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. Here’s a guide to all the essential horror streaming in March 2021.
March has got me feeling a certain kind of way. This month marks the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic. That, coupled with the typical transitional malaise of shoulder season, feels like the reason comfort-food watches were invented. And around these parts, comfort food means all things ghoulish, grotesque, and ghastly.
So, since March can go to hell, what better excuse to… go to hell. All my picks for this month feature a tinge of the satanic, from bargains with Beelzebub to diabolical debauchery to pernicious possessions. This month, I’m shouting out a new arrival hot off last year’s Fantasia festival, a maligned millennial comic book adaptation, and two classic riffs on what it means to sell your soul.
Be sure to peruse the complete list below, calendar in hand, for a full picture of what horror flicks are coming and going from your favorite streaming services this March.
Pick of the Month: The Devils (1971)
Synopsis: Urbain Grandier, a groovy and divisive local priest, uses his charisma to protect Loudun from being demolished at the hands of the crown, who abhor the city’s tolerance of Protestants. Soon, Grandier stands accused of demonically bewitching Sister Jeanne, a mother superior whose sexual obsession spreads throughout the convent, summoning an inquisitor all-too-happy to stoke the flames of fervor.
In one of his rare no-star reviews, Roger Ebert proclaimed that “it took courage for me to go see The Devils, just like it took courage for Ken Russell to make it.” While I disagree with Ebert’s rating, this much is true: Ken Russell is a deviant, a genius, and an absolute madman. And while it is a masterpiece, The Devils is certainly not for the faint of heart.
The film’s infamy tends to overshadow the fact that The Devils is one of the most scathing parables of political corruption that’s ever been committed to celluloid. To focus solely on the film’s sadistic pageantry is to fall for the same sleight of hand as the populace of Loudun. The blasphemous theatrics are just that: a calculated perversion of reality, a cynical stoking of histrionics, all to achieve a political end. And to justify the murder of an innocent man.
In a film overflowing with memorable, career-best performances, Oliver Reed is, in a word, staggering. As Urbain Grandier, his depiction of human arrogance and integrity is the heart of a film that, to this day, is very difficult to find let alone watch in its uncut entirety. Here’s your chance. Don’t miss it.
Arrives on Shudder on March 1st.
An early cinema SFX showcase that’d make Satan proud
Synopsis: William Crackford learns that a famous alchemist named Alcofribas wants to sell him a talisman. Oh, if I had a nickel for every time a famous alchemist wanted to sell me a talisman. After visiting Alcofribas’ home (where he is assaulted by sentient furniture), Crackford makes it known that he wishes to travel the world. Giddily, Alcofribas informs Crackford that he can make his wish come true. In his excitement, Crackford glazes over the terms and conditions of their agreement, unaware that he has unwittingly sold his soul to Satan himself.
The Faust myth is one of the oldest and most persistent narratives in horror. And maybe even within cinema itself. The myth served as the subject for over two dozen films before 1913. And between 1896 and 1904, cinematic pioneer and special effects innovator Georges Méliès produced (at least) five versions of the story. Diabolic magic was a natural fit for Méliès, who shined brightest when he championed cinema as an art form rather than a fairground attraction.
The Merry Frolics of Satan (1906) is Méliès’ firing on all cylinders. It’s fabulous, surreal, and wantonly experimental. If early cinema is a blind spot, or if you are a fan of the likes of Terry Gilliam or Guy Maddin, this is a short and wildly rewarding watch. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was giving Méliès access to the jump cut.
Arrives on The Criterion Channel on March 20th.
Finally, the possessed pants movie we’ve all been waiting for
Synopsis: A possessed pair of jeans choose violence, and sets about punishing a trendy clothing company for its unscrupulous business practices. After arriving at the company’s flagship store, the evil jeans unleash their fury on the staff. It’s up to Libby, an idealistic salesclerk, to get a leg up on the pants to stop the carnage.
There are some films whose existence is entirely justified by their premise. Death Bed: The Bed That Eats? Say no more. Werewolves On Wheels? I’m all in. A Canadian horror-comedy about a possessed pair of jeans? Sign me up! I have immense respect for any film that does what it says on the tin. And the fantastically-named Slaxx promises to do just that. It’s about a possessed pair of pants. You know what you’re getting into.
Directed by Elza Kephart, Slaxx premiered digitally at the Fantasia Film Festival last August. It is, by all accounts, a good ol’ campy B-movie. And sometimes that’s just what the doctor ordered. I would not be doing my job if I didn’t let you know that there’s a killer pants movie hitting the web this month.
Arrives on Shudder on March 18th.
Get out your genre punch cards: it’s a theological action-horror neo-noir!
Synopsis: John Constantine is a freelance exorcist who’s been to Hell and back in more ways than one. He’s seen the other side. And now he can see Earth for what it really is: a battleground between angelic and demonic gangsters vying for the souls of humanity. As if keeping some semblance of spiritual peace wasn’t enough, word on the street is someone…or something…is making a move on the powers that be. It’s up to Constantine and a determined LAPD officer named Angela to crack the case.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “Meg. Didn’t you just talk about Constantine for its 16th anniversary? Isn’t that enough?” Look. This is the genre-blending hill I’ve decided to die on. Constantine got a raw deal in 2005 despite being an absolute hoot. And by absolute hoot, I of course mean “John Wick but make it catholic.” Like, Keanu Reeves and Rachel Weisz smoking every cigarette in the greater Los Angeles area? While fighting the antichrist? Pun intended: hell yeah!
And I do, in fact, have a topical reason for recommending Constantine. Zack Snyder’s much-discussed (and very, very long) cut of Justice League is coming out this month. I expect its release is going to rekindle the “comic book movie” discourse flame. So, whether you’re avoiding the whole kerfuffle or if you want a good example of a film that’s a genre film first and a comic book movie second, Constantine‘s got the goods.
Arrives on HBO Max on March 1st.
Streamable Horror Incoming This MonthFresh blood: A list of all the horror content coming to streaming services in March 2021.
|Amazon Prime||Attack the Block (2011)||March 1|
|Amazon Prime||Beloved (1998)||March 1|
|ARROW||The Stylist (2020)||March 1|
|ARROW||Crow Hand!!! (2014)||March 1|
|ARROW||Gwilliam (2015)||March 1|
|ARROW||The Devil's Asshole (2019)||March 1|
|ARROW||Gwilliam’s Tips for Turning Tricks into Treats (2018)||March 1|
|ARROW||The Invisible Man Appears (1949)||March 1|
|ARROW||The Invisible Man vs the Human Fly (1957)||March 1|
|ARROW||Mirror, Mirror (1990||March 19|
|The Criterion Channel||The Infernal Cauldron (1903)||March 20|
|The Criterion Channel||The Merry Frolics of Satan (1906)||March 20|
|The Criterion Channel||The Witch (1906)||March 20|
|The Criterion Channel||The Diabolic Tenant (1906)||March 20|
|HBO Max||Blade (1998)||March 1|
|HBO Max||The Brothers Grimm (2005)||March 1|
|HBO Max||Constantine (2005)||March 1|
|HBO Max||Hellbenders (2013)||March 1|
|HBO Max||The Lost Boys (1987)||March 1|
|HBO Max||The Quiet Ones (2014)||March 1|
|HBO Max||The Raven (2012)||March 1|
|HBO Max||Red Dragon (2002)||March 1|
|HBO Max||Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005)||March 1|
|HBO Max||Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)||March 31|
|Hulu||Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader (2012)||March 1|
|Hulu||Beloved (1998)||March 1|
|Hulu||The Descent (2005)||March 1|
|Hulu||Pandorum (2009)||March 1|
|Hulu||Predators (2009)||March 1|
|Hulu||Young Frankenstein (1974)||March 1|
|Hulu||Triggered (2020)||March 6|
|Hulu||Intersect (2020)||March 15|
|Hulu||Hunter Hunter(2020)||March 19|
|Netflix||I Am Legend (2007)||March 1|
|Netflix||Jason X (2001)||March 1|
|Netflix||The Block Island Sound (2020)||March 11|
|Netflix||Hospital (2017)||March 20|
|Shudder||The Burning (1981)||March 1|
|Shudder||Amityville II: The Possession (1982)||March 1|
|Shudder||The Devils (1971)||March 1|
|Shudder||Lucky (2020)||March 4|
|Shudder||Edge of the Axe (1988)||March 8|
|Shudder||Vampyres (1974)||March 8|
|Shudder||Prey (2019)||March 9|
|Shudder||Butcher Baker Nightmare Maker (1981)||March 9|
|Shudder||Stay Out of the Attic (2021)||March 11|
|Shudder||Hosts (2020)||March 15|
|Shudder||It Cuts Deep (2020)||March 15|
|Shudder||Game of Death (2017)||March 15|
|Shudder||Shakma (1990)||March 15|
|Shudder||Nosferatu (1922)||March 16|
|Shudder||The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1921)||March 16|
|Shudder||The Great Gabbo (1929)||March 16|
|Shudder||White Zombie (1932)||March 16|
|Shudder||Slaxx (2021)||March 18|
|Shudder||Koko-Di Koko-Da (2019)||March 18|
|Shudder||Let's Scare Julie (2019)||March 22|
|Shudder||White of the Eye (1987)||March 22|
|Shudder||The Untamed (2016)||March 22|
|Shudder||Violation (2021)||March 25|
|Tubi||And Soon the Darkness (2010)||March 1|
|Tubi||Ghost (1990)||March 1|
|Tubi||The Row (2018)||March 1|
|Tubi||Thirteen Ghosts (2001)||March 1|
|Tubi||The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)||March 1|
|Tubi||Underworld (2003)||March 1|
|Tubi||Underworld: Awakening (2012)||March 1|
|Tubi||Underworld: Blood Wars (2016)||March 1|
|Tubi||Underworld: Evolution (2006)||March 1|
|Tubi||Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)||March 1|
Horror Titles Expiring from Streaming Soon
|The Criterion Channel||A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)||March 31|
|The Criterion Channel||The Nightcomers (1971)||March 31|
|The Criterion Channel||The Wicker Man (1973)||March 31|
|The Criterion Channel||Black Christmas (1974)||March 31|
|The Criterion Channel||Death Line (1972)||March 31|
|The Criterion Channel||The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)||March 31|
|The Criterion Channel||Rabid (1977)||March 31|
|The Criterion Channel||Beware! The Blob (1972)||March 31|
|The Criterion Channel||The Velvet Vampire (1971)||March 31|
|The Criterion Channel||Humanoids from the Deep (1980)||March 31|
|The Criterion Channel||Nosferatu (1922)||March 31|
|The Criterion Channel||Daughters of Darkness (1971)||March 31|
|The Criterion Channel||Peeping Tom (1960)||March 31|
|The Criterion Channel||Shivers (1975)||March 31|
|HBO Max||The Curse Of La Llorona (2019)||March 13|
|HBO Max||Alien (1979)||March 31|
|HBO Max||See No Evil (2006)||March 31|
|Hulu||Double, Double, Toil and Trouble (1993)||March 31|
|Hulu||Igor (2008)||March 31|
|Hulu||Species (1995)||March 31|
|Hulu||Stephen King's Graveyard Shift (1990)||March 31|
|Hulu||Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)||March 31|