‘Halloween H20: 20 Years Later’ on Paramount+

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) – The legacy of the horror movie sequel was nicely summed up in Scream by Jaime Kennedy’s film geek character: more bodies, more elaborate deaths, more gore. Director Steve Miner (a veteran of two Friday the 13th sequels), star Jamie Lee Curtis, and company took the high road in […]

Peter Cushing is Sherlock Holmes in the Hammer version of the Arthur Conan Doyle classic

‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ – Hammer’s Gothic Holmes

Hammer Films had just launched their full color revivals of the classic movie monsters when they tackled Sherlock Holmes with The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), giving him the Gothic treatment in a mix mystery and supernatural horror. Peter Cushing is perfectly cast as the great detective, the very embodiment of science and reason (which […]

The off-center horror of ‘The Dead Center’ on Amazon Prime

Filmmaker Billy Senese plays more upon suggestion and dread than visceral imagery in the low-budget indie horror thriller The Dead Center (2019). Shane Carruth (director and star of the indie science fiction films Primer and Upstream Color) centers the film as a driven psychiatrist in the Emergency Psychiatric Ward of a city hospital who is […]

Kevin McCarthy stars in Don Siegel's 1956 'Invasion of the Body Snatcher'

‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ – the original pod people on Paramount+ and Kanopy

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) – The original version of the oft-filmed science fiction horror is still the most insidious alien invasion film ever made. This is an invasion from within. Small town family doctor Kevin McCarthy returns to his small California coastal community from an out-of-town trip to find everything just a bit […]

Shauna Macdonald stars in the subterranean horror from Neil Marshall

‘The Descent’ – subterranean horror on Hulu

British genre maven Neil Marshall howled his arrival with his werewolf combat thriller Dog Soldiers, a sly and inspired UK hit that made cult ripples stateside. With The Descent (2005), a nerve wracking, claustrophobic survival thriller about six spelunking women hunted by the creepiest cave dwellers to skitter across a screen, Marshall honed his skills […]

The giant monster invasion begins on ‘Cloverfield’

A 21st century Godzilla movie for the (pre-video phone) camcorder generation, Cloverfield (2008) is a high-concept reworking of an old-fashioned creature feature with a DIY aesthetic. The conceit of the film is essentially the home video record of an alien invasion as shot by a wise-cracking default cameraman recording every movement of a group of […]

John Carpenter directs the cult movie satire starring Rowdy Roddy Piper and Keith David

John Carpenter’s ‘They Live’ on Peacock

A year after Oliver Stone elevated the phrase “Greed is good” to a satirical double-edged mantra in Wall Street, John Carpenter put it more bluntly in They Live (1988), a scruffy little genre movie with a subversive subtext. “Why do we worship greed?” asks an pirate broadcaster in the opening scenes, as images of homeless […]

Lucy Davis, Kate Ashfield, Dylan Moran, Simon Pegg, Penelope Wilton, and Nick Frost in the film by Edgar Wright

‘Shaun of the Dead’ – the funniest zombie comedy ever on HBO Max

The apocalyptic hysteria of the zombie film has always been pitched on the edge of comedy: a horrible black joke played on humanity by a god with a sick sense of humor. Director/co-writer Edgar Wright and co-writer/star Simon Pegg’s self-proclaimed “rom-zom-com” (romantic zombie comedy) Shaun of the Dead (2004) simply nudges it over the edge. […]

‘I Married a Witch’ – Veronica Lake casts a spell on Criterion Channel

“Long ago, when people still believed in witches …” I Married a Witch (1942), René Clair’s sexy ghost story by way of a cockeyed American romantic comedy, is a delightful and deftly made little trifle with Veronica Lake at her best as the daughter of an ancient supernatural trickster (played by Cecil Kellaway). Resurrected hundreds […]

David Naughton stars in John Landis's 'An American Werewolf in London'

‘An American Werewolf in London’ on HBO Max and HBO Now

John Landis teaches us two things in An American Werewolf in London (1981): turning into a werewolf is a very painful process, and the dead are boring! American tourist David Naughton survives a moonlight animal attack in Northern England only to turn into a hairy, bloodthirsty beast back in London when the moon is full. […]