This week on I WAKE UP STREAMING!, I wanted to try doing something different than ranting a bit about streaming philosophies. Actual recommendations! Below are five of the most noteworthy and surprising titles that have shown up on streaming this past week – while I may not have seen them all, they’re all certainly worth at least a curious glance!
1. MOTHER (Netflix) – Bong Joon-Ho (SNOWPIERCER) directed this fantastic tale of maternal vengeance and justice as a mother searches for the person who framed her son for murder. A chilling, character-based gem of a film, featuring an incredible performance by Hye-ja Kim.
2. HEART OF DARKNESS (Amazon) – Everyone’s seen APOCALYPSE NOW, but the first cinematic (sort of) adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” was done in 1958 as an episode of the anthology series Playhouse 90. This version stars Roddy McDowall, Eartha Kitt, Boris Karloff and Inga Swenson, and is directed by Ron Winston, who helmed the “Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” episode of The Twilight Zone. And now you can check it out on Amazon!
3. TRUTH OR DARE?: A CRITICAL MADNESS (Amazon) – Tim Ritter’s bizarro 1986 horror flick about a fellow on a killing spree (not to be confused with Tim Ritter’s KILLING SPREE) is one of the most surprising flicks I’ve seen show up on Amazon, but, hey, I’m glad it’s there! Fans of real horror oddities will love this one, a gory, deranged, nonsensical cult favorite with a mind-bogglingly, er, memorable score, done with the tiniest of budgets.
4. PRIMAL SCREEN (Shudder) – While Shudder has its share of exclusives,PRIMAL SCREEN marks its first original film, a documentary from director Rodney Ascher (ROOM 237). The film takes a look at how pop culture shapes what our fears, and it’s bound to be interesting.
5. SEED MONEY: THE LEGEND BEHIND FALCON STUDIOS (Sundance Now) – A favorite at festivals, the documentary on producer Chuck Holmes, who started influential gay adult film studio Falcon Studios, makes its subscription streaming debut under a slightly altered title that emphasizes the studio rather than the man.
Also new and noteworthy:
Newly added to Netflix are additional seasons of Orange is the New Black and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but binge-watchers have probably already finished those by now. (How the heck do you do that?) In addition to MOTHER above, they’ve also added Bong Joon-Ho’s BARKING DOGS NEVER BITE. Other additions include Julie Dash’s 1991 excellent period drama (and National Film Register honoree) DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST, the exclusive thriller SHIMMER LAKE with Rainn Wilson, John Michael Higgins, Adam Pally, Ron Livingston, and Rob Corddry from the writer of FREAKS OF NATURE, the Mexican found-footage movie STRAYED, Julie Benz in the horror film HAVENHURST, Derek Yee’s Hong Kong action film SWORDMASTER, Patrick Stewart as the voice of the dragon in DRAGONHEART: BATTLE FOR THE HEARTFIRE, and the Norwegian thriller CAVE.
Lastly, cult film fans may be interested in Season 8, Episode 8 of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, as it features the caustic cook going through Rome with the assistance of Asia Argento and Abel Ferrara!
New to Hoopla are Eric Balfour in the industrial kiln thriller (!) 200 DEGREES and the Chinese disaster film SKY ON FIRE.
As well as PRIMAL SCREEN above, the horror service has added the Belgian thriller THE TREATMENT, as well as the shorts I WANT YOU INSIDE ME and THE PUPPET MAN, the latter an ‘80s homage featuring John Carpenter.
FilmStruck has added a host of memorable revenge flicks under the “Tales of Revenge” banner, including Fernando Di Leo’s Eurocrime flick THE ITALIAN CONNECTION (1972) with Henry Silva, Alex Proyas’s comic-book adaptation THE CROW (1994), Park Chan-Wook’s vengeance trilogy (2002’s SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, 2003’s OLDBOY and 2005’s LADY VENGEANCE), Toyisha Fujita’s LADY SNOWBLOOD (1973) and LADY SNOWBLOOD 2: LOVE SONG OF VENGEANCE (1974) and Yermek Shinarbaev’s REVENGE (1989).
Also new to the service are a selection of films under the “Mental Illness in Movies” banner, including William Peter Blatty’s THE NINTH CONFIGURATION (1980), Frank Perry’s DAVID & LISA (1962), John Cassavetes’ A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE (1974) and Lodge Kerrigan’s CLEAN, SHAVEN (1994). (All of these are highly recommended.) They’ve also added a number of Henry Jaglom films (sadly, not MOVIE MADNESS) including 1977’s TRACKS, with Dennis Hopper and Dean Stockwell.
New on Screambox are the 1982 Ozploitation human hunting classic TURKEY SHOOT, Lucio Fulci’s ZOMBIE, Roberta Findlay’s notorious 1975 flick SNUFF, Larry Cohen’s UNCLE SAM (just in time for Independence Day), Dario Argento’s THE STENDAHL SYNDROME, and the 1991 softcore Chinese horror pic HOLY VIRGIN VS. THE EVIL DEAD with Donnie Yen(!). Newer titles include 2006’s THE THIRST with Matt Keeslar, the Halloween horror-house pic SCARE ZONE, and the Asylum flick AVH: ALIEN VS. HUNTER.
In addition to SEED MONEY above, the service has added John Hurt as writer Quentin Crisp in 2009’s AN ENGLISHMAN IN NEW YORK, a follow-up to 1975’s THE NAKED CIVIL SERVANT. Denis O’Hare, Cynthia Nixon and Swoosie Kurtz co-star.
The Hanna-Barbera animation service has added 1967’s JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, featuring the voice of Gene Kelly.
As well as the two titles above that stand out, the service has added a number of nifty nudie and sleaze films, including Sid Melton’s BAD GIRLS DO CRY (1965 or 1954), Edgar Ulmer’s NAKED VENUS (1959), the prison pic CHAINED GIRLS (1965), TAKE ME NAKED (1966), 10 DAYS IN A NUDIST CAMP (1935), THE GIRLS FROM THUNDER STRIP (1970), and GOOD TIME WITH A BAD GIRL (1967). Other vintage psychotronia includes the little-seen 1962 Turkish film TARZAN IN ISTANBUL, NINJA: THE FINAL DUEL (1986), CHINESE MACK (1974) and JikiTrinka’s 1949 animated short THE EMPEROR’S NIGHTINGALE with the voice of Boris Karloff. TV offerings include The Liberace Show and 1962’s Space Angel, from the producers of Clutch Cargo.
New titles of note include the religious satire THE BRAND NEW TESTAMENT, the highly-recommended THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE, Mark Polonia’s LAND SHARK, Henrique Couto’s found-footage pic AMITYVILLE: NO ESCAPE, the Sacramento-lensed BADASS MONSTER KILLER, Felissa Rose and Brinke Stevens in SUMMER CAMP MASSACRE, the horror pic FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY, the Manson family short film PRETTYFACE, the sci-fi film ONE UNDER THE SUN, and the 2004 thriller RENEGADE with Vincent Cassel and Juliette Lewis. Documentaries include the Classic Gaming Quarterly-produced THE LAUNCH OF THE SEGA MASTER SYSTEM and the fantastically-titled SPIDERS WILL EAT YOUR FACE.
Other titles of note include Atom Egoyan’s superb 1997 drama THE SWEET HEREAFTER, Christophe Gans’ 1995 adaptation of the anime CRYING FREEMAN with Mark Dacascos, Tom Naygrow’s 1990 film LEARNING CURVE (an Artistic License production referenced on Intervision’s new DREAMSTALKER DVD), Jean-Claude Van Damme in John G. Avildsen’s 1999 actioner INFERNO with Pat Morita, Chris Penn in the 1996 thriller BOYS’ CLUB, Joseph Sargent’s made-for-television SALEM WITCH TRIALS with Kirstie Alley and Shirley MacLaine, Audrey and Judy Landers in the 1989 made-for-television flick GHOST WRITER, the 1990 horror film MIRROR MIRROR with Karen Black, Yvonne DeCarlo, Veronica Cartwright, and William Sanderson, and the 1994 Canadian dystopian skateboarding film ANCHOR ZONE starring Henry Czerny and from the director of the obscurity VOODOO DOLLS!
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