The delirious cinematic dreamscape world of Guy Maddin's 'The Forbidden Room'

‘The Forbidden Room’ on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Fandor

Canadian iconoclast Guy Maddin has been making strange, surreal films that evoke the images and storytelling traditions of silent movies for decades. The Forbidden Room (2015), which he co-directed with his former student Evan Johnson, is like a compendium of his obsessions and cinematic fetishes. It opens on a mock-instructional film on “How to Take […]

Franco Nero stars in Sergio Corbucci’s 'Django'

‘Django,’ ‘Keoma,’ and other great spaghetti westerns on VOD

The rich, brutal, cynical culture of Italian westerns (aka spaghetti westerns) is dominated by Sergio Leone’s great movies and especially The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), arguably the definitive spaghetti western. But there is a whole legacy of cynical, hard-edged, and even politically daring Italian westerns of the sixties and seventies. You can […]

Billy Zane and Gina Gershon star in musky, low-ley adaptation of the Jim Thompson pulp crime novel.

‘This World, Then the Fireworks’ on Amazon Prime

The disturbed world of pulp crime novelist Jim Thompson’s deformed psyches and demented morality comes to life in This World, Then the Fireworks (1997), one of the more unpredictable works in a career defined by the author’s disturbingly treacherous tales. What makes this dreamy adaptation by director Michael Oblowitz and screenwriter Larry Gross work is […]

Mario Bava's classic 'Black Sunday' with Barbara Steele

Halloween Picks: The best of Mario Bava on Amazon Prime and Fandor

Mario Bava essentially created the genre of baroque horror known as “giallo,” a distinctly Italian twist on stalk and kill horror film. Under his direction, Grand Guignol gore is transformed into lush, visually elegant cinematic spectacle, a waking nightmare with the poetic grace of a musical and a demented edge of sexual perversity. After rising […]

Ray Milland stars in Roger Corman's 'Premature Burial' and 'X: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes'

Roger Corman’s ‘Premature Burial’ and ‘X-The Man with the X-ray Eyes’ on Amazon Prime

Vincent Price starred in all of Roger Corman’s Poe adaptations but one. Ray Milland took the lead in Premature Burial (1962), playing Guy Carrell, an aristocrat with crippling fear that he will be buried alive due to a family history of catalepsy. Corman brings the fear home in the opening scene: an exhumation of an […]