Monday, October 31, 2016

A Cinematic History of Horror for Hallowe'en On Roku - DAY 31: Folktales & Supernatural Forces! (2015-2016)


Well, Boils & Ghouls... the BIG DAY has arrived !! Yes, October 31st is here at last and FINALLY we can REALLY get into the spirit of things (ahem!) and celebrate HALLOWE'EN in fine style !! Of course, this also means that the Countdown To Hallowe'en 2016 is now over, and this will be the last post in the month-long blogathon that was "A Cinematic History of Horror for Hallowe'en On Roku"!

So, let's begin 'Day Thirty-One' of "A Cinematic History of Horror for Hallowe'en On Roku" by bringing you my last batch of fright flicks from the enormous back-catalogue of macabre movies that have been thrilling cinema-goers for more than a century and can now be streamed to your television sets via the magic of Roku player - and then dim down the lights... to enjoy all those frights! :-O

If you read my special hallowe'en blogathon preview - FOUND HERE - which I published at the end of September, then you'll know I have been posting one Hallowe'en / Horror related article each day, throughout the month of October, each featuring one horror movie per year from cinematic history, starting in 1895 and ending in 2016. This averaged out at about four films per day, until now, but there's only two more years (as well as films) left to go. Even so, you'll have plenty of choice for macabre movie viewing as we enjoy "A Cinematic History of Horror for Hallowe'en on Roku"! ;-)


Our first movie today is a feature-length film from the USA, directed by David Robert Mitchell, and first released in 2015 under the title of "It Follows"... while based on an original screenplay that was also written by the director. This horror mystery movie tells the tale of Jay Height (Maika Monroe)... a nineteen year-old girl for whom Autumn was supposed to be about school, boys and week-ends out at the lake. But, after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter, she finds herself plagued by strange visions and the inescapable sense that someone, or something, is following her. Faced with this burden, Jay and her friends must find a way to escape the horrors of this unknown supernatural force, which seems to always be no more than a few steps behind them at any time, wherever they go!

It Follows (2015) [Movie Poster]

It Follows (2015) [Alternative Poster]

It Follows (2015) [Portuguese Poster]

It Follows (2015) [French Poster]

It Follows (2015) [British Quad Poster]

As with some of the other films shared recently, I was unable to find a decent copy of "It Follows" that was both free-to-stream and compatible with the requirements for playback on Roku devices. Sure, there are some rough copies out there... either with reduced aspect ratios, heavily cropped, or shrunk to less than one quarter screen-size - not to mention those with foreign language audio dubs and/or subtitles, plus a few whose sound and/or picture quality left a lot to be desired. Please feel free to do your own search for those, if you wish to do so. For my part, I am recommending you go with the best of the options I found for streaming "It Follows" (2015) and that is via 'Amazon Video'.

If you have yet to install this Roku channel, you will find it under "Film & TV" in the "Official" Roku UK Channel Store that is built-in to your Roku streaming media player(s). Those of you who are Amazon Prime members are already good to go and can watch this film for free once you're signed into the app with your Amazon UK login. Any of you who are (currently) not Prime members can either choose to take advantage of the 30-DAY FREE TRIAL of Amazon Prime for new subscribers, or you can simply rent the video from Amazon Video UK for £0.99 in both (SD) and (HD) - or else, buy it (again, via Amazon UK) for £2.99 (SD) or £3.99 (HD) - and watch it via the Amazon Video channel on your Roku device. Do bear in mind that, when renting from Amazon Video UK, you have 30 days to start watching... and 48 hours to finish your video rental, once you have started playback for the first time. Details of various options are shown in the screenshot (below) taken from the Amazon UK website and there is a link provided beneath the screenshot image which will take you directly to the webpage shown therein:-

HINT: Please CLICK on the above image TO ENLARGE IT for easier viewing !!

AMAZON UK WEBSITE LINK:- It Follows (2015) [via Amazon Video UK]


And so, we come to our last movie for today... and, indeed, for this series of posts as a whole. What we have is another feature-length film from the USA... but, this time, directed by Robert Eggers, that was first released in 2016 under the title of "The VVitch: A New-England Folktale" but, more often than not, referred to simply as, "The Witch", which was the world-wide English title for this movie. Based on an original screenplay, written by the director, this horror mystery tells the tale of a family in 1630's New England which is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession. William (Ralph Ineson) and Katherine (Kate Dickie) try to lead a devout Christian life, homesteading on the edge of an impassible wilderness, with daughters Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Mercy (Ellie Grainger) plus sons Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw) and Jonas (Lucas Dawson) as well as a baby. When their newborn son mysteriously vanishes and their crops fail, the family turn on one another with devastating consequences. "A New-England Folktale" may sound quaint, but "The Witch" is a chilling portrait of a family unraveling within their own sins, leaving them prey for inescapable evil!

Ralph Ineson in The VVitch - A New-England Folktale [aka The Witch] (2016)

Harvey Scrimshaw in The VVitch - A New-England Folktale [aka The Witch] (2016)

Anya Taylor-Joy in The VVitch - A New-England Folktale [aka The Witch] (2016)

Fortunately for us, as with "La Piel Que Habito" [aka The Skin I Live In] (2011) shared yesterday, this film is (once again) free-to-stream via the 'XTV' private channel on Roku devices. If you have yet to add 'XTV' to your channel selection, please refer to yesterday's post for full instructions on how to go about it. Once you have added the 'XTV' private channel to your Roku device(s), you should see the following channel icon at the end of your list of installed channels:-

If you then launch the 'XTV' private channel, on your Roku player, and navigate to the icon marked, "On Demand Movies & TV Shows", you simply click the "OK" button (on your Roku remote) to access the sub-menu. Once you're in the sub-menu... you need to scroll to the right, within the "XTV Movies" heading (n.b. you should already be in that section, when it loads), until you come to an icon marked "Horror" (all genres are listed alphabetically - i.e. Action, Animation, Comedy, Drama, etc). Then just click the "OK" button on your Roku remote again, and you'll soon see a vertical list of all the horror movies (again, listed alphabetically for convenience) so next you just scroll down until you come to "The Witch" (n.b. it's listed by the short title, not "The VVitch: A New-England Folktale" as per the original title of the film) and then simply click "OK" again to begin playing your movie! :-)


Before I sign-off on this year's "Countdown To Hallowe'en" blogathon, I'd just like to acknowledge the inspiration behind my theme of "A Cinematic History of Horror for Hallowe'en On Roku", which began when I watched a video by Diego Carrera, entitled "A History of Horror", on Vimeo - this took the form of a short video essay, proposing a timeline of influential and aesthetically beautiful horror movies from around the world. Were it not for Brazilian film critic and editor, Diego Carrera, creating this fantastic visualisation of how horror films (from 1895 to 2016) have evolved over that 122 year period, then this entire month-long series of posts (covering each and every one of those films) may never have happened. Obviously, given my involvement in the Countdown To Hallowe'en over the years, I would have come-up with an alternative theme for 2016... but, when all is said and done, I'm really pleased to have had the opportunity to do this. As a gesture of my gratitude to Diego, I'm going to share that original 12-minute video with you now, so you can see it for yourselves:-

For reference purposes, I'm also including a series of screenshots (taken from the credits in the video) which detail every single movie included... by way of an index to all of the films which I have shared with you in this month-long series of posts. Thanks again to Diego for the original inspiration... and here's what films to look out for - both in his video and in the recent series of posts from this blog:-

A History of Horror (1895-2016) - The Films (1895-1904)

A History of Horror (1895-2016) - The Films (1905-1914)

A History of Horror (1895-2016) - The Films (1915-1924)

A History of Horror (1895-2016) - The Films (1925-1934)

A History of Horror (1895-2016) - The Films (1935-1944)

A History of Horror (1895-2016) - The Films (1945-1954)

A History of Horror (1895-2016) - The Films (1955-1964)

A History of Horror (1895-2016) - The Films (1965-1974)

A History of Horror (1895-2016) - The Films (1975-1984)

A History of Horror (1895-2016) - The Films (1985-1994)

A History of Horror (1895-2016) - The Films (1995-2004)

A History of Horror (1895-2016) - The Films (2005-2016)

HINT: Please CLICK on any image above TO ENLARGE IT for easier viewing !!

And there you have it... all one hundred and twenty-two films (yes, that's 122 horror movies) indexed for posterity. While they are not (necessarily) the film(s) that I would have picked for any given year, I decided from the outset that, for this series of posts, I wanted to remain faithful to Diego Carrera's original video essay. I'm glad that I did, too, because I actually got to enjoy a few films that I'd either not heard of... or had otherwise passed me by for one reason or another, and this exercise seems to have given me the much needed jog to the memory that I really ought to be watching some (if not all) of them before they disappear into the ether once more! Hopefully, you all got to enjoy some of these films as well... if not, then don't leave it too long - because content comes and goes from the various streaming services out there, and I wouldn't want you to miss out on these cinematic horror gems! :-)


Anyway, that's about as much as I can offer you in terms of Hallowe'en entertainment on your Roku player goes (at least, for the time being) so, hopefully you have all managed to find a movie or two, from those on offer, to make your Hallowe'en season just that extra bit special this time around?!

Unfortunately, if these particular Hallowe'en / Horror-themed movie classics were not to your liking then YOU WILL HAVE A LONG WAIT as there won't be any more of these dedicated posts until October 2017, when the successor to: "A Cinematic History of Horror for Hallowe'en On Rokuwill be unveiled. Meanwhile... have a safe and happy Hallowe'en 2016 and, when you're done with this blog, please be sure to take some time (as I will) to visit the many varied websites for the dozens of other contributors to the 2016 Countdown To Hallowe'en and discover all of the Hallowe'en treats that they have been serving-up each and every day throughout the past month... especially for you! ;-)

Fangs (as always) for stopping by !!

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