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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35 Best Streaming Movies With Public Domain Characters | Sidnaz Blog

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The first movie I saw starring Moses was 1956’s The Ten Commandments. The last one I saw was 2014’s Exodus: Gods and Kings. In-between was the perfect version—not only for a Bible story but for movies in general—and that was The Prince of Egypt. Being raised in a deeply pious home, I wasn’t even allowed to go to theaters growing up, but my mom took me to see it when it premiered in 1998 and it’s been one of my favorite movies ever since. It has action, adventure, drama, romance, and comedy, not to mention bringing Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey together for “When You Believe,” one of many bangers on one of the best and most underrated soundtracks of all time.

And Danny Glover played Jethro! Let’s focus on that instead of the list of 90% white actors (Val Kilmer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Ralph Fiennes, Jeff Goldblum, Patrick Stewart, Steve Martin, Martin Short, Helen Mirren, and more) who played people of color. Fun fact: That wasn’t Danny Glover singing “Through Heaven’s Eyes” as Moses and Tzipporah fell in love, either; it was another Black actor, Brian Stokes Mitchell, because Danny Glover can’t sing like that. —Jordan Calhoun

Where to stream: Peacock

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