Halloween will soon be here, and instead of a bunch of chocolate candy and ghastly rubber masks, the only think I’m looking for this holiday is for streaming services to go overboard with the spooky features. Thankfully, they’ve already started, and we’ve got a pretty solid round-up of films both treasured and reviled. Due to an overload of content, these are just the films that were recently released. You can find this week’s Cross the Streams: TV Edition right here. Getting too much streaming content is kind of a rarity around here, so let’s all draw our pentagrams on the floor and thank the almighty Streaming Demon that we’re so lucky this week.
Ghostbusters (Netflix Instant)
And then let’s get on the horn and call somebody to blast that Demon right back into the underworld. Who we gonna call? Only the greatest sci-fi comedy team ever to exist. Is there really anything new about Ghostbusters that I can tell anyone reading this? I mean, seriously, this is the film that gave this feature its name. We may never see another sequel, and we never really need to. Now if only they could get The Real Ghostbusters on here, I’d never leave home.
Resident Evil (Netflix Instant)
Do you guys remember playing the first Resident Evil game on PlayStation, getting the shit scared out of you every time a devil dog crashed through a window or a zombie turned a corner when you weren’t expecting it? Well, none of that was brought to the big screen feature, but it substituted those frights with an ass-kicking Milla Jovavich, who tries to take down the Umbrella Corporation and the deadly T-virus they have unleashed on the world. This wasn’t a very good movie all in all, but it contained a few exciting and explosive sequences that make it worth a watch. And for a Paul W.S. Anderson movie, that’s saying a lot.
Disturbing Behavior (Netflix Instant)
Remember The Stepford Wives? Well this is like The Stepford Disaffected Youths. David Nutter’s teen thriller featured decent performances from young stars Jason Marsden, Katie Holmes and Nick Stahl (along with a mental janitor character played by William Sadler), and the story of students mysteriously becoming model members of society was interesting enough. But it was overshadowed by the similar and more interesting pod people thriller The Faculty that was released in the same year. I had a huge crush on Katie Holmes at the time, so I preferred this one. Now I’m not so sure. Pair this up with the 1990 thriller sequel Class of 1999, which was just released on Hulu Plus.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Crackle)
I’ve tried a handful of times over the years to have a good time watching Kenneth Branagh’s fairly faithful adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic tale, but I just can’t do it. It’s well directed, features great performances, and the aesthetic and set design are nearly perfect. But it’s completely weighed down by its own importance and lack of humor, and it offers nothing new to the tale aside from a really crazy-looking Robert De Niro as Frankenstein‘s creature. I’d love to like this movie, but I don’t think seeing it on Crackle is going to do it. Good luck to you all, however.
Fire in the Sky (Netflix Instant)
Speaking of films that were way more boring than they should have been, Robert Lieberman’s 1993 sci-fi horror Fire in the Sky was a slow exercise in UFO sightings and alien abduction. Based on Travis Walton’s “true story” The Walton Experience, the film follows Walton (D.B. Sweeney), who was left alone by his friends in the woods after seeing a UFO. Initially thought to be dead, Walton shows back up after the “was he murdered or abducted” conversations have gotten steamy. Then other stuff happens to him. This movie could and should be remade at some point.
I haven’t watched Brainscan in 15 years or so, but I clearly remember it being one of those “this movie could be a lot better but for some reason my 13-year-old brain just cannot stop being creeped out by this” films. Edward Furlong plays a teen who starts playing a horror video game where the violent acts of the game are possibly occurring in real life. The game is “hosted” by the sadistic Trickster (T. Ryder Smith) who had a lot to do with why this flick seemed so creepy. Given how far video games have come since then, this movie sits alongside The Lawnmower Man as products of the time, but this film wins out thanks to an interesting plot and a loony villain. Gonna have to watch this again now. Maybe while GTA V is locked up in a drawer somewhere.
Room 237 (Netflix Instant)
This really doesn’t fit into the sci-fi genre at all, seeing as how it’s an unrealistic documentary about outlandish fan theories that people have about Stanley Kubrick’s seminal horror film The Shining. But these fans’ mental functions are even spacier than the universe. Everything you thought was normal about that film is actually about Colorado’s Native Americans and the Holocaust. While Kubrick was one of the greatest filmmakers ever to live, these people consider his work to be more layered than baklava. And there’s a whole section about how it’s believed he had something to do with filming the faked Moon Landing, and there are clues in this film that prove it. I enjoyed the hell out of it, though it’s awfully nonsensical.
If the above films aren’t enough for you, feel free to check out the non-del Toro sequel Mimic 2: Hardcase or 1990’s Solar Crisis, both of which add up to exactly 10% of a good movie. You’ll also find that Netflix released The Man Who Fell to Earth, but despite the David Bowie image used, this is actually the abysmal 1987 TV movie of the same name. There will be a lot of disappointed people where that one is concerned.
Thanks for reading, guys! See you next time!