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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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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The Game (1997)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is a good early David Fincher film that doesn’t get mentioned often. If you have nothing but contempt for rich people, don’t watch The Game. If you just want to see an intricate thriller that will keep you guessing until the end, you’ll probably enjoy this. It’s not very violent, it’s got zero nudity, but it’s a solid film for adults anyway. Michael Douglas is great, the film has Deborah Unger from Cronenberg’s Crash, and Sean Penn before he went off the rails too. The Netflix version has had the film grain over-filtered, and could really use the shadows and colors punched up, but those are not deal-breakers. The Game is good cinema that can probably be enjoyed in any state of mind.

Available on Blu-ray from Universal.

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Small Town Crime (2017)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This is a solid crime thriller with some good, at times extremely graphic, bursts of action. The cinematography looks great as well. Saturated colors and deep shadows are featured. It’s nice to see Robert Forster (Jackie Brown, Walking the Edge, Alligator, etc) given lots of screen time. Small Town Crime is an enjoyable dark film, with a lot packed into 90 minutes.

Available on Blu-ray from Lionsgate.

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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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Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

I didn’t expect much when I first saw this film. I ended up very pleasantly surprised. It’s an excellent thriller that looks damn-near perfect. Nocturnal Animals is more centered in drama than violence, but it’s still very dark in all the best ways. Some critics even called it “cynical.” No wonder I liked it so much.

Available on Blu-ray from Universal.

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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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Lord of Illusions (1995)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

This is a damn good horror film based on Clive Barker’s story “The Last Illusion,” and directed by the man himself. I’d say this only comes in second to Hellraiser among films he’s helmed. It’s cheesy as hell. In spite of that fact, Barker thankfully ditched the one-liners that plagued Nightbreed. I watched this again recently, for the first time in ages, and found the cheese on display quite charming. If you are a Seinfeld fan, the Fromage Knob is turned to 11, because the bad guy was once George Costanza’s boss Mr. Kruger. Don’t take that the wrong way, Daniel Von Bargen (RIP), was a fantastic actor, and this is his best role by far. It’s just hard to not picture him menacing George instead of Famke Jansen. Two major plusses for this film are that it’s extremely gory, and there’s a ton of Barker’s awesome art and design on display. The CG is a little dated, but it didn’t bother me all that much. The version on Prime is the director’s cut, and the restoration looks quite good too.

Blu-ray available from Shout Factory.

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The Occupant (2020)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer (English – WATCH THE MOVIE IN SPANISH W/ SUBS)

Netflix delivers another entertaining Spanish thriller. The whole thing is improbable to the extreme, so forget about suspending your disbelief. It doesn’t matter because The Occupant looks great, the performances are spot on, and it has some wonderfully twisted moments. A word of warning though, some people HATED this movie. I’d say watch without expectations. Let the movie do it’s thing. If you generally appreciate the films I recommend on Anomalous Cinema, there’s a good chance you’ll like this as much as I did. Not feeling a little adventurous? Pick something else.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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Peeping Tom (1960)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

The following was my first Patreon post, and will be in the upcoming Anomalous Cinema book. I was so happy to see that this film is streaming in 1080p HD, I just had to share it here too. Enjoy.

Mark is a sad, but somehow lovable, serial killer with a unique murder technique. You might not think that would be the plot of one of the very best films ever made, but it is.

The first time I saw this was on a terrible VHS tape. The colors were washed out and the movie was cropped from it’s original aspect ratio. I liked the story but wasn’t impressed. A couple of years later I got to see a restored 35 mm print, and the difference was unbelievable. The saturated colors alone made such a huge impression. Seeing it properly presented made it one of my all time favorite films.

I really want to avoid talking about specific format releases on Anomalous Cinema, but I will ignore that for this one movie. The reason is the Criterion Collection DVD. I bought a copy shortly after seeing the film print, and it’s really an amazing release. The extras include a long documentary on Leo Marks, who wrote the screenplay. What a revelation that was. Marks is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever learned about. We’re talking William S. Burroughs level interesting. I was so fascinated by Leo Marks I read his book “Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker’s War, 1941-1945” even though it has nothing to do with Peeping Tom or movies in general.

My experience with this one has been a gradual revelation. Peeping Tom remains a film that I’ve watched over and over, which is very rare for me.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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