Streaming VOD Movies, TV shows and Youtube Videos of Week 2 of 2020! SHUDDER Edition!

 

 

 

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These 4 films, which I have watched since starting my SHUDDER subscription (something like $2.49 for the month, for the next 3 months) are all FANTASTIC, films, in very different ways. But all of them have soared to the top of my MUST BUY List!

MANDY I raved about in a previous post is just a brilliant primary color tinged nightmare of a dream quest/revenge story committed to film.

THE HEAD HUNTER, is a claustrophobic, incredibly tense, incredibly rousing,  actioner/creature feature mash-up.

THE WAX MASK is one of the most sumptuously filmed and strangest Italian Giallo’s, being both a period piece and a Hammer studios homage, a stunning directorial debut.

And then we come to Lucio Fulci’s CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD. I am not a champion of the nonsensical, gore filled films that most remember Fulci for, like THE BEYOND and THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY and this one, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD. I think all of these are the films he made when the audiences  neglected his true masterpieces, to some extent when he stopped caring about making great films, and just decided to pander to the lowest common denominator horror crowds. When Fulci cared, he was one of the most imaginative, talented and stylish filmmakers of his time. He made some of the best Giallos, some of the best westerns, one of the best Hitchcock homages, and one that was his stab at a serious film/period piece. It was that film’s failure that soured him on film and audiences, and made him a gun for hire, and by reports misanthropic to his cast, his crew and the audience, and a churner out of his gore films. That said while I do see these films as Fulci no longer being that filmmaker whose westerns would inspire John Woo’s Blood Ballets and dove motif, despite these films being set-pieces of gore… loosely supported by a story, they are despite all that… still very, very compelling and entertaining. He builds moments of tension and dread and horror, as well as a good smattering of WTF!. Just the audacity of these films, particularly CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, is impressive. So while not a champion of this film like I am of his earlier films, even lesser Fulci… is jaw dropping. This movie has story structure issues, it doesn’t hold together as a cogent film, it is haphazard and at times silly, but all that aside it is always visually arresting and cinematically audacious. And once seen, you want to own the BluRay to see the making of features and here the interviews and commentary because you definitely want to know what the cast thought of him, after making them do some of the things he had them do in this film.

I’ll be doing an upcoming piece on Fulci, but I guess it says everything about Fulci, is that even what I consider his ‘slapped together/whatever’ film phase, consists of many films, such as CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD, that are must watch films. Even his films of derision, are dripping with imaginative talent.

 

Streaming VOD Movie of the 2nd Week of 2020 : MANDY Shudder Amazon Prime

 

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MANDY (2018)– Finally catching this 2018 released film courtesy of SHUDDER. And I have to say… stunning. A lurid and at times lucid nightmarish primary color tinged, cosmic fueled descent into the Maelstrom; a revenge flick that goes to damnation and beyond. Panos Cosmatos has created a singular vision of the places that wait beyond our reason, places horrid , and awe-inspiring, and unrelenting. And all we must offer up… is everything.

A stunning film by Cosmatos, fueled by a great score by (I have just found out) the late and uber talented Johann Johannsson (composer of one of the best scores of recent memory, SICARIO… he will be missed), and powered by transformative performances by all; but particularly by Nicholas Cage, who takes us into the maelstrom with him, into hearts of darkness.

Nicolas Cage has really been taking some rough roles, brutal roles recently. That will take much out of any actor, and he does it again here, but going further than anyone should have to, into places dark and demanding. And it is so great to see the legendary Bill Duke in a film, he just raises the bar of everything he is in, and does so here. Panos Cosmatos (the son of George Cosmatos who directed one of my favorite films, TOMBSTONE, also an iconic film, with revenge, pushing the wrong man too far, at its core conceit)  with only his second film, the first the equally magical realism imbued BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW, has cemented himself for me, as a director to seek out, and to purchase his films when available.

And Kudos to producers Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah for helping champion these criminally underused (and in one case, seemingly blacklisted) visionaries, and working with them to get their films out to a wider audience again. MANDY is very much a gift, from a filmmaker who we have not heard from since 2010. Also very much looking forward to their collaboration with Richard Stanley.

Final thoughts on MANDY… Hypnotic and an experience, that is… compellingly watchable and re-watchable. It is a rabbit hole, and will suck you in. Highly recommended!

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When you have viewed it courtesy of streaming, ‘tried before you buy’ so to speak, and are as impressed as I am, then I suggest buying on Bluray. However I would hold out until they release a steel-book or digi-book with special features to include commentary. The Bluray on the market now lacks any commentary or really notable special features, which I think is a big misstep, to release a bare-bones disc. These days I do not buy a disc, unless it is loaded with special feature to include a commentary track.

In the age of streaming you really need to step up your game with the special features to make the Bluray worth it. Here’s hoping a full fledged disk will be released soon, this film deserves it.

 

Must own Bluray/DVD in the age of Streaming : THE QUEEN OF SPADES (1949)

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QUEEN OF SPADES

Thorold Dickinson made 13, by all accounts , WELL RECEIVED FEATURE films in his career, most dealing to some degree with guilt, and the horrible vagaries of the human heart. The queen of spades is by all reports his masterpiece.

I have not seen most of those other films (exception being 1940s GASLIGHT another phenomenal Gothic, horror tinged period piece) , but I have seen his 1949 THE QUEEN OF SPADES… it is by any standards… a masterpiece. A visual feast, with haunting use of sound, to tell a tale of an officer grasping for riches and status, at any cost.

Anton Walbrook, as that central figure, delivers one of the great performances in cinema, as a man scraped raw by his own desire for… more. It is truly a brilliant film, a florid drama/fable, made gothic and horrific by the stunning visual flourishes and cinematography. The feature rich Kino Lorber/Studio Canal Bluray looks phenomenal and is a must own.

I’ve seen this film three times now, once to listen to the Nick Pinkerton commentary, and while I don’t like the commentary (can get a little droning, monotone and bloated and chaotic) the film itself, simply just gets better everytime.

A highly recommended film and Bluray to own in the age of streaming. Highest Recommendation!  Grade:  A/A+.

 

Get it here!

Must watch Streaming VOD film of the first week of 2020 – THE DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS

Must watch Streaming VOD film of the first week of 2020!!

 

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DAY OF THE TRIFFIDSI have often seen this movie come up when looking for something to watch, but have always avoided this film. A film about killer plants, and the ludicrousness of the poster just not really piquing my attention. However, I finally decide to watch it here in 2020, nearly 60 years removed from when it was first released on theaters, and I have to say… allowing for the limitations of the time, regarding effects… it is  surprisingly gripping.

You very much see in it the template for current movies and tv shows, such as BIRDBOX, A QUIET PLACE, etc. Infact the very opening of THE WALKING DEAD and 28 DAYS LATER is borrowed or a homage, to DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS scene of waking up in a vacated and devastated hospital. It is a surprisingly mature take on the end of the world, though it itself being influenced by HG Wells (father of literary Scifi and Cosmic Horror, I add the literary, because you can make a case for there being an oral concept of scifi and cosmic horror going back to the origins of man) game changing WAR OF THE WORLDS. The denouement of DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS owing obviously to WAR OF THE WORLDS, that aside DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS is a very compelling film of the early 1960s.

Grade: B.

View it courtesy of Amazon Prime.

And then if moved to, get the DVD/Bluray here.

 

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Deal of the Day!

 

Book of the Day : ALEISTER & ADOLF

Like most of you reading this I have a backlog of material to get to. Being a collector I likely have more of a backlog than most. Books, comic books and graphic novels, music, cds, movies, streaming, old time radio, podcasts, youtube, and the list goes on.

So it is not unusual for Books that I get with all intention of reading, getting parked in a very long queue. For any of you with Netflix or Amazon Watchlists, you’ll understand this.

So often times books only make it to the top of that list when going out the door.

Case in point with ALEISTER & ADOLF. I have started finding new homes for books I have not had a chance to get around to, ALEISTER & ADOLF became one of those books. I was packing it up to ship to its new owner, and while I had flipped thru it never really had gotten a chance to read it. Well about to pack it up to ship off, I wanted to read a bit of it.

I opened the book, and ended up reading the whole thing, standing in one spot…. and I found it, riveting. I found it an interesting tale of the part symbols play in history, and in our concept of reality. That advertising and salesmanship, while seen as a very modern thing, is actually since time immemorial… at the heart of empires, their rise and their fall. The hearts and minds of people, is where wars and peace are won, and oligarchies sustained.

If you are a fan of writers like Alan Moore and Grant Morrison, while not told with the elegaic poetry of these writers, Douglas Rushkoff‘s writing and Michael Avon Oemings‘ art, weaves a succinct and engrossing page turner of strange fiction, based on even stranger facts. 

A worthy addition to the writings, both fact and fiction, on that most pivotal and bloodiest of Wars, what Roosevelt would come to call… The Survival War.

Great read. And I see myself re-adding this to my collection in the future.

Grade: B+.

 

Get your copy here. You may want to hurry as they are almost out of stock.

Horror Movie of the Day : John Frankenheimer’s THE PROPHESY (1979)

Prophecy (1979)

PROPHESY (1979)- It took me three attempts, three attempts, to finish this film. And the only reason I even started it was because the legendary John Frankenheimer’s name is listed as director. But this is a Frankenheimer removed from his 1960s heyday of ‘A list’ stars and ‘A list’ movies.

There is no BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ, THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, THE TRAIN, or SECONDS here. This is Frankenheimer in solid B movie mode, needing to work where he could get it. But even here, Frankenheimer wants didactic films, films that say something, if only obliquely, about real life issues. So we have one of the earliest environmental, EPA tinged horror films. And oddly enough that part works fine. Also Frankenheimer always an actor’s director, gets the most out of his solid cast.

What hampers the film is shown clear in the lackluster poster. The creature does not look great. Even allowing for this being a 40 year old movie, the creature… not good. Add to that the “unbelieving clueless” husband, and the “I have to keep this very important fact, secret from my husband” wife, and that dynamic feels a bit old and stupid. The movie gets a little frustrating around the hour mark, and around there is where I end up bailing on the movie.

However, I stuck with it on the third go around, and around the 1 hour 15 mark you see why John Frankenheimer is a celebrated director. Through pure direction he sells how terrifying this creature is; and the scene where they are driven and trapped underground, one of the most masterfully filmed, and tensest scenes, I have seen in any movie in a long time. Simply brilliant sequence. How he shoots it, how it is framed, how it i s performed. Simply a phenomenal scene. From there to the end of the film, I am officially onboard.

Now moments of, ‘uhh why are you just sitting there being stupid’ still popup, but overall that ending is simply great. Ludicrous, but great. So yeah, it took a few tries to actually finish this film, but having finished it, I have to say… I really enjoyed it, and see myself coming back to it for a repeat viewing.  Grade: B-.

 

View it with VOD courtesy of Amazon Prime.

Thanks for checking and come back for more, next installment!

 

Disquieting Horror : The Sinister Filipino Cinema of Yam Laranis or Films to be on the lookout for on Netflix, Tubi, Amazon!

International Poster for SigawTHE ECHO/SIGAW (2004)– Great cinematography, strong acting and script, and a very subtle horror.-IMDB

This one is available to Amazon Prime members.

 

ECHO(2008) – The Director remakes his 2004 film for US Audiences. Generally regarded as a good remake.

This one is streaming if you have SHUDDER. Or just pick up the DVD for a few dollars.

 

The Road (2011)THE ROAD(2011) – The trailer for this film was my introduction to the films of Yam Laranis. The trailer was then, and remains now one of the most genuinely creepy trailers I have seen. The movie unfortunately fails to live up to the trailer, is overlong and meanders to a conclusion, but that trailer. WoW!

Arguably his most well known film, this one is not available on streaming. But there is a DVD available here!

 

ABOMINATION (2018) – Which I, and seemingly very few people have seen, is getting good reviews from the few out there. an eerie mystery thriller that i’m looking forward to checking out.

This one is available to view for AMAZON PRIME members.

 

Anne Curtis in Aurora (2018)AURORA (2018) – Laranis’  2nd film of 2018, is in my least favorite genre, the zombie flick, but from the trailer… does it with a unique eeriness more akin to THE ATTACK OF THE MUSHROOM PEOPLE. Another one on my watch list.

This one is available on NETFLIX.

 

With each film Yam Laranis becomes an ever more effective storyteller, with a new film in production for a 2020 release.

Yam Concepcion in Nightshift (2019)

 

Have you tried a Yam Laranis film? If so leave your recommendations in the comments, and don’t forget to like and subscribe!