Between Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Shudder, and countless other streaming services, the selection of choices for horror fans can be overwhelming. Amazon Prime Video began as a perk for Prime members to help members justify their yearly fee, but has since grown to be a worthy competitor to streaming champ Netflix. There are currently over 2,600 titles available in horror with Prime Video, but unlike many of its rivals, the streaming service isn’t always exactly easy to navigate. It doesn’t help that there’s a ton of not so great filler titles, and no decent way to filter and sort beyond surface level categories to really dig in to see what’s available. So, we did the digging for you. Here are five horror gems currently lurking on Amazon Prime Video that are worth adding to your watch lists:
Using a snowy winter backdrop, this slasher sees six actresses holed up in the mansion of a sleazy director for an audition only to find themselves getting picked off one by one by a masked killer. In comparison to other slashers, this one is a bit slow, dragging out the whodunnit aspect in favor of focusing on the melodrama between the actresses. However, the murder set pieces and dreamlike imagery still makes this underrated slasher a great watch. The killer’s mask is effectively creepy, as is the doll used as the killer’s calling card. The ice skating scene is one of the best in slasher history, and the final chase sequence makes this slasher stand out among most, even if it takes a while to get there.
Messiah of Evil (1973)
Obscure and ahead of its time, this forgotten gem could really use a restoration. The version available on Amazon Prime is as gritty as a dusty VHS copy, but considering it’s hard to find and an effective horror movie with shades of Wicker Man and David Lynch, it’s worth watching regardless. Co-Written and directed by Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz, Messiah of Evil follows a young woman whose search for her missing artist father brings her to the eerie seaside town of Point Dune. There she meets an eccentric group of people overly interested in her father’s work, but it turns out that they’re not the ones she should be worried about. Instead, it’s the townsfolk, all under the spell of a mysterious cult. The more boldened the cult becomes, the creepier things get, including a very tense sequence in a movie theater. Strange, dreamlike, and spooky, Messiah of Evil deserves more recognition than it’s received.
Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary (2017)
With the recent news for the remake, there’s perhaps no better time to jump on this underseen documentary about the original film. The documentary covers everything from Stephen King’s inspiration for writing the book to the detailed making of amidst the turbulence of the WGA strike, and includes tons of interviews with the cast and crew, including director Mary Lambert. It’s clear that Pet Sematary left a lasting, loving mark on the town of Maine in which it was shot, based on King’s insistence, and everyone involved. There’s a riveting reverence on display from writer/directors John Campopiano and Justin White that makes for a fun, knowledgeable film on everything you didn’t realize you needed to know about the original enduring classic.
The Burrowers (2008)
A Wild West set creature feature with the great monster designs and a cast lead by the always effective Clancy Brown and the always creepy Doug Hutchinson. The plot centers around a rescue party that’s set out to find a missing family that vanished under violence circumstances. The party meets deep-seated prejudices, a ruthless military party, and underground dwelling monsters with a very nasty bite. Admittedly, it’s the plot with heavy-handed social commentary that proves to be the weak spot in an otherwise fantastic creature feature, but the actors fully commit and anything having to do with the creatures far surpasses the weak spots. Brutal and creepy, with unique creature mythology, The Burrowers is fun enough to warrant a sequel or remake.
One Dark Night (1982)
Before helming Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI, director Tom McLoughlin delivered a largely forgotten yet excellent mausoleum set creeper One Dark Night. Meg Tilly stars as Julie, the hopeful college girl hoping to land a coveted spot in a club called the Sisters. Club leader Carol is a bit miffed that Julie is dating her ex, though, and orders Julie to spend the night in a mausoleum alone as part of her initiation, with plans on scaring her. It’s too bad that the mausoleum also happens to be home to a recently buried serial killer with psychokinesis. Atmospheric and creepy in its slow crawl toward a thrilling final act, this is one retro horror with a great, practical effect driven payoff. Between Jason Lives and One Dark Night, McLoughlin has a way with resurrecting the dead.