FIELD OF STREAMS continues its October haunts and hits with more suggestions for family viewing
Welcome to Field of Streams, Cinapse’s weekly guide of what’s playing on your favorite streaming services. What’s new on Netflix and Amazon Prime? What do we recommend on Kanopy, Hoopla, and Shudder? We’ve got it all. From topical roundups, to curated top 5 lists, to reviews of our favorites available now… it’s here. We built it for you, so come and join us in the Field of Streams.
We’ve already taken a look at some of the great Halloween family fare on Disney+, but there’s plenty more to choose from on various platforms.
The Monster Squad (1987) — Amazon Prime
Wolfman’s got gnarly pals in Fred Dekker’s classic kids’ fright flick that’s basically an epic team-up film for Universal’s classic monsters. But standing in the way of Dracula, Gillman, Wolfman, and the Mummy is a group of horror-loving kids who possess the journal of Abraham Van Helsing, aided by some new pals including Frankenstein’s Monster.
A treat for monster kids of all ages, The Monster Squad film leaves Prime at the end of the month; just enough time to catch it for Halloween.
Troll (1986) — Amazon Prime
You know the story well. A boy named Harry Potter grapples with a new environment, trains to become a wizard, wins the respect of his teacher – a grandmotherly witch, and even tangles with a troll. It’s that classic favorite…
Despite the uncanny resemblances predating a much more famous franchise (every word above is true), Troll remains forever shadowed by its notoriously maligned, belovedly bad sequel, Troll 2. Which is kind of a bummer, because this movie is actually a pretty great fantasy tale that mixes its scary themes with a wistful and unexpected sense of pathos, not unlike Guilllermo del Toro’s lament for faerie lost in Hellboy II. The great Phil Fondacaro also pops in with a wonderful role, and the supporting cast also includes Michael Moriarty, Sonny Bono, and future spouses Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Brad Hall.
Younger kids should steer clear of this PG-13 rated film, but for those who can handle it, especially Harry Potter fans, this is a little seen, creature-filled wonder that’s well worth checking out.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) — Apple TV+
The Peanuts Gang’s most famous and beloved special is undoubtedly their original Christmas tale, but The Great Pumpkin is pretty safely ensconced at second place. Linus heralds the coming of “The Great Pumpkin”, a seasonal figure that’s something like the Halloween equivalent of Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny — his friends remain unconvinced.
The Corpse Bride (2005) — HBO Max
A follow-up of sorts to The Nightmare Before Christmas, Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride finds him returning to the world of stop-motion animation, this time in the director’s chair.
It’s the story of Victor, a young man who inadvertently gets wrapped up in a love triangle between his betrothed and a dead woman whom he accidentally reanimates as he practices his vows in the woods.
While Emily the “corpse bride” is at first terrifying, she reveals a world of the dead which is more vibrant, colorful, and full of life than the drab, dirty, and mirthless real world of the living. It’s an interesting juxtaposition which may go over the heads of younger viewers, but the themes of love and selflessness won’t.
Garfield’s Halloween Adventure (1985) — $1.99 on Prime
It’s not part of any current subscription model and doesn’t fit our usual format, but for two bucks you can buy what’s probably the greatest Halloween TV Special of all time (or at least, my personal favorite).
Garfield and Odie are looking forward to an evening of trick or treating and getting loaded up with candy. But fate has something else in store, and the duo end up in spooky encounters with monsters who may or may not be in costumes, a creepy old man, and a band of ghost pirates. What I love most about this tale is that the spooks are real — no cop-outs or pranks or “it was all a dream”. Just a great Garfield adventure with freaking ghost pirates.
Other picks to consider include Ernest Scared Stupid on Hoopla, Hubie Halloween and Paranorman on Netflix, Ghoulies 1 & 2 on HBO Max, and Ghostbusters (2016) and Goosebumps 1 & 2 on Fubo. Gather the family and have a happy STREAMtober Halloween!
There are countless services to explore and great things to watch on all of them. Which ones did we miss that you would suggest to us? Tell us what we’re missing out on or what new services we should check out by leaving a comment below or emailing us.
Till next week, stream on, stream away.