Today is obviously going to be the greatest day ever because the coolest channel that ever existed COMET TV, is going to be airing BLOOD AND LACE at 2pm! Man, I love that BLOOD AND LACE! What a great movie! How did I survive for so many years without it in my life? Furthermore, how did I survive so many years without COMET TV? Those were dark days indeed and I never even knew it. You can read my full gushing review of the fine flick HERE and you can watch the movie itself HERE or on your TV at two! Ain’t life grand?
Critter crew, I gotta go to this thing at this thing but I am loath to leave ya with nothing to occupy your peepers so I’m sending you all on a field trip to Tubi TV to watch COOTIES! Hey, COOTIES is pretty good, particularly the kooky and kindertraumatic slo-mo playground contagion scene. I love that part! Such creepy imagery! Plus I think COOTIES is pretty funny and I feel like ELIJAH WOOD is a nice person who should be supported since that MANIAC redo was so much better than we all expected. COOTIES does devolve into too familiar zombie territory and some of the casting is questionable (IMO) but neither of those gripes is enough to sink it. Like I said, it’s pretty good and certainly worth the fair price of FREE!!! Watch it HERE and hope you are all having a wondrous Memorial Day weekend!
“There are 32 ways to write a story, and I’ve used every one, but there is only one plot – things are not as they seem.”
– Jim Thompson, pulp novelist
The difference between Columbo and Murder, She Wrote is that in Murder, She Wrote the viewer tries to solve the crime while Jessica Fletcher does. But with Columbo the audience sees whodunit right at the start, and they watch Lt. Columbo try to figure it out.
Watching someone unravel a mystery can be entertaining, even cathartic. And the more personal the mystery is, the more dramatic it can be.
In INVADERS FROM MARS a young boy discovers his parents are not what they seem.
In I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE a young bride discovers her husband is not what he seems.
In THE PARENT TRAP two girls discover they are not what they seem.
One of the most sensitive types of secret is your own identity. Those stories involve some of the most upsetting secrets.
In THE 6TH DAY, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Adam (the hero of the story) finds out he is a clone.
In The Twilight Zone episode “The Lateness of the Hour” a young woman learns that she is an android. (It’s somehow fitting that this is one of the episodes they shot on videotape.)
The clone/robot trope has been explored and executed to great effect on recent cable series like Westworld and Battlestar Galactica.
I most recently encountered a clone narrative in the newest RESIDENT EVIL movie. (Major spoilers coming, but you knew where this was headed…)
At the very end of RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER, Alice finds out she is a clone. This shattering plot-point is down-played. (Granted the series is known for its action set-pieces more than its character moments.) When the Red Queen informs Alice that she’s a clone, Alice is comforted by this judgment: not only is she the best of all the clones, she is superior to the original Alice. (Oh, I get it! They’re speaking metaphorically about RESIDENT EVIL movies. Each sequel is criticized for being a “clone” of the previous film. So now Paul W.S. Anderson is saying that this final installment is not only better than the previous sequels, it’s better than the first film!)
I walked out of the theater (yes, I saw RESIDENT EVIL in the theater! I had to see it for a podcast) feeling like they’d missed an opportunity for bigger drama. Or at least an opportunity to give me the kind of clone-revelation-drama I seem to enjoy so much.
Thinking about clone narratives and how they figure into hero myths, I suddenly summoned a faint memory of kindertraumatic movie called ANNA TO THE INFINITE POWER.
I’d seen it once when I was 10, and it was one of those movies no one else remembers. (In the pre-internet days that made you the keeper of the flame, you alone had to keep the movie alive by remembering it.)
I got home and searched for ANNA on YouTube. There were only a couple of short clips. But those brief images were enough to flood me with those tingly kindertraumatic feelings. It’s like when you were a kid and right before you lost a tooth you tasted the bittersweet flavor of your blood. Gross AND exciting!
I kept searching for ANNA online. (Ironically there weren’t any bootlegs of this clone movie.) And then one day it turned up on YouTube, on a channel run by a guy whose content is predominantly videos of Thom Matthews. You can just tell, he’s good people!
You can guess the film’s basic premise: a young girl discovers she is one of many clones. Her entire childhood has been a lie. Who is she cloned from? Why do flickering lights give her headaches? What does any of this have to do with the Nazis?
ANNA is a special kind of science-fiction, where the low-budget and modest filmmaking somehow help it seem more real and relatable. (Kind of like how those videotaped Twilight Zone episodes don’t seem like TV at all.) If the movie gets under your skin, it’s not because of the special effects of grandiose cinematography, but because of simple themes
ANNA TO THE INFINITE POWER tackles all the big questions of a good clone movie: addressing ethics, technology and morality, all wrapped up in the soap opera of a pre-teen girl wondering if her family is her family as she confronts who she really is and what she is destined to become.
Throughout the movie there’s a truly haunting song, which was composed by Paul Baillargeon, who wrote music for Star Trek. (Not the original series, but Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Those still count!)
If cheap-but-effective science-fiction isn’t enough to get you on board, I have two words for you: Mark Patton. That’s right, Anna’s brother is played by Jesse Walsh from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY’S REVENGE. (Apparently Mark Patton is also drawn to stories about characters struggling with their identity!) His presence adds a certain kind of non-star star-power. You know what I mean? That pleasant familiarity of seeing an actor who you only know from one role. It reminds me of the delight I’ve experienced when Marilyn Burns shows up in a movie that isn’t THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE, it’s like you’ve just run into an old friend.
Maybe I’m drawn to these melodramatic clone revelations because it’s a far-removed story premise that could never happen to me. Or maybe, deep down I’m afraid it could be my secret origin. Either way, you should watch ANNA TO THE INFINITE POWER while it’s still on YouTube (HERE).
And If you’re looking for a double-feature, Hulu’s streaming an episode of The X-Files that is said to have a suspicious number of similarities to ANNA. Season 1, episode 11: “Eve” (HERE).
Hey, you can be watching MICHAEL MANN’s flawed but forever fascinating THE KEEP (1983) for FREE right now! I’ve given up hope that THE KEEP will ever make it to DVD and I (sobs in hands) lost my precious VHS tape years ago (a widescreen version that a friend copied from laserDisc!) so this is a rare privilege as far as I’m concerned. Read my old review HERE (which was once recommended by THE KEEP’s very own author F. PAUL WILSON!) and then go investigate my new favorite joint called Tubi TV right HERE.
Tubi TV is basically like Netflix except for the fact that you don’t have to pay a dime. It takes about one minute to sign up (just register with an email) and then you are free to watch a very impressive selection of films with a few harmless ad views as your only payment (I’d list some excellent titles but I’m saving them for future posts!). I love this. I love FREE. I haven’t been collecting movies on DVD and VHS for the last 30 years so that I would end up paying to stream (I know original content has made Netflix, HBO and Hulu nearly indispensable but I piggyback off of a generous relative’s accounts for those). Last night I watched the coolest movie called OUTLANDER (2008) during a fit of insomnia and it seemed like the greatest gift in the world. It’s about a futuristic dude (JAMES CAVIEZAL) whose space ship crashes in Iron Age Norway with an alien creature on board and so he has to team up with Vikings to destroy it. Have you seen this? It’s awesome! It’s like ALIEN 3 meets THE 13th WARRIOR meets THE TIME MACHINE meets THE RELIC meets HIGHLANDER meets PREDATOR meets ARMY OF DARKNESS. It’s so epic and so geeky and so hauntingly beautiful in places and I only wish I had a toy of the alien creature to pet. Anyway, as God is my witness, I will never pay for streaming again! Trust me; go get you some Tubi TV…now!
It’s in every horror fan’s best interest to periodically drop on over at CRACKLE and see what’s new. I’m happy to report they have recently added AVA’S POSSESSIONS, a neon, neo-noir, post-possession character study that plays like prime SUSAN SEIDELMAN directing a horror version of THE LOST WEEKEND. It meanders at times and the tone doesn’t always gel but this movie is so visually arresting and the cast is so appealing that I really think you should check it out. LOUISA KRAUSE is highly endearing as Ava, a gal who is picking up the pieces of her life after a recent possession threw all of her relationships into turmoil and perhaps even caused a homicide or two (don’t act like you haven’t been there). The supporting cast is just as good with DEBORAH RUSH (Yay, STRANGERS WITH CANDY!) portraying her mom and WILLIAM SADLER (Yay, ROSWELL!) as her dad. WASS STEVENS of SATAN’S LITTLE HELPER even shows up as the leader of a possession survivor support group and horror royalty CAROL KANE (WHEN A STRANGER CALLS) graces this fine production with a divine cameo. And not to get all artsy on ya but I just really loved this flick’s sense of style and pitch perfect use of color, plus the score is pretty phenomenal too. Did I mention it’s FREE? Yes, it’s FREE to watch this movie completely unedited right HERE on CRACKLE. You just have to withstand some commercials but such is life. At least you’re not currently possessed.
Get this, COMET TV is a brand new channel that features science fiction and horror films every day of the week. Even better, you can now LIVE stream COMET TV right on your computer! This means I can watch TV in any room of my house even the many sad rooms that don’t have cable! I don’t know about you but I am on this like white on rice! Check out the full schedule (HERE)!
There is a delicious marathon going down shortly! PUMPKINHEAD is stomping into your living room at 2:00 and then that adorable Ella the monkey makes a house call at 4:OO with a showing of the ever so awesome MONKEYSHINES! Plus even though I didn’t have room for them in the title of this post, our old buddy MAD MAX crashes the party at 8:00 and then it’s off to the scariest house that ever existed with the Kindertrauma-klassic BURNT OFFERINGS at 10:00 starring master thespian KAREN BLACK and the voluptuous OLIVER REED. Wait, did I get that backwards? Nope. Anyways, you should get on this generous smorgasbord today and every day! I know I will. Thanks COMET TV! I think I love you (LIVE STREAM HERE)!
I got some good news for ya. Did you know that you could be watching STUART GORDON’s CASTLE FREAK for free on Hulu if you so desired HERE? How do you dig them apples? Now, I’ll be honest with you, this flick didn’t exactly rock my world when I first caught it back in the day. I think it’s because GORDON’S RE-ANIMATOR blew the top of my head off and then his FROM BEYOND blew the sides of my head off and then DOLLS blew the bottom of my head off and there was really no part of my head left to blow up by the time CASTLE FREAK came along. I used to think my expectations were too high but I’ve come to the realization that –duh- GORDON was going for a much more somber feel on purpose.
Anyway, these days I can appreciate CASTLE FREAK for a lot of the reasons I once gave it a shrug. CASTLE FREAK may not deliver the pulse-pounding, over-the-top excitement of GORDON’S aforementioned masterpiece trilogy but it’s absolutely dripping with gloomy gothic atmosphere and leads JEFFREY COMBS and BARBARA CRAMPTON deliver top-notch, albeit mournful, performances. It utilizes its Italian location to the fullest and it’s a great Old Dark House flick even if the old house is actually an old castle. Plus monster! Me love monster! If you haven’t seen it in a while, give it another go. NOTE: I must subtract five points for tormenting a ginger cat.
Hey kids, I gotta plan that’s sure to cheer you up today. Let’s say we sneak on over to that SHOUT FACTORY TV joint and watch us some GARGOYLES (HERE)! It’s only one of the best TV movies ever to grace the small screen and, where I come from, it has a long history of hitting the spot on a Sunday afternoon. Heck, I could even write a traumafession on this slick flick as it always gave me an acute case of the heebie jeebies! It’s not the titular monsters so much (although they are impressively unnerving) as it is the general uncanny atmosphere. I don’t know why but the opening narration relaying the history of Satan, the multiple aerial gargoyle-eye views of pesky humans crawling about on Earth and the sinister simplicity of the perfectly captured pre-CGI, ominous slate gray skies all add up to me wanting my blanky. Plus JENNIFER SALT is in it! Unless you’ve just finished watching BRAIAN DE PALMA‘s SISTERS (1973) or a SOAP marathon (like me) there’s surely not enough SALT in your diet!
Hey folks, I have a lot of egg nog in my system and that means I don’t have time to play with you. DON’T EVEN call yourself a horror fan if you’ve never seen HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS…serious…DON’T EVEN. I don’t care if it tastes like medicine….you eat it anyway!!! What I do for you kids! My computer is so ancient that every sentence I write is preceded by a spinning rainbow ball! It keeps spinning and spinning! It’s making me dizzy! The simplest post is like knitting a sweater! Not that you care with your instagrams! Did I spell that right? You know what? Why don’t you put your criticisms where the monkey puts the nuts? One day your Unkle will be dead and gone like a VHS tape and you’ll be all teary-eyed and missing me never realizing that YOU ARE THE MURDERER! Glug-glug..hiccup and furthermore glug-glug Smurfs in the ceiling!!!! Ah, look at the pretty pretty lights!!!!! Happy Merry Christmas Eve. I love you!!!!
Oh Geez, that ELECTRIC BOOGALLO doc has left me with a strong case of CANNON fever! What to do? Hey, it looks like our fine friends over at the YouTube channel THE PARAMOUNT VAULT has the solution! Let’s say we all watch NINJA III: THE DOMINATION! Don’t worry, you don’t have to see the first two NINJA movies to understand this one because it defies understanding anyway! All you need to know is LUCINDA DICKEY rocks hard and is a champ at playing the video game BOUNCER. If you’re still not cured, it looks like a bunch of other CANNON flicks have ended up in the same joint! I see HE- MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, MISSING IN ACTION, AMERICAN NINJA, KING SOLOMAN’S MINES and much more! They’re all FREE, they all look great and it’s all on the up and up! Why are you so generous PARAMOUNT? Are you possessed?