RoboCop 2 (1990)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

The original RoboCop is one of my all time favorite films. RoboCop 3 and the TV series are total crap. RoboCop 2 however is a pretty damn entertaining movie actually. It has all the important cast that survived the first film, the OG Red Dragon from Manhunter (Tom Noonan), and was directed by… Irvin Kershner. Who? Well he was the director of a little film called The Empire Strikes Back. Yep, he was obviously somewhat co-directed by George Lucas, but still, facts are facts. He also did the flawed but entertaining final Sean Connery James Bond flick Never Say Never Again (which was weirdly released the same year as Roger Moore’s Bond in Octopussy). One major bonus here is that FX master Phil Tippett was allowed almost total creative freedom, even to the extent where he directed the visual effects heavy scenes himself. So if you’ve never seen this, or it’s been a while, you’re in for a treat.

Available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory.

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Things to Come (1936)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

I avoided this film for a while, but damn it’s really something special. The story is the unfolding of a century from war and chaos, to utopian innovation. I was already a fan of H.G. Welles adaptations since I was a kid, I’ve read some of his books as an adult, but I never really understood the breadth of his imagination until seeing this movie. Welles wrote The Shape of Things to Come in 1933. If it’s anything like The War of the Worlds, the book is FAR better than the film. In spite of that, to SEE how ‘30s filmmakers applied Welles’ ideas is truly stunning. Things to Come has a far more spectacular look than I would have thought was possible before WW2. In the beginning of the film everything appears like you would expect. As the story moves forward in time, it all becomes more and more wonderfully bizarre, and just keeps getting weirder. The grim war years are particularly something to behold. Bottom line, if you are a science fiction fan, this is essential viewing.

Available on Blu-ray from Criterion Collection.

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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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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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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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Rabid (1977)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

Experimental plastic surgery leads to the zombie apocalypse. This is arguably David Cronenberg’s best early film. Yes, the low budget shows at times. However this is intelligent, action-packed horror, and among my all-time favorites. It’s a shame Marilyn Chambers wasn’t able to permanently transition into legit acting. She’s good in this movie.

Blu-ray available from Shout Factory.

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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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