As Halloween draws near, the time for watching spooky movies is here! And whatever creepers you crave, Roku has them. Getting a Roku player was one of the best decisions of my long, lazy, TV-watching career, and for fans of classic (and not-so-classic) horror movies, it’s a real treat this time of year.
From the silent era through contemporary hits and near misses, these free channels will provide you with countless nights of freaky frights.
First off, The Roku Channel has movies for kids and the family, as well as plenty for adult’s-eyes-only. Look for the acclaimed Masters of Horror series that originally ran on Showtime. Also available is John Carpenter’s popular Halloween from 1978 which set the stage for a plethora of copy cats. Scream, Hellraiser are among other standard Halloween titles, but don’t miss the lesser-known gems like Universal Studios’ black and white chiller, Monster on the Campus, or the bizarre and hysterical, Blood Diner.
Tubi is one of the flagships of streaming channels available on Roku and Charles Band’s Full Moon features are overflowing there. You’ll also find a few directed by the late, great Stuart Gordon (R.I.P.), including Re-Animator and Castle Freak, and his co-producer, Brian Yuzna’s own directorial efforts, Society, and Beyond Re-Animator. Other demented directors awaiting uncovering on Tubi are David Cronenberg and his body horrors, Rabid and Shivers, Brian Trenchard-Smith’s Dead-End Drive-In, and the surreal absurdities of Takashi Miike’s The Happiness of the Katakuris, among a mountain of other oddities.
Shout Factory TV is a fine digital portal for their offerings, and if you like your horror movies hosted, look to them for Mystery Science Theater 3000, and several episodes of Elvira’s Movie Macabre, among many other Japanese titles and several unnerving films of Werner Herzog, such as Even Dwarfs Started Small.
Although Horror Hotel is the name of an excellent public domain horror film starring Christopher Lee from 1960, the Horror Hotel channel available on Roku features a good variety of classic and lesser-seen films hosted by the eternally effervescent Lamia, Queen of the Dark. Allow yourself to fall under her spell.
OSI74 is the channel for Mr. Lobo’s Cinema Insomnia and other hosted affairs, including the old public access cult favorites, The Hypnotic Eye program, and Church of the SubGenius de-programming videos.
Beta Max TV is another haven for horror hosts, the best of which just might be The Dungeon of Dr. Dreck. And tune into Count Gore de Vol Presents, for a revolving, revolting platter of classic movies and daring shorts.
Mutant Sorority Pictures is most notable for foisting Lloyd Kaufman’s Troma monstrosities and releases upon us. Warning! Once seen, Tromeo and Juliette, Citizen Toxie, and Poultrygeist aren’t soon forgotten.
Pub D Hub is a channel containing public domain titles from A to Z and their horror and sci-fi collection is vast. Look for additional public domain treasures at the Digital Drive-In and Film Rabbits channels, which also has a few Mexican movies including the outlandish Ship of Monsters, and more rare horror. Frightpix has the popular Train to Busan and some Dario Argento, like Phenomena. Also look there for the perennial favorite, director Jack Hill’s Spider Baby, starring Lon Chaney, Jr. Sci-Fi Collection channel features the elusive turkey, The Flying Serpent, and Count Rockula’s Theater for the Insane, and many more public domain features and Japanese productions.
Peacock is NBC’s recently released channel and they present most of the classic Universal monster movies for free, but they’re the only channel I’ve mentioned that requires a registration process using an email and password. And watching some of your favorite monsters on Peacock may require a fee. For example, Dracula is free to watch, but Frankenstein requires their Premium level. Many classics are dwelling there, awaiting your plundering of their creaky graves, including The Brides of Dracula, and The Mummy’s Hand.
There’s still time to capture the Halloween spirit and explore your Roku for all sorts of weird tricks-or-treats. Beware! Take care…