Cross the Streams: The Blob, Escape From Planet Earth, And Guillermo Del Toro’s Simpsons Couch Gag

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By Nick Venable | Updated

This article is more than 2 years old

Happy weekday, streamers. The weather is nice. The seasonal ales have hit the beer shelves. Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity killed it at the box office this past weekend. These are good days indeed. Except there are no real blockbuster flicks on the roster this week. But we’re finding the silver lining down the Blob’s back as we Cross the Streams.

the blobThe Blob (1988) (Crackle)
If there’s anyone out there ridiculous enough to get Kevin Dillon (Entourage) confused with Steve McQueen, who starred in the original 1958 version of this film, then they deserve to get turned into goop by the scariest pink thing in cinema. (Make your own “pink thing in cinema” joke here.) This fairly decent retread ups the ante for special effects and visual ewwness, and though future stars like Jeffrey DeMunn (The Walking Dead) and Shawnee Smith (Saw II) don’t really help make this a classic flick, it’s a cut above your average 1988 sci-fi horror videos. Watch for an early appearance from genre veteran Bill Moseley as “Soldier #2.”

escape from planet earthEscape From Planet Earth (Netflix Instant)
The Weinstein Company’s Escape From Planet Earth could have been a really great movie, had more than the base amount of attention been paid to the animation, the script, the jokes, the acting, or the plot in general. Brendan Fraser plays an alien sent to Earth on a dangerous mission, and his brother Gary (Rob Corddry) is sent to save him after he gets captured by an evil Area 51 general, Shanker (William Shatner). Sarah Jessica Parker, Ricky Gervais, and Jessica Alba also co-star. Put this on if there are young children in the room, and in no other situation.

star kidStar Kid (Hulu Plus)
I probably would have liked Star Kid more if I’d have seen when I was younger. The movie follows seventh-grader Spencer, played by Jurassic Park‘s Joseph Mazzello, as he is bullied by this kid named Turbo, at least until he finds an A.I.-installed exoskeleton that needs a host to attach to. So Spencer puts it on and gets some superpowers, only to realize there are more bad guys to fight than just a bully (named Turbo). There’s really nothing here for adults without an active nostalgia bone or people who didn’t worship the Power Rangers.

deleteDelete (Netflix Instant)
The Reelz miniseries Delete imagines a world that has been taken over by the same evil faceless electronic singularity that has been coming after humans since HAL 9000, and probably before. Essentially a cross between a good Syfy movie and a bad feature, this flick sports a whole slew of smart people who can’t figure out why technology is literally blowing up in their hands, but one reporter and one hacker are definitely the people who are going to save the world. Matt Frewer (Orphan Black) and Seth Green (Robot Chicken) can’t even save this one from the instantly forgotten pile. I almost wish it were 10 times worse, just so I could have more fun shitting on it.

extractedDelete (Netflix Instant)
In case you were wondering, there actually is a movie out there that looks like a low-budget version of The Cell inspired by Inception, and it’s director Nir Paniry’s feature debut, Extracted. In it, a scientist invents a way to view people’s memories, and after obsessing over it for a while, he of course has to go through a dangerous situation inside a heroin addict’s brain to see if he was involved with a recent murder. Believe it or not, this is arguably the most enjoyable film listed so far, and not only because one has so few expectations going into it. It alternates between sharp and slow, but excels in carving an original story out of the genre inspirations that came before it.

saved from extinctionSaved From Extinction (Hulu)
This Terranoa documentary series focuses on animals that have been or are currently endangered. So far, Hulu only has two episodes: one about Przewalski’s horses in Mongolia, a species that was once limited to just 12 creatures living in zoos, and one about the Golden Lion Tamarin, which barely survived in the 1970s. If you’re looking for lasers and alien explosions, this isn’t it.

my boyfriend's backMy Boyfriend’s Back (Hulu Plus)
There aren’t any straight-up zombie flicks that came out this week, so we resort to the goofy 1993 comedy My Boyfriend’s Back, from actor extraordinaire (and frequent Christopher Guest collaborator) Bob Balaban. Here, Missy’s (Traci Lind) boyfriend Johnny (Andrew Lowery) dies and then comes back and has a hell of a time coping with it, and much of it has to do with trying not to look like a leper. Early roles for Philip Seymour Hoffman and Matthew Fox are to be enjoyed, even if they’re the main attractions.

And even though this isn’t strictly sci-fi, Pacific Rim director Guillermo del Toro directed the three-minute opening sequence for The Simpsons‘ “Treehouse of Horrors XXIV” this past weekend, which you can watch here. In it, he referred to a plethora of horror and sci-fi films from the genres’ beginnings, including appearances from each of his past (and planned) films, including Mimic and Hellboy. Released early, it made the Internet rounds last week, so I’m assuming you’ve seen it. Below is a video of nearly every single reference in the opening, and it is wonderful. Say hello to the Invisible Man for me, and see you next time!