Here’s a look at an interesting new release available to rent and a few suggestions for Halloween viewing.
Video on Demand
“Amityville: The Awakening”: Originally shot in 2014 and last scheduled to be released in the spring of 2016, this Blumhouse-produced sequel has been bounced around by the Weinstein Company over and over again. Perhaps thanks in part to the recent issues of its distribution company, this sequel has finally been unleashed for horror fans, albeit in a very strange manner. It is exclusively available on the Google Play store for a limited time. In this attempted reboot of the series, a teenage girl (Bella Thorne) finds out that the house her family just moved into was where a series of mass murders occurred in 1974. She invites friends over to watch a movie based on the killings, “The Amityville Horror” (how meta), and then things go very wrong from there. This is a PG-13 version that was ironically edited down to cast a wider net at the box office. (Google Play Movies — free until Nov. 8)
Also on streaming services
As we look ahead to Halloween, there are plenty of scary movies to choose from across streaming services. Serious genre fans should take a chance on a subscription to Shudder. This service from AMC Networks contains hundreds of contemporary horror films, but they don’t skimp on the classics, either, recently adding the Universal monsters series (“Dracula,” “The Mummy,” “Frankenstein,” etc). Films are subdivided into categories like Paranormal, Creature Features, Crime, Revenge, and Dark Dimension. You can watch exclusive titles like Rob Zombie’s “31” and the remastered version of “Phantasm” or go straight for one of my favorite ’80s slasher movies, “Happy Birthday To Me.” You can subscribe for just $4.99 a month, and it comes with a seven-day free trial if you are risk-averse.
With Netflix, you have to do a bit of a deeper dive because they have a fair amount of straight-to-video fare in the horror category. You can skip over those by going straight for the Halloween Favorites section they’ve set up and then choose your mood. From lighthearted (Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein,” “The Addams Family”) to cerebral (“The Babadook,” “It Follows”) to disgusting (the entire “Saw” franchise), you can go in many directions. There’s even a Halloween Family Favorites section if you want to avoid the darkest features for something the kids can enjoy.
Hulu combines the horror and suspense genres when browsing but also allows you to dig into subgenres like Zombies and Paranormal. Recent additions include the “Blair Witch” reboot, “10 Cloverfield Lane,” Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary,” “The Monster Squad” and the aforementioned original 1979 version of “The Amityville Horror.”