Welcome to another edition of PSYCHOTRONIC NETFLIX! This week we’re doing that wayback machine thing again, this time heading to 1990, the year best known to historians for being the debut of “Mr. Bean.” And also the first Gulf War. And Furbies.

10. Dead Sleep (1990)

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It’s more like an adaptation of a Robin Cook novel than a horror film, but still, Linda Blair as a nurse investigating mysterious deaths in a psycho ward in a movie from the director of the obscure slasher flick BLOODMOON? That’s got to be good for something.

9. Legion of Iron (1990)

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A high school football star has to rescue his girlfriend after they’re both kidnapped and he’s forced to fight in a weird gladiator setting ruled by an evil queen in the first of three pics from Epic Productions, one of the random mid-range budget production companies that cropped up that the time, releasing their first film in 1989 and vanishing off the face of the earth by 1993.

8. Ski Patrol (1990)

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Also from Epic is this screwball comedy about a ski resort trying to fend off a developer attempting to sabotage them in order to take over the land. The bizarre cast includes T.K. Carter, Leslie Jordan, George Lopez, Ray Walston, future director Paul Feig and Martin Mull. Wasn’t the time when “From the Producer of POLICE ACADEMY” was a selling point beautiful?

7. I, The Worst of All (1990)

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Probably the classiest “naughty nun” movie, this tale of Mexican nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and her Sapphic inspiration to write poetry is more historical drama than exploitation, but it’s a compelling film, beautifully made by director María Luisa Bemberg.

6. Swordsman (1990)

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This Ming Dynasty-set kung-fu flick features a complex plot involving a Japanese samurai, an illegal Chinese sect, a tribe of snake-wielding women warriors and rival martial arts schools, but mostly it’s a great excuse for lots of primo sword battles. Two sequels followed. With Cecilia Yip and Jacky Cheung.

5. Paris is Burning (1990)

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Even if you don’t give a crap about the origins of “Vogueing,” Jennie Livingston’s documentary about New York’s underground drag subculture in the 1980s is a fascinating portrait of the personalities that attend and perform in drag balls, and ranks among the best subculture docs in film history.

4. Bad Influence (1990)

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The third of our Epic Productions titles is a solid thriller featuring James Spader as his James Spaderiest as a young executive who befriends a mysterious stranger (Rob Lowe) and ends up much more closely intertwined with him than he’d like. Lisa Zane co-stars in Curtis Hanson’s better-than-you’d-expect yuppie potboiler, with a script by David Koepp.

3. The Krays (1990)

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Twins Gary and Martin Kemp play twin crime lords in 1960s London in Peter Medak’s underseen little mob thriller that allegedly had approval from the brothers they portray, so relation to actual fact is questionable. Still, it’s a solid crime flick with some top-notch performances and a script by Philip (THE REFLECTING SKIN) Ridley.


2. Tremors (1990)

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Our own Johnny A-Bomb wrote about Ron Underwood’s great monster flick here, so I’ll just second his recommendation. Seriously, watch TREMORS.

1. Miller’s Crossing (1990)

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One of the Coen Brothers’ best films (no faint praise) is their prohibition-era mobster flick about a man caught between two warring mob families. Gabriel Byrne stars, with Marcia Gay Harden, John Turturro, Jon Polito, Albert Finney and Mike Starr. Highly recommended, though you’ve probably seen it already — if not, what the hell? Click on the box right now, or I’ll start laughing at you.


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