Streaming Suggestions is a month-by-month series of recommendations for film lovers and those interested in expanding their horizons.
While I assume most readers will have at least one of the popular streaming services, I understand that some don’t, so I have also included the excellent free service SBS-on-Demand.
This month is a list of films perfect to watch in anticipation for Halloween, some films here are horror-comedies, some are genre pieces, and some are just plain weird, but they’re all interesting and worth a watch!
From Dusk Till Dawn
Written by Quentin Tarantino, directed by Robert Rodriguez, starring George Clooney. What a movie. The Gecko brothers are fugitives on the lam after holding up a bank when they encounter a Mexican biker bar called the ‘Titty Twister’, and it just happens to be full of vampires. If you’re after a fun, gory, action-packed film, look no further, because this is one of the best. It has a whole lot of great actors hamming it up appropriately, from Danny Trejo, Tom Savini, Quentin Tarantino himself, Salma Hayek and CHEECH MARIN. Any film with Cheech Marin is well-worth a watch. What can I say, he’s a cool dude. Watch the movie.
“I know what's going on. We got a bunch of fucking vampires out there, trying to get in here and suck our fucking blood. And that's it. Plain and simple. I don't want to hear anything about "I don't believe in vampires," because I don't fucking believe in vampires, but I believe in my own two eyes, and what I saw, is fucking vampires. Now, do we all agree that what we are dealing with is vampires?”
Rob Reiner is an extraordinarily underrated filmmaker, not just for his comedies (This is Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally), but also for his forays into more serious films. Misery is one of his best, a completely straight and perfectly done exercise in genre. James Caan is pretty good in this film, but of course he gets completely outclassed in every conceivable way by Kathy Bates in one of the great horror performances of all time. Caan plays a famous author who is saved from a car crash by an ostensibly lovely woman who happens to be a huge fan of his. Whilst he recovers at her house, her friendly façade begins to crumble when she doesn’t like the new sequel he is writing of her favourite series. Reiner delivers some of the most dread-inducing, suspenseful scenes you’ll ever see, and the story by Stephen King is just brilliant. This is a great, accessible horror feature.
“Paul, my little ceramic penguin in the study always faces due south.”
David Lynch himself described this film as a “psychogenic fugue”. That’s pretty apt. Lost Highway begins and ends with the same shot, even the same song from David Bowie’s Outside, headlights searching through the blackness of night, trying to find the next few yellow lines of a mysterious road. The plot is complete nonsense, a lot of the reviews seem to dig into this as if it were a failure on Lynch’s part, perhaps it is, but if it were to have a conventionally structured narrative with pay-offs, a beginning, middle and ending, character development, then it would no longer feel like a dream, but a structured Hollywood contrivance. Consider this, a car mechanic gets into a limousine with a crime-lord. They drive around the Hollywood Hills chatting when the crime-lord proceeds to viciously beat the living hell out of a tailgater. The meaning behind this is obvious, David Lynch hates tailgaters. This is the film.
“Don't tailgate! Don't you fucking ever tailgate! Do you know how much space is needed to stop a car traveling at 35 miles per hour? Six car lengths! Six fuckin' car lengths! That's a hundred and six fuckin' feet, mister! If I had to stop suddenly, you woulda hit me! I want you to get a fuckin' driver's manual, and I want you to study that motherfucker! And I want you to obey the the goddamn rules of the road! Fifty-fuckin' thousand people were killed on the highways last year 'cause of fuckin' assholes like you! Tell me you're gonna get a manual!”