The Night of the Hunter (1955)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

I’ll watch Robert Mitchum in anything, but this is one of his very best roles. He plays a con artist “priest,” and man is he despicable. I would love to recommend more good classic films like this here on Anomalous Cinema, but it seems pre-‘60s movies are not often available in 1080p HD. This one is, and it looks great.

Available on Blu-ray from Criterion Collection.

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The Ninth Configuration (1980)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | no trailer available

The Exorcist book author William Peter Blatty only directed two movies, but both this, and The Exorcist III, are weird little gems. Well, I think weird doesn’t quite cover The Ninth Configuration. Totally unhinged would be closer to the mark. This is about a military insane asylum, but it takes a little patience to get to where the film goes truly mad. It’s worth the wait, as it has one of the more memorable hallucination sequences I’ve ever seen. Fans of Joe Spinell will enjoy his moments in the film as well. His character wasn’t in the book or script, so his dialog is all improvised. Thank you to Hen’s Tooth for restoring this unique work of cinema and for making it available on Amazon Prime.

Available on Blu-ray from Hen’s Tooth Video.

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Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 (1988)

Streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu | imdb | trailer

Updated 4.24.20

I got grounded for sneaking in to see this back in 1988. Yes it’s a bit cheesy at times, but this film is extremely dark, and even more extremely violent. I personally like this better than the original Hellraiser. You get all you need to know about the story in the prologue, so just dive in. It’s not the greatest transfer, but it’s in 1080p HD. What bothers me is the fact they didn’t finish this storyline, and made a horrendously bad part three. Don’t let that stop you from seeing this as the plot is wrapped up satisfyingly enough by the end.

FYI – I originally posted this months before I got a copy of the Arrow Blu-ray. I compared it to the version on Amazon (I’ll assume it’s the same as Hulu) and the difference is pretty stunning. The Arrow version looks better in every way. It has more detail, better color, you name it. That said, if you’re a fan on this movie, get the Arrow Blu-ray. The extras alone are worth the investment.

Available on Blu-ray from Arrow.

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Mosul (2019)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

This is a flat-out excellent documentary on the Iraqi fight against ISIS in 2016-17. The camera is actually IN the battle at one point. Need I say that squeamish folks should avoid this one? Nah. You know that by now. As harsh as this films is, it’s a real eye opener and highly recommended.

Available on Blu-ray from Gravitas Ventures.

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Twins of Evil (1971)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

I am a fan of several Hammer Horror films, but some of their output is far better than others. I avoided this one because the title and premise seemed just too damn cheesy. How could a movie called Twins of Evil be any good? Well, I watched it for the first time recently, and it’s not good. It’s fantastic. I loved this movie. Part of my reaction could be to the stellar restoration job that Synapse did. Also, I’m a big fan of Peter Cushing. However I’ve seen him in several Hammer stinkers, so I think there’s more to this flick. Twins of Evil is a very effective horror movie that uses a gimmick (twin Playboy Playmate sisters) to the best possible ends. I guess I need to look into any other Hammer gems I may have missed out on.

Available on Blu-ray from Synapse.

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The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

This is Nicolas Roeg’s best film, and a unique standout in the history of cinema. It’s also the most effective combination of sci-fi and art film outside of the work Andrei Tarkovsky. The uncut version (on Amazon Prime) is a bit slow in places, and the sexual content might be a little extreme for some. However, if you don’t watch this movie for those reasons, you are really depriving yourself of a special experience.

FYI – The version streaming on The Criterion Channel is most likely better quality than the one on Amazon. If you want to watch it on Criterion do it soon, it expires April, 30th. The Prime version looks good, but there are some popping noises on the soundtrack. It’s not so bad as to ruin the experience though.

Available on Blu-ray from Lion’s Gate.

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Night of the Devils (1972)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | no trailer available

In Eddie Murphy’s Raw he talks about a starving man eating a cracker. Well I was starving for good Italian horror, and this film was my cracker. You see, pretty much every non-recent horror movie I’ve recommended here I’ve seen multiple times. I think I may have seen a bad VHS dub of Night of the Devils back in the early ’00s, and wasn’t really blown away. Let me tell you, Raro Video’s presentation of this one blew me away, glued me together, and blew me away again. This movie looks fantastic. If you’ve ever seen Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath you’ll recognize the story. It comes from the Tolstoy’s “The Family of the Vourdalak”. Devils is a different, very good, and longer version of what Bava created. One disclaimer… the gore FX are cheap. I found that pretty charming, but I’m a weirdo. Anyhow, if you haven’t already seen this one, get ready for a creepy good time.

Available on Blu-ray from Raro Video.

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Gang War in Milan (1973)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

I finally found an excellent Italian crime film in 1080p HD! This is a little slower paced for an Umberto Lenzi poliziotteschi, but very well made. It’s also a bit more serious than say, The Tough Ones. This was a total pleasure to watch as Raro Video’s restoration is fantastic. It features super saturated colors and deep shadows. Highly recommended.

Blu-ray available from Raro Video.

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The Baby of Macon (1993)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | no trailer available

This is about as arthouse as you can get. The Baby of Macon is up there among director Peter Greenaway’s better movies. The story is a critique of societal corruption that takes place during the Italian Renaissance. It’s set up like a stage play, the costumes and sets are very elaborate, and the cinematography is stunning. Sounds nice right? Maybe you could watch it with your mom to show her how sophisticated you are? Not at all. This movie has several extremely disturbing scenes that would send your mom through the roof. Some parts remind me a bit of Ken Russell’s The Devils. It also shares the same frantic energy and borderline overacting. If you can make it through the whole thing, you should get some kind of certificate. However I honestly think this is a fantastic movie. Oh and for you English comedy fans, look out for a young Jessica Hynes from Spaced.

Available on Blu-ray from Atlantic Films.

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For Sama (2019)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

I do my best to avoid Academy Award nominated films, but this documentary is just too good to not share. Almost every bit of footage was shot by one woman during the fall of Aleppo, Syria. Right off the bat, if you are squeamish or sensitive to real life violence and/or emergency medical footage, skip this one. It is brutal at times, but manages to be very uplifting in the end. I am blown away by how courageous Waad al-Kateab and her family are. Do not miss this movie.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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