2020 has been plenty scary, thanks to the horrors caused by Covid-19. For anyone looking to let out their built-up fear and stress from the worst year in recent memory, Showmax has a monster Halloween line-up full of things that go bump in the night:
Us – Movie
Kenyan Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther, 12 Years A Slave) stars as Adelaide Wilson, a woman returning to her beachside childhood home with her husband, Gabe (Black Panther’s Winston Duke), and their two children. But their idyllic summer getaway turns to chaos when their doppelgängers begin to terrorise them.
Directed by Jordan Peele, Us was the 31st biggest box office hit of 2019 globally, won 73 awards, and appeared in numerous Best of the Year lists for 2019. The horror has a 93% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, who listed it at #1 on their list of the best-reviewed horror movies of all times and #2 behind Black Panther on their list of The 100 Best Black Movies Of The 21st Century.
“I was drawn to this idea that we are our own worst enemy,” says Peele. “That’s something we all know intrinsically, but it’s a truth we tend to bury. We blame the outsider; we blame ‘the other.’ In this movie, the monster has our faces.”
As The Wall Street Journal says, “It’s compulsory seeing for everyone who loves the horror genre, the movie medium and the notion of saying sage things about contemporary life without straying from entertainment’s twisty path.”
Lovecraft Country – Series
In the 1950s, Atticus, a young African-American, sets out on a road trip with his friend and uncle to find his missing father. This catapults the three into a struggle for survival against the dual terrors of Jim Crow-era America and terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a paperback written by pulpy horror author HP Lovecraft.
Based on the cult novel by Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country is a collaboration between Misha Green (creator of Underground, named Best New Cable/New Media Show of 2016 by the African-American Film Critics Association) and Oscar winner Jordan Peele (Us, Get Out), executive produced by JJ Abrams (Star Wars, Star Trek).
The fantastic cast includes Black Reel nominee Jonathan Majors (The Last Black Man in San Francisco, Da 5 Bloods), Teen Choice nominee Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Birds of Prey), four-time Emmy nominee Michael Kenneth Williams (When They See Us, The Night Of), Golden Globe nominee Courtney B Vance (The People Vs OJ Simpson, Law & Order), Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road, The Neon Demon), and Nigerian BAFTA winner Wunmi Mosaku (Luther, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them).
Lovecraft Country is currently the sixth most popular horror series on IMDb and has a 90% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes. As Newsday put it, “To call Lovecraft Country ‘wildly original’ seems almost a quaint understatement. But it is wild. And original. Little doubt about that.”
The Walking Dead – Series
Based on Robert Kirkman’s hit comics, The Walking Dead is the definitive zombie show, having won 77 awards globally, including Emmys, People’s Choice and Critics Choice awards.
The Walking Dead is currently the fourth most popular horror series on IMDb, while Season 10 has a 91% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the consensus is, “A few changes in front of and behind the camera allow The Walking Dead to create space for compelling new stories and some seriously scary new adversaries.”
Norman Reedus and Danai Gurira return in their People’s Choice-nominated roles as Daryl and Michonne, as does Melissa McBride in her Critics Choice-nominated role as Carol. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is also still alive as Negan, a role that won him MTV and Critics Choice awards, but the bigger threat this season is two-time Oscar nominee Samantha Morton (Harlots, In America, Minority Report) as Alpha, the leader of the Whisperers, who wear the skins of zombies, and live among them…
Hereditary – Movie
When Ellen passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel increasingly terrifying secrets about her life. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited.
Winner of 45 awards, including Best-Wide Release Film and Best Kill at the 2019 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards, Hereditary stars Oscar nominee Toni Collette (Unbelievable) and Alex Wolff (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), who both won Chainsaw Awards for their roles. Golden Globe winner Gabriel Byrne (Vikings), Golden Globe nominee Ann Dowd (The Handmaid’s Tale), and Broadway child star Milly Shapiro (Matilda) co-star.
The eleventh best reviewed horror movie of all time on Rotten Tomatoes, where the film has an 89% score and the critics consensus says, “Hereditary uses its classic setup as the framework for a harrowing, uncommonly unsettling horror film whose cold touch lingers long beyond the closing credits.”
American Horror Story – Series
Currently the ninth most popular horror series on IMDb, American Horror Story has the first eight seasons available on Showmax. The horror anthology moves each season, from a house with a murderous past to an insane asylum, from a witch coven to a freak show circus, from a haunted hotel to a possessed farmhouse, and from a cult to the apocalypse.
Co-created by TV heavyweights Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk (Pose, The Politician), American Horror Story has won over 100 awards, including a Golden Globe and two Emmys for Jessica Lange, a Golden Globe for Lady Gaga, and an Emmy each for Kathy Bates and James Cromwell. It’s also been nominated as Outstanding Limited Series at both the Golden Globes and the Emmys.
With an 8/10 rating on IMDb, American Horror Story was renewed for another three seasons in January 2020.
What We Do In The Shadows – Series
From multiple Emmy nominee Jemaine Clement (Flight Of The Conchords) and 2020 Oscar winner Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarok), the hit mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows is a look into the daily (or rather, nightly) lives of three vampires who’ve lived together in New York for over 100 years – plenty of time to get on each other’s nerves.
This year the magnificently silly mock-doc series showed its teeth with eight Emmy nominations for Season 2, including one for Best Comedy Series and three for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. It’s at #11 on Rotten Tomatoes’ Best TV of 2020 (So Far) list, with a 100% critics rating, and has been hailed as “TV’s best comedy” by The Hollywood Reporter, among others. It’s at #10 on IMDb’s list of the top-rated horror series of all time, with an 8.5/10 rating.
What We Do In The Shadows stars Kayvan Novak (Four Lions) and Matt Berry (The IT Crowd, Toast of London) as Nandor the Relentless and Laszlo, respectively. Sketch comedian Natasia Demetriou is Laszlo’s sultry sire, Nadja, while Mark Proksch (The Office, Better Call Saul) plays energy vampire Colin Robinson. But while the vamps flap and fuss in the foreground, it’s downtrodden little Guillermo, Nandor’s familiar, played by Harvey Guillén (The Magicians), who swoops into the spotlight this season, having discovered he’s descended from the famed vampire slayer van Helsing.
The Addams Family – Movie
The 2019 reboot of The Addams Family is currently at #12 on IMDb’s list of the most popular horror movies. The world’s kookiest family is coming to town and this poor little New Jersey suburb has no idea what’s about to hit it. When Wednesday Addams befriends the daughter of reality TV host Margaux Needler, who’s hell-bent on building the perfect planned community, the Addams family find themselves way out of their league when it comes to “assimilation.”
The all-star voice cast is led by our own Oscar winner Charlize Theron as Morticia Addams; Golden Globe winner Oscar Isaac (Star Wars’ Poe Dameron) as Gomez; Teen Choice and Joey Award winner Chloë Grace Moretz (Greta, Kick-Ass) as Wednesday; and People’s Choice and Teen Choice nominee Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) as the death-defying, gene-pool-skimming Pugsley.
Emmy-nominated comedian Nick Kroll (Big Mouth) voices Uncle Fester, Emmy nominee Snoop Dogg is It, and Oscar nominee Bette Midler plays Grandma. The Needlers are voiced by Oscar winner Allison Janney as Margaux and Golden Globe nominee Elsie Fisher (Despicable Me’s adorable Agnes) as Parker. Also listen out for Emmy-winning comedy legends Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek, Beetlejuice) and Martin Short (SCTV, Three Amigos, Inner Space) as the voices of Grandma and Grandpa Frump.
The Addams Family is rated 10-12 PGVH.
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