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Horror Films To Watch On Netflix – Part Two

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By Don Gillette

Whew…
Good thing I didn’t try to review “Chick Flicks” or I never would have finished this little epistle. There are a million of those on Netflix, but still only 42 horror movies. My last column ran through the first 21 and here are the remaining 21 horror films streaming on Netflix:

A Haunted House 2:

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Not really a horror film, but it shows up when you look for “Horror” on Netflix. I’m a stickler for accuracy, so I have to include it. Having said that, though, it really is frightening, scary, and creepy that this film ever got made because it’s the stupidest waste of celluloid I’ve ever had to sit through. I can’t give you a plot synopsis because there is no plot. Depending on your sense of humor, you’ll either love this or hate it. If your sense of humor stopped developing when you were 7, it’s your cup of tea. Yes, I know I’m not rating Oscar winners or documentaries about the Holocaust–but this thing was neither scary nor funny. It was just bad.

The Damned:

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A family traveling in Colombia gets in a traffic accident and they hole up for the night in an inn. When they hear activity in the basement, they go down there and free a girl who was trapped inside. Surprise–the girl is an evil spirit. The Damned, also known as Gallows Hill is a pretty good horror movie; it’s formulaic, there are some good scares, the acting is decent, and it’s plenty creepy. Usually I avoid movies that were “also known as” because normally this means, “this was a shitty movie so we changed the title hoping you wouldn’t notice,” but on a dark and stormy night, you might enjoy this one.

Mercy:

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If you’re reading this particular column, you’re probably a Stephen King fan. If you’re a Stephen King fan, you might remember his short story “Gramma.” This film is based on that story and it’s an okay bit of horror. The premise is easy enough: a single mother and her two sons help take care of their grandmother who just happens to have mystical powers. This one’s not going to make anybody’s “Top 10″ list, but the acting is solid (and there are some great actors in the ensemble) and it’s good enough for a watch. (By the way, there’s a Twilight Zone episode called “Gramma” that does the same story in 45 minutes and it’s better).

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers:

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The first Halloween team, Debra Hill and John Carpenter, also wrote this one, so you can put any memories of Halloween XXVII, etc., out of your mind. It’s old home day in Haddonfield, Illinois: Donald Pleasance’s Dr. Loomis, the psychiatrist who wants Michael Myers dead; Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode (well, actually her daughter), and even little Tommy Doyle, the kid Laurie was babysitting in the original, are back. Six years after Michael Myers’ last outing, he comes back to Haddonfield looking for his niece (that’d be Laurie’s daughter) who escaped from him (after she gave birth to his kid). So not only is Michael still a homicidal maniac, he’s into incest. If you’re a fan of the Halloween series, you’ll enjoy this. They should have stopped after this one.

A Haunting At Silver Falls:

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A few years ago, a guy was wrongfully convicted of murdering his two daughters. The daughters haunt the town where the crime took place. Sounds very simplistic, but it makes for a good ghost story and they’re hard to come by. A good, rock-bottom, ghost story is actually a rare thing. No devils, no hell hounds, no Ouija boards… just a couple of murdered girls who won’t lay down until justice is served. Give this one a try; you won’t be disappointed.

At The Devil’s Door:

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Okay, I’ll make it quick. A real estate agent meets a crazy girl whom she thinks is the runaway daughter of a couple whose house she’s selling. The movie is 10 or 12 little stories that don’t quite synch up. Your best bet is to move rather rapidly along. I watched this for you–life is hard.

Exeter:

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The funny thing about Exeter is that it announces it’s “…from the director of Friday the 13th and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre…” but the truth is it’s from the director of the remakes of Friday the 13th and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre—the two worst remakes in the history of horror films.

A group of teenagers, throwing a drug party in an abandoned insane asylum (always a good idea), decide they’ll fool around with the occult. When they’re possessed by evil spirits, they’re only slightly more amusing than they were when they were just drug-addled teenagers throwing a party in an abandoned insane asylum.

This movie isn’t scary, but it’s gory. If that’s your thing, you might want to give it a shot. Could it have been better? Well, yeah–but Ben Affleck is Batman. Hollywood’s lost its mind. Next up–Jesse Eisenberg as Muhammad Ali.

The Houses October Built:

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Pretty cool.

Tired of all the semi-haunted houses that crop up around Halloween, five friends take off in an RV in search of the real thing. Just when they’re about to give up, things start happening and they figure out the haunt has come to them.

It’s a “found footage” type of film and I think we’re all getting a little tired of them, but overall, this is a good ride. The acting is better than you’d expect for a “B” movie, the plot line is more original than most, and the scenes in all the haunted houses are a lot of fun.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil:

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A masterpiece. This movie was out for 5 years before I watched it because I thought it would be stupid. It was brilliant.

Tucker and Dale are just a couple of lovable West Virginia “good ole boys” who head out to their dilapidated vacation cabin to drink beer and go fishing. A group of hipster college kids run into them and just assume that Tucker and Dale are in-bred, murdering psychopaths.

It’s a horror film/comedy/cult classic that should be required viewing for anybody who’s ever watched The Evil Dead or Deliverance or Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland or Tremors or any of a hundred others. My idea of a good weekend would be to hang out with Tucker and Dale.

Haunter:

haunter

Hmmm.

I just watched it (for this column) and it was most cool. When she hits 16, Lisa finds out she’s stuck in time living the same day over and over again a’ la’ Groundhog Day. Pretty soon, she figures out that she, her parents, and her little brother are all dead and trapped in the day they were murdered. Lisa discovers that she can contact people—people who are also victims of the killer in the past and the future. She learns the killer’s name (Oscar–go figure) and sets out to find a way to stop him.

Is it really a horror movie? No… it’s more of a thriller where most of the characters are dead people; a ghost story with bizarre turns and twists. Thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended.

V/H/S:

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Another “found footage” movie that tosses too many slices of horror movies at you to come together in a package.

Somebody hired a group of morons to burglarize a deserted house in the country to find a rare VHS tape. What they find are a bunch of old television sets, a dead body, and some film clips that show gory and ghastly imagery. This film tries to be an anthology tied around a central story, but it doesn’t quite make it.

It’s definitely worth a look, but it’s no Frankenstein.

The Den:

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Interesting, but a little claustrophobic.

A girl studying the habits of webcam chat site users watches a horrific murder one night during her research. When she, her family, and her friends, are targeted by the murderer, she gets more involved in the webcam chat scene.

Most of this film takes place on computer monitors, cameras, and cellphones and although that’s annoying, it adds to the suspense.

Well worth a watch, The Den is another “found footage” film, but not as bad as most.

The Seasoning House:

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A deeply disturbing horror and revenge film—and highly recommended.

In the Balkans in 1996, the population of a small town is slaughtered by the militia. A young girl, Angel, escapes death, but is taken by the commander and put to work caring for the girls of The Seasoning House, a brothel of drugged and kidnapped young girls who are prostituted to the military. Angel isn’t quite pretty enough to work as a whore, so she finds ways to move between the walls and crawlspaces in the house to help the other girls–and in so doing, she sees more than she’s intended to see. When the men who murdered her family show up, her revenge begins.

Doesn’t sound like a horror movie, does it? Give it 15 minutes and get back to me on that.

Killer Mermaid:

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Two American girls go on vacation in the Mediterranean and discover the hideout of a killer mermaid.

I’m sorry… I really am… I tried to watch it. Got 30 minutes into it and my neck got sore from shaking my head. I was afraid if I screamed at the TV one more time, my wife would call “the people” and have me taken away.

Wes Craven’s New Nightmare:

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I don’t like these films that try and blend the movie with reality. And I don’t like it when a cult figure like Wes Craven has to have his name stuck in front of the film’s title to get somebody to watch it. But…

On the 10th anniversary of A Nightmare On Elm Street, Heather Langenkamp (who played Nancy Thompson in the original and is now playing herself in this one) starts getting phone calls from Freddy Krueger. When her husband (yes—her real husband) is killed in a car accident and is found with slash marks on his face, Heather begins to suspect something. (Really?) She discovers that Wes Craven is writing another “Nightmare” movie and somehow they figure that Heather has to play Nancy one more time in order to defeat Freddy.

If this makes you want to grab your head and yell “Son of a bitch!” as loud as you can, I understand, but surprisingly enough, this is a good horror film. If you enjoyed A Nightmare On Elm Street, you’ve got to see this.

The Pact:

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I’m not going to lie to you—I watched this film about 2 years ago, I liked it, and I’ll be damned if I remember why.

It’s the story of a woman who comes home, with her daughter for the funeral of her mother, moves into her mother’s house, and discovers that her mother’s ghost is still hanging around. The mother wasn’t what you’d call a nice person, either. As the story progresses, the woman and her daughter vanish and it’s left up to her sister to discover the dark secrets in the family’s past.

I know it sounds hokey, but it was terrifying. It starts slowly—regular haunted house movie—but it turns into a really great, low-budget excursion.

The Human Centipede 3:

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If you read the previous column which feathered The Human Centipede 1, then you know it wasn’t the greatest of movies. Imagine what they’ve done to it with two sequels. And this one’s got poor Eric Roberts in it, too. I like that guy—Julia Roberts’ brother–he’s a good actor. I don’t know why he picks such idiotic parts in such idiotic movies.

In this steaming pile, Eric Roberts plays the Governor of Someplace. A prison warden is trying to gain the governor’s approval by coming up with the best punishment in the universe for prisoners. The best he can come up with is sewing inmates together ass-to-mouth.

I didn’t want to watch it, but I did—mostly on fast forward. Trust me–you won’t want to watch it, either.

Contracted:

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A girl contracts a sexually-transmitted disease… or that’s what she thinks she’s got. It ends up being something a lot worse, but whatever it is, it couldn’t be as bad as this truly, truly horrible movie.

The first clue that a movie’s going to be bad is if the Director and the Writer are the same person. I’ve figured this out over many years of reviewing movies. If Eric England is the director and Eric England is the writer, you’re in for something stupid. If Eric England or his wife or his kid is also in the movie, you’re in for something infinitely more stupid. I think Eric England’s entire family must have been in this one.

Just walk away.

Creep:

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A cameraman answers a Craigslist advertisement for a one-day job in an isolated mountain village and when he arrives, he discovers his boss is a little bit on the strange side.

This is another “found footage” film and as soon as that stops, I’ll be a lot happier with the horror genre, but this one is actually good. It’s full of tension, very well-paced, and sort of takes the whole “stalker” thing to another level.

I predict this will become a cult classic in a few years—watch it now so you can nod your head knowingly at parties and say, “I saw it years ago.”

The Rite:

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Always nice to end on a high note and they don’t get much higher than Anthony Hopkins.

Father Lucas (Hopkins) is an eminent Jesuit priest who has performed several exorcisms in the past. His newest student, Father Michael, has come to him in the hopes that the older, experienced priest can help him strengthen his faith. Father Lucas is a bit of an oddball, but when his exorcism of a 16 year old girl fails and the demon that was inside the girl finds another host, it’s up to Father Michael to fight and destroy the evil.

Sure, it’s hackneyed, but it’s not “just another exorcism movie.” It’s a good one.

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So there you have it – all 42 horror films streaming on Netflix in two concise, little bundles.

And here we are in spring with summer looming ahead; hours and hours of sunshine each day, hot weather, and Halloween is months away…

But if you happen to awaken in the dead of night, no birds singing, no kids outside playing, thunderstorm crashing and banging outside, and you’re feeling the need for a little scare, dive right in.

The water’s frigid, the lightning is flashing shadows against the mirror, and you might have forgotten to double-check the front door before you went to bed. What to do, what to do…

Don Gillette writes thrillers, horror, and dark literature. He is the author of three novels, a dozen volumes of poetry, and hundreds of short stories and newspaper articles. His latest book, Old Leather, is a collection of short fiction available world-wide at booksellers and on-line retailers.

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