Friday, September 1, 2017

I Stream, You Stream Vol. 46

by Patrick Bromley
This week's streaming picks are dedicated to Tobe Hooper. I'm drinking a Dr. Pepper for you, TH.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974, dir. Tobe Hooper) This was the first movie I watched after learning that Tobe Hooper had passed away. It has never played better, never been more beautiful or terrifying or brilliant. It's the kind of film that you have to appreciate as one of the best horror movies ever made even if you don't love it. The fact that Tobe never replicated its nightmarish intensity has been held against him for 40 years, but he was not interested in replicating it. He made that movie -- one of the very best of its genre. He didn't need to make it again. I'm glad that he continued to push himself and explore all the other weird corners of his brain he wanted to bring to the screen. I miss him so bad. (Watch on Amazon Prime Video)
Body Bags (1993, dir. John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper) Tobe directed one-third of this Showtime anthology, available in a very cool special edition from Scream Factory. His segment, "The Eye," stars Mark Hamill as a baseball player who goes murderously mad after getting an eye transplant. It's much, much darker and angrier than the other two segments, both of which are directed by John Carpenter. Tobe also cameos at the end of the movie (alongside Tom Arnold?) as a morgue attendant. (Watch free with ads on Vudu)
The Mangler (1995, dir. Tobe Hooper) I think I just recommended this one a few weeks ago, but I have to include it again in honor of my guy. This movie gets so much shit for being ridiculous, seeing as it's about a haunted laundry press and because Tobe goes completely over the top with the craziness. I get why it stood out in the wrong way during the horror drought of the mid-'90s, but I hope that it can now be better understood within the context of Tobe Hooper's larger filmography. It's a lot of fun and a movie that deserves better. All of Tobe's movies deserve better. And now I'm crying again. (Watch on Hulu)
Eggshells (1969, dir. Tobe Hooper) Tobe Hooper's first movie is an experimental art film about hippies and '60s counterculture. It's best viewed as a historical document, as its commercial failure (and there's no way this movie was ever going to be a commercial success) led Hooper to want to direct a movie that would make money. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was born and the rest is horror movie history. (Watch on Fandor)
Invaders from Mars (1986, dir. Tobe Hooper) The middle chapter in Tobe Hooper's Cannon Trilogy is his take on the kind of "family friendly" sci-fi that became so popular in the 1980s and a tribute to the genre movies he grew up loving in the 1950s. Like so many of his movies, it was misunderstood at the time as unintentional schlock. He knew exactly what movie he was making. Stan Winston's creature effects are a ton of fun and the movie's goofy energy is infectious. This is the Hooper film that I think people are going to come around on next. (Watch free with ads on Tubi TV)
Venom (1981, dir. Piers Haggard) This one is kind of a cheat, because Tobe Hooper was hired to direct by quit the production after four days. Still, we have to give him credit for assembling a cast that includes Oliver Reed, Klaus Kinski and Susan George all trying to out-crazy each other as a trio of kidnappers who take a kid hostage in a house only to discover they're sharing quarters with a deadly snake (I once heard Ryan Turek describe it as "Die Hard, only John McClane is a snake!"). Bummer that we didn't get to see Tobe's finished version, but I'm pretty sure that leaving this movie is what allowed him to go and make The Funhouse. (Watch on Shudder)
Lifeforce (1985, dir. Tobe Hooper) One of my very few accomplishments in life is getting more people to watch Lifeforce (and a handful of other Tobe Hooper movies), yet another film years ahead of its time. With distance and perspective, audiences can now understand the movie that Tobe Hooper was trying to make with his massive space vampire epic -- a big-budget Hammer movie with the sexuality and violence cranked up even higher. I remember reading an interview with Tobe a couple of years ago in which he said he happened to stumble across Lifeforce on TV one night and watched it, at which point he determined it was one of his favorite movies. Not a favorite of his movies, mind you, but literally one of his favorite movies of all the movies ever made. I love that. We have something in common there, Tobe. (Watch free with ads on Tubi TV)

I just want to say thank you to everyone who reached out on Facebook and Twitter and over email to offer sympathy and support this week. I recognize that maybe it's weird that so many people thought of me when the news broke, but it means so, so much to me that you all did. This has been such a hard week for me, I don't mind saying, but the kindness and thoughtfulness of everyone who checked in on me has helped me get through it. I'm not there yet, but I can't thank you all enough.


  1. Count me as one of the fortunate who watched Lifeforce thanks to you. (#junesploitation). Just another reason to be grateful for the site. Thanks for putting this list together. I need to get over my #movieshame and watch Texas Chainsaw pronto.

  2. i can't believe i never watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

    1. You should sometime. Then watch the 2nd! Then watch the 3rd :( That's as far as I've gotten.

  3. Thanks for posting about the great filmmaker, it’s unfortunate that I did not know about him earlier. Eggshells seems like a very interesting movie to me.