Here are six more favorite films that should keep you twisted stoners busy for awhile. Try to watch these on a larger screen and not on your tablet or cel-phone; monsters, aliens, and gore weren’t meant to be reduced to postage-stamp-sized experiences.
Directed by Stuart Gordon. In the mid 80’s, half a dozen movies were made based on HP Lovecraft short stories. Re-Animator was the first. From Beyond was the second. Don’t waste your time on the rest.
Re-Animator is one of the best mad scientist movies ever made. Over-the-top gore, but well acted, this movie wastes no time drawing in the viewer. Dr. Herbert West creates a glowing serum that brings back the dead. Look for a naked Barbara Crampton restrained on an autopsy table, having a conversation with a disembodied head that makes a very creepy proposition. Streaming on YouTube, iTunes, Amazon/Shudder, and VUDU.
From Beyond (1986)
Also directed by Stuart Gordon. The second of Brian Yuzna’s Lovecraft adaptations, possibly even better than Re-Animator. Another mad scientist’s invention runs amok. Beware the Resonator! Many of the same acting crew from its predecessor, Barbara Crampton this time dressed up as a dominatrix. Truly out of control fun. Great double-billing with Re-Animator if you can stomach 3 hours of crazy gore. Streaming on Amazon and VUDU.
They Live (1988)
Directed by John Carpenter, starring ex-pro wrestler Roddy Piper & Keith David. An underrated gem of big brother paranoia, aliens, and greed. The longest non-boxing fight scene I’ve ever seen on film. Piper and David wail on each other in a back alley for over seven minutes. “I’m here to chew bubblegum and kick ass,” Piper announces in another scene. A very political and important film from Carpenter, who also penned the screenplay. Streaming on YouTube, iTunes, Amazon, VUDU, Google Play and Cinemax.
Check out these inspired riffs on the original movie poster.
Flesh Gordon (1974)
That’s right, not Flash Gordon. A soft-core porn movie, insanely inventive, and a surprisingly well conceived parody of the original Flash Gordon serial from 1936.
Ming the Magnificent becomes The Perverted Emperor Wang, Dale Arden is Dale Hardon, Dr. Arkoff becomes Dr. Flexy Jerkoff, you get the idea. Wang creates his ‘sex-ray’ and points it at Earth, so Flash must travel to the planet Porno to stop him. Lots of claymation, with the funniest, at the very end of the film when a talking, Kong-like creature captures Dale, and climbs with her in his giant hand to the top of “…the Tower of Murder, it’s where I hang out sometimes.” Silly stoner fun. Side-note, my ex-wife knew one of the women from Wang’s never-ending orgy scene in his throne room. You can’t stream this anywhere but the DVD can be had for a reasonable sum (click on the image for the Amazon link). Click here for a two-and-a-half minute trailer.
David Lynch‘s surreal film school project that took several years to complete. I happened to be living in Los Angeles during the initial release of the movie and hitch-hiked down Pico Boulevard to the Nuart Theatre to see what all the fuss was about.
A very disturbing film, with underlying, industrial, dissonant audio, at least a third of the audience walked out halfway through the film. When it ended, I wasn’t sure what I had just seen, but I had a feeling that the film was much more cohesive than it seemed after my first viewing. A few years later, when I watched it for the second time, I went with my friend, Mary Jane. Suddenly, the entire (well, most of it) made complete sense. It is actually a very common story, told through a surreal lens. Boy meets girl. Boy gets girl pregnant. Boy meets girl’s family. Girl has baby. Boy freaks out when mom leaves baby with him. Visually, a beautiful black and white movie, one of the original 6 films that led to the creation of ‘midnight movies’. Streaming on YouTube, iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play. It may also seem odd that you can find it on Hulu Plus – until you find out that Hulu has about 900 films from the Criterion Collection available for streaming.
A little trivia – acting in the lead role was Jack (John) Nance who appeared in most of Lynch’s films and television (Twin Peaks) series.
The Hidden (1987)
An underappreciated sci-fi thriller about a murderous, symbiotic, alien criminal hunted by alien cop Kyle MacLachlan through the streets of Los Angeles. Based on the sci-fi novel, Needle (1950), by Hal Clement about two aliens crash-landing on Earth and the teenage boy who helps the “good symbiote” track down his criminal prey on a remote Pacific island. The film interpretation is basically cop-versus-criminal in the big city – still lots of fun with some interesting visual effects. Streaming on YouTube, iTunes, Amazon, VUDU, and Google Play.