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.
With the high holiday season upon us, Hollywood seems to be saving its marijuana-made blockbusters for later in the month, but that just means more dope options to smoke up with at home. Streaming debuts include comedian Bill Burr’s fantastically foul-mouthed Netflix cartoon F Is for Family, fantasy actor Andy Serkis directing the wild (in every sense) Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, and the joy to the world that is RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-Slay Spectacular.
On top of the heat mentioned above, two of the 80s’ most off-the-wall horror epics are dropping as bong-ready Blu-ray collectibles, Maniac and Mausoleum. In music, new sounds arrive from Ice Cube and Gucci Mane, as well as some dark techno from Silent Servant (pick your strains to fit accordingly). So let’s get straight — but not “straight” — to this week’s fresh-rolled recommendations.
“F Is for Family”: Season 3
Cast: Bill Burr, Vince Vaughn
Watch It: Netflix
F Is for Family, scabrous stand-up comic Bill Burr’s uproarious, unexpectedly-moving animated series based on his own 1970s blue-collar Boston upbringing, returns for season three. It’s as ferociously funny as ever, with Vince Vaughn joining the cast as Col. Chet Stevenson, an Air Force vet who upends the existence of hotheaded dad Frank Murphy (Burr), while the teenage sons discover the enlightenment of getting wasted and (almost) getting laid in similarly hilarious fashion.
“Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle” (2018)
Director: Andy Serkis
Voice Cast: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch
Watch It: Netflix
As an actor, Andy Serkis has already blown your mind without ever actually showing his face. He’s the planet’s premiere motion-capture performer and is the actual person behind stoner cinema icons such as Caesar the chimp in the modern Planet of the Apes, evil giant Snoke in the recent Star Wars episodes, and, above all, Gollum in the Lord of the Rings franchise.
With Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, Serkis works behind the camera while also playing Baloo the bear in this ultra-intense CGI adventure in the universe of The Jungle Book. Pick a smoke blend that puts you in the proper frame of mind for Christian Bale as black panther Bagheera and Benedict Cumberbatch as the ruthless tiger Shere Khan.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-Slay Spectacular” (2018)
Watch It: VH1
The colors, the characters, the flash, the sass, the glam, the slams, the grand gender-blending joy of it all—that’s what RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-Slay Spectacular is all about. As such, Ru presents a Yuletide treat just meant to be savored with friends and a bong packed as tight as Santa’s sack.
Among the favorites returning to compete for the very first “Drag Race Xmas Queen” title are Eureka O’Hara, Jasmine Masters, Kim Chi, Latrice Royale, Mayhem Miller, Shangela, Sonique, and Trixie Mattel. Ho-ho-whoa!
Director: Michael Dugan
Cast: Bobbie Bresee, Marjoe Gortner, LaWanda Page
Get It: Vinegar Syndrome
Get ready to get wasted watching sexy gargoyle action! Mausoleum is a bonkers-as-shit blend of supernatural spookery and ’80s slasher film shocks that reigned in its day as a pot-passing VHS favorite. Now you can match the movie’s gorgeous Blu-ray upgrade while vaping, downing legal edibles, and otherwise enjoying modern advancements in marijuana movie viewing.
B-movie superstarlet Bobbie Bresee (Ghoulies) stars in Mausoleum as a woman possessed by a lusty demon that transforms her into a maneater — literally. At one point, Bobbie’s breasts mutate into monster faces that take big chomps out of one of her bedmates!
Trash flick stalwart Marjoe Gortner plays the perplexed husband and LaWanda Page, Aunt Esther from TV’s Sanford and Son, is the housekeeper who gets one glimpse of the freak-show shenanigans going on and hilariously hightails it out of there. The practical, rubbery special effects amaze in ways that CGI never will, and the orchestral score by composer Jaime Mendoza-Nava plays like a mind-movie all its own.
“Maniac”: 3-Disc Limited Edition (1980)
Director: William Lustig
Cast: Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro, Tom Savini
Get It: MVD
Maniac is the most insane, extreme, and still-controversial slasher gore-fest of the 1980s and, just in time to stuff your favorite psycho flick fan’s stocking, it arrives on multiple discs in the ultimate collector’s edition.
Hulking character actor Joe Spinell, who previously played a mob thug in The Godfather (1972) and a loan shark in Rocky (1976), wrote the Maniac screenplay as a star vehicle for himself and the shot-in-Brooklyn movie instantly turned him into an enduring cult icon.
Spinell plays Frank Zito, a creep who lives in a basement yet can sometimes charm fashion models. Zito also stalks women around NYC, slices off their scalps, and uses their hair to decorate mannequins in his apartment. The blood and terror is so over-the-top that protestors actually picketed theaters showing Maniac. You’ll understand why, and, if you’re a fright fan, you’ll love it. Then again, if you’re stoned, who knows how you’ll handle it?!
Off-screen, Joe Spinell was a dedicated pot smoker, as is revealed in the feature-length documentary The Joe Spinell Story that’s included in the collection. There’s even footage of him passing a joint with his elderly mom!
“Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation” — Collector’s Edition (1994)
Director: Kim Henkel
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Renee Zellweger, Robert Jacks
Get It: Shout Factory
In the most off-the-rails Texas Chainsaw franchise installment, pre-stardom Renee Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey deliver breakout performances opposite a take on Leatherface that crosses delirious drag queen dynamics with feverish flesh-slicing savagery.
The Next Generation starts as most Chainsaw bloodbaths do, with a carload of innocents accidentally ending up in the clutches of the Lone Star State’s most notorious off-road cannibal clan. In this case, it’s teens headed for their high school prom.
McConaughey, just off his star-is-born turn in Dazed and Confused (1993), is utterly terrifying as the relatively normal chainsaw chopper and the whole crazy plot heads toward a conspiracy revelation you’ll be amazed by even if you’re not lit — but don’t not be lit while watching this gem.
“Blood, Fire, Death: The Swedish Death Metal Story”
by Ika Johannesson & Jon Jefferson Klingberg
Get It: Feral House
The image of Sweden as a tranquil Northern shangri-jä of ice, Ikea, and politeness forever got splattered asunder in the early 1990s with the ascent of monster-riffing, face-painted, sword-swinging heavy metal battalions, including acts like At the Gates, Dismembered, and Entombed.
Blood, Fire, Death: A Swedish Metal Story chronicles the complete history of the country’s metal movement from the stoner fuzz of the ’70s and the punk-inflamed ’80s, on through the insanity of the (mostly Norwegian) church-torching ’90s, and the myriad, multifaceted state of Sweden’s extreme music scene today.
Powerfully illustrated with up-close and insane photos, Blood, Fire, Death is a righteous read to get baked to blasting Amon Amarth, and banging your head accordingly.
By Ice Cube
Get It: iTunes
With all the weed we’ve all smoked to Ice Cube’s comedy movies over the past decade or so, sometimes it seems easy to forget that this was the original crazy motherfucker coming straight outta Compton.
With Everythang’s Corrupt, his first solo disc since 2010, Cube makes it clear that, no matter what, he maintains that revolutionary rage that reinvented not just rap, but society itself. Roll up some throwback chronic, breathe deep, and take in Ice Cube’s wicked takes on the state of everything from politics (“Arrest the President”) to the greats that paved the way for hip-hop’s interplanetary conquest (“The New Funkadelic”).
By Gucci Mane
Get It: iTunes
Gucci Mane lights up Evil Genius, his latest studio LP, with an all-star production posse (including Metro Boomin, Southside, Murder Beatz, and Honorable C.N.O.T.E.) and an A-list roster of guest stars (among them: Bruno Mars, Migos, Lil Yachty, and 21 Savage). Of course, it’s the Atlanta hip-hop kingpin’s continually-evolving ideas and the rhymes he uses to express them that truly backs up the implied boast of the album’s title. Puff and ponder 17 stunning tracks — some may be evil, but each one is genius.
“Shadows of Death and Desire”
By Silent Servant
Get It: Hospital Productions
Techno’s haunted, haunting sorcerer Juan Mendez returns as Silent Servant for Shadows of Death and Desire, his first long player under that moniker since 2012’s eerie mind-melter, Negative Fascination.
This time, Silent Servant serves up seven moody slabs of stark, relentless auditory overwhelm, with every beat and vocal drenched in goth doom, post-punk percussion, and droning vibes that will still make you move. Pack your pipe with your favorite paranoia-producing bud and just give in to the glorious warehouse-shaking journey.
Follow Mike McPadden on Instagram