I have an annually occurring joke about celebrating Labor Day for all the women out there in actual labor on this blessed day off of work. So, it got me thinking, what better way to celebrate today than by populating a list of streaming titles that represent different aspects of a person’s life. Now, I only gave myself one rule: the aspect for each film must be integral to the plot. So, I wouldn’t use “Being a teenager” to discuss Hellraiser, even though it has a teenager in it. However, I could use the aspect of pain because pain is important to the plot of Hellraiser. Follow me? Yeah, well, let’s just dive right in. We’ve got exactly 23.333 hours’ worth of streaming here, so you could have a really bitchin’ marathon if you so choose. And, no good marathon is complete without food and beer; that’s what the rest of the 24 hours is for. Enjoy your day off - if you have it - and remember: life is great; without it, you’d be dead.
Lucky Bastard (2014)
I once heard someone say, “Horror is just porn with a different money shot.” That really pissed me off. Because, what they were implying was that, generally speaking, horror involves bad plots, worse acting, horrible sets, vapid subtext and would only appeal to a certain demographic of people that had no real cinematic taste. That’s just not true. Sure, there are subsets of horror that fit this description, but there are subsets of any genre that also fit this description. It’s just another way for society to lazily dismiss something that they don’t understand the appeal of. So, how does Lucky Bastard fit into all of this? Well, it attempts to merge these two worlds; a horror film about the porn industry. In the film, Lucky Bastard is a web series that gives a lucky porn fan the opportunity to have sex with their favorite starlet. Nothing could go wrong there, right? Exactly. “Dave”, the fan in question (he doesn’t want to use his real name) obviously has some social issues and you can tell immediately how this is all going to play out. Spoiler Alert: He won’t get it up, they’ll all mock him and he’ll go ape shit. I wish it weren’t the case, but that’s basically what happens. They could have fleshed this out (pun intended) a hell of a lot better. Make him a religious zealot who wanted to make them know the error of their evil. Make him out for revenge against the porn king who forced his mom into the industry. I think the emasculated male is just too easy a target. The film was shot in found footage and surveillance video (a la Big Brother) style, which is just too overplayed these days. All in all, for a fairly new concept for horror (the porn industry) it still feels too familiar and lacking in any real depth or payoff.
Is there a more shocking opening to a film? Well, maybe Irreversible; The Rectum, the disorientation, the subsonic soundtrack, the jacking off, the fire extinguisher, the jaw moving…the jaw moving. Ok, Irreversible takes the cake, but this is pretty damn shocking too. The film opens with Esther at a clinic having an ultrasound to check on the status of her soon-to-be born child. Everything looks good and Esther leaves the clinic, only to be robbed and brutalized in a pretty disturbing way. I definitely would not suggest this scene to anyone who is ‘with child’. The attack causes the child to pass away and Esther must attempt to begin picking up the pieces and moving on with her life. The loss of a child is something that’s very difficult to get over, if you can ever really “get over” something like that. You’ll cling to almost anything that will bring you even the tiniest bit of solace. And that’s what Esther does when she meets Melanie at a support group for women who have lost someone. Melanie also lost her child and husband in a drunk-driving accident. But, as with most psychological horror films, everything is not what it seams and the film ultimately turns into a form of early-90’s Paul Verhoeven. Which is not a bad thing, it just seems out of place, I guess. I wanted it to be more than it was, but it’s definitely worth a watch for the performances and the look of the film. Oh, and once again, Joe Swanberg shows up; the dude is the freaking Where’s Waldo of horror films these days.
The Battery (2012)
Here’s another instance of a time when I read Bryan’s review of a film before I was actually able to sit down and watch it; which is good and bad. It’s good because he’s a fantastic writer and I’ll pretty much agree with however he feels about the film. It’s bad because, once he’s put it out there and I’ve read it – there’s no way that I can say it so eloquently. So, I’m linking his excellent review to the film HERE because he verbalizes how great this film is far better than I ever could. Read the review and, to quote the last line of it, “Please...do not miss The Battery.”
The Dragon Tattoo Trilogy (2010)
This trilogy alone clocks in at seven and a half hours, but it would be a stellar way to spend Labor Day. Hell, getting your ass kicked audibly, visually and mentally by Lisbeth Salander would be a stellar way to spend any day. Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace) is a hacker. She’s been in and out of foster care pretty much her entire life. She takes care of herself and doesn’t take shit from anybody; the ultimate anti-heroine. Surprisingly she decides to aid Michael in the search for a girl who’s been missing for forty years. The three films takes them, and us, on a journey not soon forgotten, filled with intrigue, mystery and some depraved pieces of garbage that Lisbeth and Michael giver their deserved comeuppance. If you’ve seen the Fincher remake of the first film then you somewhat know what you’re in store for, but, in my opinion, this version and the subsequent films are far better.
Serial Killer Culture (2014)
We all need hobbies, right? That’s what people say anyways. If you lose your job: go get a hobby. If you get divorced: ah, sorry to her – go get a hobby. People need their time filled. Their monotonous lives saved by the murder of time. Most people join fantasy football leagues, paint model cars, go to Cons, or write about their love for horror films. The people in Serial Killer Culture, however, have a very unique similarity in their hobbies: the love of serial killers. Being a horror fan, I’m very knowledgeable about serial killers. Besides the films that actually feature them, it just comes with the territory. Seeking out the atrocities being inflicted onto the world is something deviants enjoy. These people are taking it to an entirely new level, though. The film profiles 13 different people from different areas of society that, in different ways, spend their time surrounded by killers. One guy was an art curator for John Wayne Gacy, Jr. Another set of guys formed a band whose songs are only about them. Another collects artifacts from crime scenes. It’s all pretty fascinating if you’re into the subject. Hell, I even learned a few things that I didn’t know. It’s not the best documentary ever made, but it has a good pace and, like I said, if you’re interested in the subject than it ends up being really interesting. Note: I’ll confess, a couple of the peoples’ enthusiasm and zest while they’re describing certain crime scenes is a bit worrisome, but that’s what’s nice about watching it from the safety of your living room.
Blue Ruin (2013)
I wanted to just say: Watch this movie NOW! But, I know that’s not fair to all you Deviants out there. But Blue Ruin is a film that’s best gone into with a blank slate. Technically not a horror film; more of a thriller, Blue Ruin is probably the best film in this week’s streams and it’s actually just as intense as any of the other entries. While the film doesn’t have many twists and turns that would be spoiler-y, there are still certain elements of the film that I don’t want to give away. The film tells the story of Dwight (played amazingly well by Macon Blair) who is on a mission of revenge against the man who murdered his parents. As far as I’m concerned, films don’t get much better than this. The acting, directing, script (and lack thereof at times) and plot are superb. I sincerely hope that Macon gets plenty of more work, even if it’s not in the horror genre. So, I’m going to leave it at that. Watch and enjoy. Also, I still am not entirely sure why it’s called blue ruin. I have a couple of theories, but I think it’s primarily a title that evokes a sense of despair and sadness. Maybe you’ll catch something I didn’t.
From Dusk Til Dawn: The Series (2014)
As of my typing this, I haven’t sat down to watch this series yet. Firstly, I don’t have cable television at my house. Secondly, if I did, my provider doesn’t carry the Robert Rodriguez-created EL Rey Network. Lastly, I just haven’t had time. I will say, though, that I’m pretty excited to get back into the world of the Gecko brothers and am more than curious to see how the series differs from the film. As you know, I loved the originalFrom Dusk Til Dawn; it’s pure Rodriguez and Tarantino: brash, ballsy, hilarious and endlessly quotable. If you’ve had the chance to watch this already, let us know what you think and I’ll throw in my two cents when I get to re-visit the Titty Twister.