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One of the most foundational pillars of horror also happens to be one of its more nebulously defined subgenres: the creature feature. At its most ubiquitous of definitions, the creature feature is simply a horror movie in which a monster plays a prominent role as the primary antagonist; the term says it all. It’s the creature part that’s loose for interpretation, of course.

A creature feature could be anything from carnivorous aliens from space to manmade monsters that turn on their makers, and everything in between. Often, a creature feature highlights nature running amok. This week’s streaming picks are dedicated to the horror movies that bring the monster mayhem in various ways, but all showcase excellent practical effects.

More specifically, this week belongs to underseen creature features that deserve more attention. As always, here’s where you can stream them this week.

For more Stay Home, Watch Horror picks, click here.

The Deadly Spawn – Cultpix, Shudder

Deadly Spawn Underseen Creature Features

Released in 1983 under the title Return of the Aliens: The Deadly Spawn in the hopes of luring audiences hopeful for an Alien sequel, this micro-budgeted labor of love charms with its DIY aesthetic. Think The Evil Dead gore meets 1950’s B-horror, in which a meteorite crash lands on Earth and unleashes a voracious man-eating alien upon a small town. It’s impressive in its ambition, especially for a group of amateur filmmakers, and has long since developed a significant cult following. As such, The Deadly Spawn is far from the most obscure title, but that devout following still could grow even more prominent in the coming years.

Isolation – AMC+, Crackle, freevee, Shudder, Tubi

Isolation 2005 Underseen Creature Features

This Irish horror feature by writer/director Billy O’Brien takes place on a rural farm where a bio-genetics experiment is well underway with the cows. When one cow gives birth to a mutated calf, born with parasitic fetuses of her own, the place becomes ground zero for a terrifying bid not only to survive but to prevent the parasitic contagion from getting out into the populace. This small, claustrophobic chiller boasts a strong cast led by Sean Harris (The Green KnightPossum), Ruth Negga (“Preacher,” World War Z), and The Babadook’s Essie Davis in a more minor role. Animal lovers, be warned: don’t expect anything good to happen to these cows. O’Brien smartly obscures the parasitic creatures, so you never get a complete picture of these monsters. Still, the special effects by Bob Keen (HellraiserCandyman) ensure you won’t be left wanting for gnarly SFX. 

Scarecrows – Prime Video, Tubi


Never mind the bizarre premise, in which a group of criminals hijack a plane and seek refuge on an abandoned farm. This creature feature begs the question, why aren’t there more horror movies about scarecrows? One by one, victims fall prey to terrifying scarecrows, rendered even more horrific by cool creature designs and effects by Norman Cabrera (Attack the BlockDrag Me to Hell). In a barebones story that doesn’t bother to explain its mythology, this one does the critical thing that matters most in a creature feature. It makes the monsters, or scarecrows in this case, the centerpiece. It’s a creature feature that favors atmosphere and gory special effects, and that’s enough to ensure a good time.

Screamers – Pluto TV, Prime Video, Roku Channel, Shout TV, Tubi

Screamers Underseen Creature Features

Based on Phillip K. Dick’s “Second Variety,” Peter Weller stars as Commander Joseph A. Hendricksson. The Alliance officer travels dangerous terrain to secure a truce between long-warring factions. However, peace negotiations don’t stand a chance, thanks to machines created as covert weapons turning sentient. Known as “Screamers,” the devices have evolved and are plotting to destroy both sides. Borrowing a page from The Thing, paranoia becomes the name of the game when the core party discovers that Screamers can look like anything or anyone. In this ’90s sci-fi creature feature that occasionally shows its dated seams, the antagonistic creatures often mimic humans as a lure to painful demises. 

Splinter – Peacock, Plex, Pluto TV, Tubi, Vudu

Splinter creature feature

In this fun creature feature, a road trip gets stalled out by the unexpected. A young couple sets off for a romantic camping getaway but gets car-jacked by an escaped convict and his girlfriend. Then they get a flat tire that prompts them to seek help from a nearby gas station. Something is seriously amiss with the place, and the foursome must team up against a bizarre parasite infecting everything. A parasite that spreads and turns its hosts into deadly beings. Brutal, suspenseful, and with a highly cool creature concept, Splinter is likely the more well-known of this bunch, but that it has yet to receive a sequel means it wasn’t as well seen as it deserves.