Event Horizon

Now Streaming on Starz

Chris: At some point, Paul W. S. Anderson saw Hellraiser and thought, “What if I do that – but in space?” The result is Event Horizon, the best movie Anderson ever made (sorry, Mortal Kombat fans). Event Horizon focuses on a team of space explorers who are sent to investigate a huge space station that vanished years ago, only to mysteriously appear again. It turns out the station has been to hell and back, literally. Now our heroes must face terrifying forces, which materialize in the form of gory tableaus that look lifted from a Nine Inch Nails video. Event Horizon is derivative, yes, but it’s also surprisingly effective. There’s some genuinely unnerving stuff here – like a video transmission that shows what happens to the original crew of the space station, that comes complete with plucked-out eye-balls and people shoving their entire arms down each other’s throats.

Matt: I’m a huge Resident Evil apologist (Resident Evil: Apocalypse being the best), but even I can admit Event Horizon is Anderson’s prized pony. What an intergalactic hellscape so zanily acted by Sam Neill especially. Terrifying. Utterly, unapologetically terrifying. How is this Anderson responsible for Event Horizon and Resident Evil: Afterlife?

Alien: Covenant
Now Streaming on HBOGo

Chris: I know people hate Alien: Covenant. I don’t care – I think it’s a legitimately great film; one of the better films of the later-half of Ridley Scott’s career. Is it anything like the first Alien? No. Is it anything like James Cameron’s Aliens? Heavens, no. Instead, Scott crafts a weird, gothic extravaganza – this is like something Mary Shelley might write, if she had lived in the 21st century. A crew of colonists hoping to make their home on a new planet end up landing on an uncharted planet instead, where they encounter Michael Fassbender’s creepy, sexy robot David – a being who is hellbent on destroying those who created him (human beings). There’s a nihilistic streak running through the whole thing that might be the reason so many people don’t care for this. It’s clear from this film (and its predecessor Prometheus) that Scott hates humanity, and would be perfectly fine if we were all wiped out by body horrors from beyond the stars. I can’t say I blame him – have you met people? We’re awful!

Matt: Count me among the Alien: Covenant faithful (I promise, check Rotten Tomatoes). This is Ridley Scott ditching creep-and-hunt Alien signatures for warp-speed militant run-and-gunning. Gore is off the charts, Michael Fassbender wages war against himself and ferocity splices with boots-to-throat intensity. Much more in common with Aliens than any other sequel, but still wholly standalone in comparison to brainer or more sci-fi stanced entries. Cue John Denver and enjoy the ride.

Ghosts of Mars

Now Streaming on Starz

Chris: Look, I’ll level with you: Ghosts of Mars is kind of bad! But it’s that rare, entertaining kind of bad; the kind of bad you can’t help love. One of the last films John Carpenter made before he decided to hang up his director’s hat to play video games and smoke weed all day, Ghosts of Mars is basically a remake of Carpenter’s own Assault on Precinct 13, but set in space. Somewhere on Mars, a team of space cops (lead by a woefully miscast Natasha Henstridge) are transporting a dangerous prisoner (Ice Cube!) when they find themselves besieged by zombie-like humans who have been possessed by Martian ghosts. It’s really stupid, but gosh, is it fun. If you’re reading this description and thinking, “That sounds like the type of movie Jason Statham might appear in,” guess what? You’re right – he’s in this movie. So is Pam Grier. Carpenter would only make one more feature film after this – the dreadful 2010 flick The Ward – before deciding he’d much rather do nothing all day instead.

Matt: Hells-to-the-yes, Ghosts Of Mars. Exactly my kind of “bad.” The kind that goes so ‘effing well with pizza, beers and an uninhibited love of cinematic schlock that involves a pre-bald Jason Statham. Sawblades whir and heads roll like tennis balls in a dog park. It’s certainly not Carpenter’s best, but even Carpenter’s worst is still bloody entertaining.

Honeymoon

Now Streaming on Shudder

Chris: Why hasn’t Hollywood come knocking for Leigh Janiak yet? I really don’t know. She was attached to write the Craft remake, and she’s supposedly writing a film adaptation of R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series, but neither have happened yet. And that’s a shame, because Janiak deserves to be a huge name by now, specifically because of her feature debut, Honeymoon. Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway play a freshly married couple who seem perfect for each other. Everything is going great…until the two head to a secluded cabin for their honeymoon. Anyone who has ever seen a horror movie can tell you going to a secluded cabin is a bad idea. Sure enough, Leslie’s character goes sleepwalking one night, and comes back…changed. What follows is a nightmarish piece of body horror, with Leslie’s character growing more and more unstable and weird while her new groom tries to figure out what the hell is going on. Honeymoon is a brilliant exercise in tension and unease, and cements Leigh Janiak as a horror filmmaker to pay attention to. If only producers would throw more work her way…

Matt: I do agree that Honeymoon showcases the filmmaker Janiak can be, but not at all times. This is a perfect example of a slow-burn that simmers, bubbles, but struggles to justify sluggish means with a payoff that’s not as effectively executed as such a structure demands. Same as The Invitation. Unsettling at times, but overall a more dry and brittle romantic thriller.

The Stuff

Now Streaming on Shudder

Chris: You can’t go wrong with Larry Cohen. Cohen, the B-movie genius behind Q, It’s Alive, and more, helms this really fucking weird horror-comedy about killer Cool-Whip from outer space. After a strange, sweet substance is discovered by two bumbling railroad workers, the mysterious white fluff – dubbed The Stuff – becomes a top-seller. It even outsells ice cream. But there’s a catch: if you eat enough of it, it turns you into a weird monster with a very big mouth. At the center of it all is Cohen regular Michael Moriarty, who plays a corporate spy trying to get to the bottom of The Stuff. Cohen’s direction to Moriarty must’ve been, “Just act as insane as you want!”, because Moriarty spends the whole movie behaving like a lunatic for seemingly no reason. The Stuff!

Matt: Chocolate. Chip. Charlie. Bless Garrett Morris and his portrayal of junk food mogul Charles Hobbs in this insane alien invasion feast. What happens when the “failing” ice cream industry starts trying to investigate what makes “The Stuff” so delicious? Messy goop explodes from people’s heads and The Blob does dessert. It’s the winner Chris describes.

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