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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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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Hardcore Henry (2015)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This movie will not make you smarter, but it’s a very entertaining action flick. The basic premise of a violent, first-person, sci-fi adventure, that happens to be well-executed, qualifies it as Anomalous Cinema alone. The cherry on top is that Hardcore Henry manages to ramp up the insane action as it goes along. Oh yeah, and Sharlto Copley is excellent in this. He even does a literal song and dance routine. That’s some sprinkles with your cherry. The whole thing could be dismissed as just plain stupid. I say it’s damned fun, and confirmed that on a second viewing last night. So turn off your logic circuits, and enjoy with your favorite psychoactive substance for the proper experience.

Available on Blu-ray from Universal Studios.

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Memories (1995)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

I am super picky about anime. Something about the genre usually turns me off, with the exception of films like Barefoot Gen, Ninja Scroll, Perfect Blue and a small handful of others. I just added Memories to that short list. It’s an anthology of Katsuhiro Otomo stories directed by three anime heavyweights: Kōji Morimoto (The Animatrix), Tensai Okamura (Ninja Scroll / Ghost in a Shell), and Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira). The whole film is very cohesive and filled with detailed, and psychedelic sci-fi animation. Do you happen to live where weed is legal? Bonus for you.

Available on domestic Blu-ray but it’s out of print / selling for $$$.

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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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The Platform (2019)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

I almost didn’t recommend this one as it was on the Netflix Top 10 when it was first released, and has received a lot of press. However, The Platform deserves that attention AND is very much Anomalous Cinema. This movie skillfully blends horror and sci-fi, into a borderline-art film. Now let’s hope this leads to Netflix releasing more even more daring and intelligent weirdo features.

FYI – I recommend if you watch ANY foreign content made after 1990 on Netflix you do so in it’s original language with subtitles. Netflix’s English dubbing is absolutely horrible 99% of the time.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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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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The Endless (2017)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

I saw this in the theatre when it first came out and enjoyed it immensely (it has excellent creepy music too). It’s a pity there aren’t more original independent horror movies like this. Just watch it.

Available on Blu-ray from Well Go.

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Phase IV (1974)

Streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu | imdb | trailer

This might just be my favorite PG rated movie. A group of ants achieve intelligence and launch sophisticated attacks on humans. That sounds pretty lame, but trust me. This movie is trippy as hell, and rewarding on many levels. It also happens to be directed by Saul Bass. Yes, THAT guy. The greatest graphic designer of all time. A man of many talents, Bass helmed one of the weirdest SF films in history too. What a stud.

Available on Blu-ray from Olive Films.

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The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

A doctor’s wife is decapitated in an accident but he manages to keep her head alive while he hunts for a new body. This is might just be my favorite “so bad it’s good” movie. I’m pretty sure the 80’s classic Re-Animator was heavily influenced by The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. I’d recommend watching this with a few drinks, or whathaveyou, to loosen up. Maybe invite some friends. It’s quite a ride. The film is public domain so there are tons of shitty versions out there. Look for the one on Amazon Prime that is widescreen and 1080p.

Available on Blu-ray from Scream Factory.

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