Months and months later, I hardly stream any movies at all. TV shows, sure. I can easily "just one more episode" a night away, and I've indulged in more than a few binge-watches. Movies, though, are a different story altogether. My instant watch queue has a couple hundred films in it, but I'll be damned if I ever want to partake in any of them. As sad as it may sound (and it may sound sad sad sad), there have been plenty of times I've gone to watch something, ended up scrolling through my list for 15 minutes, and turned it off altogether. It seems that whenever I search for something specific, it's unavailable to stream. I'm left with stuff that is interesting enough to "add to list", but I'm rarely in the mood for any of it.
So...while I have not given up completely on streaming, I have recently reunited with physical media and golly gee, it feels good! Netflix actually has everything I search for on DVD, it's great. And man, the tactile just works for me. My brain probably releases endorphins or something when I put a disc in the player- you know, something something science. The act is somehow tied to fond memories of video stores and "movie night"s. The ways I consumed film and music as a yoot left such an indelible mark on me that I generally find experiences lessened by instant gratification. I certainly don't need to, like, become intimate with every song or movie I encounter, but without the tactile I find it all but impossible. Those hours spent reading VHS and DVD boxes or poring over the liner notes were nearly as essential to my enjoyment as the films and albums themselves. Sure, I can dig a record without knowing every little thing about it. If I just have ones and zeroes to hold onto, though, it feels to ephemeral for my liking. A digital download of Like a Prayer ain't gonna smell like patchouli, you know?
We all consume things differently, and no two relationships to a piece of art are the same. This is profound, I know! If I had a headache and you were all "Here, Stacie, have an aspirin" and I was like "No thanks, leeches work for me!" well, then maybe that would be a good opportunity to tell me to get with The Times. But this is not about headaches and/or leeches. I am just saying that I'm old and this works for me, and realizing what works for me has led to my rediscovering and re-falling-in-lovening with movies. You kids keep your instant watch, I'll just sit here, suckin' on a Werther's Original, waiting for a DVD to arrive in the mail.
Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005, Paul Schrader)
Father Merrin vs Pazuzu, round one! FIGHT!
Two sentences: I knew this would be no Exorcist, but I gave it a fair shot- there's a lot of story to mine, after all, and I do love a possession flick. It started promising, but quickly devolved into laughable nonsense riddled with some of the worst CGI I've ever seen.
The verdict: It shouldn't take the power of Christ to compel you to stay the hell away from this piece of garbage.
Contracted (2013, Eric England)
A young woman is date raped at a party and soon discovers that she's caught something far worse than yer run o' the mill STD.
Two sentences: Fantastic practical FX and a solid lead performance by Najarra Townsend are the highlights of a disappointing film filled with unlikable characters and plot contrivances. Contracted is a fucking great idea hampered by mediocre writing and so-so execution.
The verdict: Boy, it's way tougher to watch a film that coulda been so damned beautiful than one that's outright bad. I really wanted to love this! Still might be worth checking out, though, particularly for fans of body horror.
Amityville 1992: It's About Time (1992, Tony Randel)
A clock from the original Amityville house ends up in a house in California and look the California house kind of resembles the original Amityville house isn't that weird and all kinds of stuff happens!
Two sentences: There is no universe where this movie makes any sense: not our universe, not a parallel universe nor a perpendicular one. But who needs sense when a demonic clock wreaks havoc?
The verdict: This movie is a wackadoo delight. Like I said, it makes not a single lick of sense, but it is totally enjoyable, off-the-wall crazy schlock. Well, I could have done without the insanely sweaty sex scene, but still. It's surprisingly gory at times, there's a toddler with a mullet, and there's a scene where a girl gets fingerbanged by her own reflection. WHAT THE WHAT.
Amityville: A New Generation (1993, John Murlowski)
A mirror from the original Amityville house ends up in a loft apartment in Los Angeles and look the original Amityville house appears in the mirror isn't that weird and all kinds of stuff happens!
Two sentences: Ah, the 90s- those halcyon days where women wore dark lipstick, bowler hats, and hadn't yet discovered the tweezed eyebrow. Richard Roundtree, David Naughton, Terry O'Quinn...what are you doing here?
The verdict: Okay, I'm not gonna say I didn't enjoy this because I so did. It is a firm slice of 90s time capsule cheesecake (whatever that means) and of course it doesn't make sense. But all the familiar faces (also including Barbara Howard of Friday the 13th Part IV, holla) help transform crap into craptacular!
Sinister (2012, Scott Derrickson)
From imdb: "A true-crime writer finds a cache of 8mm home movies films that suggest the murder he is currently researching is the work of a serial killer whose career dates back to the 1960s."
Two sentences: What can I say, I'm most afraid of things that go bump in the night and Sinister is full of 'em. It threatened to go off the rails into cheesetown but it stayed the course and finished as one of the best new horror films I've seen in quite a while.
The verdict: I fucking loved this movie because I am totally afraid of noises in the dark, full stop. It's beautifully shot and the power of the soundtrack/sound design cannot be overstated. Sure, it was silly that Ethan Hawke never bothered to turn on any lights...but man, I'm so glad he didn't. I was surprised by how much I dug this. Wicked highly recommended!