ODDITIES THEATER: The Lawnmower Man [director’s cut] (1992)

HEY! IT’S SATURDAY! It may be a new year, but on Saturdays, we still GET WEIRD. Okay? Good. I’m glad that’s settled.

So I’m bowling with my family earlier this week and the thought occurs to me that I’m not actually bowling. I’m not bowling and this is not natural.

I guess I should mention we were doing this through a VR headset.

I’ve been conditioned since I was a child to steer clear of virtual reality. I’ve watched and read countless sci-fi films, TV shows, and books and they all shared the same sentiments: Virtual reality is bad. It’s going to get inside your mind and fuck you up. We’re all doomed.

But now that it’s here, it just kind of makes me nauseous. Nothing too scary yet.

I’m actually a better bowler now that I’m not bowling for real. It can’t be all bad, right?

Anyway, every now and then I come across one of those old sci-fi films and it throws me right back down that great spiral of paranoia. This happened to me three nights ago when I watched the great Kathryn Bigelow flick (do people still use that term? I do) Strange Days. Now I’m sick every time I see one of the kids wearing that bulky visor over their eyes. I get all sweaty and my heart gets to hammering something awful. I think I’ll smash it to pieces as they sleep tonight.

I tried to find Strange Days on YouTube. It would have been the perfect film for this week because it not only fits the VR theme, but it also contains a New Year’s celebration. Sadly, it wasn’t in the cards. There were a couple of videos that contained the entire film, but they were displayed in a manner that made it impossible to watch—weird aspect ratios, darkened scenes, soundtracks echoing. If you want to see it properly, check it out right now on HBO MAX. It’s a good one.

As for Oddities Theater, today we’re watching another trippy mindfuck concerning virtual reality, Brett Leonard’s The Lawnmower Man, loosely based on a story by the Master of Horror himself, Stephen King. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but I don’t remember it featuring a New Year’s celebration. Sorry, folks.

Perhaps some brave soul will throw caution to the wind, defy copyright laws, and post a decent copy of Strange Days on YouTube between now and 2024. If so, I’ll be sure to feature it on Oddities Theater this time next year. Until then, we’ll always have The Lawnmower Man.

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