Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

It’s pretty amazing it took me this long to recommend a Lucio Fulci film. Sadly there aren’t many available via streaming services. This is one of my favorite movies by the man dubbed The Godfather of Gore. It’s not one of his goriest ones either. In fact, some scenes feel more like an art film.

Ok look… this movie is a fantastic horror thriller, but the end features a very clumsy FX prop death scene. You’ll know it when you see it. It looked crappy when I first saw this in the ‘90s and it looks even more ridiculous now. What’s weird is that Fulci liked it so much he used the same scene in another later film. WTF Lucio? Great film though. Truly great.

Available on Blu-ray from Arrow.

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 group 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.

Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 (1988)

Streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu | imdb | trailer

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 and the flaws don’t bother me too much. What does bother 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 just learned that there’s a brand new special edition out on Blu-Ray via Arrow which is pretty much guaranteed to look WAY better than the current streaming version. Also I believe the director’s audio commentary is from the old Anchor Bay disc and it is excellent.

Available on Blu-ray from Arrow.

Blood and Black Lace (1964)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

While it isn’t the first of the Giallo subgenre, Blood and Black Lace is my early favorite. This was the film that influenced all of the black glove killer films to follow. The villain’s costume alone was imitated so often it’s ridiculous. Check out Bava’s use of unnatural colored lighting. You will notice similar effects in many other filmmaker’s work still to this day. To top it off, Arrow’s restoration is flat-out stunning (the streaming version is the same re-master).

Available on Blu-ray via Arrow.

The Nightingale (2018)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

This is a pitch black revenge film. I’ve seen a lot of on screen nastiness in my time but The Nightingale made even me cringe. The only flaw of the movie is that it is too damn long. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’ve got patience and a strong stomach.

The Nightingale is scheduled for a US Blu-ray February 2020. You can pre-order it through Diabolik DVD.

The Handmaiden (2016)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

I tend to check out anything Chan-Wook Park directs since he hooked me with Oldboy. This is not as good as “The Vengeance Trilogy” but it’s definitely worthy of your time if you like Park’s work. I’d call it a thriller with that weird South Korean special sauce. I avoided watching this for ages as it’s a long one and not much in the action department. Big Mistake. I should have watched much sooner. The Handmaiden is a beautiful film. Damn near perfect.

Available on Blu-ray from Sony Pictures.