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.
In theaters, Impractical Jokers: The Movie reinvents the stoner-beloved TV show for the big screen; The Call of the Wild pairs Harrison Ford with a CGI dog; and Brahms: The Boy II is a creep-fest supreme, just like the first one.
On the stream scene, Hot Ones: The Game Show deliciously adapts the web series as a proper competition, Al Pacino leads a pack of Nazi-trackers in Hunters, America Ferrara and Wilmer Valderrama bust out the new serious comedy Gentefied, and Matt Berry from What We Do in the Shadows does Victorian London in Year of the Rabbit.
Our vintage cult flick picks to blaze a bong to include the scare sequel Pet Sematary Two, the body horror Brain Damage, the awesome oddity The Freakmaker, and the monster comedy Transylvania 6-5000.
New music to go along with your marijuana arrives from Grimes, King Krule, and YoungBoy Never Broke Again.
So let’s get straight — but not “straight” — to this week’s fresh-rolled recommendations.
Brahms: The Boy II (2020)
Director: Willaim Brent Bell
Cast: Katie Holmes, Owain Yeoman, Christopher Convery
Creepy dolls have always been a reliable point of cannabis horror panic, both on-screen and off. The Boy (2016) introduced one of cinema’s all-time most skin-crawling humanoid toys in the form of Brahms, a lifelike porcelain plaything being raised as a son by a crackpot couple in a spooky English manor. Brahms, it turns out, somehow manages to scare off anyone who attempts to “babysit” him — and worse.
Brahms: The Boy II picks up with a young family moving into a guest house on the estate previously occupied by the bizarre couple. Naturally (and supernaturally), Brahms is still around and eager to befriend the new kid on the premises. Even freakier than the first flick, Brahms: The Boy II is a potent piece of scareware best paired with your favorite paranoia-inducing strain.
The Call of the Wild (2020)
Director: Chris Sanders
Cast: Harrison Ford, Karen Gillan, Cara Gee
Based on the classic 1903 Jack London novel and filmed numerous times before, this new take on The Call of the Wild benefits, bud-wise, by starring Harrison Ford and an army of CGI canines led by Buck, a massive half-Saint-Bernard, half-Scottish-shepherd sled dog.
The plot chronicles Buck’s evolution from coddled California house pet to alpha beast in the Alaskan Yukon. Ford plays John Thornton, the rugged outdoorsman who befriends Buck and accompanies him on a multitude of adventures that amaze on the big screen when you’re in a properly stoned state to fully appreciate an onslaught of digital dogs amid lush, frozen wildlife.
Impractical Jokers: The Movie (2020)
Director: Chris Henchy
Cast: Brian Quinn, James Murray, Joe Gatto, Sal Vulcano
It’s a safe bet that anyone reading “Heady Entertainment” has devoted entire days to repeatedly firing up a bong and laughing insanely to Impractical Jokers marathons on TruTV. The prank show is one of the true touchstones of contemporary small-screen entertainment for stoners.
Impractical Jokers: The Movie absolutely blows up the proportions of the show for a fully outrageous theatrical experience. Brian “Q” Quinn, James “Murr” Murray, Joe Gatto, Sal Vulcano — a.k.a. The Tenderloins — hit the road here to right a wrong committed in high school almost 30 years ago. What plays out for your pot-boosted pleasure are bigger gags, harder laughs, and, oh yes, Paula Abdul.
Gentefied: Season One
Cast: JJ Soria, Carlos Santos, Karrie Martin
Watch It: Netflix
The bilingual series Gentefied, produced by America Ferrera (who also directs) and Wilmer Valderrama of That ‘70s Show fame, follows a Mexican-American family in East LA trying to keep their taco shop from going belly-up in the face of encroaching gentrification. Funny, dramatic, thought provoking, and sometimes heartbreaking, Gentefied is one to watch with weed that enhances your every emotion. Also, all that fantastic-looking food on-screen is definitely going to inspire mega-munchies.
Hot Ones: The Game Show: Season One
Host: Sean Evans
Watch It: TruTV
Spicy chicken connoisseur and occasional (good-natured) sadist Sean Evans has become a YouTube sensation with Hot Ones, a series in which he interviews celebrities while they attempt to consume increasingly infernal pieces of poultry. Watching Hot Wings while blitzed is pure bliss. Now comes the equally entertaining Hot Ones: The Game Show, in which an array of colorful contestants compete to answer questions and survive while chowing down on nuclear-scorching chicken wings. The more they lose and we smoke at home, the more everybody wins.
Hunters: Season One
Cast: Al Pacino, Carol Kane, Jerrika Hinton
Watch It: Amazon Prime
After nearly a half-century as a cinematic icon, Al Pacino hits the small screen every bit as hard as he does everything else in the new Amazon Prime series from Jordan Peele, Hunters. Set in grimy, crime-plagued 1977 New York City — when drugs, punk, and disco drenched everythin — Hunters chronicles Pacino as Meyer Offerman, a Holocaust survivor dedicated to tracking down escaped Nazis and doling out fierce justice. After discovering a conspiracy to install a Fourth Reich in the US government, Offerman assembles a crack team of badasses and lets them loose in righteous pursuit.
Year of the Rabbit: Season One
Cast: Matt Berry, Susan Wokoma, Freddie Fox
Watch It: IFC
Matt Berry, the ferocious funnyman at the heart of the essential stoner comedy series What We Do in the Shadows and Toast of London, brings his high humor to Victorian England in Year of the Rabbit. Here, Berry plays Eli Rabbit, a brutish, booze-soaked, dirty-talking detective out to mop of the streets of 1880s London with his naïve rookie partner, Wilbur Strauss (Freddie Fox). The whole thing is hilarious in that baked British way that Berry has so pungently perfected. Year of the Rabbit rules!
Brain Damage (1988)
Director: Frank Henenlotter
Cast: Rick Hearst, Jennifer Lowry, Gordon MacDonald
Get It: MVD
In between his cult masterworks Basket Case (1982) and Frankenhooker (1990), grindhouse guru Frank Henenlotter unleashed Brain Damage, his most psychedelic shocker and one of the most wondrously weird midnight movies to experience with a mind full of marijuana.
Rick Hearst stars as Brian, the unwitting host of a fanged, talking, leech-like parasite named Aylmer (voiced by legendary TV horror host Zacherley) who eats brain matter and subjects his targets to wild hallucinations in the process. Gloriously gory with gruesome gross-outs abound, including an unforgettable “brain-pulling” sequence, an oral sex scene that climaxes like no other, and a parting shot that suggests acid visions into infinity. Arrow Video’s collector’s edition Blu-ray of Brain Damage is as rich and rewarding a trip as the movie itself.
The Freakmaker (1974)
Director: Jack Cardiff
Cast: Donald Pleasence, Tom Baker, Brad Harris
Get It: Diabolik
British horror from the ‘70s is a hallucinatory hellscape of knockout nightmares, and few are more skull-smashing than The Freakmaker, an off-the-rails reimagining of Tod Browning’s 1932 classic Freaks that must be watched high to be (just barely) believed — and the perfect way to do that is by checking out Diabolik’s new collector’s edition of this berserk blow-out.
Fright icon Donald Pleasence (Halloween) stars as Dr. Nolter, a diabolical botanist who kidnaps college students to turn them into living hybrids of plants and animals. Time again again, Nolter’s mad plans go awry, and he ends up peddling his mutations to a local circus. The real insanity starts, then, when his crazed creations team up against him to exact vicious revenge.
Pet Sematary Two (1992)
Director: Mary Lambert
Cast: Edward Furlong, Darlanne Fluegel, Anthony Edwards
Get It: Shout Factory
After scoring her commercial breakthrough with the Stephen King adaptation Pet Sematary (1989), visual artist Mary Lambert surged forward with Pet Sematary Two, an original follow-up that’s even more weed-worthy than the first film.
Edward Furlong stars as Jeff, a 13-year-old outsider in a new neighborhood that’s dealing with the recent death of his mother. After befriending Drew (Jason McGuire), another young local loner, Jeff learns about a nearby Native American burial ground that brings deceased pets back to life — although the animals are never quite “right” again. Missing his mom, Jeff gets a crazy idea that maybe that sinister magic might work for dead humans, too. Finding out is nonstop frightening fun.
Transylvania 6-5000 (1985)
Director: Rudy DeLuca
Cast: Jeff Goldblum; Geena Davis; Ed Begley, Jr.
Get It: Kino Lorber
One of the most enjoyably goofy — and therefore ganja-ready — horror comedies of all time, Transylvania 6-5000 co-stars stoner cinema faves Jeff Goldblum and Ed Begley, Jr. as reporters dispatched to a haunted countryside to search of Frankenstein’s monster. The dumb-funny laughs never let up, as our heroes confront a clumsy ghoul of a butler (Michael Richards from Seinfeld), a sex-crazed vampire queen (Geena Davis), a madcap mad scientist (Joseph Bologna), and an all-star cast of funny folk as assorted werewolves, mummies, goblins, and whacked-out weirdoes.
Get It: Grimes Official
The world, right now, is clearly the eminent domain of avant-pop supernova Grimes, and we’re all just smoking in it, eagerly awaiting her latest elevated revelations. For her fifth long-player, Miss Anthropocene, the Canadian firestorm, also known as Claire Boucher, dons villain garb for what she says is an “evil” exercise in praise of climate change and other societal ills. Musically, Grimes tops even her previous highs with beguiling, brain-bending, soul-rolling sonic sweeps poised to ignite infinite pipes and vape pens on impact — forever.
By King Krule
Get It: King Krule Official
As a genre-mashing multi-talent who rolls rap, dark wave, punk jazz, synth pop, and trip hop into a single snowballing strain, King Krule absolutely rules. On his new long-player Man Alive!, the London-based King (aka Archy Marshall) once more whips up a lit wonderland where anything sonic is possible. Press play, puff deep, and commune with the King!
Still Flexin’, Still Steppin’
By YoungBoy Never Broke Again
Get It: Bandcamp
Coming in high from hitting number one on the Billboard chart with A.l. YoungBoy 2, 20-year-old southern rap lord YoungBoy Never Broke Again reveals he’s still smokin’ and still slayin’ with his new mixtape, Still Flexin’, Still Steppin’. Leading with the killer singles “Knocked Off” and “Fine by Time,” Still Flexin’ delivers 18 intoxicating tracks that make clear YoungBoy is a major force to fire up a fatty to in our present hip-hop moment.