Welcome back to Heady Entertainment, MERRY JANE's weekly guide to just-released movies, books, and music — all fresh, dank, and THC-friendly. In specific, we choose our picks based on how they can enhance your combined consumption of cannabis and entertainment.
Mid-April is showering us with stoner-ready scares at the cinema with Truth or Dare; vintage anti-marijuana madness in comic book form; Andre the Giant on HBO; Killer Klowns from Outer Space on Blu-ray; and Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke — the be-all-and-end-all of comedies to get baked to — gets the ultimate 40th anniversary treatment with a deluxe reissue (one that includes collectible rolling papers!). So let's go straight — but not "straight" — to this week's fresh-rolled recommendations.
"Truth or Dare" (2018)
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Cast: Lucy Hale, Tyler Posey, Nolan Gerard Funk
Blumhouse, today's hype horror studio that last delivered the surprise college-set shocker Happy Death Day (2017), ups their own teen terror game with Truth or Dare.
After some high school homies casually engage in the goofball game of the title, some kind supernatural buzzkill supreme forces them to act out dares that turn deadly — or worse.
Truth or Dare's trailer alone packed a paranoia-peaking wallop, with messages getting carved under victims' skin, and faces stretching into sick shapes from the worst acid-gone-wrong excursion imaginable. The complete feature is a hair-raiser you're going to get high to both before and after — first to properly plug into the fright factors, then to mellow out from how loud you actually end up screaming.
"Lost in Space" (2018)
Creators: Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless
Cast: Toby Stephens, Molly Parker, Parker Posey
Watch It: Netflix
Borrowing the basic structure of the original high-camp 1960s TV series and goofball 1998 big-screen off-shoot, the new Netflix take on Lost in Space is dark, deep, and even occasionally deranged.
Fuel up your bong and blast off with the cosmically adrift Robinson family, along with intergalactic smuggler Don West (Ignacio Serricchio) and the diabolical sabotage-bent Dr. Smith (played here by Parker Posey). The iconic robot called Robot is back, too, but even he takes a turn for the heavy.
"Andre the Giant" (2018)
Director: Jason Hehir
Cast: André René Roussimoff, Vince McMahon, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Watch It: HBO
HBO's towering documentary Andre the Giant debuted a few days ago (one night after Wrestlemania 34). Now that the weekend's here, though, it's the time to gather your crew, pick the appropriate larger-than-life weed strain to share, and smoke up an oversized joint in unison as you watch and proclaim with perfect truth: "Andre the Giant has a posse!"
"Killer Klowns From Outer Space" (1990)
Director: Stephen Chiodo
Cast: Grant Cramer, Suzanne Snyder, John Allen Nelson
Get It: MVD
Decades before Pennywise became a household name, the title terrors of the tripped-out horror comedy classic Killer Klowns From Outer Space turned the prospect of funny folk from the circus going homicidal into something slick, sick, and outrageously fun to smoke along to!
As portrayed by actors of all sizes in amazing costumes, cartoonish prosthetic masks, and occasional stop motion animation, the Killer Klowns themselves explode on screen like both the funniest and scariest visions to ever emerge from a combination of cotton candy and DMT.
KKFOS first caught on as a cable and VHS favorite, then as a go-to midnight flick. And, in both circumstances, multiple generations of ganja-heightened fans have cherished getting lit to its inventive, over-the-big-top lunacy. Big ups as well to the Dickies' killer theme song, which gets its own mini-documentary in the reissue.
"Up in Smoke": 40th Anniversary Deluxe Collection (1978)
Director: Lou Adler
Cast: Cheech Marin, Tommy Chong, Stacy Keach
Get It: Amazon
Here it is: the alpha and omega of marijuana movies, the Rosetta Stone of rolled stoner gold. And now, in this new blazing-beyond-belief package, Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke gets packed with the royal treatment it so richly deserves.
The movie itself is a masterpiece, as hailed right here at MERRY JANE with potent praise:
"Every frame of Up in Smoke maintains the same sublime levels of pure-human hilarity and ideally-observed pothead specifics. So when it comes to Cheech and Chong's single most colossal cultural contribution, there is truly nowhere to go but Up."
Really, then, the news here is everything that comes in the Up in Smoke Deluxe Collector's Edition. You get the movie on Blu-ray and the (scorching) original soundtrack on CD, a vinyl LP, and a 7-inch picture disc. Plus there's a booklet with new essays by both Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, never-before-seen photos, and a poster. And illest of all: oversized Up In Smoke rolling papers!
"Reefer Madness Comics"
Edited by Craig Yoe
Publisher: Dark Horse
Get It: Quimby's Bookstore
The "one puff and you're fucked" anti-pot insanity of old wasn't just restricted to (now hilariously) misguided movies like Marihuana: Weed With Roots in Hell (1936) or the 1967 Dragnet TV episode where a mom takes a toke and lets her baby drown in the bathtub.
Oh, no — comics books positively oozed with depictions of "Mary Jane" as the devil's chief device for narcotic enslavement, and the new Dark Horse compilation, Reefer Madness, collects heaps of uproarious propaganda.
The comics curated here by Craig Yoe aren't just grimy temperance society handouts, either: they feature beautifully rendered, but scientifically wack work by masters of the form such as Jack Kirby, Frank Frazetta, Jerry Robinson, and Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joel Shuster. As a result, despite each comic's best (?) intentions, "Satan's cigarettes" never looked so tempting!
"Skateboarding Is Not a Fashion: The Illustrated History of Skateboard Apparel"
By Jurgen Blumlein, Dirk Vogel & Cap10
Publisher: Gingko Press
Get It: Quimby's Bookstore
The early visual history of skate culture in the 1970s and '80s is largely defined by the bold, punkish, sidewalk surf-dog looks defined by iconic clothing labels such as Hang Ten, Jams, Vans, Jimmy'Z, and Ocean Pacific. Of course, those same brands tend to crop up in visual history of that era's stoner culture, too. Coincidence? We take a drag atop our skate decks, exhale, and think not!
So with the proper attitude, stunning photography, and kickass graphics, Skateboarding Is Not a Fashion gathers and presents the evolution of skater garb and equipment alike, backed by commentary from two-feet-on-four-wheels giants such as Stacy Peralta, Lance Mountain, Tony Alva, and Steve Caballero.
By Bodega Bamz
Get It: iTunes
P.A.P.I., the title of the new album by blunt-pumped New York rapper Bodega Bamz, stands for "Proud And Powerful Individuals." Listing no guests, Bodega and producer Victor "Fly" Olivares get proud and powerful both individually and together over P.A.P.I.'s 14 smoldering tracks.
By Peewee Longway
Get It: iTunes
The cover image of Spaghetti Factory, the new mixtape from Peewee Longway, hilariously recreates the Atlanta rapper's smiling face in the form of twisted pasta, spicy sauce, and perfectly placed meatballs. The music matches that image. It's like a munchie attack following the most bugged-out bud you ever inhaled. Gather now, after a powerful ganja appetizer, and fill here up on a feast of deliciously creative hip-hop.
Follow Mike McPadden on Twitter