When streaming was first introduced into mainstream, the excitement about an affordable and easily accessible way to access so much pop culture was met with concerns from the die-hard fans of physical media. It created a new, scarier FOMO —the Fear of Media Obliteration. To some degree, critics have been proven right, with HBO Max appearing to use the service mainly as a tax write-off, or Netflix’s upcoming decision to add commercials for those who can’t afford to avoid them.
Here are some far better — often cheaper and more interesting — platforms worth looking into.
When the laser disc was invented, Criterion saw the usefulness of having a dual audio track for director and actor commentaries. Since then, they’ve become the premiere American company in restoring, licensing, and distributing what are considered important cinematic masterpieces, both contemporary and classic.
Their streaming network offers an impressive line-up every month with themed selections. This month (August) features seven films from actor Yaphet Kotto, the soundtracks of Henry Mancini, and Noir in Colour. They also offer films not officially released on Blu-ray.
Most importantly, their catalogue reaches back well past the 1970s, even into the silent era.
Shudder is for horror fans only, and if you are one, it’s likely you’ve already been lost to its offerings for months. One thing that Shudder does incredibly well, however, is cater to the uninitiated.
While there’s more than enough to satisfy the die-hards, those new to the genre might want to spend a little time in their Horror 101 section during the trial period, which offers classic slashers, Italian giallo, and required viewings such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Nosferatu.
For those less horror-inclined but still seeking out the more bizarre side of cinema, the UK’s Arrow is exactly up your alley. There’s plenty of classic horror and even some crossover titles with Shudder, but what they offer separately more than compensates for the overlap.
Arrow launched with a curated list of favourites from director Edgar Wright (Last Night in Soho), which included John Landis’ first film and other curiosities. There’s also a wider range of European cinema as well.
Tubi has become known for collecting all the attractive box art that almost tempted you into renting those sequels to The Substitute you ultimately passed on. It’s free, which means there’s the occasional commercial, but when you have a catalogue that includes almost 200 movies per genre (with some overlap), it’s hard to complain. If you’re ever looking for something specific and not found on more mainstream services, it never hurts to check Tubi.
North Americans seeking refuge in British television often turn to Acorn, which hosts a variety of detective series, from Murphy’s Law to Luther and Miss Marple. Equally appealing are their historical documentaries. Those looking for movies will be disappointed, but the wealth of whodunits is well worth the small monthly fee.
Kenny Hedges | Contributing Writer