Netflix is both the greatest innovation and worst enemy of the horror fan. On the positive side of the ledger, it makes thousands of catalog films and highly regarded but little seen independent and festival favorites available to millions of eyeballs for the price of burrito every month. Distributors who specialize in high concept genre fare such as Magnet and IFC make their titles available to the service not too long after their (limited) theatrical runs. The Netflix service is available on almost every consumer electronics device, from high end game consoles, DVD players, and inexpensive but powerful and easy to use devices like Roku.
On the negative side, the fact that so many titles are available all the time kills the “must-see” aspect of a film. How many times have you scanned through what’s available and skipped over a half dozen titles you were “dying” to see at one point, only to decide you don’t have two hours to invest in a movie while subsequently binge watching a half dozen episodes of Breaking Bad instead? Also, with so many quality horror titles being relegated to VOD and Netflix instead of hitting theaters, the communal aspect of watching a horror movie has taken a hit.
So listed below are ten titles that I’ve had sitting in my queue for months on end. I keep telling myself I will get around to them, but end up watching documentaries about sushi or flicking over to the WWE Network to watch late 90’s PPV events all over again.
ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE
For a while this was the holy grail of unreleased horror films. Director Jonathan Levine promised a smarter take than the norm for a teen slasher film and Amber Heard is always a pleasure to watch on screen. For whatever unknown reason this film sat in limbo for more than a half decade until Levine’s follow up Warm Bodies did decent box office numbers. Last fall Mandy received a limited theatrical and VOD release before hitting Netflix Instant earlier this year. Maybe it was a case of anticipation almost always outweighing reality, but the general consensus seems to ask what all the fuss was about. As it is, Mandy sits in MY LIST, scrolled over while I look for more episodes of Scooby Doo: Mystery Inc.
GRAVE ENCOUNTERS 2 While the first Grave Encounters is by no means a classic, it’s an entertaining take on the haunted house genre while taking the piss out of the “Ghost Hunters” paranormal reality shows that litter different networks. The second film looked like more of the same with a bit of a meta take on the found footage trend and the return of a character assumed dead after the first one.
INSIDIOUS 2 I love the first Insidious. Maybe I should rephrase that a little bit. I love the first two acts of Insidious when they make Rose Byrne’s character the focal point. As soon as things shift to Patrick Wilson’s point of view in the last act, Insidious loses a lot of steam. Wilson has always rubbed me as a black hole of charisma. That opinion, along with my thinking that Insidious works perfectly well as a standalone ghost story has always left me ambivalent about the followup.
THE SEASONING HOUSE This is the only film I missed at the Telluride Horror Show last year that I really wanted to see. It looks like an unrelenting and grim tale about sex trafficking in a war torn country that focuses on the human element rather than devolving into pure exploitation. For whatever reason, I can never muster up the effort to depress myself right before bed when I’m scanning through my queue and stop on this title.
A LONELY PLACE TO DIE Aside from sitting unwatched in MY LIST, I believe I still have the blu ray sitting in the envelope, unopened ten months after I received it. I’m pretty sure I told customer service that I “lost” it when I canceled the DVD portion of my subscription.
GRABBERS Drunken Irish (oxymoron) (give me a break, my mom’s maiden name is Brady) fight Cthulu like creatures from the sea. The medication I’m on makes me very sleepy even after one drink, so it’s rare that I tie one on anymore. I have my doubts that this movie is as much fun when you’re stone cold sober.
BURKE & HARE I love John Landis. I will kick box anyone that argues the fact that from the mid 1970s until the late 1980s had a better hot streak than him. An American Werewolf In London remains my all time favorite horror movie. I also like Simon Pegg a whole bunch. I don’t know why I haven’t sat down with Landis’ return to horror-comedy after a many year absence.
AXE GIANT: THE WRATH OF PAUL BUNYON It’s about a giant Paul Bunyon statue that’s come to life. For reasons I haven’t watched it, See: Grabbers.
MONSTERS I haven’t watched Gareth Edwards’ take on Godzilla either. Maybe I just hate the Scots.
WORLD WAR Z I know I’m not alone in thinking that no zombie movie should ever cost over $200 million to make, and that the press Illuminati were writing this Brad Pitt vehicle’s obituary before it ever hit theaters, but WWZ ended up being a surprise hit. It’s a movie that’s pure spectacle and action, and perhaps that’s why I’m hesitant to watch it on a television screen after missing out seeing it in 300′ big screen digital glory.