Friday, October 26, 2018

I Stream, You Stream Vol. 97

by Mike Pomaro, Adam Riske and JB
We've got some guest streamers this week!

Bug (2006; dir: William Friedkin) Full disclosure: I haven’t seen Bug in a number of years, but that’s because as good as I think it is, and I think it’s very good, it’s also pretty unpleasant. William Friedkin directs the hell out it, with great performances by Michael Shannon and Ashley Judd in what is probably my favorite performance of hers. So, if you don’t mind 102 minutes of people slowing unraveling into madness, then I have the movie for you! In case I’m not being clear, Bug is the movie for you that I’m referring to. (Watch on Shudder)
The Black Cat (1981; dir: Lucio Fulci) I’m relatively new to Italian horror and Lucio Fulci, so I’m still playing catch-up. The Black Cat was a first time view for me this October and I really dug it. I haven’t seen enough Fulci yet to know where it falls in terms of his best and worst movies, but my guess is its somewhere in the middle (I’m a hell of a salesman!). I think it’s really well made, a lot of fun, and most importantly everyone gets to keep their eyeballs! (Watch on Amazon Prime)

Bad Moon (1996, dir. Eric Red) This was my favorite new discovery of Scary Movie Month 2016. Modest in runtime and scale, Bad Moon is a great little werewolf tale of a cursed man (Michael Pare) trying to hide his new impulses from his sister (Muriel Hemingway) and nephew (Mason Gamble). The film features a great movie dog, ambient outdoorsy atmosphere perfect for the fall season, and some awesome practical werewolf effects and gore. (Watch on Amazon Prime Video)
47 Meters Down (2017, dir. Johannes Roberts) A strong entry into the shark movie subgenre from the director of the even better (and previously recommended) The Strangers: Prey at Night. 47 Meters Down throws enough new obstacles at the characters and the audience so that the brief sub-90 minutes runtime goes by rather quickly. The film is operating on a low budget, but you wouldn’t necessarily notice as the shark effects are effective and realistic looking enough (likely because most of the time you see them underwater and not jumping out of the water). What has kept this movie in my memory is the third act. It doesn’t offer the (wo)man vs. shark thrills of The Shallows or Jaws, but instead opts for something smaller, muted and haunting. (Watch on Netflix)

King Kong (1933, dir. Merian C. Cooper/Ernest B. Schoedsack) With original Ronald Haver/Criterion Collection LaserDisc commentary track!

Boy, this one takes me back! In the nascent years of home video, if you were sick of bleary transfers (My friend Chuck used to call VHS “Fuzzyvision.”) and cropped compositions, LaserDisc was your only alternative. When the Criterion Collection burst on the scene, home video came of age with letterboxing, bonus content, and audio commentaries. For a limited time, FilmStruck is streaming the original King Kong WITH THE FIRST COMMENTARY EVER RECORDED FOR A HOME VIDEO RELEASE.

The film, of course, is a home run, and one of the greatest horror films ever made. Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) takes Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and a ragtag group of filmmakers and sailors on an ocean voyage to make an adventure film and gets a lot more than he bargained for ...

How great is Ronald Haver’s commentary? When I bought my first LaserDisc player in 1987, I also purchased two discs: The Criterion Kong and the Criterion Singin' in the Rain. Haver does commentary on both. I still have them. (Watch on FilmStruck)
Beginning of the End (Mystery Science Theater 3000 version) (1957, dir. Bert I. Gordon) I first saw this risible Bert I. Gordon grasshopper orgy at the “Insect Fear Film Festival,” an annual event hosted by the Entomology Department at the University of Illinois. Every spring, EGSA graduate students would show a double feature of laughable 1950’s big bug films ... and treat the audience to a real live bug petting zoo during the intermission. It was great. That was 35 years ago; I wonder if they still do it? (I checked—they still do! The 35th annual fest was last February!)

Newspaper reporter Audrey Aimes (Peggie Castle) discovers giant grasshoppers bred as a university experiment. Besides trying to save the world, Audrey also meets cute and falls in love with bug scientist Ed Wainwright (Peter Graves). This film features some of the most ridiculous special effects ever put on film. When the grasshoppers attack Chicago (SPOILER ALERT) it looks like real grasshoppers simply jumping around on PHOTOGRAPHS of famous Chicago landmarks. You have to see it to believe it.

Netflix is offering the MST3K version of the film, all the better to recreate for yourself the atmosphere at that “Insect Fear Film Festival” all those years ago. (Watch on Netflix)


  1. About King Kong, the commentary track is only available on the laserdisc?

  2. No, if you stream the movie on FilmStruck, it gives you the option of listening to the commentary. Oh, and RIP FilmStruck. It was fun while it lasted.

    1. i haven't checked in a while, but i think filmstruck is not available in canada. and now it's leaving. sucks to be me i suppose

    2. Just to be clear: FilmStruck ceases streaming on November 29th. Until FilmStruck streamed the commentary on King Kong this week, the only other way to hear it was the OOP laserdisc.

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  4. Awesome picks gents, but I have one question. Did you actually get to pet the bugs at the bug petting zoo? Follow up...if so, did you and what bugs? I'm genuinely curious, no sarcasm at all.

  5. I’m remembering stink bugs, cicadas, and cockroaches. Yes, I touched them... softly.

  6. Stink bugs! What was that like on the thrillometer?