15 Unnecessary Sequels That Are Better Than You Think | Sidnaz Blog

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Val Lewton was a producer who, in a sense, made a bargain unheard of in the history of Hollywood ego, trading prestige for freedom. He took a job as head of the horror department at RKO, and was given only three restrictions: The movies had to be cheap, relatively short, and the studio would provide titles (so, for example, we have a revisionist take on Jane Eyre and scathing critique of colonialism titled…I Walked with a Zombie). Other than that, he had free rein. The apex of this period was 1942’s Cat People, a stylish psychosexual noir directed by Jacques Tourneur that was much more about repressed trauma and existential dread than monsters…but there were enough horror movie trappings to make it a hit.

The 1944 follow-up is a direct sequel, focusing on two of the original’s main characters and their daughter, but in tone, it’s wildly divergent. A ghost story of sorts, the young girl is haunted, literally, by her parents’ past, but the threat is more emotional than physical. It’s a wonderful, and wonderfully humane, treatment of deeply damaged characters, all of whom are worthy of empathy (living or dead). Director Robert Wise (West Side Story, The Sound of Music, The Haunting, etc., etc., etc.) and company also build some stunning set-pieces, making the most of the film’s barely existent budget. I can only imagine the reaction of 1944 audiences who paid to see a horror movie about curses and cat people only to get a dark but big-hearted, fantasy. Surely the greatest trick Val Lewton ever played.

Where to stream: Digital rental

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20 Movies to Stream Before This Year’s Blockbuster Sequels | Sidnaz Blog

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Godzilla vs. Kong

Godzilla vs. Kong is the main event in a connected universe of massive monster movie remakes, all of which are best viewed in advance of the epic finale. The 2014 Godzilla reboot stars Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and marks the beginning of the sci-fi saga.

The second film Kong: Skull Island (a personal favorite) introduces us to King Kong and The Monarch organization, whose mission is to uncover and protect ancient, massive beasts. Monarch gets wind of a mysterious beast living on Skull Island and compiles an expedition to investigate, comprised of Samuel Jackson, Brie Larson, and Tom Hiddleston, to name a few.

The third installment, Godzilla: King of Monsters, features the evolution of Godzilla as he battles four other ancient monsters to determine who will reign over the earth. Watching all three films will be more than prepare you for the title bout.

Godzilla vs. Kong premieres in theaters and streaming on HBO Max on March 31. Before then, you can catch Kong: Skull Island on HBO Max and Godzilla: King of Monsters on Hulu, and rent the 2014 Godzilla on your digital platform of choice.

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