(Welcome to Now Scream This, a column where horror experts Chris Evangelista and Matt Donato tell you what scary, spooky, and spine-tingling movies are streaming and where you can watch them.)
Matt: Every September, there exists a genre film festival mecca called Fantastic Fest. I’ve been lucky enough to attend for four of the last five years, soon to be five of the last six. Mr. Evangelista is new to Austin’s most fantastic excursion, but the time has finally come. This year, ‘dem “Now Scream This” boys are taking down Fantastic Fest together. We’ve already conquered New Orleans, Austin’s up next. Why not honor some past festival favorites now streaming as a primer?
Chris: This marks my first year attending Fantastic Fest, and I honestly don’t know what to expect (other than consuming dangerous amounts of alcohol). So to help get into the spirit, Matt and I have combed through the Fantastic Fest history to come up with some highlights that played at the fest.
Now Streaming on Tubi
Matt: Adam Green’s Hatchet is the last of a dying breed of slasher that’s kill-heavy, practically proficient, and worthy of franchise continuity. There have been four New Orleans entries under Green’s creation, but one golden cinematic rule rings true – nothing tops an original. John Carl Buechler’s effects work disembowels and tears apart some of the slasher genre’s most memorable kills since its release, from a three-sixty jaw rip (cleanest edit I’ve ever seen) to a pervy pornographer’s screwhead demise. Victor Crowley was born on a bayou, and the resulting massacre is a fan-favorite with good reason. Well beyond the Hofstra University alumni bond both myself and Mr. Green share.
Chris: Other than the gif of Victor Crowley ripping someone’s head open, I’ve never actually seen Hatchet. I’m sorry.
Now Streaming on Tubi
Matt: Fantastic Fest never shies from “Christmas Horror,” but their greatest screening decked in holiday frights is Tom Shankland’s The Children. Toddlers become infected by a suspicious disease that turns them against adult parents, working innocence into an equation that always equals bloody deaths. This movie is *ruthless* when it comes to both mommy’s injuries and kiddo kill shots, answering the simplest question, “Who could kill a child?” Sledding hills become gory landscapes while an asshole papa is forced to confront his spawn as they plot their next attack. It’s a shame Shankland hasn’t done more feature work, because The Children goes straight for the jugular like so few horror movies do these days.
Chris: Kids are fucking creepy, and this film confirms that tenfold.
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Now Streaming on Shudder
Matt: After hiding since last Fantastic Fest, almost a year ago, Shudder has *finally* released Issa López’s Tigers Are Not Afraid. I reviewed the film a few months later in Montreal at the Fantasia Film Festival, and have been waiting impatiently for larger audiences to share in my enthusiasm. López creates something both beautiful and torturous, weaving a dark fable about wandering stuff animals, fierce graffiti come alive, and urban Mexico’s cultural hardships through a child’s eyes. I can’t sing this film’s praises enough, melting one horror fan’s core like ice cream in a California heatwave. Astounding visuals, shot-to-the-heart performances, and one the year’s most transfixing, original twisted fairytales you ever did see.
Chris: A lovely fabel with shades of Pan’s Labyrinth and Crimson Peak.
Knife + Heart
Now Streaming on Shudder
Matt: Fantastic Fest is an endurance test. My first viewing of Knife + Heart was at midnight, two thirds through the festival, and was at about 12:15AM. Reader, I might have been a tad bit exhausted/manic/delusional by this point. My immediate reaction was “eh” to a rather long, vastly “disjointed” modern giallo that wasn’t fit for my headspace. Cut to Knife + Heart hitting Shudder, and a second eyes-open watch allowed me to appreciate the tonal shifts that embolden this LGBT Euro-sleaze porno slasher. I mean, the opening dildo kill alone. Wait – sorry. I’ve said too much already.
Chris: Now we’re talking. Neon sleaze and style at its finest. You can’t beat that opening scene.
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime
Matt: Sometimes at Fantastic Fest, you walk into a screening and everything is normal. Intro, movie, Q&A you skip because nothing good happens as post-festival Q&As. Other times, a troupe of Fantastic Fest employees bust into your midnight Climax screening with boas and handheld lights so the can rave upfront in lieu of any type of introduction. Then they hand out sangria Jell-O shots. I promise that’s not why Climax is my favorite horror film of 2019. I even waited until after a second screening to write my review. GO WATCH IT AND BECOME ONE WITH GASPAR NOÉ’S DEVILISH DANCE STRAIGHT INTO BEELZEBUB’S LAIR.
Chris: This movie fucks. I know people throw that term around so much that it’s lost all meaning, but I promise you: this movie really does, indeed, fuck.
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