Small Screen Machine

Our weekly recommendations of great films on TV

This week’s Top Pick is Blue Velvet, chosen by Shona, while Drew offers four other films to complete this week’s Small Screen Machine recommendations.

Blue Velvet (1986, 18)
Film4, 10.45pm on Sunday 1 November
Not for the faint-hearted, round off your Hallowe’en weekend with this beautifully tense and sensual modern noir from the strange mind of David Lynch (Twin Peaks, Wild at Heart, The Straight Story). A young Kyle MacLachlan, in his second collaboration with Lynch after starring in Dune, and his girlfriend Laura Dern (Jurassic Park) try to untangle the strikingly sad mystery that is Isabella Rosellini and come face to face with Dennis Hopper as a perfectly pitched psychopath. In true Lynchian-style mystery, you’ll never look at a human ear in the same way again…


Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (2005, PG)
ITV2, 1.25pm on Saturday 31 October
This stop motion musical fantasy uses the same techniques as Burton’s previous A Nightmare Before Christmas. While a groom-to-be is practising his vows out in the woods, he accidentally weds himself to a zombie bride, who takes him to the netherworld. He must make his way back before his fiancee is married to someone else.


Whitney (2018, 15)
Channel 4, 10.55pm on Saturday 31 October
This biopic documentary from director Kevin Macdonald (Touching the Void, The Last King of Scotland) explores one of music’s most iconic and tragic figures. It charts Whitney Houston’s skyrocket rise to fame, the difficulties of her personal life, and her untimely death at just 48 years old, with interviews with some of those closest to her.


They Live (1988, 18)
Film4, 12.30am on Sat 31 Oct/Sun 1 Nov
Featuring perhaps the longest fistfight in film history, John Carpenter’s sci-fi satire sees a drifter discover aliens have infiltrated human society, using mass media to control our behaviour. The aliens pursue him, determined to keep their secret hidden, but unlucky for them he’s all out of bubblegum.


Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1988, PG)
Sony Movies, 4.30pm on Sunday 1 November
Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter star as the eponymous loveable airheads who use a telephone box to travel through time and learn about the past, all so they can pass a high school history class. But it is vital they succeed, for the fate of the world rests on them graduating high school and becoming legendary rock stars.


As it’s Halloween, here are a few additional scary recommendations if you’re looking to have a petrifying weekend:

Friday 30th/Saturday 31st October
12.45am, The Awakening (2011, 15), BBC2

Saturday 31st October
10.45pm, Halloween (1978, 18), Film4
11.10pm, Poltergeist (1982, 15), BBC2
12.35am, The Ring (2002, 15), BBC1

Sunday 1st November
9pm, A Quiet Place (2018, 15), Film4


We’ll be back with more news next week. We hope that you all have a great week and stay well.