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.
There’s an episode of The Twilight Zone where a bookish bank teller accidentally becomes the last man on earth. And sure, it stinks that the human race has been obliterated by a nuclear holocaust, but now the man finally (finally!) has the time to read as much as he wants. Of course, just after he raids the library, he shatters his eyeglasses. Now that ain’t fair.
Thanks to the ongoing global pandemic, horror fans have theoretically never had a better opportunity to widdle down their watchlists. Surely, if there were a time to power through the classics, this would be it. Oh, to be rid of blindspots! It’s an attractive idea. And yet, for many of us, marathoning long-put-off horror fare is turning out to be easier said than done. Maybe you’re overwhelmed by choice. Maybe you’re gravitating more towards the familiarity of old favorites. Maybe the pressure to use this all this free time “productively” has left a bad taste in your mouth. In any case: I feel you. There are days where I’m excited to wade into my ballooning unseen horror laundry list. And there are others where I want to put on Re-Animator for the five billionth time.
Whether you’re gleefully blitzing through your backlog, seeking comfort, or on the hunt for something completely different, this month I’ve tried to highlight a little something for everyone from May’s incoming streaming offerings. We’ve got a trippy synthwave Shudder Original scored by Carpenter Brut and the greatest so-bad-it’s-good slasher sequel this side of Crystal Lake. We’ve also got two bonafide classics from opposite sides of the world, one of which, be warned, may hit a little too close to home. Pick your poison.
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: Bood Machines (2020)
Synopsis: Two space hunters track down a renegade ship piloted by an A.I. trying to free itself.
Blood Machines is a weird one. But what better way to spice up the monotony of lockdown than by taking a quick stroll off the beaten path? The 50-minute sci-fi horror rock opera (what else to call it?) unfolds in three parts, with a flippant attitude towards narrative and a gratuitous amount of style. Blood Machines is scored by French synthwave icon Carpenter Brut, the B-movie inspired neo-retro artist whose music makes you feel like Snake Plissken on acid. If you’re looking for a hint of what to expect, check out the prequel, a music video for Carpenter Brut’s mind-melter “Turbo Killer.” Both the music video and its experimental sequel are directed by Raphaël Hernandez and Savitri Joly-Gonfard (under the pseudonym “Seth Ickerman”).
Premieres on Shudder May 21st.
A melancholic masterpiece about throat-ripping ghosts
Synopsis: Two women return from the grave in the form of spectral man-eating cats to take revenge on the band of renegade samurai responsible for their rape and murder. When a disillusioned war hero is sent to deal with the vengeful spirits, he winds up face-to-face with his own demons.
The second film in Kaneto Shindo‘s ghostly diptych, Kuroneko (1968) is one of the most beautiful horror films ever made. Norimichi Igawa and Kiyomi Kuroda’s cinematography transforms bamboo groves into a liminal purgatory; a spectral space between the living and the dead where light bends at odd angles and time loses all meaning. Kuroneko is a haunting, seductive, and unnerving account of love, loss, and the pressure points where the two collapse on each other. It is the rare rape-revenge film devoid of blood-splattered glee, reeking instead of a tender combination of melancholy and regret. The film has been streaming on Criterion for some time now but is being packaged as a part of the “Cannes ’68: Cinema in Revolt” collection which features films from the most infamously disruptive year in the festival’s history…that is until 2020 came along.
Available on Criterion Channel May 12th.
The Friday the 13th sequel for the people who don’t watch Friday the 13th sequels
Synopsis: After the massacres at Crystal Lake, Jason is finally pronounced dead and taken to the morgue. Except he spontaneously revives! Who could have seen this coming?! The killings at Crystal Lake begin anew as Jason trapeses his way through a smattering of horny young folks.
Is Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter the “final chapter” in the series? No. Is Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter a good movie? No. Is Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter the most fun you can have watching an indestructible and extremely dumb mama’s boy mow down annoying teenagers? Yes. Yes, it is. Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter is a top tier midnight movie; an out of bounds goof fest that is simultaneously one of the most accessible and plot-laden entries in the franchise. This is the fourth entry in the series and that does not matter at all. This is the Dom Pérignon of so-bad-it’s-good 80s slashers and I don’t want to give anything else away because everyone should get to experience [redacted] for the first time. It’s ruthless, hilarious, and absolutely off the rails. Run don’t walk. Or stomp machete in hand; all are welcome here.
Available on Amazon Prime and Hulu May 1st.
Saul Bass’ shelter-in-place sci-fi horror
Synopsis: Two scientists working in the Arizona desert find themselves trapped in a remote station under siege from the would-be subject of their research: a hyper-intelligent colony of mutant ants.
Phase IV (1974) is the first, and only, directorial credit of Saul Bass, the graphic designer best known for his strikingly kinetic title sequences and minimalistic film posters. Phase IV falls squarely under the auspices of 70s sci-fi, a horror-adjacent subgenre that is probably the riskiest on-the-nose thing you could watch these days. It is a group of films preoccupied with lonely, impending, and misanthropic visions of the man’s demise. And Phase IV is no exception. Once cornered, the two scientists (Nigel Davenport and Michael Murphy) begin to lose their nerve, slipping into hubristic desperation and quiet acceptance as they reckon with the wider implications of their ant-imposed lockdown. Phase IV is a desperate, sinister, and thoughtful film about the downfall of an outmatched, overconfident species. Sound familiar?
Available on Criterion Channel May 10th.
Streamable Horror Incoming This Month
Fresh blood: A list of all the horror content leaving streaming services in May 2020.
|Amazon Prime||A Cadaver Christmas (2011)||May 1|
|Amazon Prime||Who Saw Her Die? (1972)||May 1|
|Amazon Prime||Friday The 13th Part III (1982)||May 1|
|Amazon Prime||Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter (1984)||May 1|
|Amazon Prime||Torso (1973)||May 1|
|Amazon Prime||Inferno (1980)||May 1|
|Amazon Prime||Night Train Murders (1975)||May 1|
|Amazon Prime||Seven Deaths In The Cat’s Eye (1973)||May 1|
|Amazon Prime||The Blood Spattered Bride (1972)||May 1|
|Amazon Prime||Daughters of Darkness (1971)||May 1|
|Amazon Prime||Come to Daddy (2019)||May 23|
|Criterion Channel||Dogtooth (2009)||May 5|
|Criterion Channel||Seconds (2009)||May 10|
|Criterion Channel||Phase IV (1974)||May 10|
|Criterion Channel||Kuroneko (1968)||May 12|
|Criterion Channel||Collection: Short Films by the Quay Brothers||May 14|
|Hulu||The Conjuring (2013)||May 1|
|Hulu||Friday the 13th Part III (1982)||May 1|
|Hulu||Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter (1984)||May 1|
|Hulu||Monster House (2006)||May 1|
|Hulu||Mutant Species (1995)||May 1|
|Hulu||The Lodge (2019)||May 5|
|Netflix||Sinister (2012)||May 1|
|Netflix||Underworld (2003)||May 1|
|Netflix||Underworld: Evolution (2006)||May 1|
|Netflix||Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (2009)||May 1|
|Netflix||House at the End of the Street (2012)||May 8|
|Netflix||Carriers (2009)||May 19|
|Netflix||Final Destination (2000)||May 31|
|Netflix||Final Destination 2 (2003)||May 31|
|Netflix||Final Destination 3 (2006)||May 31|
|Shudder||The Last Drive in With Joe Bob Briggs||May 1|
|Shudder||Angst (1983)||May 1|
|Shudder||Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)||May 1|
|Shudder||Satan’s Slave (1980)||May 1|
|Shudder||The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971)||May 1|
|Shudder||Crave (2011)||May 4|
|Shudder||The Dybbuk (1960)||May 4|
|Shudder||Tenebre (1982)||May 4|
|Shudder||Z (2019)||May 7|
|Shudder||The Last Drive in With Joe Bob Briggs||May 8|
|Shudder||Devil’s Mile (2014)||May 11|
|Shudder||Parasomnia (2008)||May 11|
|Shudder||Hellraiser (1987)||May 11|
|Shudder||Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (1992)||May 11|
|Shudder||Monstrum (2018)||May 14|
|Shudder||The Last Drive in With Joe Bob Briggs||May 15|
|Shudder||Goodnight Mommy (2014)||May 18|
|Shudder||I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)||May 18|
|Shudder||The Dirties (2013)||May 18|
|Shudder||Blood Machines (2019)||May 21|
|Shudder||Turbo Kid (2015)||May 25|
|Shudder||Confessional (2020)||May 28|
|Shudder||The Last Drive in With Joe Bob Briggs||May 29|
Horror Titles Expiring from Streaming Soon
On Their Way Out: These films have one foot in the grave—bump ‘em to the top of your May 2020 queue while you can!
|Criterion Channel||The Juniper Tree (1990)||May 31|
|Criterion Channel||Scarlet Street (1945)||May 31|
|Criterion Channel||Repulsion (1965)||May 31|
|Hulu||Misery (1990)||May 31|
|Hulu||Night of the Living Dead (2006)||May 31|
|Hulu||Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection (2012)||May 31|
|Hulu||The Descent (2005)||May 31|
|Hulu||The Descent: Part 2 (2010)||May 31|
|Hulu||Zombieland (2009)||May 31|
|Netflix||Carriers (2009)||May 19|
|Netflix||The Final Destination (2009)||May 31|