It’s happened to me and I’m sure it has happened to you. You open up the latest issue of Fangoria or Rue Morgue or whatever awesome genre publication you happen to have your hands on, and you read about a film that is coming out in a couple of months that you just NEED to see. It keeps getting closer and closer to the release date, and then it is finally there. Only the closest the film is playing to you is hours away, or states away, even. Lucky for us, some independent distributors are seeking to change that.
The two biggest names doing this right now are IFC and Magnolia. They’re both taking much of their genre offerings – be they horror, sci-fi, action – and making them available to stream either day and date with theatrical or some times even prior to. Some of the bigger titles that this happened to recently were SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD, THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE, [REC] 2 and MONSTERS. Of course with the good comes some bad. It is great that these are able to reach a wider audience than they would if they were only playing in theaters, but the pre-theatrical releases can cost up to $14.99 for a 24 hour rental and the theatrical releases usually cost between $6.99 and $9.99. To be fair, that’s about what a movie ticket costs now in most big cities, but a TV is not a movie theater and the quality is not always the greatest. More often than not, the titles are only available in standard definition and non-anamorphic, which leaves a lot to be desired presentation wise. When they’re available in HD though, they usually look great. Almost everything Magnolia offers is available in HD, but IFC have not caught up to that yet.
Anyway, there are some great titles available through both of these distributors that are streaming right now and warrant your attention, if they don’t already have it. The dates in parentheses are for when the film is no longer available to stream. From IFC we have: KA-BOOM (4/26), TETSUO: THE BULLET MAN (4/09), EXORCISMUS (4/05), HEARTLESS (2/24), BLACK HEAVEN (3/01). Magnolia do not have as much right now but VANISHING ON 7th STREET is now available and they have BLACK DEATH and RUBBER coming soon.
Now, this is not me telling you to order On Demand over going to a cinema. I will always prefer and recommend that people see films in a theatrical space, but this allows for films that do not get a wide release to be seen by as may people as possible, and I see no wrong in that. So, the next time you’re trying to find a good horror film to see, don’t get stuck with the next PARANORMAL ACTIVITY sequel at the multiplex or some DTV abomination through the Redbox in the local grocery store. Just turn on your cable box and hit that magic button marked “On Demand”, I promise you that you’ll like what you find.