I'm looking for the unexpected, overlooked masterpieces hiding within conventionally marginal artistic genres: novelty Christmas music albums, mass market cowboy novels, direct-to-video action movie sequels, etc.
This question was prompted by a glowing review of Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning
. If Ignatiy Vishnevetsky's to be believed, this direct-to-download fifth sequel to a 1992 Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle "grafts an art-horror movie on to the rootstock of a violent action flick...The two films it brings to mind are Lost Highway
I love it when this happens - when a creator or creators, working on the shortest rations of time, money, attention, and respect, manage to bring forth insightful and even transcendent art in the last place you would expect to see it. As so much of art is context, so much more vibrant is its flower when it blooms in the middle of cash-in mediocrity.
But how many of those little miracles have I passed over because
they sprang up in the most unlikely places? There exist resources for finding underrated mainstream and art house movies
, or underrated pop and indie albums
. But I don't know of any compendiums of the most disquieting direct-to-video actioners, or of the Halloween haunted house sound-effect albums that look to say something new about the human condition.
I'm not necessarily looking for deconstructions or denials of genre, or for works that are fantastic through-and-through. But if you've encountered anything like a mid-series Babysitter's Club book that slipped in a quietly devastating portrait of a suburban marriage, or a Young Indiana Jones tie-in novel which examines Georgian nationalism in pre-indepence Tiflis
, or a made-for-TV holiday movie which charts the depths of a father's regret
, I'd very much like to hear about it.