Hammer Horror’s Under-Seen (Katana-Wielding) Masterpiece

Plus all the horror content coming and going in the world of streaming this month.

Captain Kronos

Welcome to Horrorscope, a monthly column keeping horror nerds and initiates up to date on all the genre content coming to and leaving from your favorite streaming services. 


Being a horror fan comes with its fair share of struggles (finding specific clothing items in an all-black closet, making recommendations for movie night that won’t scandalize your loved ones). But no struggle is greater than trying to stay up-to-date with new releases while frantically trying to fill in blind spots. Sure, this is a broad-strokes affliction suffered by all film dorks, but I would argue the focus of being a fan of a particular genre does light a proverbial fire under the ass of the horror completionist.

With this in mind, my picks for February have one foot in the oldie-goodie past and another in the fresh-off-the-fest future. Aren’t you lucky? You get to have your keeping-up-with-the-discourse cake and eat backlog too. (Not my best metaphor but also not my worst). This month we’re shouting out two hot new things from the past year: a Finnish BDSM flick with bite (and heart) and an Indian madcap/mad-cow adrenaline shot. Balancing things out with some mid-’70s entries, we’ve got an essential Hammer Horror vampire film (it’s not the one you’re thinking of) and some righteously ridiculous techno-horror sleaze.

From where I’m writing, February is a cold, dank, cancel-your-plans-because-of-an-ice-storm kind of month. Which is to say: a perfect time to make some new horror discoveries and revisit some old favorites (hello, Dog Soldiers! hello, Mimic!). Be sure to peruse the complete list below, calendar in hand, for a full picture of what horror flicks are coming and going in the world of streaming this month.

Until next time, boils and ghouls!


Pick of the Month: Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter (1974)

Kronos Vampire Hunter

Synopsis: When his village falls prey to a string of deaths that leave young victims mysteriously withered with age, a former military surgeon hits up his old army buddy (now-supernatural ass-kicker), Captain Kronos, to investigate.

Holy hell, dear reader: run, don’t walk. Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter is a real treat for Hammer fans and new viewers alike. Deviating from the British genre house’s better known Dracula films, the under-seen and supremely righteous Captain Kronos puts the focus on its monster-hunting hero. Played by Horst Janson (and dubbed by Julian Holloway), Kronos is German Van Helsing by way of James Bond and if that doesn’t rub you the right way, I can’t hang with you. Did I mention he has a katana? Because he has a katana.

Amidst Hammer’s overflowing library of vampire pictures, Captain Kronos is an ahead-of-its-time standout with genuinely thrilling action-horror, the legend that is Caroline Munro, and a fresh approach to vampire lore. Hammer’s plans to develop Captain Kronos into a franchise were unjustly thwarted by a poor box office. Show those ’70s audiences how it’s done and check out this swashbuckling, monster-hunting masterpiece: the pulpy, whip-smart crown jewel in Hammer Horror’s gaudy tiara.”.

Available on Hulu and Amazon Prime February 1st.

A heartwarming tour-de-force you can’t show to your mom

Dogs Don't Wear Pants

Synopsis: Years after the death of his wife, Juha is still sleepwalking, dazed, detached, and unable to connect with other people. While his pre-teen daughter patronizes a local tattoo parlor, he wanders into the basement and finds a sex dungeon. Under the heel of Mona’s boot, Juha finds self-discovery in self-destruction; losing a couple of bits and pieces along the way but discovering a new kind of wholeness.

I was over the moon when I heard that Shudder had picked up Dogs Don’t Wear Pants, a supremely sweet and unflinchingly brutal little film from last year that has easily army-crawled its way to the top of my “favorite films I can’t recommend to everyone” list. If you have the stomach for it, Dogs Don’t Wear Pants is a profoundly rewarding, tender, and darkly funny film about navigating grief and embracing feeling over numbness. Pekka Strang’s performance as Juha keeps ringing in my mind like a bell and Krista Kosonen’s Mona is enigmatic and undeniable. Finnish director Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää has delivered a very special picture: be sure not to miss it.

Side note: Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Dogs Don’t Wear Pants is a part of “Love Sick,” Shudder’s featured collection this month encouraging viewers to cross that thin line between love and terror. In addition to Dogs Don’t Wear Pants, the titles include Lizzie, Beast, My Bloody Valentine (1981), Audition, The Love Witch, Spring, Ganja & Hess, Double Lover, November, Are We Not Cats, Honeymoon, Little Deaths, Kiss of the Damned, Return of the Living Dead III, Night of the Living Debs, and the series A Discovery of Witches, along with Prom Night and Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II.

Arriving on Shudder February 6th

HAL 9000 f*cks in this skin-crawling techno-horror

Demon Seed

Synopsis: Alex Harris’ marriage is strained by his devotion to his latest project: Proteus, an intelligent, organic, human-obsessed supercomputer. When his relationship with his wife Susan finally disintegrates, Alex moves out…and Proteus moves in, intent on becoming human by whatever means necessary.

A moment of silence for Criterion’s extremely radical 1970s Sci-Fi Collection, some of which has already departed into the programming ether. Of the remaining loiterers vanishing at the end of the month, 1977’s Demon Seed is both the most horror-affiliated and the most disturbing. Just look at that tagline: “A man has created a machine. Now the machine wants to create a man.” Julie Christie is fantastic, the puzzle-box creature effects are jarringly beautiful, and conceptually, it’s hard not to praise a film this committed to a premise this bonkers. It’s Rosemary’s Baby by way of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and it’s hard to forget.

Leaving Criterion Channel February 29th

Apocalypse Cow

Jallikattu

Synopsis: A water buffalo destined for slaughter escapes its fate and goes on a rampage in a small village, leaving a frenzy of chaos and violence in its wake. 

Jallikattu is our Amazon Prime pick of the month for a reason. Despite its minuscule budget, this Indian Malayalam-language film is a stupendous assault on the senses; a technically finessed, frenetic portrait of mayhem and a searing indictment of the more aggressive leanings of masculinity. Jallikattu is a deeply uncomfortable and unhinged watch…but that’s half the fun. Merits taken in stride, this film is also a must-see for anyone whose genre habits have been favoring the western hemisphere. Bonus: one of the year’s most unsettling horror scores!

Arriving on Amazon Prime February 4th

Fresh Blood: Streamable Horror Incoming This Month

Inbound horror genre titles all in one place, for your streaming pleasure.

Netflix

Available Feb. 1st
Scary Movie 2 (2001)

Available Feb. 7th
Locke & Key (2020) – Netflix Original

Available Feb. 9th
Polaroid (2019)

Available Feb. 20th
Spectros (2020) – Netflix Original

Available Feb. 21st
A Haunted House (2013)

Available Feb. 22nd
Girl on the Third Floor (2019)

Available Feb. 25th
Every Time I Die (2019)


Hulu

Available Feb. 1st
28 Days Later (2003)
Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter (1974)
Ghost (1990)
The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959)
Mimic (1997)
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Wrinkles the Clown (2019)

Available Feb. 7th
Into The Dark: My Valentine (2019) – Hulu Original; episode premiere

Available Feb. 9th
Alive (2019)

Available Feb. 14th
From Hell (2001)
Villains (2019)


Criterion Channel

Available Feb. 16th
The Hell-Bound Train (1930)


Amazon Prime

Available Feb. 1st
Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter (1974)
Ghost (1990)
High Voltage (2018)
The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959)

Available Feb. 3rd
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Available Feb. 4th
Jallikattu (2019)

Available Feb. 9th
Alive (2019)


Shudder

The Dead Lands (new episodes every Thursday through March 5th)

Available Feb. 1st
Child’s Play (1988)
Escape From New York (1981)
The Fog (1980)
My Bloody Valentine 3D (2009)
Night of the Comet (1984)

Available Feb. 3rd
Like Me (2017)
The Whistler (2018)

Available Feb. 6th
Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (2019) – Shudder Original

Available Feb. 10th
Catcalls (2017)
The Golden Glove (2019)
The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Prom Night (1980)
Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)

Available Feb. 13th
3 From Hell (2019) – A Shudder Exclusive

Available Feb. 17th
Blanketty
Seoul Station (2016)
Return of the Living Dead III (1993)

Available Feb. 20th
Jessica Forever (2019)- Shudder Original

Available Feb. 24th
Dog Soldiers (2002)
Empathy, Inc. (2018)
Wendigo (2001)


On Their Way Out: Horror Streaming Titles Expiring Soon

These films have one foot in the grave—bump ‘em to the top of your queue while you can!

Netflix

Leaving Feb. 14
District 9 (2009)

Leaving Feb. 14
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)


Hulu

Leaving Feb. 29
Cube (1998)
Cube 2: Hypercube (2003)
Cube Zero (2005)
Knowing (2009)
Ouija House (2018)
Ouija Séance: The Final Game (2018)
Sorority Row (2009)


Criterion Channel

Leaving Feb. 29
Escape from New York (1981)
The Ultimate Warrior (1975)
Demon Seed (1977)
THX 1138 (1971)

(Senior contributor)

Three toddlers in a trenchcoat. Currently running The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope.