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Stream Bloody Murder: Hunting for Hidden Horror

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If you're a FEARnet fiend, you've probably watched just about all the classic and not-so-classic horror movies ever made, including every major flick that's come down the pipe over the past decade or two. (In my case, it goes back further than that, but we won't go there.) If you're a serious horror hunter, you'll dig through everything – '80s big-box VHS titles, gray market homemade DVD burns, obscure foreign stuff, and so on – in search of the next undiscovered artifact. That's why we loves us some interwebs: now we don't have to rely on twelfth-generation tape copies, flea markets and garage sales to get what we want.

So just for you, I've gone panning through some of the better-stocked streaming sites to find nuggets of horror gold (or fool's gold, depending on your taste) that are currently out of print or unavailable as legit DVD releases in the US. Sure, you can get some of them on DVD-R, or pick up a used copy... but why not give 'em a quick test-drive first?

Before we begin, bear in mind a couple of things: first, this is nowhere near a complete list, just some of the more interesting bits I found on my search; and second, streaming titles go in and out of circulation without much notice, so if you're interested, you might want to check their availability soon. Of course there's always new stuff cropping up - including right here in FEARnet's online movies section - so maybe this list will get you hyped to do a little hunting of your own.

But hey, let's ditch the shop-talk and get to the flicks. Each entry comes with a trailer, so you can get some idea of what's lurking out there...

The Keep

A year before he terrified us with pastel sport coats in Miami Vice, director Michael Mann set out to adapt F. Paul Wilson's World War II vampire novel into an epic film... but forgot the vampire. Then the studio hacked it up until it made no sense whatsoever. The visuals and Tangerine Dream's score are awesome, but the end result left most viewers saying, "Did you just dose my Dr. Pepper?" Such is the glorious WTF-ness of The Keep. It's never had a DVD release, so it's definitely worth checking out on Netflix - especially to see the beautiful widescreen compositions, hear the moody music and watch future Gandalf/Magneto Ian McKellen totally lose his shit.

House of Dark Shadows & Night of Dark Shadows

No doubt with the Burton/Depp adaptation in the works, someone will release these two sweet flicks on DVD soon, but it's a crime they haven't done it already. The original TV horror soap was cheesy gothic fun, but the movies – made in 1970 and '71 – allowed series creator Dan Curtis to take the Collins family to the next level of creepy, including much more bloodletting than was allowed on TV at the time. Both movies look gorgeous, and there's some seriously scary and funny moments in each, but only the first one features the show's mighty vampire star Barnabas (the second focuses on his more dashing relative Quentin). Both are streaming on Amazon.

Deadly Blessing

It's a shame that this early (1981) Wes Craven project didn't get more attention, or at least a DVD release, because his fans – myself included – really dig this one, and for some very good reasons: not only does it feature three smoking hot heroines and Ernest Borgnine's horrifying facial hair, but you also get to see a young Sharon Stone deep-throat a live tarantula. Best of all, this movie has one of the most pants-crappingly insane conclusions I've ever seen, including a pervy plot twist that I never saw coming – and I'm pretty good at catching on early in the game – so it's worth watching for that alone. If you've got access to Hulu (sorry, some of you), you can't pass this one up for free.

The Falling

This goofy-ass monster flick was re-titled Alien Predators for home video in a lame attempt to capitalize on two blockbusters in one. It's not an early Alien vs. Predator prototype at all, but it's crazy fun anyway. The story involves a trio of good-looking but totally clueless Yanks cruising through Spain in an RV when they cross paths with a vague space organism that burrows itself into people and gives them a fatal case of the mumps, or just infects them with something that makes them act weird... okay, it doesn't make much sense. But it's hilarious, fast-paced and has some great splattery moments, so I had a good time with it. It's never had a legit DVD release that I could find, but it's up on Netflix.

Twins of Evil

The third and final chapter in Hammer Studios' sexed-up Karnstein trilogy has all the kinky vampire action of its predecessors, but more boobies. In fact, you get double the nudity in this one, thanks to the appearance of Mary and Madelaine Collinson, Playboy's first twin centerfolds. They're not as sexy as Ingrid Pitt (oh, how I miss her) from the first film The Vampire Lovers, but they're damn cute. Naughtiness aside, this is a fairly classy Hammer entry, combining the vampire and witch-hunter genres in an original way, and Peter Cushing is awesome as always in the role of the satan-hatin' uncle. It's the only one of the Karnstein series not on DVD, but you can check it out on Netflix.

Curse of the Crimson Altar

Also titled The Crimson Cult, this very loose adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's "Dreams in the Witch House" is no classic, but it's just so wacky you can't help but watch. Boris Karloff looks pretty beaten down in what would be one of his last roles, but he still carries every scene he's in; Christopher Lee is dignified as always, but has almost nothing to do; and ultra-hot Barbara Steele shows up in Star Trek body paint as a resurrected witch queen – but she's not onscreen nearly enough to make me happy. The satanic ritual scenes are cool though, and there's some surprisingly kinky content for 1968. This one's on Netflix too, which is good because past attempts at a DVD have been pretty shabby.

Popcorn

Another Netflix offering, this odd picture gathered quite a cult following since it came out in 1991, mostly thanks to home video... including a DVD release that's now out of print (we hear there may be a special edition DVD in the works). The theme of the movie – a horror film festival infiltrated by the homicidal director of an experimental film called "The Possessor" – is better suited to the big screen, but it's still worth checking out, even in this cropped online presentation. Kinda like a gory version of Joe Dante's Matinee, It's a fun tribute to schlock horror cinema, with some really groovy movies-within-a-movie, each with a different William Castle-style gimmick.

Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell

Made at a time when Hammer Films was trying to stay afloat by jamming more sex and gore into their product, this final film in their Frankenstein series (also the last film directed by famous Hammer director Terence Fisher) was one of the more splattery entries from the studio. This time Dr. Frankenstein is continuing his reanimation work in an insane asylum, and with the help of a young apprentice he manages to patch together a hairy, lumbering bigfoot-type creation who is not really interested in fitting into society, but enjoys crushing people's heads. There's no DVD currently available in the US, so give this one a try on Amazon.

Night School

Remember when British fox Rachel Ward was one of the hottest screen stars of the early '80s? You know, The Thorn Birds miniseries and all that? No? Well, you can find out why she was such a big deal by checking out this 1981 slasher flick on Amazon. In her early career, Ward showed up in a couple of horror films: this and The Final Terror (co-starring Darryl Hannah), which isn't on DVD either. The second one is a cool backwoods survival horror flick, but this movie is a little slicker, sexier and more stylish, and you also get to see Rachel take a shower. The plot is standard stalk-and-kill fare, but features some cool giallo-style deaths and an early score from Brad (The Terminator) Fiedel.

Crawlspace

Hell yeah, I saved the craziest for last. I'm sure you know about the late Klaus Kinski's reputation for destroying everything in his path (sometimes literally – just ask Werner Herzog), and this movie, made at the tail end of his career, is one of many to fall prey to his insane behavior. On the plus side, it also features one of his wildest, most demonic performances ever. The plot is pretty simple – Klaus is an apartment owner who peeps on his all-female tenants and later destroys them with his homemade murder machines – but it's constantly entertaining, thanks to Kinski doing what comes naturally: being a complete fucknut. The MGM DVD release is currently out of print, but Netflix and Amazon are both carrying it now.

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