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I am a fan of physical media. More than a fan, I am a practitioner and an apostle. Therefore, naturally, I am apprehensive about the new streaming era. Online digital media comes with a slew of scary-ass problems, including, but not limited to, ownership questions, availability problems, and compounding costs.

However, watching movies online is convenient. I love to get what I want when I want it –at a stroke, just like anyone else. Looking through 2500 physical movies is fun, but I must admit, it can be overwhelming. Plus, with the lack of rental stores, all we have are these streaming services to replicate the experience of looking at covers on a shelf. So for those of a certain era, this might be the only version they get. The internet is a place where someone can find new cinema to watch; ultimately, that is a good thing in my book. In that spirit, here are some films I enjoyed but only found through streaming services.

Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight (2020)

As he flipped through Netflix one evening, my roommate asked me what movie we should watch.

I garbled back "slasher" through a mouth full of BLT, so he chose a movie by the cover from the Horror category that he felt might fulfill the prompt. This mostly random pick ended up being Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight, and BLT night was a success once again.

The Polish film Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight (2020) tributes, sometimes through direct imitation, classics like Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Wrong Turn (2), complete with gory practical effects. It plays with some cliches, humorously at times, but avoids the pit of parody and doesn't mind having a good time with its mutant hillbilly massacre. I dug the lumpy killers, and their penchant for playing out some classic slasher kills (one fittingly looks a lot like Victor Crowley's Polish cousin, with a worse complexion). There are turns in the plot which took me by surprise--including some less than helpful unrelated encounters for the victims and the mostly unelaborated twist on the murder-billie’s origins (the sequel gives more away). 

For me, it was a perfect serving of violent, simple fun with plenty of throwback moments and a few new approaches. I only wish we had watched it in Polish with subs, as the audio mixing on the dub was terrible. The unique soundtrack/score, however, was a high point. I have no idea what drugs went into creating that beautiful mash of sounds, but I would like some. I guess I didn't know how much I needed a nice backwoods slasher. I enjoyed the sequel (also on Netflix), but it is a whole different monster with a vibe all its own.

IMDB | Netflix

Revealer (2022)

Revealer (2022) is a small-scale horror flick with an oddly charming take on classic tropes featuring raving evangelists, strippers, and demons. It's a very silly premise, forcing two opposites to hunker down as a team and fight off the forces of evil. The plot’s situation is a well-used number, but the movie pulls it off with its own dance moves.

The film takes place in the 80s, which worried me some, as I have had faux-nostalgia fatigue lately due to Stranger Things-mania. However, this film didn't lean on that factor enough for it to wear on me. In fact, the choice of era is mostly utilized for stripper music and the perfect flavor of TV preacher.

The majority of the film is contained to a cramped single set with a small dungeon crawl later in the movie. It has a somewhat micro Prince of Darkness thing going, but with plenty of neon pink lighting and a Lucifer that resembles a weekly Buffy antagonist more than a jar of Ninja Turtle ooze. Often, the demon costume looks like a death-metal Power Rangers bad guy, but I'll take that over the CGI monsters from the last few big-budget movies I have seen. The two lead actors help avoid drag during the plot's slower moments, although their vernacular isn't exactly realistic to the period. Their chemistry, paired with the writing, makes the characters fun to hang out with. I could see the two having some weekly adventures on a television show after this ordeal. If I had any gripes, I would have liked more of the television sermons weaved in. I grew up on Paul Verhoeven, and in-universe television propaganda is my jam. Overall I'm glad it popped up on Shudder. As a bonus, one of the writers co-created Hack/Slash, of which I loved every issue.

IMDB | Shudder

Hellblazers (2022)

Hellblazers (2022) wins you over in waves. One moment it can balance its camp just right and make for solid b-movie fun, and the next, it's taking on the motif of an unused television pilot. The great moments make it worth the watch, whether from pitch-perfect comedic performances by legends or its throwback special effect work. It assembles an all-star genre cast including Adrienne Barbeau, Bruce Dern, Meg Foster, and Tony Todd, each bringing something worthwhile to the supernatural horror comedy.

Another one that takes place in the 80s, Hellblazers’ plot sees a cartoon-mode Billy Zane and his cronies unleash a demon to feed on a town (full of cult celebrities). The practical effects range from old-school awesomeness to fun bad and are often packaged with ambitious kill scenes. It's a movie with a shit-ton of apparent genre-love injected into it, and it got a few out-loud chuckles from me. It will not blow your mustache off, but the cheesed-out horror-comedy is solid entertainment.

As an aside, I applaud Tubi for becoming the TNT of the streaming era by giving cyber babies a place to find random,fun trash for free. Plus, they are pretty damn intuitive for knowing I would click anything with Tony Todd holding a sledgehammer on the cover.

IMDB | Tubi

So streaming isn't all bad--it comes through sometimes. Which is cool, and I can admit that. Nonetheless, I will still be hoarding physical copies of films for the time being. The future is unpredictable--and you can't roll around naked in digital copies. I feel better with the movies safe at home, where the Disney g-men will edit the butt from my copy of Splash over my dead body.


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