It Follows (2014)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

Have you seen the one about the sexually transmitted poltergeist? Most horror devotees were all over It Follows when it first came out. Deservedly so, as it’s a damn good film. I only give it bad marks for the John Carpenter rip off soundtrack. The filmmakers either should have hired the man himself, or tweaked the music just enough to sound original. Really it’s a minor complaint. If you have missed this one up to now, watch it before Netflix swaps it out for some more of the garbage horror they tend to favor.

Available on Blu-ray from Radius.

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The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism (1967)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

The mighty Christopher Lee plays a murderous Count, who is back from the dead, and out for revenge. Sounds similar to the plot for Mario Bava’s Black Sunday right? That’s ok, because part of why I enjoyed this movie so much is that it reminded me of Bava’s work, and early Hammer Horror. It also is an extremely loose adaptation of “The Pit and the Pendulum,” so we get additional reminders of Roger Corman’s Poe horrors. All that may sound like this isn’t worth your time. Not true. The film has been lovingly restored and looks absolutely beautiful. The saturated color and deep shadows sold it for me. Torture Chamber… is an old fashioned horror film, and is not particularly smart, but I highly recommended classic horror fans see it. If you enjoyed the young and handsome Christopher Lee acting like a creep, make sure to check out Bava’s The Whip and the Body. This director made an earlier creepy horror movie called The Strangler of Blackmoore Castle, which is also worth watching.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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Dead and Buried (1981)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

This is an excellent ’80s horror film that I have watched many times over the years. I’m not going to mention the plot, as it slowly reveals itself (in fact, maybe skip watching the trailer). In spite of the very intense opening scene, it does have a bit of a slow pace overall, but don’t let that deter you. Dead and Buried is a film made with care. It features moody cinematography, awesome performances, well crafted music, and a few of my favorite gore FX scenes. The man behind most of those was the legendary Stan Winston. The only blemish on this film is that they shot one murder set-piece when Winston wasn’t available, and it sticks out like a sore thumb. That’s ok, it is one wart on an otherwise creepy good time. I’m very jealous of you people seeing this for the first time.

Available on 4K / Blu-ray from Blue Underground.

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In the Earth (2021)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer 

This is a divisive film. From what I can gather, fans may have found this a little too experimental, and critics a little too much like Ben Wheatley’s previous A Field in England. That said, if you want a straight-forward, fast paced horror film, or a totally new Wheatley masterpiece, skip this one. I loved this movie. I will admit that I am a bit biased to what’s on offer here. You already know I’m a fan of the director, as I’ve recommended almost every film he ever made. More than that, I am a sucker for dark psychedelic visuals, and a fan of experimental music (which is prominent in the second half of the film). Ben Wheatley does it again, but not for everyone.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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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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A Field in England (2013)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

As you may know, I am a huge fan of director Ben Wheatley (High-Rise, Rebecca, and Free Fire have all been recommended here). This is one of his most bizarre films, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a dark psychedelic experience set in 1648. Think Altered States meets a period Hammer Horror film. It is slower paced than some of than director’s other work, but you will not be bored. This is truly original filmmaking that is not to be missed. Also, if you happen to have The Criterion Channel, I highly recommend you check out Wheatley’s Kill List.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray (out of print).

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Possessor (2020)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

A trained assassin can take over any person, and use their body to do the killing. This beautifully lensed film starts with a bang and does not let up. Lead actress Andrea Riseborough is spot on, and Christopher Abbott (from the very good Catch 22 mini-series) is a perfect choice too. This film features innovative looking dark psychedelic interludes, which up the game on SpectreVision (who produced Mandy also starring Riseborough). Possessor also features pretty graphic sex, and very graphic violence with some excellent gore FX. There’s even a pseudo J&B bottle nod to Italian horror films of yesteryear. Jim Williams (Kill List, Sightseers) provided a top-notch dark ambient electronic score that sounded killer in headphones. Yes, yes… this was written and directed by David Cronenberg’s son, so there are nods to Videodrome and Existenz (which also starred Jennifer Jason Leigh), but they are handled in a really smart and next-level way. You will have no idea where the movie will end up, and it’s wonderful. Pitch black but wonderful.

Available on Blu-ray from Well-Go USA.

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The Video Dead (1987)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

I am a bit biased about this film, as my first experience was in at a revival screening just a few years ago. Seeing a previously missed, good older movie, on celluloid is one of favorite things in life. That means that I like this silly horror movie a little more than I should. I found it to be very amusing from start to finish. I laughed out loud multiple times, and not at unintentionally funny scenes. The Video Dead also has some effective makeup FX and low-budget set pieces. Give it a try, but keep your expectations low.

Available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory (bundled with Terror Vision – which is also a lot of fun).

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Planet of the Vampires (1965)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

If you can’t get past the primitive look and FX of Star Trek: The Original Series, read no further. You will not appreciate Planet of the Vampires. I grew up watching TOS and still love it, so this movie was very enjoyable. If you’ve seen any of Mario Bava’s early, fog and color drenched work, imagine it as a feature-length Star Trek episode. That with way more experimental electronic music, far better uniforms, and a proto-Alien (1979) feel. Except wait a second… Bava made this BEFORE Star Trek ever aired. Yes this movie is cheesy, but I love it, warts and all. I also have a feeling that blood on the crew’s insignias might have a deeper meaning. That or Mario just thought it looked cool.

Blu-ray available from Lorber Films.

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