Instant Video Spotlight: Movies To Give You A Bloody Good Medieval Scare

Most of these gritty, violent epics are set in Medieval times, or a fantasy version of it, where swords, sorcery and dark magic abound.

Solomon Kane (rated R, 4/5 stars, currently priced at $5.99 to rent – see it before it’s in theaters!) – From Amazon:

From the works of Robert E. Howard (legendary creator of CONAN) comes the thrilling, action-packed epic of Solomon Kane, a brutal and vicious mercenary who takes up arms against the forces of darkness in order to save his soul from damnation.

One Amazon reviewer says:

The film introduces Solomon Kane as a murderous privateer who one day discovers that his wicked past has caught up with him and the devil is ready to claim his soul. A near escape from the devil’s own reaper is enough to set Kane on the path to righteousness. He forsakes his violent past to become a man of peace but, as they will do, circumstances conspire against him…

As sword and sorcery should be, this film is quite dark…figuratively and literally. Dark magic, demons, ghouls, witches, bloodletting, murder, and torture are portrayed against a background of dark, dreary, icy winter days – not to mention the somber dress and sober speech of the Puritans – as Solomon Kane seeks redemption for his past transgressions.

Black Death (rated R, 3.5/5 stars, currently priced at $2.99 to rent and $8.99 to buy, and currently FREE for Amazon Prime members to view) – From Amazon:

In the time of the black plague, a grizzled band of soldiers armed with torture devices roam the English countryside on a mission to stamp out witchcraft and paganism in the name of the church.

One Amazon reviewer says:

I honestly had never heard of this film before seeing a preview on Video On Demand. Being a fan of Sean Bean of Lord of the Rings fame, I gave it a try. Set in Europe during the time of the Black Death, this film has Christian knights searching out a village that has not felt the touch of the plague. To guide them they enlist a young monk who has broken his vows and fallen in love with a woman. The story involves their journey and what they find when they reach this village looking for a witch or necromancer. Well acted with great characters. This is a dark story and a wonderfully recreated period piece. This is not a feel good movie, it is gloomy and sticks with you after you have watched. This is a nice find.

Season of the Witch (rated R, 3.5/5 stars, currently priced at $3.99 to rent and $14.99 to buy) – From Amazon:

14th-century knights transport a suspected witch to a monastery, where monks deduce her powers could be the source of the Black Plague. Stars Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman.

One Amazon reviewer says:

Love this movie. Very believable with a surprise ending!!! Special effects were gruesome and very well done I will be watching this again. Seriously scared me.


Beowulf (rated PG-13, currently priced at $2.99 to rent and $9.99 to buy) – This story pre-dates the Medieval era, but it’s definitely a swords-and-sorcery epic. From Amazon:

In the age of heroes comes the mightiest warrior of them all, Beowulf. After destroying the overpowering demon Grendel, he incurs the undying wrath of the beast’s ruthlessly seductive mother who will use any means possible to ensure revenge. The ensuing epic battle throughout the ages, immortalizing the name Beowulf.

One Amazon reviewer says:

Written around 700 AD and being of unknown authorship, “Beowulf” may be one of the purest fantasies ever told–it was one of the first to tell the story of a warrior who fought demons and a dragon. In the hands of director Robert Zemeckis and screenwriters Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary, the story transcends what we might have envisioned when reading the epic poem. This latest film adaptation is a triumph of classic storytelling, giving us a both hero to root for and monsters to be afraid of; it’s a story told in the language of entertainment, having the power to capture its audience with compelling characters and breathtaking visuals. It’s an honest to goodness fable that tells it like it is, completely free of long-winded setups and complicated details.

Relying on the same motion capture technique he utilized in “The Polar Express,” Zemeckis has crafted an entirely computer generated film that has an appropriately surreal look.


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