The Electrical Life of Louis Wain (2021)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

Here we have an excellent biopic on the artist Louis Wain. You may be familiar with his fanciful to psychotic feline creations. Do you love cats? Are you ready to cry? Well then this movie is for you. It may seem cutsie at first glance, but things get weird and dark later on. I really enjoyed it in spite of my heartstrings being ripped out of my body.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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Salvador (1986)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

This is a fact-based film dealing with the Salvadoran Civil War, which was still happening at the time of production. It’s aged a bit, sometimes feeling like an episode of Miami Vice, but this is still an excellent movie. It even got a couple of Academy Award nominations. I normally avoid recommending Oscar-related films, but I figured this piece of history is not well known among younger people. Oliver Stone leans heavily in favor of the leftist FMLN rebels, but you can read the facts, and make up your own mind if you feel the need. James Woods is good here. Luckily this is the Woods we love from Videodrome, not the mess of a human being he became later.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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1984 (1984)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

This is an excellent adaptation of George Orwell’s essential dystopian novel. It’s also the last appearance of Richard Burton, and he is fantastic. You would never know he struggled to get through each take because of his health. This is also my favorite John Hurt performance. The movie looks amazing thanks to Roger Deakins (DP on Sicario, Fargo, and a ton of others). A rare “bleach bypass” film processing technique was used for that grim, desaturated look. It’s amazing that some scenes were shot on the exact days referenced in Winston Smith’s diary. A ton of care and detail was put into this film, but please read the book first.

Available on Blu-ray from Criterion Collection.

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The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

A young sailor joins a yacht cruise, and ends up involved in a murder plot. This is a near perfect slice of film noir that only exists because of a desperate situation. Orson Welles needed $55,000 to stage a production with his Mercury Theater. He agreed to make the movie if one of the producers would pay him the needed funds in two days. It all worked out, and we have this excellent work of cinema as a result. This is one if my favorites of the ‘40s, and should not be missed.

Available on Blu-ray from Mill Creek.

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Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place (2004)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | opening credits 

I have never posted about a series before, but this one is just too good to not share. Dark Place might be my all-time favorite comedy series. It’s essentially an ‘80s horror parody co-starring The IT Crowd’s Matt Berry and Richard Ayoade. Watch first few minutes. If you enjoy the opening theme song / credits montage, you’ll love this one-season series.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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Blood Sabbath (1972)

Streaming on YouTube (Sorry! It was on Amazon Prime last week.) | imdb | trailer (VHS Promo – YouTube sign-in required)

A young man stumbles upon a coven (Mark Borchardt pronunciation required) of witches and mayhem ensues. By all normal standards, this is an awful movie. By Anomalous Cinema standards, this is a delightful movie. I will refer you to the superior Stephen Thrower review in his book Nightmare USA. If you don’t have access to that book, all you may care about is that Dyanne Thorne from the notorious Ilsa film series co-stars, and is awesomely cheesy. Here are couple of interesting points Mr. Thrower didn’t mention: 1) The lead “young man” is played by Anthony Geary, better known among some of you older folks as Luke Spencer on the ABC daytime drama General Hospital. 2) The Priest is played by Steve Gravers, whose voice many cult movie folks will recognize immediately as Blackwolf from Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards. Additionally, I found the music to be effectively creepy for such a low-budget affair. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a “so bad it’s good” movie, I believe you need to experience Blood Sabbath.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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First Love (2019)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer 

I believe this is the most recent Takashi Miike movie that is currently streaming in the USA. It has a unique look, no fake grain but all the detail. I’d call it video crafted with care. The sets look amazing. The production designer is a genius. Every interior scene looks almost like an art installation. As you’d expect, there are some very entertaining action sequences amid the strange comedy / drama too. First Love also features one particularly freaky knob turn. In the end I was very happy to have watched this weird, but modest movie. Miike keeps being Miike, and I love it.

Available on Blu-ray from Well Go.

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You’re Next (2011)

Streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer 

Most trailers that look like this one equal a garbage film. That is 100% not the case here. You’re Next is a very entertaining combo of horror, action, and comedy. Simple. Watch and enjoy. The cherry on top is that the Mom is Barbara Crampton of Re-Animator and From Beyond.

Available on Blu-ray from Lion’s Gate.

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Dredd (2012)

Streaming on Hulu and Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer 

In a bleak future, Judge Dredd is a brutal super-cop who teams up with a trainee to take on a drug gang. I learned a major lesson with this one. I was so staunchly against big budget Hollywood movies at the time that I didn’t even contemplate seeing it in the theater. Huge mistake. Not only is it absolutely amazing, it was in 3D. Not the static, pointless, 3D either. We’re talking the lovingly crafted kind. Now I pay much closer attention, and don’t automatically dismiss any movie in a genre of interest before doing my research. 

I’m kind of depressed now. What were we talking about? 

Oh yes… Dredd

It’s one of the very best action movies made in the last 20 years. There was talk of making it into a TV series. Didn’t happen. There was also a petition to make a sequel. Nope. Well, at least we have Dredd. It’s a thing of pitch black beauty.

Available on Blu-ray through Lionsgate.

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Ran (1985)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

This is Akira Kurasawa’s samurai adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear. I was a twelve year old Japanophile back when this came out, and begged my mom to take me. It was not at all what I expected. I was probably hoping for something closer to Revenge of the Ninja. However it left an impression on this future cinema nerd for sure. This is a deliberately paced, epic drama, with some impressive fight and battle sequences. The title translates to “chaos,” and there’s a lot of that too. Other than the fact that this is a nearly perfect work of filmmaking, there is one part that makes this absolute Anomalous Cinema. A pitch black post-battle sequence that is so morbidly beautiful that it absolutely blew my mind the last time I watched the film. The imagery, along with Tōru Takemitsu’s fantastic score, make for one of the most powerful scenes I’ve ever experienced. I feel sorry for my mom, but it wasn’t nearly as traumatic as when she took me to see Full Metal Jacket. I’m positive she regretted that choice.

Blu-ray available from Lion’s Gate.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider donating any amount via Paypal using this secure link. You can also show your appreciation via Buy Me a Coffee or Liberapay. Thanks!