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Sunday Streaming:: Anna To The Infinite Power By Kevin Maher

May 7th, 2017 · 2 Comments

“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).

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

Sunday Movie:: Ava’s Possessions (2015) (Via Crackle)

April 30th, 2017 · No Comments

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.

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Tags: Stream Warriors · Streaming Alert! · Sunday Streaming

Easter Sunday Movie:: Dolls (1987) (Via Comet TV)

April 16th, 2017 · 2 Comments

Hey it’s Easter Sunday so it’s likely many of you are hanging out with a giant bunny. But just in case some of you fine folks need something to watch later, let me inform you that our pals at COMET TV will be airing a favorite of mine this afternoon, STUART GORDON’S 1987 masterwork DOLLS! Oh how I love everything about this movie! I love the old dark house atmosphere, the beautifully done stop-motion special effects, the cast of charming character actors, the well-timed appearance of video vixens, the creepiness, the music box score and I love that it’s short, sweet and to the point like any good fable. I also love that it’s all about the tragedy of transforming into a douchebag and losing touch with hope, imagination and your inner, not a narrow minded selfish jerk yet, child. I wrote a review for this gem way back HERE but I think I like the movie even more now than I did back then. In fact, I’d dare say it’s in my top twenty favorite horror movies- I love it that much. I mean it’s got a giant killer teddy bear in it for crying out loud. Giant killer teddy bears are way cooler than giant rabbits! If you haven’t seen it before give it a watch and if you have seen it before know that it holds up to infinite viewings and watch it again! You’ll find it RIGHT HERE at 4pm ET! Hop to it! You’ll be hoppy you did!

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Tags: Sunday Streaming

Sunday Movie:: The Immortalizer (1989)

April 9th, 2017 · No Comments

I swear I had every intention of broadening my horizons beyond COMET TV this weekend but how can I when they perpetually insist upon showing such awesome stuff? I can’t escape! Tonight they are showing this weird obscure cult-ready fiasco called THE IMMORTALIZER from 1989 (1990?). From what I can tell everybody and their mother hates this movie except me. I caught it on MGM HD in the wee hours about two or three years ago and it was basically everything I wanted it to be and then some. It’s got that weird uncomfortable tortured captive thing that you might find in HELLHOLE or MANSION OF THE DOOMED but it’s also got that campy search for eternal youth plotline that you might recognize from DEATH BECOMES HER, ETERNAL EVIL, SKELETON KEY and this year’s critically acclaimed GET OUT. Plus it’s pretty darn hilarious in its brazen ineptitude and slightly sleazy vulgarity. Did I mention it takes place in the same building as SORORITY MASSACRE PART 2 (More on that HERE)? In any case, the important thing here is that this may be your last chance to see THE IMMORTALIZER for a while. It doesn’t seem to be readily available in any format and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be building a demand for such a thing any time soon. Check it out while you can right HERE at 6 (ET/PT) before it sips away! You’re not getting any younger!

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Tags: Sunday Streaming

Sunday Movie:: The Video Dead (1987) (Via Comet TV)

April 2nd, 2017 · 1 Comment

There is no reason to leave the house today! There is nothing out there in the sun. As long as you have popcorn for popping you should be all set. You see, the generous folks at COMET TV are showing THE VIDEO DEAD at 4! Let me tell you, THE VIDEO DEAD is a true one of a kind flick. It’s sometimes legit creepy, sometimes legit hilarious and all the time legit charming. It’s never stingy with the gore and the surprisingly impressive special effects and some of the ghouls shambling about have some serious personality (wait till you meet the bride)! There’s a sweet homegrown backyard feel to this 1987 straight to video release but it runs at a good clip and features more creative set pieces than a dozen Hollywood productions. Mostly, it’s just pure unadulterated eighties-style fun and the fact that writer/director ROBERT SCOTT never went on to make another horror movie is a crime against the undead. Check out this suburban nightmare on your computer (at 4) HERE or rumor has it you can now find COMET TV on that newfangled ROKU device! What will they think of next? COMET has me feeling like I’m reliving the glorious UHF days of my youth (aw, channel 48 how I miss you!). I’ll be watching on my rabbit ear set with the glow in dark skull on top as it is the most likely to have a zombie pop out of it!

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Tags: Sunday Streaming

Sunday Movie:: Train to Busan (2016) (Via Netflix Streaming)

March 26th, 2017 · 2 Comments

We’re having some technical difficulties (gremlin outbreak) so today’s Sunday streaming recommendation will be short and sweet. If you have NETFLIX (and why would anybody not?), you must promise your old pal Unk that you will watch the South Korean end of the world zombie nightmare movie TRAIN TO BUSAN! Even if you think you’ve seen it all before in the zombie outbreak arena, I can assure you that TRAIN TO BUSAN will blow that notion out of your mind. It’s all kinds of thrilling and suspenseful for sure but it also packs a surprisingly gargantuan wallop in the emotional department as well. No, those were not tears streaming down my face at the end of the movie; I just had something in my eye! Even if you don’t usually seek out subtitled movies, please make an exception in this case. I guarantee shortly you’ll be way too wrapped up in the action to notice. If you need more enticement you can check out the trailer HERE but I’d jump on board knowing as little as possible if I were you. This is a keeper, folks! Make sure you don’t miss it!

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Tags: Sunday Streaming

Sunday Movie:: Dead of Winter (1987) (Via Comet TV)

March 19th, 2017 · 6 Comments

Here comes one last icy blast of winter! Let me tell ya, one of my most favorite memories of seeing a movie in the theater was when I first saw DEAD OF WINTER way back in the olden days. My first year of college I had no TV but I happened to be renting a room in a small town that had a movie theater that showed second run movies all week and had a magic show on the weekends (shout out to the incredible Cabot Street Theater in Beverly, Mass!). It was great because I went and saw basically everything they played regardless of genre and they changed their movies several times a week.

DEAD OF WINTER has some kind of moody goth-lite charisma that hits me exactly where I grimly live. I’ve been fascinated by cold and distant HITCHCOCK-worshiping, high-maintenance psychological thrillers since 1982 when I became the world’s first and only STILL OF THE NIGHT super-fan. Nothing butters my bread better than a dark and stormy night, a female lead who may or may not be losing her mind and a big old dark creepy house with plenty of visual details to repeatedly explore. If the lady in question is playing multiple roles as the great MARY STEENBURGEN does in this, that’s all the better. Sign me, my cat, my STAR WARS blanket and my whiskey up!

This is one of those special movies that I feel I have to have on both DVD and VHS; the DVD is for serious viewing and the VHS is for me to fall asleep to. Is that wrong? I can’t help it. I love it so. DEAD OF WINTER is all about what happens when you loose your identity trying to be all things to all people (a goldfish in a plastic bag- best symbolism ever!) and how you can never, ever trust people like RODDY McDOWALL. It’s directed by the brilliant ARTHUR PENN (BONNIE AND CLYDE) and am I the only person who thinks STEENBURGEN looks exactly like KATE BUSH? There’s a scene in DOW where she struggles to climb up a steep wooded hillside and every time I watch it I hear BUSH’s “Running up that Hill” in my head. This is one of those go-to comfort movies that I return to over and over again. If you have never had the pleasure before, check it out on COMET TV today at 2pm HERE!

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Tags: Sunday Streaming

Sunday Movie:: Night of the Living Dead (1990) (Via Crackle)

March 12th, 2017 · 2 Comments

TOM SAVINI’s 1990 refurbishing of his buddy GEORGE ROMERO’s immortal NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD has got to be one of the most underrated remakes of all time. I’m not surprised folks were skeptical before it hit the big screen but I’m more than a little shocked anyone was able to cling to their cynicism by the time the end credits rolled. It’s so darn good! Personally, I thought I had witnessed the vital birth of a Ripley-esque heroine in the revamped Barbara (PATRICIA TALLMAN) and I was stunned to later find critics giving the whole rip-roaring anti-adventure a cold dismissal (How could you, EBERT?). What’s worse, even horror fans shrugged it off and snidely shunned it. I have faith that most of those naysayers have changed their tune by now but how could they be so blind in the first place? Ugh, I guess some people really need to trash some things in order to prove their love for other things, which is pretty stupid because you can easily love both!

Every remake has its work cut out for it and this particular one had some extra big shoes (or coffins) to fill. Is it possible people were extra biased because they figured special effects guru SAVANI would deliver the ultimate gorefest? Well it just so happens, I like my undead like I like my everything- and that’s on a small scale and in a very limited space. SAVINI cut his directorial teeth directing TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE episodes and that could explain part of my mad devotion; something about that series singularly scratches a psychological itch for me. SAVINI’s take almost feels like an extended DARKSIDE episode and that’s so up my nightmare alley. I’m not the type who thinks SAVINI walks on water but I have to say whoever is responsible for this particular end product has got some serious chops. The score even has that strange minimalist keyboard routine going on and the meager budget insures everything remains looking backyard regional and lived in. The atmosphere is so convincingly nihilistic and morbidly depressing that the entire excursion acts as a cathartic purging of negative vibes. And how can anyone look a gift horse in the mouth when its front teeth are genre legends TONY TODD and BILL MOSLEY? Meanwhile, a motion picture is worth more than a zillion words and you can check this fine flick out for FREE thanks to super cuddly CRACKLE right abouts HERE!

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Tags: Sunday Streaming

Sunday Movie:: After Midnight (1989) (Via Comet TV)

March 5th, 2017 · No Comments

I don’t ask for much out of this universe, I just ask that every human person who I interact with at some point watches the 1989 horror anthology AFTER MIDNIGHT. If you’ve been playing hard to get in regards to this simple request today is the day that you can heed my plea with relative ease because AFTER MIDNIGHT is going to be on COMET TV! As I mentioned long ago HERE, there was a point in my young adult life when AFTER MIDNIGHT was my very own “Name That Trauma”! I once fatefully fell asleep in front of the boob tube and woke up to the segment involving a gaggle of girls being hunted down by ferocious dogs in the big city. I was in a half conscious, semi-dream state and the whole business seemed like a televised nightmare. It took me years (and the rise of the internet) for me to track this movie down and tattoo its title permanently inside my head. Frankly folks, you shouldn’t need me to tell you to watch every PAMELA ALDON (GREASE 2, THE GATE 2) movie you possibly can. AFTER MIDNIGHT starts at 6pm but I plan to be handcuffed to the TV long before that as COMET will also be sharing LUCKY McKEE’s ode to SUSPIRIA, THE WOODS (2006) at 2 and the Kindertrauma classic BURNT OFFERINGS at 4! Don’t fret if you don’t have a TV set, the very same parade of horror awesomeness is going down smack-dab HERE!!!

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Tags: Sunday Streaming

Sunday Movie:: Strange Invaders (1983) (Via Comet TV)

February 26th, 2017 · 1 Comment

I’ve got a fantastic flick for y’all but I better tell you about it fast because it’s going to be on soon! At 2pm today, good old COMET is going to be airing 1983’s STRANGE INVADERS and you can watch it for free just by clicking HERE! I’m not going to lie to you, even though it’s always spot on with the smoky pastel visuals and appreciative winks towards 1950’s sci-fi, STRANGE INVADERS starts out kinda syrupy slow (I’m not down with the droopy score or milquetoast lead PAUL LE MAT)… BUT if you are patient you will be rewarded with absolutely awesome eighties make-up effects and the infatuating likes of WALLACE SHAWN, FIONA LEWIS, LOUISE FLETCHER and most importantly, the worship-worthy NANCY ALLEN! Seriously, as soon as ALLEN shows up it’s like you’re watching a whole new movie! Now if you should happen to come by this notice late, don’t fret; at 4pm COMET is airing KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE! What a great double feature!

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Tags: Sunday Streaming