Monday, May 30, 2011

Streaming Video for Horror Fans

Kids have it so easy today. Back when I was a kid in the 1980s the video tape boom had exploded, you couldn't swing a headless monkey without hitting a video rental store. And what a treasure trove it was for a young horror fan like myself! I had a membership card to almost every video store within a 20 mile radius, and I would go hunting on Fridays after school for fresh horror films that I hadn't seen or only seen edited on TV. Every store had a different selection, and the good ones ordered new stuff all the time. You never knew what fresh titles you might find out there in the forest of video stores.

Today, video rental stores have become a relic of the past. Kids today have it easy, if they want to see a film they look it up on the internet and either put it in their Netflix queue or watch it as it streams right to their computers from a variety of services that just five years ago were unheard of. Part of me misses the old days when you had to physically go out and stalk your big box video prey, but it's only the method of hunting down those prizes that has changed. The game goes on.

My favorite way to watch films is having them stream onto my computer, and much like the old days of video store hopping, I frequent a number of sites to find something to watch. The following is a list of the legal sites (I'm not a bit torrent person) I either frequent or have at least looked at to get my streaming movie fix. If I don't know about one of your favorites, drop me an email and I'll check it out.

Netflix ( This is the only pay service on the list that I use, and it's the one I'm on most of the time. It has a great selection of movies streaming in general, and their horror section is incredible. A wide range of movies from old classics to brand new features. I discovered Aaah! Zombies!!, which we reviewed in our April 2011 episode (HERE), on Netflix streaming. I also got to see unsung classics like Christopher Lee in Castle of The Living Dead (1968) for the first time.

Then you have the movies that aren't on DVD, those are the real joys. Zombiethon(1986) is a compilation of zombie movie scenes from Wizard Video and was only available on VHS tape back in the day. I found it on Netflix on lazy Saturday afternoon and watched it like three times.

I like their layout, which makes finding what you're in the mood for easy and pain free (unlike some site we'll discuss later on). And if you own an Xbox or a Wii, you can watch the streaming videos right on your TV through the game console.

Hulu ( Hulu is a joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corps., mostly known for streaming TV shows. They have a movie section, and sometimes they have really cool films (I watched the 1988 Night Of The Demons just the other day on Hulu), but they also have a lot of commercial breaks, which has become common among the free streaming services.

Their selection is alright, but they list horror in with suspense, so you get Return Of The Living Dead next to a clip from The Bourne Ultimatum. Also, I find the layout to be a little hard to use, not like Netflix.

They have a pay service (Hulu Plus), which lets you watch certain movies and TV shows unavailable on the free site and connect to various mobile devices. Still, after paying $7.99 you still have to put up with advertising. I just use the free service and I don't know anyone who subscribes to Hulu Plus.

On a whole it's okay, but I only use it if they have something I really want see at that moment.

Internet Archive ( This is a treasure trove for public domain film fans. The Internet Archive's Moving Images section has a wide selection of public domain movies, trailers, short subjects, and stock footage free for viewing.

(UPDATE 5/30/2011: Several people pointed out that I should have mentioned that the quality of the video on Internet Archive can range from Okay to really,really poor depending on the quality of the original video uploaded by users, a factor not really found on sites like Netflix or Hulu since they get the higher quality video content from distributors.)

Youtube ( Youtube has full movies available for viewing, with limited ad breaks. Most of the films are shown on the channels of Youtube users and partners, although Youtube themselves are starting to do the online rental thing too ( for a price per film. I don't use Youtube, nor do I see myself using the new rental service, since most of what they have I can find on Netflix or other sites. Still, I keep an eye open just in case they have something I haven't seen before.

Crackle ( I first learned of Crackle when a friend told me they were showing Godzilla films on there. They're a free site with ad breaks like Hulu (although they'll only play one ad per break as oppose to two like Hulu). They're horror selection is less than fifty films, which is pretty weak, and they're layout is horrible. You have to click “browse” under the search box, then refine your search to movies, then horror to get a list of their horror films. Is it so hard to have a simple drop down that lists the different genres on the front page?

Besides the Godzilla films, every now and then they show something like Robert Englund's directorial debut 976-Evil. I do go here every few months just to see if they have something I want to watch.

FearNet ( Fearnet is a HD TV Channel with a web site that streams free movies and web content. To be honest I don't use this for movies. At one time I liked to see their original web series (like Fear Clinic) and their Fear News, but since I was doing this article I decided to check out their movie section.

Like Crackle, they don't have a lot of horror films. I counted 15 movies in total on their list. Most of them are recent independent films. Although I was happy to see An American Werewolf In London on there, again I can see that on Netflix streaming right now too. They didn't seem to have ad breaks when I watch a film on there, which is a plus.

I've left two streaming channels for last, The Monster Channel ( and Alternative Realities TV ( These aren't on demand video streaming, they show content like a TV channel but on the web. Each have a chat room, so you can talk to other fans, riff on the films or share trivia as the films play. I'm a little bias about these two channels, since Ormsby has appeared on both numerous times, and the old green boy can be found chatting on both almost every day. Still, if you're a horror film fan and like chatting during movies, these are for you.

The Monster Channel grew out of 100 Years of Monster Movies. Originally it was suppose to be a three day marathon of horror hosted movies shown live on the web during the spring 2010 HorrorHound Weekend, it proved so popular they started showing double features every Friday night. Then in January of this year they went 24/7. Their selection includes public domain films, TV shows, and old movie serials, and new shows like Zombie Hunters: City Of The Dead ( They still do the horror hosted double feature on Friday nights.

Alternative Realities TV is the watering hole for horror hosts. 24/7 like The Monster Channel, they focus on horror hosts, most of whom can be found in the chat room at any given point in the day. Dr. Sigmund Zoid, Sluggo, Angel, Halloween Jack, Dale Kay, and Crimson Executioner do a get job of showing various horror hosts from around the country, giving them exposure to a new audience.

Unitl Next Time,

Stay Insane!!!

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