Best Of Netflix: Top 20 Movies For Halloween

[BoxTitle]Scream[/BoxTitle] [Trailer][/Trailer] [Netflix] [NetflixAdd id="939827"/] [NetflixWatch id="939827"/]

Wes Craven‘s hip, flip and, yes, genuinely scary meta-probing (or is it stabbing?) of the horror genre hasn’t really aged well, but at least it kind of acknowledged that it hasn’t with this year’s Scream 4. That’s what the Scream movies are all about — constant and consistent self-awareness to the point where we thought Craven himself was going to be revealed as the killer at the end of Scream 3. What many people forget is that while it’s most definitely “smart” and “clever” and all that, Scream is poking fun at what it is itself, through and through — it is a horror film, and a particularly nasty one, at that. The first film in the series features some of Craven’s best work as a director, milking (or is it bleeding?) Kevin Williamson’s fantastic screenplay for all it’s worth as Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and friends run afoul of a masked killer who really, really likes scary movies, basing his crimes on scenes from several horror classics. Campbell never got a better role than poor Sidney, and the rest of the ensemble (including Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Drew Barrymore, Jamie Kennedy, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich, Liev Schreiber and even Henry Winkler) delivers top-notch performances as they run and Scream through the scary movie that is their lives.

[BoxTitle]Thirst[/BoxTitle] [Trailer][/Trailer] [Netflix] [NetflixAdd id="70114016"/] [NetflixWatch id="70114016"/]

The director of Oldboy making a vampire movie? It ended up being a better idea than reality, but Thirst is still worth watching if only because‚ well, it’s a vampire movie made by the guy who did Oldboy. Chan-wook Park‘s film (whose Korean title translates more directly as Bat) tells the story of a priest, who happens to be in love with his best friend’s wife, turning into a vampire after a failed medical experiment — a premise that’s not quite as subversive as Oldboy‘s, but fans don’t have to worry about Chan-wook not delivering at least a few completely unexpected and jaw-droppingly sick moments. While it doesn’t quite soar to the highest highs (or sink to the lowest lows) of Oldboy (how could it, though?), Thirst deserves nothing short of praise for at least trying something different (and, sometimes, very different) in a subgenre that’s not quite known for its originality.

[BoxTitle]Trick R Treat[/BoxTitle] [Trailer][/Trailer] [Netflix] [NetflixAdd id="70060004"/] [NetflixWatch id="70060004"/]

Warner Bros. inexplicably dumped this clever horror anthology straight to video, though why the studio thought it would fail in a theatrical run is beyond us. While it’s not quite as ghoulishly delightful as Creepshow (still the undisputed king of horror anthology films), Trick ‘R Treat is an entertaining celebration of every horror fan’s favorite holiday with three intersecting tales o’ terror, our favorite of which features Brian Cox as a grumpy old man who’s taught a lesson for refusing to give out candy to the neighborhood kids. You also get Anna Paquin in a wicked sequence that seems like it’s about a girl preparing to lose her virginity…but you just know that she and her pals are talking about something else entirely (yeah like maybe werewolves, ha ha!). Written and directed by Michael Dougherty, who wrote the screenplays for Bryan Singer‘s X2 and Superman Returns.

[BoxTitle]Vampire’s Kiss[/BoxTitle] [Trailer][/Trailer] [Netflix] [NetflixAdd id="60023684"/] [NetflixWatch id="60023684"/]

“I’m a vampire! I’m a vampire! I’m a vampire! I’m a vampire!” Vampire’s Kiss, a “cult classic” if there ever was one, features what many people consider to be Nicolas Cage‘s most “unhinged” performance. We actually don’t see anything “unhinged” about it — watch closely (how can you not?) and you’ll see that Cage is in completely control of every little manic bit of business he’s doing, whether it’s spouting off his ABC’s in a rage, chasing his poor secretary (Maria Conchita Alonso) into the ladies’ room or, yes, eating a live cockroach — it’s actually one of the actor’s most nuanced and rather brilliant portrayals. Cage plays a New York City literary agent who’s transformed into a sniveling Renfield after one of his one-night-stands is revealed to be a vampire (Jennifer Beals) — or is she? It’s never quite clear what’s fantasy and what’s reality in this one-of-a-kind portrait of ’80s yuppie madness that actually ends up being heartbreakingly tragic.

[BoxTitle]The Wolf Man[/BoxTitle] [Trailer][/Trailer] [Netflix] [NetflixAdd id="21870598"/] [NetflixWatch id="21870598"/]

Definitely the most adorable of the classic Universal monster movies, The Wolf Man is a cheap-looking fairy tale completely devoid of scares or tension — but it sure is fun to watch poor Lon Chaney, Jr. stumble about the foggy Universal backlot, growling and howling as he terrorizes the townsfolk, cursed and doomed and furry. This is really silly stuff, even for 1941 — there’s none of the theatrical elegance that James Whale brought to Frankenstein or the subversive wit that Tod Browning brought to Dracula; The Wolf Man is clumsy and slow, with director George Waggner seemingly directing from his trailer, leaving Chaney to flail about as he struggles to keep his dignity, probably trying to convince himself that this is an important, tragic character of Shakespearean proportions that he’s portraying. Ha, it’s so much fun to be mean to this movie! Somehow, this lumbering mess is a total blast — and certainly preferable over the disaster that was the 2010 remake.

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