Heady Entertainment: Stephen King Sativas, Tom Cruise Kush, and OG John Carpenter

Heady Entertainment: Stephen King Sativas, Tom Cruise Kush, and OG John Carpenter

All the best new pot-friendly pop culture that’s fit to smoke! This week includes the latest “Mission Impossible,” Hulu’s Stephen King-inspired “Castle Rock,” and so many other fresh nuggets!

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.

This week, fellow smokers, another high-octane Mission Impossible blows up on the big screen; Castle Rock, a TV series spawned from the spooked-out mind of Stephen King, hits Hulu; smolderingly funny stand-up Iliza Shlesinger cracks wise on Netflix; and, in new music, Gaika drops Basic Volume, his genre-torching debut LP. So let's get straight — but not "straight" to this week's fresh-rolled recommendations.

"Mission Impossible: Fallout" (2018)
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Pegg

The sixth time is the charm when it comes to Mission Impossible: Fallout. More accurately, this sixth installment in the globe-spanning super-spy franchise retains the charm of the first five and, as usual, ups the sheer gut-churning, hair-raising epic scope of the on-screen action.

Once again, as the apparently indestructible secret agent Ethan Hunt, Tom Cruise risks his life, limbs, loins, and other valuables to perform all these superhuman stunts himself for us in the miracle of IMAX 3D. So let's smoke in Tom's honor and try not to freak out at just how insane it all looks.

"Teen Titans GO to the Movies" (2018)
Directors: Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic
Cast: Kristen Bell, Will Arnett, Greg Cipes

One of the great secret stoner TV shows of recent years, Teen Titans GO! on the Cartoon Network sends up superhero tropes with sizzling sarcasm, antic action, and eye-bugging art direction. Now TTG is all blown up to big screen proportions, so adjust your potency of pre-screening consumption in a similar manner.

Robin the Boy Wonder (Scott Menville) leads the adolescent superhero squad in battling arch-villain Slade (Will Arnett) and handling Hollywood negotiations for a Teen Titans movie from filmmaker Jade Wilson (Kristen Bell).

Keep your ears open, as well, for outrageous all-star vocal cameos that include Nicolas Cage as Superman, Jimmy Kimmel as Batman, Halsey as Wonder Woman, and Little Yachty as Green Lantern.

Streaming

"Castle Rock" (2018)
Creator: Sam Shaw, Dustin Thomason
Cast: Andre Holland, Sissy Spacek, Bill Skarsgard
Watch It: Hulu

If you've ever stoked your paranoia (particularly when pot-induced) with stories by fright-meister Stephen King, you've likely spent some spooky time in the Maine community known as Castle Rock.

This weekend, Hulu's busting out an entire series simply called Castle Rock that's set in the terror-filled town where Cujo, The Dead Zone, parts of IT, and other King classics take place.

The show is a top-secret anthology with an A-list cast that includes Sissy Spacek, who famously put King on the movie map when she starred in Carrie (1976). So cozy up, roll up, and get ready to smoke yourself scared.

"Extinction" (2018)
Director: Ben Young
Cast: Michael Peña, Lizzy Caplan, and Erica Tremblay
Watch It: Netflix

In Extinction, a new sci-fi freak-out debuting on Netflix, Michael Peña stars as Peter, a dad who's plagued by nightmares about a coming showdown of hostile space aliens. The dreams are bad (although cool to watch from the couch!), and they turn infinitely worse (and, therefore, even cooler) once the intergalactic invasion ensues for real.

From there, Peter has to wrap his future-predicting head around fighting back, and Extinction erupts into a series of brain-blasts well worth getting yourself wasted to watch.

"Iliza Shlesinger: Elder Millennial" (2018)
Watch It: Netflix

Elder Millennial dispatches fresh standup from Iliza Shlesinger, one of today's funniest and most fearless comedians who, at 35, says she lives up to the comedy special's title. Iliza runs hilariously roughshod over the contemporary rituals of dating and mating, and especially, how each has mutated in the #metoo era. You don't have to be lit to laugh at Iliza, but if you're reading this — you already know you will be!

Cult-Classic Reissues

"The House of the Dead" aka "Alien Zone" (1978)
Director: Sharron Miller
Cast: John Ericsson, Ivor Francis, Judith Novgrod
Get It: Vinegar Syndrome

Initially unleashed into grindhouses as Alien Zone (to cash in on the obvious blockbuster) and then retitled House of the Dead for home video, this scare-flick omnibus kick is a schizoid wonder well worth your weed.

Things start with a genuinely flesh-crawling creep-fest about killer kids in cheap Halloween masks who turn out to be legit frightening. From there, though, House of the Dead careens into enjoyable schlocky goofery that's great to puff and pass to, all the while attempting to not pee your pants in laughter over the sheer horror-bleness of it all!

"In the Mouth of Madness" (1995)
Director: John Carpenter
Cast: Sam Neill, Julie Carmen, Charlton Heston
Get It: Shout Factory

In the Mouth of Madness, horror movie master John Carpenter's off-the-rails homage to literary fright icons Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft, may have baffled audiences on arrival, but has keep cultists inhaling deep and pondering even more deeply over its meaning(s) ever since.

Sam Neill stars as King stand-in Sutter Cane, a bestselling author who disappears before the publication of his final work — a novel so terrifying it literally drives readers insane.

As the action progresses, everyone who comes into contact with Cane and/or his book morphs into a monster, a murderer, or something even weirder. Carpenter has never gotten as surreal he does here, and, for sure, that's an invitation for you to blaze up and bug out. The Madness here is all in the mind (and marijuana, as always, helps!).

Books

"Dark Tourism"
By Rebecca Bathory

Publisher: Carpet Bombing Culture
Get It: Quimby's Books

Dark Tourism is a (literally) heavy compendium of photographer Rebecca Bathory's work, dedicated to her travels throughout the world to explore locations associated with death, doom, decay, and other diabolical delights. It's a gloomily beautiful trip, offering a transcendent chance to travel every time you get high and peruse its gothic pages.

"Pinball Adventures, Vol. 1: In the Beginning"
By Todd Tuckey
Get It: Pinball Buzz

As the title implies, Pinball Adventures, Vol. 1: In the Beginning is the introductory installment of author Todd Tuckey's entertainingly-obsessive history of everybody's favorite light-flashing, bell-ringing, bumper-popping barroom tabletop pastime (that doesn't involve snorting anything).

Using authoritative knowledge, insider stories, and stunning photographs, Tuckey traces pinball history from its origin as a gambling device in speakeasies up to now, when cutting-edge technology keeps modern machines competitive with video games when it comes to separating you from your quarters.

Music

"Basic Volume"
By Gaika
Get It: Warp Records

UK-based vocalist and producer Gaika Tavares loads his sonic bong with a strain of reggae and dancehall uniquely spiked with grime, garage grunge, gothic gloom, trip-hop, and industrial electronics. A murderer's row of collaborators include SOPHIE, Dutch E Germ, Dre Skull and DADRAS, Aart, Nick Leon, and Buddy Ross. Light up this debut album and let Gaika smoke your head right off!

"Gate of Grief"
By White Ring
Get It: Bandcamp

Pitch-black witch house coven White Ring conjures their darkest sonic storm to date, commingling hip-hop, post-punk, and occult abandon in a fuming cauldron that bubbles and fumes with consciousness-conquering tumult. Toke up to White Ring for some truly savage-hearted, drug-souled New York noise.

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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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