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Thursday, January 18, 2024

SCREAMBOX Hidden Gems – 5 Horror Movies to Stream This Week Including ‘The Collector’

The Bloody Disgusting-powered SCREAMBOX is home to a variety of unique horror content, from originals and exclusives to cult classics and documentaries. With such a rapidly-growing library, there are many hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

Here are five recommendations you can stream on SCREAMBOX right now.


The Collector

If the triumphant return of the Saw franchise has you in the mood for more trap-laden horrors, look no further than The Collector — which was originally conceived as a prequel to Saw that would show Jigsaw’s original story. When producers passed on the idea, writers Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan (Saw IV-VII) reworked it into an original script, which Dunstan directed in 2009.

A slasher/home invasion hybrid for the so-called “torture porn” era, The Collector stars Criminal Minds‘ Josh Stewart as struggling ex-con Arkin. A planned heist at his new employer’s home to repay a debt becomes deadly when he discovers that another criminal has rigged the property with booby traps. Considerable suspension of disbelief is required to accept the labor involved in installing the Rube Goldbergian traps, but once you’re along for the ride it’s a widely entertaining one.

There’s some dynamic camerawork once you get past the ugly, early-aughts aesthetic, but, and killer sports a simple but memorable look: a gnarled black mask with reflective eyes. Bear traps, fish hooks, razor blades, knives, barbed wire, and cockroaches are deployed in the most sadistic ways imaginable with cringe-inducing special effects by Gary J. Tunnicliffe (Candyman, Scream 4).


End of the Line

Recently rescued from obscurity by Terror Vision, 2007’s End of the Line plays like Canada’s answer to The Midnight Meat Train (albeit a year prior) with shades of Prince of Darkness and a hint of C.H.U.D. The underappreciated effort finds a handful of strangers aboard a late-night train being targeted by a religious doomsday cult attempting to kill all non-believers.

The film is a bit dated — the cultists are signaled to begin their ritual via beeper, while the aesthetic screams “early 2000s indie horror” — and the performances are uneven, but writer-director Maurice Devereaux largely overcomes the low-budget trappings and maintains unpredictability with a number of twists and turns. Splashes of practical gore are the icing on the cake.


Footprints

The synopsis for Footprints (better known as Footprints on the Moon, also known as Primal Impulse) touts it as “the most criminally underseen giallo of the ’70s.” While it’s far from a conventional giallo — the 1975 Italian film is more psychological thriller than murder-mystery, with nary a black-gloved killing — I’m inclined to agree on its criminally underseen status.

Directed by Luigi Bazzoni (The Fifth Cord), the movie centers on Alice Campos (Florinda Bolkan, Don’t Torture a Duckling), a Portuguese woman working as translator in Italy. After discovering she’s lost three days of time (“It’s as if I hadn’t lived them.”), she finds a postcard depicting a hotel in a coastal town called Garma. She heads there for answers, only to find that the locals know her — albeit by a different name, Nicole. The more she learns, the weirder it gets.

Klaus Kinski (Nosferatu the Vampyre) appears as an astronaut in a surreal, recurring dream from which the film gets its name. The impressive supporting cast also includes Lila Kedrova (Torn Curtain), Nicoletta Elmi (Demons), Caterina Boratto (), Ida Galli (The Psychic), and Esmeralda Ruspoli (Romeo and Juliet).

Even the best of giallo films often favor style over substance, but Footprints backs up its aesthetic — including striking cinematography by Oscar-winning director of photography Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now, Dick Tracy) and a contemplative score composed by another Oscar winner, Nicola Piovani (Life Is Beautiful) — with a gripping mystique. The slow-burn mystery shares more in common with Messiah of Evil (also on SCREAMBOX) and Dead & Buried than the works of Dario Argento.


The Diabolical

After helming music videos for the likes of Bring Me the Horizon and Beach House, Alistair Legrand made the jump to features with The Diabolical, a solid supernatural chiller from 2015. The first two acts are fairly standard haunted house fare, but the third act brings a reveal so outlandish that it works.

Ali Larter (Final Destination) carries the film as a single mother willing to risk everything for her kids, who become mysteriously ill when they try to leave the house. The cast includes Arjun Gupta (The Magicians), Merrin Dungey (Big Little Lies), Patrick Fischler (Mulholland Drive), and Mark Steger (Stranger Things), and even the child actors are good. Several early scares fall flat due to subpar CGI, but there are also some great practical effects and a memorable villain.


Gamera: Guardian of the Universe

All twelve Gamera films are on SCREAMBOX, but if you’re looking for a good place to start, I suggest 1995’s Gamera: Guardian of the Universe. While the earlier films are cheesy fun, Guardian of the Universe and its two sequels — 1996’s Gamera 2: Attack of Legion and 1999’s Gamera 3: Revenge of Iris — are not only a high point of the franchise but also one of the best sagas in all of kaiju cinema.

Gamera was originally created in 1965 to cash in on the success of Godzilla. After a lengthy dormancy, Shusuke Kaneko rebooted the franchise with Guardian of the Universe. The trilogy was so impressive that Toho hired Kaneko to direct Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, while special effects director Shinji Higuchi went on to helm Shin Godzilla, Shin Ultraman, and Attack on Titan.

No longer catering exclusively to monster kids, this is Gamera for a new generation: a cinematic affair with a bigger budget, grander scope, more realistic effects, and mature storytelling. Written by Kazunori Itō (Ghost in the Shell), the film finds the titular turtle-monster protecting humanity from large winged creatures known as Gyaos, culminating in an explosive final battle of epic proportions. Utilizing some digital effects alongside practicals allows for visual spectacles without sacrificing the charm or tactile nature of rubber suits and miniature work.


Visit the SCREAMBOX Hidden Gems archives for more recommendations.

Start screaming now with SCREAMBOX on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Prime Video, Roku, YouTube TV, Samsung, Comcast, Cox, and SCREAMBOX.com!

The post SCREAMBOX Hidden Gems – 5 Horror Movies to Stream This Week Including ‘The Collector’ appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.



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