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As you can tell from the title, I feel like it’s time for me to give you guys another quick little Netflix guide to feed your insatiable binge watching habits. So, as we get going, just one little tidbit to get out of the way…IT’S HALLOWEEN! With that said, let’s get into some of the top Halloween picks for any of you who are planning to stay-in and double your chances of having some ravenous axe wielding murderers find you at home. Just kidding…but maybe…there, in your window…WATCH OUT!
INTO THE FLAMES:
Netflix has tons of options to satisfy any bone-chilling-blood-curdling-appetites you may possess. I’ll break this into three categories: Adult, Teen, Kid/Family.
For the more mature audience you may feast on several wickedly delightful TV shows and movies. Below are my top five choices available now:
1. The Babadook (1hr 35min/NR): I recently saw this on Netflix because of a lot of buzz it was getting online. Needless to say, it lived up to all the creepy hype surrounding it. This movie operates not just as a monster movie, it also chillingly examines the terrifying responsibility of parenting and the psychological toll a child’s fear takes on said parent. This is not for the faint of heart. It is beautifully executed and hauntingly lasting.
- What’s it about: A troubled widow discovers that her son is telling the truth about a monster that entered their home through the pages of a children's book.
2. Silence of the Lambs (1hr 58min/R): As if this needs any sort of introduction or incentive to watch. This is a classic that everyone should watch at some point in their life.
- What's it about: Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI's training academy. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight into a case and that Starling, as an attractive young woman, may be just the bait to draw him out.
3. Saw (1hr 43min/R): I remember watching this movie and right after seeing it, thinking people are scary. All of the torture devices seemed way too realistic and legitimately plausible. This is the first time I genuinely feared for my life in the real world.
- What’s it about: Photographer Adam Stanheight and oncologist Lawrence Gordon regain consciousness while chained to pipes at either end of a filthy bathroom. As the two men realize they've been trapped by a sadistic serial killer nicknamed "Jigsaw" and must complete his perverse puzzle to live, flashbacks relate the fates of his previous victims. Meanwhile, Dr. Gordon's wife and young daughter are forced to watch his torture via closed-circuit video.
4. American Psycho (1hr 41min/R): Definitely for an adult audience, this one is crazy, as the title implies. It’s a great comment on excess, privilege and psychotic narcissism all wrapped up in a terrorizing psychological thriller.
- What’s it about: In New York City in 1987, a handsome, young urban professional, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), lives a second life as a gruesome serial killer by night. The cast is filled by the detective (Willem Dafoe), the fiance (Reese Witherspoon), the mistress (Samantha Mathis), the coworker (Jared Leto), and the secretary (Chloë Sevigny). This is a biting, wry comedy examining the elements that make a man a monster.
5. Hemlock Grove (3 Seasons/TV-MA): I’ll be honest; I haven’t actually seen this show yet. But I’ve read some pretty positive things on it. It definitely seems like a horror fan’s type of show. So, give it a try and let me know what you think.
- What’s it about: Based on the book by Brian McGreevy and executive produced by acclaimed horror master Eli Roth, the Netflix original series "Hemlock Grove" revolves around the eccentric residents of a dilapidated former Pennsylvania steel town and the murder of a teenage girl. Two suspects in the killing… More -- a 17-year-old vagabond who is also rumored to be a werewolf, and the rich son of a steel magnate -- team up to try to solve the murder themselves. In the process the town's sordid side is exposed, revealing surprises around every corner.
For those on the cusp of horror initiation, I’ve saved a few classics that one must cinematically traverse before getting into some of the more mature stuff within the genre. There are also a few modern tales of ghastly terror thrown into the mix to usher one’s soul into spooky splendor. Here are my top five movies for teens available on Netflix now:
1. Monster Squad (1hr 22min/PG-13): A personal favorite. I would recommend everyone watch this movie today, now, ASAP! This is a great introduction piece for anyone who is not familiar with any of the classic movie monsters of the past. You have all of the 80’s visuals, montages, music, etc…for added fun. It’s just an all around good time with a movie.
- What’s it about: Dracula is alive. In fact, he plans to rule the world and that is why he seeks the help of other legendary monsters. However, a bunch of kids regarded by their peers as losers uncover the devious plan and prepare for a counter strike.
2. The Others (1hr 44min/PG-13): A bit of a slow burn, this movie really works for its payoff, and it is worth the wait. It’s just a great story about ghosts and haunted houses, and another great place to start your foray into the horror genre.
- What’s it About: Grace (Nicole Kidman), the devoutly religious mother of Anne (Alakina Mann) and Nicholas (James Bentley), moves her family to the English coast during World War II. She awaits word on her missing husband while protecting her children from a rare photosensitivity disease that causes the sun to harm them. Anne claims she sees ghosts, Grace initially thinks the new servants are playing tricks but chilling events and visions make her believe something supernatural has occurred.
3. Scream (1hr 51min/R): This is one of those rite of passage type rated R movies for kids born after the 80’s. It’s a modern classic that seems tailor made for teens that are just now learning all of the rules, clichés, and horror movie tropes of old. A true modern horror classic. A definite must watch…under adult supervision, or with your parent’s permission of course! ;-)
- What’s it about: The sleepy little town of Woodsboro just woke up screaming. There's a killer in their midst who's seen a few too many scary movies. Suddenly nobody is safe, as the psychopath stalks victims, taunts them with trivia questions, then rips them to bloody shreds. It could be anybody...
4. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (1hr 28min/R): This is a spoof of a spoof almost. It’s kind of the comedic counterpart to movies like The Others, Scream and Cabin in the Woods. The perspective is skewed and we get an interesting take on the all too familiar horror movie plot. It takes the genre’s most typical cliché and turns it on its head. This movie is rated R, so again, please view with adult supervision or with your parent’s permission.
- What’s it about: Two lovable West Virginian hillbillies, are headed to their "fixer-upper" vacation cabin to drink some beer, do some fishin', and have a good time. But when they run into a group of preppy college kids who assume from their looks that they must be in-bred, chainsaw wielding killers, Tucker & Dale's vacation takes a bloody & hilarious turn for the worse.
5. Supernatural (10 Seasons/TV-14): Unlike Hemlock Grove, I have seen some of this series, and I had a blast watching it. I am a sucker for mythology and stories about monster hunters and this has both. Plus, the Winchester bros are dreamy…so there’s that.
- What’s it about: This haunting series follows the thrilling yet terrifying journeys of Sam and Dean Winchester, two brothers who face an increasingly sinister landscape as they hunt monsters. After losing their mother to a supernatural force, the brothers were raised by their father as soldiers who track mysterious and demonic creatures. Violent memories and relationship-threatening secrets add additional burdens on Sam and Dean as they investigate all things that go bump in the night. As old tricks and tools are rendered useless and friends betray them, the brothers must rely on each other as they encounter new enemies.
Not sure what title would make this section seem a lot less threatening than the other two. But, The Spoon seems better than the “Plastic Knife” or “Rubber Axe”. For a second I thought of going with “The Pillow” but then even that is morbidly suggestive and weird…so, The Spoon it is.
Now that that’s out of the way, some cute and cuddly kid friendly Halloween choices:
1. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1hr 16min/PG): The obvious choice here. Let’s be honest, this is as much your favorite as it will be your kids if they haven’t seen it yet. I am doing you a solid. This is on Netflix, start the Jack Skellington and Sally Finkelstein love-fest now.
- What’s it about: The film follows the misadventures of Jack Skellington, Halloweentown's beloved pumpkin king, who has become bored with the same annual routine of frightening people in the "real world." When Jack accidentally stumbles on Christmastown, all bright colors and warm spirits, he gets a new lease on life-- he plots to bring Christmas under his control by kidnapping Santa Claus and taking over the role. But Jack soon discovers even the best-laid plans of mice and skeleton men can go seriously awry.
2. Mickey’s House of Villains: (1hr 8min/TV-Y7): Of course the mouse had to make the list. What kid’s list wouldn’t have a Mickey Mouse option? This is kind of a kid’s anthology film with different spooky Disney stories complied together at the House of Mouse. The safe choice. You can’t go wrong here.
- What’s it about: It is Halloween night at the House of Mouse, and a lot of villains are showing up. Jafar has a trick in store for the usual heroes of the House, but the villains have to wait until midnight for him to unleash it.
3. Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest (56min/TV-G): For our tiny ghosts. Safe for even the smallest trick or treater, rest assured, if you’re trying to avoid anything or everything scary, this is the way to go.
- What’s it about: Autumn is here, bringing colorful leaves, hay rides, pumpkin patches, and the annual Boo Festival.
4. The Adams Family (1hr 39min/PG-13): Another favorite of mine. This is just kooky, fun and weird. Not scary in any way, it just has a lot of horror elements presented in a family friendly way. Though, its frenetic style and pace might be too intense for the younger kiddos out there, I think most kids, with proper adult supervision will have a good time watching this movie.
- What’s it about: When a man (Christopher Lloyd) claiming to be Fester, the missing brother of Gomez Addams (Raul Julia), arrives at the Addams' home, the family is thrilled. However, Morticia (Anjelica Huston) begins to suspect the man is a fraud, since he cannot recall details of Fester's life. With the help of law… Moreyer Tully Alford (Dan Hedaya), Fester manages to get the Addams clan evicted from their home. Gomez realizes the two men are conspiring to swindle the Addams fortune and that he must challenge Fester.
5. Goosebumps (5 Seasons/TV-Y7): A great choice for all ages, this is a great way to introduce your kids to the scarier side of typical television shows you all watch together. Serious enough to make it scary, yet never devoid of fun, this is the perfect balance of silly and scary that will have your kids intently watching but never feeling truly terrified.
- What’s it about: This live-action series based on R.L. Stine's award-winning book series places average kids in a weird alternate reality, where they find themselves facing such situations as haunted amusement parks, possessed Halloween masks and other bizarre and frightening scenarios.
So that does it for a very special Blind Binger’s Guide. If you guys find yourselves staying in tonight, just know, The Beta Report has your back. We got you covered for a full night of creepy gore filled binging to keep you up all night for the next couple of weeks.
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