Top Ten Offbeat Horror on Streaming Netflix

Netflix has so many wonderful horror movies nestled amid a flood of dreck. Here are ten you should watch right now.

Haunter

 

Haunter (2013) – Not Rated

Putting a new spin on spooky, the haunted soul in this film — 15-year-old Lisa — is long dead, and the ghost she senses is a flesh-and-blood teen.”

Oculus

 

Oculus (2013) – Rated R

Now young adults, sibs Tim and Kaylie are still trying to recover from — and get to the bottom of — their parents’ deaths more than a decade ago.”

Horns

 

Horns (2013) – Rated R

Accused of murder, Ig Perish wakes up one day to find he’s grown a set of horns — compelling people to confess their sins to him.”

Dead Snow 2

 

Dead Snow (2009) – Not Rated

A group of friends gets the scariest history lesson of their lives during a weekend getaway, where the party is interrupted by Nazi zombies.”

Dead Snow 2 (2014) – Rated R

After medical student Martin escapes from Nazi zombies, he gathers an army to face off against the bloodthirsty, undead battalion.

You're Next

 

You’re Next (2011) – Rated R

“A shy girl goes to her new boyfriend’s family reunion and must join their bloody fight for survival when a gang of masked hooligans invades the party.”

We Are What We Are

 

We Are What We Are (2013) – Rated R

Following a family tragedy, two teenage sisters are forced by their domineering father to keep their cannibalistic clan’s macabre traditions alive.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

 

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010) – Rated R

Expecting to relax at their “vacation” cabin, two backwoods boys see their trip turn into a nightmare when they’re accused of being psychotic killers.

American Mary

 

American Mary (2012) – Rated R

A medical student who’s piling up debt jumps at the chance when she’s offered a lucrative opportunity to perform extreme body-modification surgeries.

John Dies at the End

 

John Dies at the End (2012) – Rated R

Promising a trip that transcends time and space, a drug called Soy Sauce is sweeping the landscape — and quietly robbing users of their humanity.”

EW’s Criminally Underrated on Netflix

Entertainment Weekly’s current issue has several articles on criminally underrated television shows and movies. I thought that I’d highlight the ones you can watch on Netflix streaming.

Television: The Returned (The French series that spawned Resurrected), Peep Show, Harper’s Island (a slasher series where one or more cast members die each episode), The 30 for 30 series (picked by Bill Lawrence), Call the Midwife, Rectify

Movies: Flanders (picked by John Waters), Bandits, and two that would be on my personal list:

The Host

The Host (2006 – not last year’s abomination) – Rated R

A mutant creature has developed from toxic chemical dumping. When the monster scoops up the granddaughter of a snack-bar owner, he races to save her.”

Dead Snow

Dead Snow (2009) – Not rated

A group of friends gets the scariest history lesson of their lives during a weekend getaway, where the party is interrupted by Nazi zombies.

Look for the sequel, Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead, later this year.

Z is for Zombie, S is for Subtitle

World War ZMax Brooks’ World War Z is a very good book. The oral history concept is wonderful, allowing you to experience the zombie apocalypse from many different viewpoints. Previews for the movie version appear to focus on Brad Pitt so it would seem that World War Z the movie is not an adaptation of the book. Also the behavior of the zombies appears to be completely different. Because of this, I’m going to try and judge World War Z on its zombie and not literary merits.

Netflix is kind enough to provide an actual zombie category here. There are two lesser efforts from George Romero – Land of the Dead and Survival of the Dead. Here are my zombie film picks on instant Netflix for your perusal (sorry for the subtitles):

Dead Snow

Dead Snow (2009) – Not rated

A group of Norwegian friends get the scariest history lesson of their lives during a weekend getaway to the snowy town of Øksfjord, where the party is interrupted by throngs of Nazi zombies who once occupied the area. Armed with a machine-gun-equipped snowmobile, the gang fights for survival in director Tommy Wirkola’s quirky horror, shot on location in the mountains of Norway. The film had its U.S. premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.”

Rec 3

[REC] 3: Genesis (2012) – Rated R

The third chapter in the blood-chilling REC franchise begins with protagonists Koldo and Clara about to be wed, when several guests begin falling ill. The scene quickly turns ghoulish as those infected by a demonic virus begin to go lethally mad.”

Rammbock

Rammbock (2010) – Not Rated

“Hoping to reunite with his ex-girlfriend, a lovesick young man drops in to see her but instead finds a brash teen plumber — and before you can say “the undead,” the twosome must barricade the door against a legion of insatiable zombies.”

 

Breaking the Nazi Zombie Curse!

Okay, my predilection for villainous Nazis, especially in horror movies, is well-known. Nazi zombies in particular are my kryptonite. This week, I am going to binge on some Nazi zombies in an attempt to cure my addiction.

I love Shock Waves (1977) which features underwater Nazi Zombies and a very sinister Peter Cushing. I love Michael Mann’s confusing and oh-so-flawed The Keep (1983). A low-definition version of The Keep is currently on Amazon Prime and it is not available on DVD so watch it while you can. The Outpost is a smart little military horror thriller. The Boys from Brazil is a bit melodramatic and talky but you have to love Gregory Peck as Dr. Mengele. Boys is currently available on instant Netflix.

Dead Snow is another favorite of mine, essentially a foreign Nazi zombie version of The Evil Dead. It is currently available on instant Netflix and Amazon Prime. The director, Tommy Wirkola, has come over to the United States and made Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (not to be confused with Asylum’s latest ripoff Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft).

Outpost: Black Sun (2012)

“The year is 1945, the closing stages of WW2, and a German scientist by the name of Klausener is working on a frightening new technology that has the power to create an immortal Nazi army. Flash forward to present day, and a NATO task force is hurriedly deployed to Eastern Europe, where a sinister enemy appears to be mercilessly killing everything in its path. But this is no ordinary foe. Only Helena, a gutsy investigator on the trail of the notorious war-criminal Klausener, accepts the reality of that they are facing a battalion of Nazi Storm-Troopers, a veritable zombie army on the march. With the help of Wallace, a man who’s been chasing Nazi secrets for years, the two of them team up with a Special Forces Unit to venture deep behind enemy lines. Their mission to fight their way back to the source of this evil army and prevent the seemingly inevitable rise of the 4th Reich.”

Ack! I am apparently so addicted to Nazi zombies and enjoyed the original Outpost so much that I actually shelled out the bucks and bought this on Blu-Ray at Best Buy.

Sadly this is not more of the same of Outpost. Gone is the gravitas of an embattled mercenary commander played by Ray Stevenson. This is a by-the-numbers sequel written and directed by Steve Barker who also wrote and directed Outpost. In spite of this he seems to have no idea what made Outpost work so well.

Okay, I was worried for a bit that I simply like ALL Nazi horror – good, bad, or indifferent – but I did not enjoy Outpost: Dark Sun. One bad Nazi zombie movie down, four more to go.

 

Dead Snow – Nazis Gone Wild! week

Here is the film I have waited over a year to watch. This is Nazis Gone Wild! week. Dead Snow is currently available on instant Netflix.

WATCH: Dead Snow (2009) – NR – Not rated but definitely not for the kids as the poster might attest to. There is sex, brief nudity, language, and lots and lots of gore (almost entirely in the second half of the film).

“A group of Norwegian friends get the scariest history lesson of their lives during a weekend getaway to the snowy town of Øksfjord, where the party is interrupted by throngs of Nazi zombies who once occupied the area. Armed with a machine-gun-equipped snowmobile, the gang fights for survival in director Tommy Wirkola’s quirky horror, shot on location in the mountains of Norway. The film had its U.S. premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.”

“Ein. Zwei. Die.” – Poster tag line.

We should have gone to the beach like I told you.”

Dead Snow begins wonderfully with a stately winter sky shot slowly panning down to the forest as a piece of classical music plays in the background. As the music speeds up, we are watching a young woman in the forest on the run from…something. The pace of the chase matches the frantic end of the piece.

Tommy Wirkola wrote and directed here and for a young director, he has a sure hand. Many of the scenes are staged beautifully (for both surprise and comic effect) and he wisely refrains from showing much until the midway point of the movie.

I have to say that the winter landscapes of Norway are gorgeous, particularly in high definition on my Roku box. I would not want to live there but it seems quite a vacation spot for winter sports.

Wirkola superbly uses the blown out contrast between the bright white snow and the dark night and later between the snow and the blood. This film will definitely give the colors of your high definition TV a good workout.

There are quite a number of American pop culture references in the film. Everything from Indiana Jones and The Simpsons to horror staples April Fool’s Day, Friday the 13th and The Evil Dead series is mentioned or quoted.

The film owes a huge debt to Sam Raimi and the Evil Dead series. The plot, cabin setting, and tone are very much like Evil Dead 1&2. A nod and a wink is given to this by some of the characters in the film.

Instead of finding a tape recording, our protagonists encounter a mysterious stranger who fills in the backstory. His first appearance is a wonderful reveal by Wirkola. His final scene is quite good as well.

The actors are all young and engaging. The performances are nice and not wooden as I am sure they will be in the inevitable American remake.

I do not want to discuss too many of the scenes, particularly those in the second half, as part of what I liked about the movie were the fresh takes Wirkola had on tired scenarios. I will say there are many hilarious gags including a small one with a certain Communist symbol.

As long as you do not mind subtitles and gross gory horror movies, I highly recommend this Norwegian import. It is a tremendous amount of fun.

I was so glad this was not disappointing as I had heard about this film as it played in European theaters. It then had a DVD release in the UK last fall and I was wondering if it would ever come over here. Wonderfully Netflix had this on instant play day and date with the US DVD and Blu-Ray release.

People Watch: Director Tommy Wirkola apparently has a cameo as one of the zombies. He also made a Kill Bill parody, Kill Buljo prior to Dead Snow. Currently he is working on an intriguingly named project, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.