by Shane “Where Have You Been All My Lockdown” Hnetka

La Llorona

It’s been over a year now and the movie theatre business is still getting creamed by the stupid pandemic. But maybe the end is in sight? Godzilla vs. Kong just opened to decent reviews from both critics and moviegoers, earning more in its opening weekend than the last big tentpole, Wonder Woman 1984, managed all Christmas.

It’ll be a long time before things return to normal but two giant monsters have given us hope that movie theatres will still exist when Covid-19 ends. Just what the doctor ordered.

Streaming Arrow

It’s starting to feel a little crowded in streaming-land. Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime and Crave dominate the Canadian market but there are a lot of emerging alternative options. Personally, I love the Criterion Channel, and horror-film-focussed Shudder is okay for its price (starts at $4.75/month).

But I just learned British independent distributor Arrow Films launched a streaming service last fall. For five bucks a month (or $50 a year) you get a decent selection of films from Arrow’s catalogue.

And it’s a good catalogue.

Arrow is kind of like Criterion but it specializes in cult horror films. The service currently boasts such treasures as Re-Animator, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Switchblade Sisters, Skull World (Canadian content!), The Stuff, Basket Case, the films of Takashi Miike, a massive selection of giallo, the entire Ring trilogy (Japanese version!) and all the Gamera movies. And tons more!

If there must be yet another streaming service, it’s nice to see one packed with the weird classics I love.

La Llorona 

In the legend of La Llorona, a woman drowns her children — various versions give different reasons for the deed — then herself. Her ghost then haunts the waterways looking for her children… or any children.

In 2019, the Guatemalan horror-drama La Llorona hit the festival circuit to much praise. Then it was nominated for Best Foreign Language movie at this year’s Golden Globes. It’s currently streaming on Shudder.

La Llorona (not to be confused with Blumhouse’s Conjuring series movie The Curse of La Llorona) follows the trial of a Guatemalan dictator accused of genocide against Indigenous Mayans in the 1980s. The movie takes real political events and elegantly incorporates the ghost’s legend. Looking for something new to watch to pass the pandemic? Give it a shot!

Just don’t confuse it with Blumhouse’s far inferior movie. I don’t need angry e-mails because someone accidently watched a second-rate jump-scare jamboree.

Shane Hnetka is still a made­‑in‑Saskatchewan film and comic book nerd.