“White Zombie” (Netflix Instant, Amazon Prime Instant, Hulu Plus) — Considered by some to be the first zombie movie ever made, “White Zombie” came out just a year after “Dracula” in 1932. Although not nearly as well known as his earlier role, Bela Lugosi is endlessly captivating as the villainous Murder Legendre, a witch doctor on a plantation in Haiti who uses voodoo magic to turn people into mindless slaves.
“The American Scream” (Netflix Instant) — “Best Worst Movie” filmmaker (and Salt Lake City native) Michael Stephenson directed this documentary about three Massachusetts families and their obsession with creating the ultimate neighborhood haunted houses. Not much in the way of spooks and scares, but this one will definitely get you in the holiday spirit as it examines just what it is people love about Halloween.
“Alfred Hitchcock Presents” (Netflix Instant, Hulu Plus) — The Master of Suspense (and the only director to have his own theme music) curated this anthology series that ran from 1955-1958. While not all of the episodes could be called “horror” or even “thrillers” — some are straight-up comedic — it’s all done with an appropriately macabre sensibility and plenty of gallows humor. For people not into supernatural scares, these 25-minute episodes could be a great choice come Halloween night.
“The Twilight Zone” (Netflix Instant, Amazon Prime Instant, Hulu Plus) — Featuring some of the best TV writing of its time courtesy of genre heavyweights like Richard Matheson (“I Am Legend”), Rod Serling’s anthology series holds up remarkably well all these years later. Episodes like Matheson’s “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” — about a monster on the wing of an airplane — or “It’s a Good Life” — about a town terrorized by a monstrous child with supernatural powers — have become famous in their own right, but there are plenty more episodes worth discovering.
A native of Utah Valley and a devoted cinephile, Jeff Peterson is currently studying humanities and history at Brigham Young University.
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