Friday, March 6, 2009
Cult movies available for free download: Cultra Rare Videos
UPDATE: This site went from offering free films as .avi files, to charging a small amount for them, to disappearing entirely. More's the pity.
I’ve noticed over the past few years that the usual public domain film titles have been joined by a crazy amount of Seventies TV movies that somehow fell into the dark pit of copyright-less-ness which allows low-end home-entertainment companies to crank out “dollar discs” without being prosecuted. Now, a site has appeared that offers free downloads of some really fun cult titles that are languishing in the gap that appeared when the DVD format took over from VHS, Cultra Rare Videos.
The owner of the site maintains that the films he’s making available are all in public domain. Who am I to question, but among the titles are things that at some point, way back when, were films released by major studios, including Peckinpah’s Convoy (silly as hell, but not as bad as its reputation), Simon (really enjoyable, but falls apart near the end), and W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings.
I do know that the films this gent (why can I pretty sure this is a gent running this site?) is offering are currently not readily available on DVD in the U.S., and so he is offering a service to cult-movie buffs. The films can be watched on his site (if the thing takes off, I don’t know how he’ll pay for the bandwidth), or you can download them as .avi files. He gives directions for PC-owners, but I own a Mac and had no trouble downloading two films and getting them to play on the all-purpose VLC player (decent resolution too, even in full-screen mode).
Again, I’m not sure why this person is making these films available but I know the Funhouse audience will enjoy. I’ve just included a short list of things that deserve your attention — just as my last post was Sixties-obsessed, this list is extremely Seventies. I’ve omitted the TV-movie titles, but the most notable in that category are Boy in the Plastic Bubble (never could take old Johnny) and Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway (Cultra also has the boy version of the tale, Alexander: the Other Side of Dawn and a Charlene Tilton runaway telefilm). I think I prefer Tony Perkins in How Awful About Allan (and from that title, you just know Henry Farrell wrote the sucker…). Here is a segment from the unnecessary but still well-acted TV-movie remake of Les Diaboliques starring Tuesday Weld.
Andy Warhol’s Bad, Russ Meyer's Blacksnake, Circle of Two, Coonskin, Claudia Jennings fans, indulge: Gator Bait AND Truck Stop Women (what, no Unholy Rollers?), House of the Long Shadows, Imprisoned Women (ain’t this the late-night staple Cage without a Key?), Rolling Thunder, The Runner Stumbles, Tunnelvision, Willard, and the film that asks the musical question, “when did Gene Hackman, Max Von Sydow, and Catherine Deneuve all work together on a foreign legion movie?” (March or Die). All found here.
The site master gives high marks for sheer campiness to the masterwork du crap, Black Devil Doll From Hell.
I, however, would also like to draw your attention to this stroke of genius, the backwoods, homoerotic, very nutsy, Susan Tyrrell-blessed Night Warning. It’s quite, quite special (and can also be watched on YouTube).