Netflix Instant Play has given me access to some pretty amazing documentaries, including several that focus on the horror genre. Here are my Top 5 horror film documentaries available on Netflix:
5. Bloodsucking Cinema
This documentary is a Starz feature centered on vampire films (no Twilight - only the real thing). Everything from Nosferatu to Interview with a Vampire is featured (unfortunately even a few duds like Bloodrayne and Van Helsing) and there is some discussion about the different ways vampires are presented (ie. scary versus alluring).
Another hour long Starz documentary, this one is about zombie flicks and how they've influenced and changed our culture. The documentary includes interviews with several big names in the genre, including Tom Savini (SFX veteran), Maitland McDonagh (film critic and horror fan), and the father of zombie films as we know them today: George Romero. The doc is concise and explains a lot of the nuances of zombie films. An added bonus: zombification of the experts by zombie portrait artist Rob Sacchetto.
3. 100 Years of Horror
Hosted by the amazing Christopher Lee, this doc goes to the very beginning of the genre and works its way through the late 90s when the film was made. This is a perfect documentary for those that prefer the golden age of horror (including the iconic Universal movie monsters). There are some amazing rarities, including home movies, outtakes, and previously unseen screen tests from some of horror's heavy hitters.
2. Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film
This doc premiered on Starz, but is based on the book of the same name by Adam Rockoff. It's an in-depth look at the slasher sub-genre, complete with gory clips and interviews with major people involved in the flicks. Because it's a two hour special, Going to Pieces can focus on more minutiae than some of the other docs on my list. Those being interviewed talk about the high and low points of the genre, acknowledging the strengths and definite weaknesses that slasher flicks present, thereby giving a fairly objective look at one of the more controversial genres of film.
1. Fantastic Flesh
This is my favorite of the Starz docs, and other than a brief discussion of the makeup for Chronicles of Narnia, it focuses on some of the amazing practical effects shown in horror films. Legendary SFX veterans are featured, including Dick Smith (The Exorcist), Rick Baker (An American Werewolf in London), Tom Savini (the Romero films and Friday the 13th), and the incomprable Greg Nicotero. For anyone interested in horror films and how they are made, Fantastic Flesh is facinating.