Well, it’s that time of the month again, Folks. The guard is changing over at Netflix as old titles rotate out of service and new ones rotate in. It’s a bitter-sweet time, as everybody scrambles to get in longstanding movies on their watch list or to rewatch an old favorite one last time.
Normally, October draws into sharp relief just how sparse Netflix’s horror movie selection is, bolstered by the inevitable horror titles leaving just in time for Halloween. That’s not quite the case this time around (although there is one notable outgoing horror movie, even if that one is excusable by a technicality I’ll get too later on). What we are losing, however, is far more valuable: many of Netflix’s surprisingly strong lineup of older streaming options are going by the wayside, leaving you only so long to get in one final viewing before the end times come for them.
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) – At various times in every cinephile’s life, they’ll strike up a conversation with somebody who simply insists that they don’t like classic movies. Any classic movie. It doesn’t matter who made it or what it’s about, if it’s older than, say, 1980, they don’t want to hear about it. Even so, I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t love this movie. They just can’t help it: the characters are so richly drawn, the direction is so thoroughly modern and the subject matter is so incredibly engrossing. Regardless of how picky their taste in movies is, people just can’t stop falling in love with this movie.
Cabaret (1972) – I will never forget the first time I saw Cabaret. It was the play, not the film, and I had zero idea what it was about. I was with family on vacation and it was simply what was running in the city at that time (it’s not like we had much of a choice). But I settled into my seat and was immediately engrossed in the story of a transient writer trying to make it in pre-war Berlin. We meet his neighbors, ranging from a roughshod cabaret girl, a Jewish grocer, a greedy landlady and his ‘politically active’ friend who hires him for a few harmless smuggling jobs. It’s not until the last scene before the intermission that you realize what exactly pre-war Germany entails, and who exactly would be politically-active in this place and time. It’s a chilling reveal and completely throws the production into a new and disturbing light. The film might not quite live up to that tall narrative order, but it’s a damned fine story that feels criminally underseen today, especially in an age of resurgent Nazism and nationalism.
Deliverance (1972) – While I wasn’t lying when I said that there was only one horror movie of note leaving Netflix this month, I certainly failed to capture the spirit of “one plus Deliverance.” The film is a harrowing deconstruction of modern masculine adventure narratives and a chilling entry into the infamous rape revenge genre. While it’s hard to exactly call this movie scary, it would have been an excellent addition to anybody’s holiday movie rotation.
All the President’s Men (1976) – History, as ever, is cyclical. Rather than face formal impeachment for the Watergate scandal, Nixon, still reeling from the revelations of the Pentagon Papers, resigns: sending American politics (depending on who exactly you ask) into either a chaotic tailspin from which it has yet to truly recover from or a harrowing triumph of ethical conduct and functional government. In a lot of ways, the answer might have been a little bit of both. And then, of course, you have the recent news cycle, where Pelosi announced that Democrats were formally beginning impeachment proceedings following the myriad of Trump scandals that have occurred since before he even took office. Now, more than ever, movies like All the President’s Men and The Post (2017) are powerful reminders of how the system works (or at least is supposed to work) and how the hard work of a desperate few men and women can alter the course of history.
Gremlins (1982) – And here we have it: the one great, true horror film getting booted just in time for Halloween. I’m, as ever, loathe to see it go. The movie is fun and funny and the perfect kind of B-movie camp for the lighter side of the upcoming Holiday, but I will give it a pass for its by absolute ties to Christmas as a thematic and narrative conceit. As much as I love it, the movie never quite fit the Fall very well because, well, there’s just too much damned snow in it. Come December I will sorely miss its presence in my Netflix queue, but for now, there are scores more movies better suited to the task of Halloween.