When exactly did Halloween become the new New Year’s Eve? At what point did little kids trick or treating in the neighborhood turn into a celebration of adult fantasies and fears rolled into one?
Those are good questions, but all one needs for proof is for the calendar to turn to October and those temporary costume stores begin sprouting up like grass after a rain in vacated mall spots around the country?
The fact is, from gravity-defying roller coaster rides and sky-diving (thank you, Miley Cyrus, for introducing the sport to a whole new generation in her current Rolling Stone cover story) to theme park fright nights and haunted houses, we like to scare the hell out of ourselves, but it’s so much better at this time of year, when nature dies and gives way to rebirth.
Streampix is no different, which is why Xfinitytv.com’s s streaming service will transform into a “screaming” one this month, with a slate that includes venerable horror franchises like “Childs Play,” “Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Darkman,” “The Mummy” and “Tales from the Crypt.”
Here’s a rundown on the 10 scariest flicks available on demand this month.
“Dracula”: The 1931 classic, featuring Bela Lugosi, is the granddaddy of all vampire films, and still one of the spookiest. The movie was directed by Tod Browning, the same guy who brought you the carnival classic “Freaks,” following such previous versions by legendary filmmaker F.W. Murnau, “Nosferatu.” The special effects are limited to fog, lighting and large flexible bats, but the movie still packs a wallop some 83 years later, though the camp value—especially Lugosi’s blood-curdling Transylvania twang by way of Gilbert Gottfried—is probably reason enough to re-check it. The concept is so enduring, NBC will premiere its own iteration Oct. 25, starring Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as a particularly sexy member of the undead. [Watch here]
“A Nightmare on Elm Street”: This 1984 movie, directed by horror veteran Wes Craven, introduced Robert Englund’s child molester, the razor-handed Freddy Krueger, who coaxes several teens in the small town to kill themselves by stalking them in their dreams. The durable series resulted in seven sequels, and a 2010 reboot. Look out for one of Johnny Depp in one of his first screen performances. Streampix features “Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge,” “Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child” and “Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.” [Watch here]
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“Child’s Play 2”: The second of five total installments on the murderous doll Chucky has attained a cult status all its own, ranging from the horror of the initial episode in 1988 on to the virtual parodies of 2004’s “Seed of Chucky” and this year’s “Curse of Chucky.” Say what you want, but creator Dan Mancini, who directed the last two installments, created a classic horror icon in the most unlikely character. Streampix also features “Child’s Play 3,” 1998’s “Bride of Chucky” and “Seed of Chucky.” [Watch here]
“Dial M for Murder”: This 1954 Alfred Hitchcock suspense thriller was originally filmed in 3-D and tells the story of a former tennis pro (Ray Milland) who plots to kill his wife, though why anyone would want to murder the luminous Grace Kelly is a question for those experts on Hitch’s hang-ups with blondes. [Watch
“Interview with the Vampire”: Anne Rice herself wrote the adaptation to Neil Jordan’s 1994 movie featuring the face-off between Tom Cruise’s Lestat and Brad Pitt’s Louis de Pointe du Lac in one of the sexiest horror movies ever made. [Watch here]
“Tales from the Hood”: Rusty Cundieff’s African-American tribute to the old EC Comics is a four-part anthology in which a bizarre funeral director narrates the stories behind three drug dealers he traps in his parlor. [Watch here]
“The Wolf Man”: Rounding out the trilogy of early Universal horror classics is the original 1941 version featuring Lon Chaney Jr. howling at the moon after getting a nibble in the neck from a werewolf, with Ralph Bellamy, Claude Rains and Bela Lugosi. [Watch here]
“Tales from the Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood”: Perhaps the biggest horror in this 1996 comedy/horror spinoff from the HBO series based on the EC Comic is that Dennis Miller stars. As a private investigator who ends up in a bordello run by vampires, including neck-biting supermodel Angie Everhart. Now, that’s scary. Streampix also has the previous 1995 film “Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Knight.” [Watch here]
“Night of the Creeps”: This 1986 sleeper features three college kids and a detective going up against a thawed zombie, slug-like extraterrestrials and a slasher for good measure. Classic line: “I’ve got good news and bad news, girls,” says the detective. “The good news is your dates are here… The bad news is they’re dead.” [Watch here]