Cross The Streams: The Terrible Movies Edition

The horror...

By Nick Venable | Updated

This article is more than 2 years old

August is now finished, and September is upon us. Or should I call it Stream-tember? No, we’ll stick with September. It appears the running theme this week is “terrible science fiction flicks,” as you’ll soon see. But we’ll start off with the good stuff, just so you don’t bruise your forehead from slapping it so many times. Suspend your disbelief and get ready to groan.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (Netflix Instant)
Because America couldn’t stand a continued existence without knowing what it would be like to insert Raymond Burr into a Godzilla movie. This classic monster flick is joined by Terror of Mechagodzilla, Godzilla vs. Mothra, Ghidora: The Three-Headed Monster, Rodan, and more on Netflix. You can get your Kaiju fix about 12 times over with this assortment of top-notch cinema, most of it coming from director IshirĂ´ Honda. Assuming the events in Syria worsen, I wonder if we’ll have metaphorical monster movies involving them in the next couple of years.

men in black
Men in Black (Netflix Instant and Crackle)
The rare summer blockbuster that doesn’t feel dated as the years go by, Men in Black solidified the leading man status of Will Smith while reminding us that Tommy Lee Jones is a funny guy. The writing is top notch, the effects were beyond their time, and this original film stacks up higher than its two sequels put together. The soundtrack, however, lives on only as an annoying earworm that I wish a neuralyzer would erase from my memory.

the 4400
The 4400 (Netflix Instant)
With a premise that involved 4400 previously missing people all reappearing on a single day, USA’s The 4400 was an intriguing drama that ran from 2004-2007, but it always seemed like it would have been a better show on another network. As it was, it didn’t really push any envelopes in a storytelling or a visual way, but it featured strong characters and was gripping enough to hold a continued interest. As it usually goes, it was cancelled just as the story was really opening up. It’s the kind of show where it’s easy to consider things as if you were in the characters’ shoes, and how well you would accept having your life thrown into upheaval.

flesh for frankenstein
Flesh for Frankenstein (Netflix Instant)
Also known as Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein, this film from director Paul Morrissey sexes up the Frankenstein legend and presents us with arguably the greatest performance in Udo Kier’s career. (Except for maybe in Andy Warhol’s Dracula.) It’s also extremely gory for a 1973 film, but given its ties to Italy, where the horror masters of the 1970s resided, it’s no real surprise.

Apollo 18
Apollo 18 (Netflix Instant)
And now we begin our journey down the rabbit hole of interminable plot holes and ridiculousness. First up is the found-footage anti-horror Apollo 18, which squandered a highly intriguing plot involving a top secret space mission that was erased from the history books. Of course, the film’s plodding tone, generic characters, and inane climax led to many viewers wishing it has been erased from their memory banks. Just think of it as M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening in space.

the core
The Core (Netflix Instant)
It’s somewhat mind-boggling that the only film Jon Amiel has directed since The Core was the Charles Darwin-centered drama Creation. The latter had at least one foot in reality, while the former is quite possibly the most patently insipid and erroneous sci-fi movie ever to exist. Of course, therein lies this film’s appeal, if you’re into laughable mainstream schlock. I’m sure Aaron Eckhart and Hilary Swank would like to have this one back.

johnny mnemonic
Johnny Mnemonic (Crackle)
Udo Kier alert! A few years before Keanu Reeves would stone-face his way through one of the most exciting flicks ever to exist, The Matrix, he starred in Robert Longo’s Johnny Mnemonic, based on a short story from William Gibson. This version of the future is so 1995, and the cyber crime/digital memory aspects of the plot come from a time when the Internet had not yet devoured the world. So it’s akin to Demolition Man in getting just about everything futuristic completely wrong. Beyond that, it’s a pretty boring and unintelligible movie anyway, and reflected poorly upon its source material. But still, it features a Reeves performance that lost out to Jury Duty‘s Pauly Shore for the Worst Actor Razzie. It’s worth a watch for that reason alone, right?

Battle: New York, Day Two (Hulu Plus)
It’s hard to believe things can get any worse, but this movie takes the cake and turns it into something that doesn’t resemble cake. I don’t know how this movie wasn’t produced by schlock kings The Asylum, but it wasn’t. Aliens attack New York. A woman and a drifter get together to save the day, and soon realize that mental patients are the only people unaffected by the alien mind control. There is no way to be anything but disappointed while watching this. It’s an un-classic.

Also, get your pseudo-zombie fix with Fangoria Presents: Germ Z, in which a meteor covered in alien germs strikes a satellite and infects everyone who goes around the crash site. It’s more of a cannibal movie than a zombie movie, but still. Brains, right? Thanks for reading guys! Hope there’s something to whet your appetite. (Not your cannibal one.) See you soon!