High-Rise (2015)

There’s a monastery in France designed by the celebrated Modernist architect, Le Corbusier, which is a site of pilgrimage for architectural buffs.  But there aren’t many monks actually living there. You see, when the thriving community of Dominican monks first moved in, they started having a lot of problems with severe depression.  It may have […]

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Operation Avalanche (2016)

For some reason, 2016 brought two movies based on one of the goofiest conspiracy theories out there, that classic bit of internet paranoia, the belief that the Moon Landing was faked – and, that final, irresistible fillip that truly makes this the paranoid conspiracy theory of paranoid conspiracy theories, the suggestion that the great director […]

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The Dark Sleep (2012)

(aka, H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dark Sleep) “There’s nothing supernatural going on here.  There’s a reasonable scientific explanation for everything.  I just need to figure it out.“ If Brett Piper makes a Lovecraft movie, then the one thing we can be absolutely certain about is that it will feature lots of cool, old-school, stop-motion creatures. Which this one definitely […]

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The Net [Project M7] (1953)

Somehow, when I first heard of this one, it sounded remarkably like the series of German SF films of the Thirties,  which started with F.P. 1.   Like them, we have the big, near term science fictional invention – in this case a prototype aircraft – a Thirties modern research facility, and at the heart of the […]

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Nosutoradamusu no daiyogen (1974)

(aka: The Prophecies of Nostradamus; Catastrophe 1999: The Prophecies of Nostradamus; The Last Days of Planet Earth) This is one of the best known completely unavailable films around.  It is also one of the strangest in Toho Studios’ long history. Years ago, when AMC ran it along with the first US “release” of the Heisei era Godzilla movies […]

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Phenomena (1985)

Horror films often take a “hit-and-run” approach to science. Take this stylish Giallo thriller by Italian cult favorite, Dario Argento.  We have a genius scientist, an entomologist, played with eccentric zest by Donald Pleasance – one of the indispensable actors of the 70s and 80’s horror boom – who calmly informs us that insects have an incredible […]

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Violet City (2015)

Sometimes the word “strange” gets stretched so far it no longer seems to fit. Which is clearly the case here. Some people have compared Violet City to Sin City, but that really doesn’t convey quite the right idea.  Yes, both use strong black and white imagery with bursts of color, and heavily stylized backgrounds that aren’t […]

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