Halloween may be far off, but Amazon piles on the horror in July with classic flicks such as Rosemary's Baby and The Shining, as well as Season 3 of Hannibal, the origin story for the charming cannibal from The Silence of the Lambs. It's an equally big sci-fi month, with Season 3 of aliens-on-Earth series Defiance and a slew of Star Trek films of various quality — two of the best highlighted here. But there's more: action, adventure and mayhem with Patriot Games and Kill Bill, plus comedy with Best in Show. If the heat keeps you inside this July, you won't lack ways to pass the time.
Defiance, Season 3 (July 26)
No need for humans to travel to other stars or planets to meet aliens. A whole host of different species descended to Earth in this post-apocalyptic thriller. In it, the series' semi-terraformed home has reached an uneasy peace in the small town of Defiance, a remnant of St. Louis. After the chaos and destruction of Season 2, Season 3 is all-out war.
Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street, Season 2B (July 15)
In this small-town take on magical realism, three kids encounter bizarre characters and phenomena that teach important life lessons. But the show is way too entertaining to feel like "educational programming." Trust us; you'll like it.
Hannibal, Season 3 (July 5)
A prequel of sorts to The Silence of the Lambs, this suspenseful series presents an intimate look at Hannibal's reign of terror before he got caught. Mads Mikkelsen plays the brilliant and shrewd forensic psychiatrist of Hannibal Lecter as he eludes the cops, in part by working with them. The one man who can take him down is a crime profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), who's not entirely sane himself. Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix) and Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) co-star.
Suits, Season 5 (July 12)
This clever, New York City-based business thriller has grown well beyond its initial premise: The big-shot lawyer Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) takes on new associate Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a brilliant lawyer who (oops) dropped out of college. In Season 4, Mike left law to become an investment banker, freeing him from Harvey's tutelage and making him one of many key people to abandon Harvey. This season is filled with therapy, fraud, schemes and jail.
Vikings, Season 4A (June 25)
History Channel brings some Game of Thrones grandeur to this historical fiction, based on the (possibly) real life of Ragnar Lothbrok (played by Travis Fimmel). This common man and father of five famous sons rises to prominence by terrorizing England and France before conquering Denmark. In the first 10 episodes of Season 4, a wounded Ragnar makes a new friend and a new enemy.
48 Hrs. (July 1)
This classic twist on the buddy movie teams a loose-canon cop, Jack Cates, and a fast-talking con man, Reggie Hammond. Cates (Nick Nolte) needs to catch a group of cop killers, and the person who can best help him is Hammond (Eddie Murphy), a criminal he gets out of prison for a mere 48 hours to solve the case. Amazon Prime also offers the sequel, Another 48 Hrs., but that's one you can skip.
Best in Show (July 1)
Christopher Guest lovingly spoofs the world of show dogs and their obsessive owners in arguably the greatest of his mockumentaries. The talented comedic cast includes Guest and regular collaborators such as Parker Posey, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Jane Lynch, Michael McKean and Fred Willard. I double-dog dare you to keep from laughing.
Broadway Danny Rose (July 1)
Woody Allen went black-and-white for this 1984 nostalgia comedy about the least-successful talent agent in New York. A failed comic, his titular character Danny is reduced to repping acts like a one-legged tap dancer. Danny gets his big shot, though, in an attempt to revive the career of Italian crooner Lou Canova (Nick Apollo Forte). Unfortunately, the singer is a handful: temperamental, hard drinking and juggling a wife and a mistress — mafia princess Tina (Mia Farrow). Tending to Tina pulls Danny into classic Woody Allen misadventures. Definitely hang in there, all the way to the bittersweet ending.
Casino (July 1)
Martin Scorsese takes Las Vegas in this 1995 Greek-like tragedy of pride and fall — with plenty of gunfire and explosions. Robert De Niro plays Ace Rothstein, a tough guy managing the biggest casino in Vegas, with help from his less-polished sidekick Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci). For 3 hours, they largely reprise the dynamic of their roles in Scorsese's mob masterpiece Goodfellas, with an equally powerful supporting cast including Sharon Stone and James Woods.
Clear and Present Danger (July 1)
Harrison Ford takes his second go-round as Jack Ryan in this 1994 Tom Clancy-inspired espionage caper. Ryan has been set up as a stooge, unknowingly fronting for a corrupt White House that is pursuing a dirty war against cartels in Colombia. Now, he has to go in himself and set things right, with help from a freewheeling operative named Clark (Willem Dafoe). This month, Prime also offers Ford's first portrayal of Ryan in the 1992 film Patriot Games.
Don't Look Now (July 1)
Author Daphne du Maurier's work inspired Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca and The Birds, as well as this supernatural thriller starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland. In it, architecture historians still mourning the sudden loss of their young daughter work on a church in Venice. They encounter a series of unsolved murders and signs of contact from beyond the grave. Could it be their daughter?
Embrace of the Serpent (July 19)
Nominated for best foreign language film for 2015, this Colombian movie, inspired very loosely by true events, tells the story of Karamakate — an Amazonian shaman and the last of his tribe. Over 40 years, he works both with and against two scientists seeking a rare medicinal plant that, like his people, is soon to vanish. The story is told in a languid fashion, with frequent jumps between the two time periods, in which the scientists encounter some wondrous and many horrific phenomena in an Amazon being torn apart by outsiders.
Escape from Alcatraz (July 1)
It was impossible to escape from Alcatraz prison in San Francisco Bay — until three prisoners did so in 1962. In this 1979 dramatization, Clint Eastwood plays the leader of the plot, lifer Frank Morris. The film is a slow burn, portraying the confined lives of prisoners on The Rock and the slow unfolding of their plan to dig through walls, build a raft and time everything just right. The escape itself takes just a few minutes near the end of the film. No one knows if Morris and the team survived the icy waters of the bay, and the film leaves the question open as well, though it subtly suggests that they did make it.
The Hunt for Red October (July 1)
Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery play an underwater game of cat and mouse in this adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel. CIA analyst and staple protagonist Jack Ryan (Baldwin) pursues a rogue Soviet submarine commanded by Marko Ramius (Connery), who appears to be starting a war but may just be trying to defect.
Kill Bill: Volumes 1 & 2 (July 1)
An homage to the work of Bruce Lee and other martial arts classics, this two-part revenge tale puts a woman with no name (played by Uma Thurman) in the role of the ultimate assassin. The violence is continuous, but it's so ridiculous that it's often more like cartoon pranks. For instance, she literally splits a guy in half with one swing of a very special samurai sword.
Rosemary's Baby (July 1)
Based on the book by Ira Levin, this 1968 film by Roman Polanski is a masterpiece of psychological, rather than visual, horror. Freshman actress Mia Farrow plays the role of Rosemary, a waifish ingenue married to struggling actor Guy (John Cassavetes). After Rosemary gets pregnant, Guy's career picks up, but everything else comes crashing down for Rosemary, who deteriorates physically and mentally — despite a gaggle of oddball neighbors who take extreme interest in her care. Rosemary comes to suspect that they are a coven of witches plotting to hurt her baby. She's half right, and the baby may not be so innocent.
The Shining (July 16)
Stanley Kubrick masterfully brought Stephen King's cabin-favor nightmare to life in this 1980 horror flick. Jack Nicholson plays Jack Torrance, a frustrated author who hopes for a chance to concentrate on his writing when he takes the job of winter caretaker at a sprawling resort completely cut off from the outside world. He brings along his skittish wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and young son Danny (Danny Lloyd). The kid converses with his imaginary friend Tony, who may not be so imaginary and is certainly prescient. Many more supernatural forces abound. Jack is warned ahead of time that a previous winter caretaker had gone mad, butchering his entire family. Will history repeat itself?
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan & Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (July 1)
The best of the early Star Trek films, Wrath of Khan pits Adm. James T. Kirk against the genetically engineered madman Khan Noonien Singh, played with tribal campiness by Ricardo Montalban. Emerging from an exile Kirk placed him in during the original series, Khan seeks revenge on Kirk and his crew with a plan to hijack the Genesis Project, a device that can seed life on dead planets.
Spoiler alert: Mr. Spock runs into what could be lethal trouble at the end, resulting in the third movie.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (July 1)
The original Star Trek cast ends on a high note in their last film together. Facing destruction due to natural disaster, the Klingons seek peace with their old enemy, the United Federation of Planets. The Enterprise is sent to escort the Klingon leaders to negotiations, but not everyone wants a ceasefire. With shots fired and war looming, Kirk must unravel the plot and restore peace — which is a challenge, as he's stuck in a Klingon prison, accused of being an assassin.
Lesser Star Trek Films
· Star Trek: The Motion Picture (July 1)
· Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (July 1)
· Star Trek: Insurrection (July 1)
Trekkies (July 1)
We all know that Star Trek has the most dedicated and dorky fans of any entertainment franchise. But director Roger Nygard helps you really get to know them in this 1997 documentary. Shot in the last century, this was before geek became cool and A-list actors played comic book heroes. It's a great opportunity to see the last hurrah of truly uncool geekdom. Trekkies also features interviews with many Star Trek actors from over the decades, including Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, James Doohan, George Takei, LeVar Burton, Jonathan Frakes and Kate Mulgrew. Nerdy subculture is a passion for Nygard, who's also created a documentary about Renaissance culture called Rennies.
What Else to Stream
Keep making the most of your Amazon Prime membership by using it to the fullest. When you're done with all these shows, check out our list of the best shows to binge watch.