as tall or shine as bright as 1982’s “The Slumber Party Massacre,” a low-budget gorefest that has captivated audiences for decades, so much so that Tampa Theater’s A Nightmare on Franklin Street celebrated the film with a special cast-member screening in 2018.

Now, 39 years after driller killer Russ Thorn first terrorized a group of scantily clad coeds, Shout Studios! and SyFy have resurrected Thorn’s legacy with a proper reimagining that is so much better than anyone might have ever anticipated.

Seriously, I fucking loved it, and I think Corman would too.

The 2021 iteration, directed by Danishka Esterhazy, who previously directed 2018’s “Level 16,” a warped dystopian thriller about a pint-sized operation reminiscent of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” is packed with sly social commentary and uproarious humor, and it doesn’t miss any opportunity to splatter the screen with gore.

Much like 2015’s “The Final Girls,” the script for “Slumber Party Massacre” leans heavily into meta territory, which helps elevate it above your traditional slasher fare. The original “Massacre” was an expertly conceived blast of feminist rage, and the new “Massacre” wisely, and proudly, continues that tradition.

Did I mention this movie is funny as hell?

The core foursome, Dana (Hannah Gonera), Ashley (Reze-Tiana Wessels), Maeve (Frances Sholto-Douglas), and Breanie (Alex McGregor), set out for a girl’s weekend excursion.

Dana is the daughter of the sole survivor of Thorn’s 1993 slaughter-fest at a remote cabin on a lake at a vacation getaway called Jolly Springs, and her mother still has not recovered from that experience. Even though she bested Thorn, police never found his body and decades later he has become an urban legend, rumored to still stalk the same woods.

As they travel, the girls discover that Maeve’s kid sister, Alix (Mila Rayne), has stowed away in the rear of their SUV, which is a welcome development given how well-written Alix’s character is.

“This is our special weekend that you’re not invited to,” Maeve yells at her. “I know,” Alix says, “that’s why I’m here.”

Car trouble derails their trip, or so it would seem, forcing the girls to spend the night in a creepy old mansion on a secluded lake near a former vacation getaway called, wait for it, Jolly Springs. The owner of the house, Kay (Jennifer Steyn), is a riot. She tells the girls to stay inside, stay quiet and stay safe.

“I feel bad for her,” Maeve says, as Kay leaves them alone.

“Me too,” Alix says. “Old people are depressing.”

“Slumber Party Massacre” is rife with twists, swerves and a wonderful fascination with upending the stereotypical exploitation that accompanies slashers. Instead of showing the girls in various stages of undress, Esterhazy instead creates a recurring montage of young men (true crime podcasters intent on seeing whether Thorn is still alive) staying in an adjacent cabin having bare-chested pillow fights and taking long, luxurious showers.

To say more would be to spoil all the goodness cooked into this wonderful casserole that celebrates low-budget cinema and returns the Driller Killer to his rightful place among horror’s hallowed maniacs.

The Vigil
4 star(s), 89 minutes, Streaming

There really is nothing scarier than being in a room, alone, with a dead body. There’s an uncomfortable awkwardness that fills the air. Your brain can’t help but plumb the depths of your deepest fears. And you feel the weight of that presence just out of view, no matter how hard you try to think other thoughts.

But what if your job is to sit with dead bodies, intentionally and willingly, out of a duty to both uphold and honor your culture and faith?

Keith Thomas’ electrifying debut, “The Vigil,” puts viewers squarely in the shoes of a Shomer, the Hebrew term for a male guardian tasked with carrying out Shemira, the Jewish ritual where a body must be watched from the time of death to burial. Dave Davis is captivating as Yakov Ronen, a conflicted former Shomer who is recruited to watch over the body of a man who believed he was possessed by a malignant entity that must find a new vessel to torment.

“The Vigil” is packed with holy shit moments throughout. I dare you to watch with the lights completely off and not pull your knees up close to your chest. it’s also just fascinating to learn about a cultural practice that most of us likely never knew existed. This is an unbelievably good first feature and it definitely positions Thomas as a director to watch.

click to enlarge Poor Barbara Crampton. Someone is always threatening the horror icon's life on-screen. - Shudder
Shudder
Poor Barbara Crampton. Someone is always threatening the horror icon's life on-screen.

Superhost
3.5 star(s), 84 minutes, Shudder

Proving that a really good and really unnerving movie can be made about renting a stranger’s house for a weekend (sorry, Dave Franco), “Superhost” perfectly scorches our latest obsession with creating digital content at any cost, and shows the price that can be paid for not showing any concern for how such viral vitriol might impact others.

Best of all, Gracie Gillam is utterly terrifying as Rebecca, the Airbnb host from hell, whose jittery facial tics and crazy eyes thankfully don’t spoil the depths of her menace, which is a delicious surprise saved for the explosive third act.

Jumbo
3.5 star(s), 93 minutes, streaming

“Jumbo,” the debut feature from director Zoé Wittock, is proof that love can manifest in the strangest of ways and defy conventional perceptions of who and what is deserving of our deepest desire.

It’s no spoiler to let slip that “Jumbo” is the story of Jeanne (Noémie Merlant), a young woman with an overbearing, over-eager and all too easy mother (Emmanuelle Bercot), who finds herself smitten with a carnival attraction that she soon spends all of her time with, both clothed and naked.

“Jumbo” is hallucinatory, revelatory and absolutely fearless.

Alone in the Dark
3 star(s), 92 minutes, streaming

I’m always thoroughly tickled and elated to discover a movie from the 1980s that I failed to notice during its original heyday. And thankfully, distributors like Shout! Factory’s Scream Factory division continue to unearth gems like “Alone in the Dark,” a fantastic little slasher from 1982 from acclaimed cult director Jack Sholder (1987’s “The Hidden”). “Alone in the Dark” boasts an incredible cast of A-list, Oscar-winning talent with Jack Palance, Martin Landau and Donald Pleasence, as well as early performances by genre stalwarts Lin Shaye and Dwight Schultz. If you haven’t seen it, this is the perfect time of year to rent it on your favorite streaming platform or buy the deluxe Blu-Ray collector’s edition.

click to enlarge Molly (Cecilia Milocco) was just released from a psychiatric hospital. Now she's hearing strange knocking in her ceiling. Coincidence? - Justin Timms/Yellow Veil Pictures
Justin Timms/Yellow Veil Pictures
Molly (Cecilia Milocco) was just released from a psychiatric hospital. Now she's hearing strange knocking in her ceiling. Coincidence?

Knocking
3 star(s), 78 minutes, streaming

Documentarian and short-film director Frida Kempff’s first feature-length film, “Knocking,” is an eerie, unsettling exercise in paranoia and psychotic delusions. It’s a bit too much of a slow boil for me, but I suspect many viewers will love the way Kempff unspools her narrative. I wanted and needed just a little more information upfront. There should be no argument, however, about Cecilia Milocco’s lead performance as Molly. Holy hell, she’s superb.

Detention
3 star(s), 85 minutes, streaming

The best horror often is mined from real life experiences, and “Detention,” a festival favorite hailing from Taiwan, uses a particularly intense period of its history, the early 1960s during martial law, when personal freedoms were under attack, to create a slow-burn thriller that explodes with fantastic special effects without sacrificing its strong character development. Even more impressive is the fact that “Detention” is based on a video game.

click to enlarge Prolific writer/director Miles Doleac returns with "Demigod," am ambitious if uneven slice of folk horror. - Gravitas Ventures/Sophia Fields
Gravitas Ventures/Sophia Fields
Prolific writer/director Miles Doleac returns with "Demigod," am ambitious if uneven slice of folk horror.

Demigod
2 star(s), 95 minutes, streaming

It’s not often that I find myself thoroughly frustrated with a director/writer/actor, but the prolific Miles Doleac continues to confound me. I absolutely loathed his 2019 effort, “Hallowed Ground,” and then absolutely loved his 2020 follow-up, “The Dinner Party.” I had high hopes for his latest, “Demigod,” but despite showing Doleac’s increasing talent behind the camera, the uneven script which he co-wrote takes too many easy turns instead of leaning heavily into the weird flourishes that made his elite cannibal cabal in “Dinner Party” so enthralling.

Naked Singularity
2 star(s), 93 minutes, streaming

As a screenwriter, Chase Palmer delivered the goods as one-third of the writing team responsible for 2018’s “It,” but as a writer-director, he’s still got some miles to travel. His feature debut, “Naked Singularity,” is a bizarre hybrid that tries to merge science fiction into a timely legal drama with mixed results. The main issue I had was that Palmer seemed to hold back too much from going further with his time-space-quantum physics subplot, spinning wheels instead on a not-as-good subplot involving a Mexican drug cartel and a troubled femme fatale.

Chompy & the Girls
1.5 star(s), 89 minutes, streaming

Skye Braband’s bonkers debut, a bizarre family drama trapped inside an intergalactic celestial being that devours universes (I think), is fitfully entertaining and buoyed by some fantastic practical effects work, but it just doesn’t rise to the challenge of feeling like a complete film.

click to enlarge John Wood (Daniel Stisen) takes aim in "Last Man Down" - Saban Films
Saban Films
John Wood (Daniel Stisen) takes aim in "Last Man Down"

Last Man Down
1.5 stars, 87 minutes, streaming

Pandemics have become the go-to global crisis of late in direct-to-video action and horror fare, but “Last Man Down,” a dubbed, Euro-trash actioner starring bodybuilder-turned-actor Daniel Stisen, fails to find anything meaningful to do with or say about the ramifications of such an event. Instead, it’s more of the same: Military soldiers acting unilaterally, killing any survivors they encounter out of fear. A lone hero who self-isolates in the woods to avoid conflict, crippled by the memory of seeing his wife executed. A pretty blonde detainee who shows up wounded, needing help. Not even Bob Ross himself could turn this tired canvas into a happy little accident.

click to enlarge Want to know a secret? "The Secret of Sinchanee" is not worth the effort. You're welcome. - Vertical Entertainment
Vertical Entertainment
Want to know a secret? "The Secret of Sinchanee" is not worth the effort. You're welcome.

The Secret of Sinchanee
1 star(s), 115 minutes, streaming

“The Secret of Sinchanee,” a new paranormal frightener, has a couple of decent jump scares, but its convoluted narrative about an ancient conflict between indigenous tribes people and the evil cult that wants to eradicate them, gets muddied by too many subplots and too much exposition.

click to enlarge Meet Karen (Taryn Manning). You may know a Karen. This Karen is bad, just like her film. - Quiver Distribution
Quiver Distribution
Meet Karen (Taryn Manning). You may know a Karen. This Karen is bad, just like her film.

Karen
0 star(s), 89 minutes, streaming

If only there was a way to give “Karen” less than zero stars. This BET-produced “thriller” about a privileged white single mother (Taryn Manning) named Karen, who loses her shit upon learning that an affluent Black couple have moved into her cul-de-sac, is the very definition of irresponsible trash TV.  For one, no one comes out of this abomination looking good. The unapologetically racist Karen starts off with her dial turned to 11, leaving absolutely nowhere for Manning to go with the character. But the script doesn’t do any favors to its Black characters either, saddling Cory Hardrict (Malik) and Jasmine Burke (Imani) with ridiculous dialogue and illogical actions that does more of an injustice than 100 dome-haired, middle-aged nags standing outside their door just waiting to point a finger or call 9-1-1.

John W. Allman has spent more than 25 years as a professional journalist and writer, but he’s loved movies his entire life. Good movies, awful movies, movies that are so gloriously bad you can’t help but champion them. Since 2009, he has cultivated a review column and now a website dedicated to the genre films that often get overlooked and interviews with cult cinema favorites like George A. Romero, Bruce Campbell and Dee Wallace. Contact him at Blood Violence and Babes.com, on Facebook @BloodViolenceBabes or on Twitter @BVB_reviews.

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About The Author

John W. Allman

John W. Allman has spent more than 25 years as a professional journalist and writer, but he’s loved movies his entire life. Good movies, awful movies, movies that are so gloriously bad you can’t help but champion them. Since 2009, he has cultivated a review column and now a website dedicated to the genre films...
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