Once upon a time, Netflix was a special place where I could rent my obscure Z-grade zombie films in peace without risking the shunning gaze of the Hollywood Video clerk. Many Let Sleeping Corpses Lie-s later, Netflix has blossomed into a full-fledged, pain-in-my-ass social networking site. While I refuse to engage in or be a part of any social networking site (and yes, it’s because I’m too good for that), Netflix’s library of films still proves too vast to ignore, so my patronage persists.
As I have plenty of free time in the coming weeks, I’m undergoing what I call Netflix Enema, whereby I jack my “titles currently out” allowance to 6 and attempt to purge my queue of the detritus it has accumulated over the last year or two. What follows is a detailed report of said detritus.
Film: Enemy Mine
Story: Hadn’t seen this since I caught it in theaters when I was a kid. Love the tentacle monster, but the rest of the film hasn’t aged as well.
Side Note: Gossett Jr.’s tongue is creepy as shit! He keeps poking it out of his latex mouth, and it looks like some kind of albino eel. Question: is it better to say Gossett’s Jr., or Gossett Jr.’s? I’m aware of the precedent set by Carl’s Jr., but I’ve never felt quite right about it.
Analysis: Flush, but with fond memories.
Film: Cemetery Gates
Story: Had this recommended to me. I didn’t make it past the sixty-minute mark. I appreciate the violence, but the half-rate writing and directing just didn’t work for me. I’ll say that it’s probably one of the top five monster badger films out there, though.
Side Note: I know that the Gates monster is a Tasmanian Devil and not a badger, but a badger would have been funnier.
Story: I was just trying to knock out some giallos, as my queue is infested with ‘em. Confession: While I love Cemetery Man (which was also directed by Saovi), Stagefright is a much better horror film. It’s more in line with Bava or Argento, and feels like a more darkly comic version of Inferno. This one’s a success. The killer wears an owl head for the duration of the film. Nice!
Side Note: “Owl be back!” was a bit of dialogue removed from the final scene.
Analysis: Pluck from bowl and keep!
Story: I would have never put this on the queue had it not been for its unusually high star rating. Directed by Eduardo “Dirty” Sanchez, Altered looks like your typical direct-to-DVD nonsense. On paper, it’s a fairly generic X-Files hillbillies-meet-aliens romp, but while it’s by no means a masterpiece, I was shocked at how well directed and written it was. Spectral Motion (The Hellboy effects guys) did a stellar job with a tight budget. I recommend purging this from your queue.
Side note: It wins points for being brutally gruesome. There’s a game of “intestines tug-o-war” that wins the film.
Analysis: Pluck from bowl, Keep, and pass on to your friends!
Story: Woah. You know, once this film gets over itself, it’s got some great performances by O’Toole and Gielgud.
Side Note: Oh no, Helen!
Analysis: Too controversial. Hide it under the stairs.
Story: A recent addition to Tobe Hooper’s ever extending wall o’ shame, Mortuary has a few good gags, but is a truly shitty film. In it, a small town family is traumatized by a shawl-wearing madman, an army of sarlacc-worshiping zombies, and a mysterious black goo. No joke- Lieutenant Yar from Pet Semetary has a starring role. Apparently, she’s exclusive to either black goo or zombie films these days.
Side note: A cameo by the sarlacc pit doesn’t even save this one. The kid actors are horrible, but nearly all of them die, so there’s that.
Analysis: Flush with extreme prejudice.
Story: Touted as “A Return to Old-School American Horror,” the only returning this thing did was a hasty return to its white paper DVD sleeve. What a disappointment.
Side note: There’s one good scene, and I’m pretty sure that Bill Murray’s lesser brother makes an appearance.
Analysis: It’s Hatch-shit. You figure it out.
A new home awaits you. — By Travis Newton