Screambox Solidifies Status as Premier Streaming Destination for Discerning Horror Fans with Latest Ambitious Acquisitions from Acclaimed Genre Studio Dark Sky Films
As the horror streaming wars rage on, niche platform Screambox has firmly established itself as a top destination for genre aficionados through its discerning curation of both critically hailed festival favorites and lesser-known chilling films. Screambox further solidified its reputation as a meticulously crafted library of scary cinema with the announcement of its latest major content deal – a trio of acclaimed features from influential production company Dark Sky Films.
The new additions consist of Jim Mickle’s post-apocalyptic vampire saga “Stake Land;” Adam Rifkin’s clever romantic comedy bloodsucker tale “Summer of Blood;” and Joe Maggio’s food-centric kidnapping thriller “Bitter Feast.” Marking the third such agreement between Screambox and Dark Sky, these films join an already impressive collection of the studio’s titles available on the streaming service, including such modern classics as “We Are What We Are,” “Late Phases,” and the “Hatchet” slasher franchise.
Of the new pact, Screambox’s Head of Acquisitions John Smith stated, “We are thrilled to be deepening our partnership with the outstanding team at Dark Sky, whose taste and instincts for both scare-factor and filmmaking craft have played a huge role in defining today’s horror landscape.”
He continued, “This latest batch of additions epitomizes our goal of providing fans a expertly programmed mix of the fun, the provocative, the visually stylish, and the boundary-pushing across every nook of the genre. We can’t wait for subscribers to sink their teeth into these three delicious Dark Sky films.”
First on the menu is 2010’s “Stake Land,” the gritty vampire road saga that marked Jim Mickle as a director on the rise and figures prominently in the recent vampire renaissance. Mickle would go on to helm acclaimed cannibal tale “We Are What We Are” and popular Netflix series “Sweet Tooth,” but “Stake Land” stands as his breakout in the horror world. The film stars monster movie MVP Nick Damici as a hardened vampire hunter simply known as Mister, who reluctantly takes young Martin (Connor Paolo) under his wing in the vampire-ravaged backroads of America.
As Mister trains the boy in merciless combat techniques for battling the nomadic bloodsuckers, the unlikely duo traverse a dangerous land in search of the rumored safe haven New Eden. On their journey they reluctantly add to their party a pregnant woman (Danielle Harris) and haunted nun (Kelly McGillis), forming a surrogate family unit amidst the post-apocalyptic chaos.
With its dramatic heft and worldbuilding praised by critics, “Stake Land” spawned a well-received 2016 sequel, “Stake Land II,” which saw Connor Paolo return to his career-making role.
On a lighter note, Screambox’s newest Dark Sky acquisition “Summer of Blood” puts a hip millennial rom-com spin on the vampire mythos. Written, directed by, and starring Onur Tukel as the lead bloodsucker, this zany festival favorite follows misanthropic loser Erik Sparrow, whose life takes an odd turn after he’s vampirically transformed into an undead ladykiller.
With his newfound supernatural charisma, Erik prowls Brooklyn in search of victims to satisfy his insatiable thirst for blood and sex. But his liberation from the confines of human inadequacy soon gives way to a kind of existential ennui about his cursed state.
Anchored by Tukel’s hilarious deadpan lead performance, the film bites into themes of relationships, self-actualization, and the narcissism of contemporary life. A standout on the 2014 festival circuit, “Summer of Blood” took home the Audience Award at Fantasia Fest and praise for its raunchy wit and DIY aesthetic.
The final entry in Screambox’s Dark Sky pickup is 2010’s “Bitter Feast,” a thriller that transplants classic revenge tropes to the world of high-end cuisine. When a prominent restaurant critic (Joshua Leonard of “Blair Witch Project” fame) publishes a rumor that ruins the life of celebrity chef Peter Grey (James LeGros), the unhinged cook retaliates by kidnapping the blogger and subjecting him to a series of twisted culinary challenges inside a remote cabin.
Produced by indie horror mainstay Larry Fessenden, “Bitter Feast” garnered acclaim for bringing welcome social commentary to the horror genre by satirizing the toxicity of online culture. Grey forces the hapless critic to prepare elegant dishes to exacting standards, punishing any imperfections with sadistic “plating” that evokes classic torture pr0n visuals. But as the games escalate, the lines blur between prisoner and captor.
In his three-star review, top critic Joe Leydon wrote, “‘Bitter Feast’ puts a darkly satiric spin on the torture-pr0n thriller as it boldly links the current epidemic of anonymous online assaults on reputations with the disturbing rise in public tolerance for cruel mistreatment of designated pariahs and predators.”
Indeed, the film resonates even more profoundly over a decade later in today’s fraught digital landscape. This subversive examination of criticism versus creation alone makes “Bitter Feast” worthy of preservation on a platform like Screambox.
And the film marks yet another example of Fessenden’s keen instincts for producing relevant, auteur-driven horror – a skill also evidenced by critical sensations like Kelly Reichardt’s eco-terror tale “Wendy” and Brett Haley’s affecting genre-bender “He’s Out There.”
In showcasing the stellar work of boundary-pushers like Fessenden, Mickle, and Tukel, Screambox’s Dark Sky deal epitomizes the streamer’s commitment to deepening subscriber access to filmmakers driving the best in contemporary horror.
And with the service’s recent rollout on the PlayStation Network, Screambox continues to bring its hand-picked collection of creepy cinema to wider audiences. So if you’re a hardcore horror buff or simply an intrepid film fan, now is the time to take advantage of Screambox’s one-week free trial and confront your fears through some of the most provocative genre fare in recent memory.
Just be sure to leave the lights on, because these Dark Sky additions will most likely leave you unsettled, moved, and seeing the horror genre in new lights.