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Heady Entertainment: The Best Pop Culture to Get Blazed to This Weekend (Dec. 8)

A roundup of the most THC-friendly entertainment out this week, including a biopic on Tonya Harding (for real), a reissue of a gory Santa Claus slasher, and plenty more kushy gems.

by Mike McPadden

by Mike McPadden

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.

Plus, with the holidays in the air (among other aromas), Heady Entertainment can serve as a little ganja-pumped gift guide. So let's go straight — but not "straight" — to this week's fresh-rolled recommendations.

In Theaters

I, Tonya (2017)
Director: Craig Gillespie
Cast: Margot Robie, Sebastia Stan, Allison Janey

The fact-based mockumentary I, Tonya takes uproarious aim at the insanity-on-ice of the 1994 Olympic skating rivalry between U.S. team members Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan — an unfriendly competition that turned psycho when Tonya's goons whacked Nancy in the kneecap.

From there, Tonya became a pop culture punchline whose post-skating career was highlighted by Penthouse putting out a porn tape shot on her wedding night (to the guy who orchestrated the Kerrigan take-down) and a match against Bill Clinton accuser Paula Jones on Fox TV's Celebrity Boxing. What a trip.

Anchored by an Oscar-buzzing performance by Margot Robie as the titular terror, I, Tonya plunges us smack into every crack-up along the way. Getting high first will actually help you wrap your head around this pop culture flare-up that ultimately proved too weird to not be true.

Streaming

American Assassin (2017)
Director: Michael Cuesta
Cast: Dylan O'Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan

American Assassin is a high-octane action avalanche with Dylan O'Brien as Mitch Rapp, a star college athlete whose girlfriend gets killed in a terrorist attack. Raging for revenge, then, our hero infiltrates the terror ring and proves so deft at dispatching anyone connected to it that the CIA recruits him to decimate the deadly fuckers once and for all.

You might know O'Brien from MTV's Teen Wolf. Trust me, he ain't Teen Wolf no more. As the veteran, seen-it-all mentor Michael Keaton exudes pure killer cool.

Pair American Assassin with your favorite weed for hyperactive video game play, then just ease back and let the movie unleash its mayhem.

Mother! (2017)
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer

Despised by some and lauded as genius by others, the brain-blasting, soul-shattering Mother! is visionary filmmaker Darren Arofsky's operatic parable regarding God, humanity, creation, the apocalypse and, in one particularly freak-out-inducing scene, the very notion of eating the body of Christ.

Jennifer Lawrence is the all-caring and thus perpetually-stressed Mother Nature. Javier Bardem is the cosmic-ly flawed Supreme Being. The story of the universe flows from there. Every previous Darren Aronofsky mind-blower has led to this one, so just consider his track-record of drug-ready classics: Pi (1998), Requiem for a Dream (2000), The Fountain (2006), and Black Swan (2010).

On its own, Mother! works as the very best and/or very worst hallucinogenic trip you've ever imagined, let alone lived through. Now you can watch it at home while actually getting high. Be brave but, also, be careful!

Cult Classic Reissue

Silent Night, Deadly Night: Deluxe Limited Edition (1984)
Director: Charles E. Sellier, Jr.
Cast: Robert Brian Wilson, Lilyan Chauvin, Linnea Quigley
Special Features: interviews; new artwork; 8" killer Santa Claus action figure
Buy It: Scream Factory

The frantic Father Christmas of All Killer Santa Claus Movies gets the special treatment in this double-disc Blu-ray edition from the invaluable crackpot cinema preservations at Shout Factory.

Silent Night, Deadly Night diabolically details the downward spiral of a kid who witnesses a creep dressed as Santa slaughtering his parents on Christmas Eve (naturally). He then grows up in a dismal nun-run orphanage and takes a job at a toy store where he puts on a Kris Kringle costume and immediately goes ho-ho-homicidal.

Parents actually protested outside theaters showing Silent Night, Deadly Night in 1984 which, of course, only attracted more teenage stoners to sneak in, light up, and love every minute of this lunatic Yuletide horror classic. The movie has lost none of its impact since then — in fact, it's even more fun to smoke to now, as you realize just how jingle-ballsy it was to put out this Santa-slasher bash in the first place.

Books

Yuletide Terror: Christmas Horror on Film and Television
By Paul Corupe and Kier-La Janisse
Buy It: Spectacular Optical

For anybody who's ever consumed marijuana under the mistletoe and, in paranoia, pondered the potential scariness of the season, cult publisher Spectacular Optical now provides the ultimate guide to tinsel-tinged fright fare — Yuletide Terror: Christmas Horror on Film and Television.

An array of authors contribute reviews, interviews, and essays on the likes of Silent Night, Deadly Night (the definitive Santa Slasher, see above); Black Christmas (directed by Bob Clark who, indeed, went on to also make A Christmas Story); Christmas Evil (John Waters' favorite holiday film); Elves (Nazi-created trolls overwhelm a shopping mall Santa Land); Krampus (last year's merry monster hit); and many more — including a bunch you're going to swear are just holiday hallucinations (but they're not).

Music

New Flesh — "Priest"
Order it through MVD here

After spookily rocking our mortal realm with Swedish stoner metal gods Ghost, ex-members Alpha and Air Ghoul arise now as Priest, a synth-wave combo debuting with New Flesh. Priest's electronic explorations conjure a hypnotically cool, intoxicating evocation of slick '80s-soundtrack vibes commingled with the dopest developments in 21st century dance. New Flesh is spellbinding, whether you're chilling, thrilling, or both.

"Queens Raised a King" — Trav
Download: iTunes

Brilliant from the title onward, Queens Raised a King, the new mixtape from regal Jamaica, Queens rapper Trav, flows hard, elevates the mind, and drops banging hooks with heart, heat, and power. Guest appearances on QRAK include Meek Mill, Lil Durk, Tory Lanez, Jim Jones, Blac Youngsta, Belly, Don Q, and Vory. So just smoke up and surrender to the what's good here — which is everything here.

Follow Mike McPadden on Twitter


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Mike McPadden

Mike McPadden is the author of "Heavy Metal Movies" and the upcoming "Last American Virgins." He writes about movies, music, and crime in Chicago. Twitter @mcbeardo



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