With the endless amount of streaming services available, Amazon Prime Video is quickly emerging as a worthy competitor among the giants. Recent titles added like Wish Upon, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, Rings, or It Comes at Night that can’t be found on other streaming platforms (at least not for free), but it’s also the more obscure stuff that makes Amazon Prime Video worth having. Just days ago the service made Fright Night Part 2 available, a title that’s been unavailable in the US due to messy distribution, save for pricey out of print copies. It’s just one of many gems to be found. The problem, though, is that as amazing as their selection has become, the titles aren’t always easy to find. Between thousands of less than stellar choices, and a layout that’s not the most organized, sometimes you have to really dig in to find what you want to watch. So, we did that for you. Here are five more hidden horror movies on Amazon Prime Video you should add to your watch lists:
Fade to Black
Like Fright Night Part 2, this obscure title is another that hasn’t had much luck with a Blu ray release, at least not stateside, and out of print DVDs can be found with an insanely high price tag attached. This psychological horror follows obsessed cinephile Eric Binford whose loneliness and desire to find a like-minded film fanatic eventually turns into homicidal rage. Binford takes on a different persona with each kill, from Dracula, the Mummy, to Hopalong Cassidy the cowboy. Produced by Irwin Yablans (Halloween, Tourist Trap, Hell Night), the movie is crammed full of cinematic references and background Easter eggs. All of this makes for a visually fun film, but it’s Dennis Christopher’s mesmerizing performance as Eric Binford that makes Fade to Black so memorable. Fade to Black has available on Amazon Prime Video once before, so jump on this before they pull it again.
A Belgian slasher from first time director Jonas Govaerts, Cub (also known as Welp) offers great cinematography and an excellent score. It also has a serious mean streak. Following a twelve-year-old boy, Sam, away on a boy scout camping trip in the woods, the poor kid is the subject of bullying by his peers. Until he meets the feral Kai. Then this boy scout trip turns from unpleasant into fatal for many unwitting boy scouts and counselors. A very effective horror film that isn’t without flaws; the final act becomes a paint by numbers, albeit brutal, slasher film that works against what felt so fresh about the first two thirds. Even still, there’s a lot left to like. And the best part? It’s available on Prime, making it easy for you to give this underseen slasher a shot.
There’s really nothing else like this wacky horror comedy, especially when it was released in 1980. Initially intended as a much darker, more twisted horror film that would include bestiality, Universal Studios took issue with the more bizarre elements, dropping the project, and original director Tobe Hooper departed as well. Enter director Kevin Connor, and an extremely limiting low budget. Motel Hell transformed into a satirical take on The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, with one of the catchiest taglines in horror. Featuring a unique farm where Farmer Vincent cultivates his meat, and culminating in a fantastic dueling chainsaw battle. The irony here being that The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 would also feature a chainsaw duel just 6 years later. So quirky and fun not even hard-to-please critic Roger Ebert could hate it, Motel Hell is an oddball horror comedy that should be essential viewing. It’s not available on Netflix or Shudder, but Amazon Prime has us covered.
Don’t Torture a Duckling
Among the horror community, Lucio Fulci is most known and regarded for his gore; namely films like The Beyond, City of the Living Dead, The House by the Cemetery, or Zombi 2. But Fulci had a lengthy career exploring a variety of genres. Amazon Prime Video offers a ton of great work from the director’s filmography worth exploring, but please start with Don’t Torture a Duckling, the film that started his path toward his trademark gore and violence. A giallo that trades the usual city setting for the rural Italian countryside, a reporter and a promiscuous outsider team up to solve a series of child murders in a remote town filled with severe mistrust of outsiders. It’s dark, thought-provoking, and one of Fulci’s absolute best films ever. It also ruffled a lot of feathers in his native country for its scathing critique on the Catholic Church. The quality here is great too, as sometimes Amazon Prime Video’s offerings on older films can be hit or miss (I’m looking at you Messiah of Evil). If you’ve never seen this Fulci masterpiece, add it to your list. If you have, watch it again.
Long before horror anthology series American Horror Story there was Harper’s Island, a 13-episode horror mystery that aired on CBS in the summer of 2009. The original intent was for each new season to feature different actors, characters, and a new setting, but the ratings dwindled as the season progressed, so CBS dashed any hopes of future seasons. It’s a damn shame, too, because that 13-episode run is some of the most addictive television ever. What begins as a soap opera heavy destination wedding quickly becomes a tense murder mystery, featuring some surprising gore and brutal deaths for network television. The twists were jaw-dropping and the kills inventive, but most of all the writers did a fantastic job making you care about the characters; some of the deaths really stung. It’s a shame that we never got more seasons, but at least we can still binge this near-perfect season of TV on Amazon.