Mercury Video Picks 

The White Stuff

Bite me, global warming. As the mercury climbs and sweat glands run rampant this summer, folks can be forgiven for casting their eyes towards cooler climes. For those lacking central air, may I suggest beating the heat with these sterling examples of Cinema du Zamboni?

Ice Station Zebra (1968)--At the frozen arse-end of the world, intrepid sub commander Rock Hudson must face both ruthless Commie hordes and the sight of Ernest Borgnine in a form-fitting parka. Superior Cold War all-star malarkey, made infamous as the film that accompanied Howard Hughes' final mosey into the crazy sunset.

The Thing (1982)--John Carpenter's arctic exercise in gloppy paranoia remains an awe-inspiring formalist achievement, masterfully meshing the bleak outer locale with the glacially doomed atmosphere within. Stinging social commentary, blended with more ice-bound gore than a hemophiliac hockey match. Dog lovers need not apply.

Hot Dog... The Movie (1984)--A mainstay of late-night scrambled cable during the 80s, this teen trash classic documents the exploits of a ragtag group of drunken louts determined to explore every possible permutation of the term "snow-capped peaks." A veritable Ragnarok of raunch, loaded with oodles of brew, bosoms, and burps. If your eyes don't well up during Shannon Tweed's big chairlift scene, then you, sir, have no soul.

The Shining (1980)--To these jaded eyes, this hermetically-sealed horror show has never quite lived up to its rep as the scariest movie ever made, but there's no way to deny its absolute-zero brilliance in depicting the ultimate in cabin-fevered isolation. By consciously eschewing the nuts and bolts of Stephen King's source novel and focusing squarely on the feelings of chilly isolation, Stanley Kubrick creates a vision of all-encompassing frigidity that's honestly unsettling to behold. And who could forget that final shot of the Jacksicle?--ANDREW WRIGHT

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