Welcome to Horrorscope, a monthly column keeping horror nerds and initiates up to date on what to watch now. Here’s a guide to all the essential horror streaming in September 2020.
Yes, that’s right, Halloween: the 61-day holiday that begins on September 1st and ends on October 31st. Am I misremembering how holidays work? Of course not! I simply subscribe to the notion that October has subsumed September into its spooky clutches. Like some ravenous extra-terrestrial goo or assimilating pod person, September belongs to October now! All hail Septober!
So, you don’t need the permission of a holiday to watch ungodly amounts of horror films. But there’s certainly something special about queueing up a scary flick during the designated spooky season. Which, as mentioned, is now two glorious months long. The leaves are dying, the days are getting shorter, it’s time to stare death in the face!
This month, I’ve highlighted a handful of frightening films from across the world of streaming to ease you into the Halloween spirit. We’ve got a Canadian horror-comedy of errors, a making-of documentary that will make you believe in curses, a campy love-letter to the ’70s, and an atmospheric slow-burn about baby murder.
Be sure to peruse the complete list below, calendar in hand, for a full picture of what horror flicks are coming and going form your favorite streaming services this month.
Pick of the Month: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)
Synopsis: Best friends Tucker and Dale are on-route to a weekend getaway to their fixer-upper lakehouse. Along the way, they run into a group of out-of-town teens who unfairly stereotype the completely harmless duo as backwoods killers. A series of accidents (involving woodchippers, nail guns, and sheer dumb luck) escalate the misunderstanding into an all-out bloodbath.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil does not have a bad bone in its body. Which is saying something for a film this dedicated to murdering teens. As the eponymous Tucker and Dale, Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine give two of the most endearing performances in genre film. Fussy and attentive, Tudyk is a pitch-perfect compliment to Labine’s interminable softness. As things escalate from casual prejudice to out-and-out violence, you desperately hope the pair will make it out alive and well — and that they finally get to renovate their lakehouse in peace!
The film joyfully subverts the long-held horror trope of sinister, xenophobic rural folk. And while admittedly it’s a one-note critique, the film is having so much fun it doesn’t really matter. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is a horror-comedy that delivers on gore, heart, and two fantastic central performances. This is a must-watch — and a damn fine re-watch — for any fan of the genre.
Leaves Netflix on September 28th.
A wild documentary about Richard Stanley’s doomed attempt to adapt Dr. Moreau
Synopsis: A “wait, it gets worse” making-of documentary detailing the disastrous production of the 1996 remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau.
Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau is such a good making-of documentary that it eclipses its source material. The 1996 version of The Island of Dr. Moreau is one of the most chaotic productions of all time. Famously so. But trust me, even if you have a passing knowledge that its production was “troubled,” what really happened was so much worse. From hurricanes to studio-meddling and Marlon Brando trolling the ever-living hell out of the entire production, the production was the Mount Everest of clusterfucks. The doc also features some truly exquisite talking-head storytelling from The Island of Dr. Moreau‘s initial director, Richard Stanley. If anyone is going to convince you that magic exists, it is this man.
Stanley’s latest, Color Out of Space, is also coming to Shudder this month. The film marks the director’s return to feature filmmaking after his self-imposed exile following the heartbreak of being elbowed off The Island of Dr. Moreau. If you’re going to watch Color Out of Space (which is…fine), Lost Soul is necessary and wildly entertaining context.
Available on Shudder beginning September 2nd.
Rob Zombie’s road trip from hell
Synopsis: After four friends stumble across a horror-themed roadside attraction, the proprietor reluctantly directs them to the final resting place of Dr. Satan, a local legend renowned for his human experiments. En route, their car breaks down and the gang finds themselves at the Firefly residence in search of a phone. Sure enough, the whole thing was a setup, and the group is slowly tortured and sacrificed one-by-one (in order of who’s most annoying, of course). Oh, right, and it turns out that Dr. Satan is more than just a legend.
I find Rob Zombie does his best work when he doesn’t take himself too seriously. And I’ll be the first to admit that House of 1000 Corpses is an acquired taste. However, if you take it for what it is (an extraordinarily silly, stylish, and loving pastiche of ’70s road-horrors), this film can blow your socks off. House of 1000 Corpses punctuates a major character death with a yodling ballad. There is a character named “Dr. Satan” for chrissakes. This film has an intentionally goofy gait, which invariably enables some of Zombie’s wackier flourishes. Luckily, House of 1000 Corpses is so obviously made with love, it’s hard not to nod along. Throw in some delightfully off the rails performances from Karen Black and the late Sid Haig and you’ve got yourself a one-way-ticket to camp town.
Leaves Hulu on September 30th.
A delicious New-England folktale
Synopsis: Set in primeval 17th Century New England, a banished Puritan family sets up a farm by the edge of a definitely evil, remote forest. As the sinister occurrences begin to pile up, the family begins to unravel.
There are two ways to watch The VVitch. The first is to revel in the astonishing atmosphere of Robert Eggers‘ feature film debut. The mounting paranoia, scapegoating, and (wait for it) scary goat-ing. Long live Black Phillip; we stan a legend. The second way to watch The VVitch is to turn the closed captioning on, which immediately diffuses all tension with such bangers as “spooky wind” and “ominous thud.” I haven’t watched The Lighthouse with closed captions yet, but if The VVitch is anything to go by, it shouldn’t disappoint. All told: The VVitch is a modern classic and one of the few examples of “elevated horror” (literally) making good on its promise.
Leaves Netflix on September 16th.
Streamable Horror Incoming This Month
|Amazon Prime||Die, Monster, Die! (1965)||September 1|
|Amazon Prime||The Haunted Palace (1963)||September 1|
|Amazon Prime||The Last House On The Left (1972)||September 1|
|Amazon Prime||The Video Dead (1986)||September 1|
|Amazon Prime||Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1972)||September 1|
|Amazon Prime||Yongary: Monster From The Deep (1967)||September 1|
|Hulu||Evil Dead II (1987)||September 1|
|Hulu||The Last House on the Left (1972)||September 1|
|Hulu||The Omen (2006)||September 1|
|Hulu||Practical Magic (1998)||September 1|
|Hulu||Awoken (2019)||September 6|
|Netflix||Anaconda (1997)||September 1|
|Netflix||Possession (1981)||September 1|
|Shudder||Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)||September 1|
|Shudder||Color Out of Space (2019)||September 1|
|Shudder||The Vampier Lovers (1970)||September 1|
|Shudder||Victor Crowley (2018)||September 1|
|Shudder||Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau (2014)||September 2|
|Shudder||Fade to Black (1980)||September 7|
|Shudder||Southbound (2015)||September 7|
|Shudder||NOS4A2 (2019-)||September 10|
|Shudder||Door Into Darkness (1973)||September 14|
|Shudder||Holliston (2012)||September 14|
|Shudder||Starfish (2018)||September 14|
|Shudder||Spiral (2019)||September 17|
|Shudder||Rabbit (2017)||September 21|
|Shudder||Verotika (2019)||September 24
Horror Titles Expiring from Streaming SoonOn Their Way Out: These films have one foot in the grave—bump ‘em to the top of your September 2020 queue while you can!
|Hulu||2001 Maniacs (2005)||September 30|
|Hulu||Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (1992)||September 30|
|Hulu||Buried (2010)||September 30|
|Hulu||Friday the 13th – Part III (1982)||September 30|
|Hulu||Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter (1984)||September 30|
|Hulu||House of 1000 Corpses (2003)||September 30|
|Hulu||Practical Magic (1998)||September 30|
|Hulu||The Devil’s Rejects (2005)||September 30|
|Hulu||The Eye (2008)||September 30|
|Hulu||The Eye 2 (2005)||September 30|
|Netflix||The VVitch (2015)||September 16|
|Netflix||Train to Busan (2016)||September 17|
|Netflix||Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)||September 28|
|Netflix||Insidious (2010)||September 30|
|Netflix||Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)||September 30|
|Netflix||Sinister (2012)||September 30|