Arrow in the Head looks at some of the Best Horror Movies on Paramount Plus. Friday the 13th, Scream, Halloween, & more!
A while back, the CBS All Access streaming service was rebooted and rebranded as Paramount Plus. Since then, the latest Paranormal Activity sequel was released directly to Paramount Plus, and in the not-too-distant future, a Pet Sematary prequel will be on there as well. While we wait for that, the service already has several other horror titles that are available for subscribers to watch. Listed below are some of the Best Horror Movies on Paramount Plus:
TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE: THE MOVIE (1990)
For four seasons, George A. Romero served as executive producer on a horror anthology TV series called Tales from the Darkside. After that show ended in 1988, we got this feature film follow-up directed by Romero collaborator John Harrison; and one of this anthology movie’s three segments is actually a story Romero and Stephen King originally intended to be in creepshow 2! That’s Cat from Hella killer cat story that’s sandwiched in between the Arthur Conan Doyle mummy story Lot No. 249 and the very troubling, Lafcadio Hearn-inspired Lover’s Vow. With a wraparound story that features Debbie Harry as a woman who’s planning to kill and cook a child for dinner, Tales from the Darkside: The Movie is a great piece of dark entertainment that packs a lot of horror and some terrific actors (Steve Buscemi, Christian Slater, Julianne Moore, William Hickey, James Remar, etc.) into its 89 minutes.
HALLOWEEN H20: TWENTY YEARS LATER (1998)
Twenty years before she returned to the Halloween franchise to play Laurie Strode in a sequel that ignored all of the previous sequels, Jamie Lee Curtis returned to the Halloween franchise to play Laurie in a sequel that ignored all of the sequels except Halloween II. In this one, Laurie is struggling with alcoholism while working as the headmistress at a school in California… and on Halloween, her long-lost brother, the masked slasher Michael Myers, shows up at the school to torment her twenty years after their last encounter . Directed by Steve Miner, this Scream-era Halloween movie has its share of flaws and some serious mask problems, but it also has some good slashing, a fun Michael vs. Laurie battles, and it wraps things up in just 86 minutes.
Director Gary Sherman moved on from the difficult, heartbreaking production of Poltergeist III by taking the helm of the thriller Lisawhich – much like Sherman’s own 1981 film Dead & Buried – is underseen and underrated. Staci Keanan plays the 14-year-old title character, who plays a dangerous game where she calls up an older man and pretends to someone within his age range. She finds out how dangerous this is when she catches the attention of Richard (DW Moffett), who happens to be the “Candlelight Killer” that has been terrorizing the city by sneaking into apartments and strangling women. Co-starring Cheryl Ladd of Charlie’s Angels as Lisa’s mother, Lisa has been one of my favorites for thirty years now. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s well worth checking out.
A QUIET PLACE (2018)
Watching a bunch of people sitting around trying to be as quiet as possible did not sound like my idea of a good time when A Quiet Place was first announced, but director John Krasinski turned the concept of a family struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by alien creatures that hunt by sound into a masterwork of suspense. The cast (Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe) do great work, and there’s plenty of action because something is always going wrong for these people and drawing the monsters to them. This is a movie that deserved the hype, and proved that Krasinki is more than one of those goofy guys from The Office, he’s also an impressive filmmaker. This horror movie and its sequel were Paramount releases, so Paramount Plus has them both.
FRIDAY THE 13TH (1980)
You can’t have a full Friday the 13th marathon on any single streaming service, as the movies in the franchise have been scattered all over the place. The original Friday the 13th can currently be found on Paramount Plus… which makes sense, given that the first eight movies were distributed by Paramount. This Sean S. Cunningham classic centers on a group of unlucky counselors who are attempting to re-open Camp Crystal Lake twenty-plus years after a young boy named Jason drowned there. Problem is, Jason’s mom doesn’t want the camp to open again and will kill to make sure it doesn’t. The first Friday the 13th is a great, effectively creepy slasher with some terrific kills courtesy of Tom Savini.
THE BURNING (1981)
The year after providing Friday the 13th with its gore, Tom Savini headed back into the woods to bring the bloodshed to the camp slasher The Burning, about a vengeful burn victim called Cropsy hacking his way through the campers of Camp Stonewater. There’s not a lot of variety to the kills in this one, Cropsy is very dedicated to using his garden shears for his murders, but Savini keeps them interesting with his special effects. Directed Tony Maylam, The Burning is packed with actors who would soon become famous, including Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens, and Holly Hunter. When you’re not busy enjoying the death scenes and spotting the celebrities, the movie also allows you to bask in a very true-to-life campground atmosphere.
Director John Frankenheimer’s “nature run amok” environmental horror film Prophecy doesn’t have a good reputation, but if you can get on its wavelength it’s actually extremely creepy. The story follows a couple (Robert Foxworth and Talia Shire) who have been sent into the Maine wilderness by the EPA to look into a dispute between a Native American tribe and a paper mill. What they discover is that something this paper mill is doing is having a serious impact on the environment, resulting in large, mutant creatures. What makes this especially unsettling is the fact that Shire’s character is pregnant, so we know she should not be in this area. The longer she’s here, the bigger the risk to her unborn child. Then there’s a rampaging mutant bear (Jason Lives director Tom McLoughlin and predator‘s Kevin Peter Hall both wore the costume) that sometimes looks goofy going after its victims, but there are some great moments involving this thing as well.
ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968)
Paramount Plus gives you the chance to watch one of the most popular horror movies ever made, Rosemary’s Baby. Mia Farrow, sporting a Vidal Sassoon haircut, stars in the film as Rosemary Woodhouse, a pregnant woman who comes to suspect that everyone around her, possibly even her husband, may be plotting to use her baby in a Satanic ritual. You probably know all the details already, even if you haven’t seen the movie. But if you already know how it ends, it’s still worth checking out to see how it gets to that ending. Just a word of warning: this is one of those movies where you have to be able to set aside a director’s history in order to watch it. Some may want to skip it.
KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE (1988)
This highly entertaining horror comedy, which has one of the greatest theme songs of all time, begins with an homage to The Blob, as young people parked at lovers’ lane witness a meteor bringing something terrible to their small town. But instead of cracking open to unleash a gelatinous creature, this meteor morphs into a massive circus tent filled with blood-slurping alien creatures that resemble the clowns of our world. Killer Klowns from Outer Space was made by special effects artists The Chiodo Brothers, who packed it with incredible practical effects and created unforgettable designs for the army of alien clowns. The set pieces involving the clowns using variations on things like cotton candy, popcorn, pies, balloon animals, shadow puppets, and of course a clown because to capture their victims are very amusing and clever, and the movie is a whole lot of fun from beginning to end.
Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), and Dewey Riley (David Arquette) are back to stop another Ghostface killing spree in this “legacyquel” or “requel” that primarily focuses on the new generation of victims and heroes / heroines. Some questionable decisions are made and the motivation for the murders might leave some viewers rolling their eyes, but directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett did a good job of following in the footsteps of the legendary Wes Craven and delivered a film that is, overall , a worthy entry in the Scream franchise. I might rank it fourth of the five Scream movies, but it’s still far ahead of the sequel that comes in last place, Scream 3.
Do you think these are the best horror movies on Paramount Plus? What are some of your favorites?