Discover more from Feature Presentation
Cut the Cord: Scary Movies
October 2022. Volume 1, Issue 10.
Welcome back to Cut the Cord, our monthly newsletter all about great movies on free streaming services.
Our October edition is all about scary movies, obviously.
But we have something more than Halloween to celebrate. . .
It’s also the 1st birthday of Cut the Cord!
Although this newsletter didn’t officially launch until January of this year, the idea for it started a year ago in my piece Free Films You Can Stream This Halloween. That piece was so much fun to write and research that it launched the idea to make Cut the Cord a regular feature. Here we are a year later.
This issue features eight movies - four of which were featured in that original piece from last Halloween, as a bit of a birthday present to. . .myself I guess.
Please enjoy. Share with your friends. And subscribe here on our website to have all of our spooky season madness delivered straight to your inbox - five days a week.
The Love Witch (2016)
Elaine, a beautiful young witch, is determined to find a man to love her. In her gothic Victorian apartment she makes spells and potions, and then picks up men and seduces them. However her spells work too well, and she ends up with a string of hapless victims. When she finally meets the man of her dreams, her desperation to be loved will drive her to the brink of insanity and murder.
The Love Witch is all about the vibe. An homage to horror films from the 60s, filmmaker Anna Biller went to great lengths to make her project feel like one of those Technicolor melodramas.
The actors, including an incredibly strong lead performance from Samantha Robinson, all give stylized performances that are pulpy and theatrical. Vibrant colors in the production and costume design feel ripped straight from the pages of the 60s. And, of course, the movie was shot on film and was even one of the last films to cut an original camera negative on 35mm.
Just like the campy cinema that inspired this film, it’s trippy, hypnotic, and beautiful. It’s also the closest we will ever get to that kind of film in the 21st century.
Body Bags (1993)
Three tales, each more terrifying than the last. . . . A woman who is stalked by an axe-weilding maniac . . . a man who pays the ultimate price for a beautiful head of hair . . . and a vision of life — seen through the eyes of a killer.
This anthology, with director John Carpenter himself as the host linking together the three seemingly unrelated tales, was originally filmed to be a pilot for a Showtime series. When the series failed to be picked up, the stories were linked together to form one narrative.
The film is a murderer’s row of horror celebrities. Carpenter and Texas Chainsaw’s Tobe Hooper direct the segments which include cameos from Wes Craven, Sam Raimi, Roger Corman, and more. With great character actors like Mark Hamill and Stacy Keach leading the stories, it’s hard to not have fun. There’s a classic slasher scene, a fun creature-feature-esque segment, and a little bit of body horror too. It’s great fun from beginning to end and the cameos are excellent easter eggs for fans of fright.
Troll 2 (1990)
When young Joshua learns that he will be going on vacation with his family to a small town called Nilbog, he protests adamantly. He is warned by the spirit of his deceased grandfather that goblins populate the town. His parents, Michael and Diana, dismiss his apprehensions, but soon learn to appreciate their son’s warnings. Guided by his grandfather’s ghost, will Joshua and his family stand a chance in fighting off these evil beings?
Troll 2 is widely considered to be one of the worst films of all time.
So then why watch it?
This is a classic example of so-bad-it’s-good. Don’t believe in that perspective on film? Then you’ve never seen Troll 2.
Just start with this: The movie is called Troll 2. It not only has nothing to do with 1986’s film Troll, but trolls never actually appear in the movie. The creatures are goblins, they are called goblins, the movie even takes place in the town of Nilbog — goblin spelled backwards.
If that simple slice of nonsense isn’t enough to pique your B-movie interest, try this: deadly popcorn, mysterious green milk, horrible late 80s fashion, goblin religions, bologna sandwiches: all wrapped up in an anti-vegetarianism message.
Pair it with Best Worst Movie (also available to stream for free on Tubi and others), a documentary about the legacy of this cult classic — a film that features even more insanity than the original because this time all of that insanity is real. It is partially a celebration of cult cinema, but it is also a character study of the people whose lives have changed for better or worse because of lasting cult status of the movie.
The Invisible Man (1933)
Working in Dr. Cranley’s laboratory, scientist Jack Griffin was always given the latitude to conduct some of his own experiments. His sudden departure, however, has Cranley’s daughter Flora worried about him. Griffin has taken a room at the nearby Lion’s Head Inn, hoping to reverse an experiment he conducted on himself that made him invisible. But the experimental drug has also warped his mind, making him aggressive and dangerous. He’s prepared to do whatever it takes to restore his appearance.
My review of The Invisible Man:
The House of the Devil (2009)
In the 1980s, college student Samantha Hughes takes a strange babysitting job that coincides with a full lunar eclipse. She slowly realizes her clients harbor a terrifying secret.
I've tried to include everything from the black and white classics to the goriest gross-outs on this list, so here's the entry for fans of the "slow burn" horror.
"But Patrick," you might say, "nothing happens until the last 20 minutes!"
First of all, that's not true. Even if it didn't have that crazy last 20 minutes, the first-hour vibes are perfect for this time of year. It's chilly, it's atmospheric, it's shadowy. The first hour is more of a perfect "fall" movie than a "Halloween" movie.
But that last 20 minutes really is crazy! Writer/director Ti West showed us he could really dial it up with the first two parts of his recent trilogy opus X and Pearl, and this early entry in his filmography shows that he's always known how to do it.
After a tragic accident, a man conjures up a towering, vengeful demon called Pumpkinhead to destroy a group of unsuspecting teenagers.
Fairy tales. Urban legends. Folk stories.
Stories full of outlandish evils - lurking in the shadows and deep in the woods.
Pumpkinhead is one of those stories, conjured up in the poem recited in the film:
"Keep away from Pumpkinhead,
Unless you're tired of living,
His enemies are mostly dead,
He's mean and unforgiving,
Laugh at him and you're undone,
But in some dreadful fashion,
Vengeance, he considers fun,
And plans it with a passion,
Time will not erase or blot,
A plot that he has brewing,
It's when you think that he's forgot,
He'll conjure your undoing,
Bolted doors and windows barred,
Guard dogs prowling in the yard,
Won't protect you in your bed,
Nothing will, from Pumpkinhead!"
But Pumpkinhead is real. He's an eight-foot-tall revenge demon, resembling a dinosaur or goblin. And he's brought to life in this chilling film from special effects maestro Stan Winston that doesn't shy away from giving him plenty of screentime - and give you plenty of nightmares.
An unfaithful wife encounters the zombie of her dead lover while the demonic cenobites are pursuing him after he escaped their sadomasochistic underworld.
Two films left on this list and they both have sequels coming out this week. In the case of Hellraiser (2022), it hits Hulu tomorrow.
There's a reason that there have been almost a dozen films over the past 35 years despite their varying levels of success - they're all trying to chase what Clive Barker found in 1987 with a funky little idea and less than a million bucks. In that first entry, recommended here to anyone with a tough stomach, Barker creates all-time iconic horror imagery, repulses you but won't let you look away, and the disgusting in the sexy and the sexy in the disgusting.
Pain has never been so pleasurable.
A maniacal clown named Art terrorizes three young women and everyone else who stands in his way on Halloween night.
Terrifier is a twisted, twisted movie. If you’re easily queasy, then you should absolutely skip this one. It’s very easy to see how Terrifier splits people down the middle...literally.
It had never made it to the top of my watchlist for that very reason (seriously, there’s some stuff in here that makes the most weathered horror fan grab a barf bag), until I heard that the long-awaited sequel was hitting theaters this year. Well, tonight, actually. And I’ll be there. Because despite the ridiculously over-the-top gore, it’s funny, dark, and very creepy. And it’s not very often you can actually get creeped out by a movie. I’m already not looking forward to my drive home from seeing the sequel tonight...
Thanks for reading Feature Presentation! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support our work.