Welcome to Horrorscope, a monthly column keeping horror nerds and initiates up to date on all the genre content coming to and leaving from your favorite streaming services. Here’s a guide to all the essential horror streaming in April 2021.
Spring has sprung!
Dead foliage has given way to eager flowers, budding shrubbery, and all manner of hideous pastoral displays. Some of you may have noticed that your sense of smell has returned to greet you with olfactory delights such as: grass. Oh look, what’s that? Forgotten trash, emerging like some frozen leviathan out of a melting snowbank. How nice.
But look: April is only the cruelest month if you want it to be. Screw your head on straight and all those breeding lilacs and stirring dull roots take on a more tantalizing aspect. We’re out of winter, friends. Time to greet a new season with open arms.
In that spirit, this month’s horror highlights are all-new, from either this year or the last. This is something of a departure for this column, which usually tries (an operative word!) to strike a balance between new fare and ye old spooks. But it’s spring, damn it! So brace yourselves for round two of a record-breaking anthology series, a marital nightmare, an explosive coming-of-age horrorshow, and an insightful documentary about how indie horror gets made.
Be sure to peruse the complete list below, calendar in hand, for a full picture of what horror flicks are coming and going from your favorite streaming services this April.
Pick of the Month: Creepshow Season 2 (2021)
Synopsis: A revamp of the classic George A. Romero and Stephen King horror anthology films of the same name, Creepshow delivers bite-sized spooks of murder, monsters, and cosmic comeuppance. WIth a pulpy, comic-book gait and an episodic zing, the popular series is back for a second season.
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: there can never be enough horror anthologies.
When Shudder’s reboot of Creepshow debuted in 2019, it broke viewership records and quickly carved out a name for itself as one of the streaming service’s big draws. After the first installment’s runaway success, Shudder enthusiastically greenlit two more seasons. I had the pleasure of reviewing Creepshow‘s first go-round with Rob Hunter. We’re both excited to see what Shudder cooks up for Season 2.
Executive produced by The Walking Dead‘s Greg Nicotero, the series features two ooky-spooky stories in each episode. This is the great boon of horror anthologies: if something doesn’t turn your crank before you know it, you’re on to the next nightmare.
This new season’s guest stars include Kevin Dillon, Iman Benson, Josh McDermitt, Keith David, Molly Ringwald, Barbara Crampton (!), Justin Long, and D’Arcy Carden, among others.
Arrives on Shudder on April 1st (new episodes every thursday).
Haunted marriage? Haunted marriage.
Synopsis: After moving from Manhattan to a peaceful hamlet in the Hudson Valley, a married couple begins to suspect that their idyllic new home is haunted by its dark past. Soon enough both their house and relationship begin to rot and crack, with one dark secret after another peeling away to reveal generational scars and sinister longings.
Now, look. When it comes to sussing out “what is and isn’t horror,” I’m not above a little semantics here and there. How else am I going to claim historical dramas like The Devils? Or more noir-heavy fare like The Leopard Man? Semantics should be used to enrich a genre, not to gatekeep it. So forgive me for raising a suspicious eyebrow at Things Heard & Seen‘s directors claiming that the film “isn’t a horror film; it’s a supernatural thriller.”
Is “horror” really such a dirty word? In any case, even if this is more of a thrilling spooky experience than an outright gorefest, I’m including this “literary ghost story” on a horror round-up. Fight me in the comments (we don’t have comments, haha!).
Things Heard & Seen is based on Elizabeth Brundage’s novel All Things Cease to Appear. You might remember writer-directors-spouses Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman from their fantastic Harvey Pekar biopic American Splendor. Headlining with Amanda Seyfried and James Norton, Things Heard & Seen‘s cast also includes Natalia Dyer (Stranger Things), Rhea Seehorn (Better Call Saul), Indiana Jones legend Karen Allen, and F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus).
All told: Things Heard & Seen sounds like a compelling portrait of trouble in paradise that promises to be haunting in more ways than one. In any case, we’ll have to wait until the end of the month until we get to…hear and see it for ourselves.
Premieres on Netflix on April 29th.
A coming of age romance about growing up…and blowing up
Synopsis: A teenage dream with an explosive twist, Mara’s senior year was supposed to be full of romance and plans for the future. Then, on an otherwise boring day, one of her classmates explodes, coating the walls with gore and viscera, dashing Mara’s dreams of a totally chill final year. Then, before the authorities can get a grip on what’s happening…another kid goes kaboom. Suddenly small-time annoyances (like that weird kid having a crush on her) are the least of Mara’s troubles.
Genuinely horrific horror comedies are hard to come by. And genuinely horrific romantic comedies are harder still. Which makes Brian Duffield‘s debut feature, Spontaneous (2020), all the more of a hat-trick. A darkly sly examination of explosive grief, Spontaneous agrees that all coming-of-age stories should be a little messy. For all the pep in its step, Spontaneous never lets the other (more horrific) shoe drop.
And yet, faced with the reality of gruesome, sudden death, Mara (Katherine Langford) chooses to cherish life and fall in love (with the aforementioned weird kid, played by Charlie Plummer). I’ve been waiting with rocks in my stomach to see how genre film will react to the (ongoing) global pandemic. And while Spontaneous’ allegorical intentions are more geared pointedly towards school shootings, the film still manages to inadvertently answer the question: how do you make a comedy about COVID?
We’ve all had to make our peace with taking things as they come during these weird times. And as Spontaneous astutely notes, even in the face of amorphous trauma, holding on to the people you love is sometimes the only thing that helps.
Arriving on Amazon Prime and Hulu on April 12th.
A warts-and-all exploration of what it takes to make a movie
Synopsis: Following five years in the life and career of indie filmmaker Justin McConnell (Lifechanger), this documentary features interviews with genre luminaries and industry mainstays to answer the question: how do you make and release a movie?
Are you a freak for behind-the-scenes content? Love the nitty-gritty of movie-making? Well, have I got the documentary for you.
These days, anyone can make a film. The hard part is making a living while doing it. Clapboard Jungle: Surviving the Independent Film Business (2020) surveys the crags and crannies of the low-budget movie business. The doc includes interviews with the likes of Guillermo Del Toro (Crimson Peak), Tom Holland (Fright Night), George A. Romero (The Crazies), Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator), and a veritable rogues gallery of horror royalty.
There’s something compelling about the contrast between such accomplished talking heads versus McConnell, the film’s largely unfamiliar subject-director. There’s an endearing implication: that even the biggest names in the low-budget biz were, at some point, aspiring unknowns.
Clapboard Jungle also comes with a tsunami of ephemera. ARROW subscribers will be treated to commentaries, nearly thirty extended interviews, and a collection of eight short stories by McConnell. So whether you’re an aspiring director or an arms-length fan of the industry, this is well-worth checking out!
Arrives on ARROW on April 19th.
Streamable Horror Incoming This MonthFresh blood: A list of all the horror content coming to streaming services in April 2021.
|Amazon Prime||Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974)||April 1|
|Amazon Prime||Lady in A Cage (1951)||April 1|
|Amazon Prime||Mad Max (1980)||April 1|
|Amazon Prime||Motel Hell (1980)||April 1|
|Amazon Prime||Smiley Face Killers (2020)||April 1|
|Amazon Prime||So I Married An Axe Murderer (1993)||April 1|
|Amazon Prime||The Dead Zone (1983)||April 1|
|Amazon Prime||The Gift (2001)||April 1|
|Amazon Prime||The Happening (2008)||April 1|
|Amazon Prime||The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959)||April 1|
|Amazon Prime||The Skull (1965)||April 1|
|Amazon Prime||Blair Witch (2016)||April 3|
|Amazon Prime||Pulse (2005)||April 7|
|Amazon Prime||Trollhunter (2011)||April 7|
|Amazon Prime||THEM (2021)||April 9|
|Amazon Prime||Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)||April 12|
|Amazon Prime||Spontaneous (2020)||April 12|
|Amazon Prime||Merantau (2010)||April 21|
|ARROW||Bad Meat (2011)||April 12|
|ARROW||Slaughterhouse (1987)||April 12|
|ARROW||Mirror Mirror (1990)||April 16|
|ARROW||Soul Contact (2020)||April 16|
|ARROW||Do You See What I See? (2016)||April 16|
|ARROW||Clapboard Jungle (2021)||April 19|
|ARROW||Battle Royale (2002) - Director’s and Theatrical cuts||April 26|
|ARROW||Battle Royale II (2003) - Requiem and Revenge cuts||April 26|
|ARROW||Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotape and Video Tape Nasties: Draconian Days (2014)||April TBA|
|The Criterion Channel||Night Train Murders (1975)||April 1|
|The Criterion Channel||The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)||April 1|
|The Criterion Channel||Hair Wolf (2018)||April 6|
|HBO Max||Blindness (2008)||April 1|
|HBO Max||The Collection (2012)||April 1|
|HBO Max||Dark Shadows (2012)||April 1|
|HBO Max||Dead Silence (2007)||April 1|
|HBO Max||Ghost Rider (2007)||April 1|
|HBO Max||Leatherface Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)||April 1|
|HBO Max||The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006) - Extended Version||April 1|
|HBO Max||White Noise (2005)||April 1|
|HBO Max||Within (2016)||April 1|
|HBO Max||Wolves At The Door (2017)||April 1|
|HBO Max||The New Mutants (2020)||April 10|
|Hulu||28 Days Later (2003)||April 1|
|Hulu||Bug (2007)||April 1|
|Hulu||Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974)||April 1|
|Hulu||The Dead Zone (1983)||April 1|
|Hulu||The Gift (2000)||April 1|
|Hulu||Lady in a Cage (1964)||April 1|
|Hulu||Mad Max (1980)||April 1|
|Hulu||The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959)||April 1|
|Hulu||Motel Hell (1980)||April 1|
|Hulu||Scary Movie 4 (2006)||April 1|
|Hulu||The Skull (1965)||April 1|
|Hulu||So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)||April 1|
|Hulu||Blair Witch (2016)||April 3|
|Hulu||Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)||April 12|
|Hulu||Spontaneous (2020)||April 12|
|IMDb TV||Anaconda (1997)||April 1|
|IMDb TV||Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant (2009)||April 16|
|Netflix||Insidious (2010)||April 1|
|Netflix||Leprechaun (1993)||April 1|
|Netflix||The Possession (2012)||April 1|
|Netflix||What Lies Below (2020)||Apri4|
|Netflix||Crimson Peak (2015)||April 16|
|Netflix||Things Heard and Seen (2021)||April 29|
|Shudder||Creepshow - Season 2, Premiere (2021)||April 1|
|Shudder||Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (2020)||April 1|
|Shudder||The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)||April 1|
|Shudder||Don’t Panic (1988)||April 5|
|Shudder||Zombie for Sale (2019)||April 5|
|Shudder||The Power (2021)||April 8|
|Shudder||The McPherson Tape (1989)||April 12|
|Shudder||The Day of the Beast (1995)||April 12|
|Shudder||Dance with the Devil (1997)||April 12|
|Shudder||The Banishing (2020)||April 15|
|Shudder||The Last Drive-in with Joe Bob Briggs, season premiere||April 16|
|Shudder||2021 FANGORIA Chainsaw Awards (2021)||April 18 - 8pm ET / 5pm PT|
|Shudder||The Stepfather (1987)||April 19|
|Shudder||Thale (2012)||April 19|
|Shudder||The Conspiracy (2012)||April 19|
|Shudder||Housebound (2014)||April 19|
|Shudder||Boys from County Hell (2020)||April 22|
|Shudder||The Similiars (2015)||April 26|
|Shudder||Attack of the Demons (2019)||April 26|
|Shudder||In Search of Darkness: Part II (2021)||April 26|
|Shudder||Horror Express (1972)||April 29|
|Shudder||Deadhouse Dark (2020)||April 29|
|Tubi||Scary Movie 4 (2006)||April 1|
|Tubi||Moon (2009)||April 1|
|Tubi||30 Days of Night (2007)||April 1|
|Tubi||30 Days of Night: Dark Days (2010)||April 1|
|Tubi||Cry Wolf (2005)||April 1|
|Tubi||Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005)||April 1|
|Tubi||Home Invasion (2015)||April 1|
|Tubi||Night of the Living Dead (1990)||April 1|
|Tubi||Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990)||April 1|
|Tubi||Raw (2016)||April 1|
|Tubi||The Intruders (2015)||April 1|
|Tubi||The Unborn (2009)||April 1|
|Tubi||Wer (2013)||April 1|
|Tubi||Flatliners (2017)||April 1|
|Tubi||Resident Evil (2002)||April 1|
|Tubi||Resident Evil: Extinct (2007)||April 1|
|Tubi||Slumber (2017)||April 15|
Horror Titles Expiring from Streaming Soon
|HBO Max||An American Werewolf In London (1981)||April 30|
|HBO Max||Critters 2 (1988)||April 30|
|HBO Max||Critters 4 (1992)||April 30|
|HBO Max||The Exorcist (1973)||April 30|
|HBO Max||Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (2019)||April 30|
|HBO Max||Godzilla Vs. Kong (2021)||April 30|
|HBO Max||The Hills Have Eyes II (2007) - Extended Version||April 30|
|HBO Max||The Hills Have Eyes (2006) - Extended Version||April 30|
|HBO Max||The Invisible Man (2020)||April 30|
|HBO Max||Ma (2019)||April 30|
|HBO Max||Open Water (2004)||April 30|
|HBO Max||Open Water 2: Adrift (2006)||April 30|
|HBO Max||Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (2005)||April 30|
|HBO Max||What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962)||April 30|
|Hulu||Beloved (1998)||April 30|
|Hulu||Damien - Omen II (1978)||April 30|
|Hulu||Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974)||April 30|
|Hulu||From Hell (2001)||April 30|
|Hulu||Gargoyles: Wings of Darkness (2004)||April 30|
|Hulu||The Haunting In Connecticut (2009)||April 30|
|Hulu||The Haunting In Connecticut 2: Ghosts Of Georgia (2013)||April 30|
|Hulu||Mad Max (1980)||April 30|
|Hulu||Motel Hell (1980)||April 30|
|Hulu||The Omen (1976)||April 30|
|Netflix||Antidote (2018)||April 14|
|Netflix||Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (2009)||April 16|
|Netflix||The Vatican Tapes (2015)||April 20|
|Netflix||Doom (2005)||April 28|
|Netflix||I Am Legend (2007)||April 30|