As the weather outside gets more and more frightful, the list of films getting tossed onto the various web-based video streaming outlets is getting more and more delightful. A few weeks have passed since the last time this editorial went up (blaming it on this writer’s recent nuptials) , and it just so happens that in those weeks, countless films have hit the likes of Netflix, Fandor and Hulu, and Hell, this weekend even boasts an impressive lineup on networks like TCM. So how are you supposed to sparse through all of the various films one can watch for nearly nothing, especially when films like Cloud Atlas and other awards darlings are making their debut. Well, that’s what this is for. Here are the five films that you need to watch this weekend, available right from the comfort of your own home.
5.Films of Mario Bava (Netflix)
As more and more people jump aboard the Mario Bava bandwagon thanks to the handful of new Blu-rays released of the director’s iconic horror films from none other than Kino, those with Netflix are in for a special treat. Recently, the outlet added a cavalcade of Bava’s films. Included amongst them? Well, the Kino released The House Of Exorcism/Lisa And The Devil, as well as The Girl Who Knew Too Much, Kill, Baby, Kill, and the director’s masterpieces Baron Blood and Bay Of Blood. Toss in films like Black Sabbath and The Knives, and you have a total of 12 features helmed by the iconic filmmaker available to stream this very instant. Personal favorites here are the two pictures with blood in the title, both Baron and Bay. They not only blend all of the themes that Bava would attempt to touch on his entire career, but are also some of his most visually inspired pictures. Kill is an underrated bloody atmospheric gem as well.
4.Cat People (TCM ‘“ Saturday, 9am EST)
As Halloween nears its masked head relatively quickly, TCM is going out of their way to have days worth of horror films and thrillers crammed right into their lineups. One of their crowning gems is the underrated Jaques Tourneur chiller, Cat People. Starring Simone Simon, the film follows the story of a woman who fears that she may, in fact, turn into a panther. With eroticism steeped into the very narrative that it posits (the woman only fears this when she becomes ‘aroused,’) the film is one of the more mood-driven horror classics of the golden era of horror pictures (this only came a decade after the Universal monster films arrived), and is easily producer Val Lewton’s masterpiece. Featuring brilliant photography and some of the better performances from this era of horror film, Cat People is far and away one of the 15-20 greatest horror films ever committed to celluloid.
3.Monsieur Lazhar (Netflix ‘“ Available 10/27)
Of all the films that hit Austin this year for SXSW, there were few that stood taller than the brilliant Canadian film, Monsieur Lazhar. Directed by Philippe Falardeau, the film features a star-making performance from Mohamed Fellag, and follows the story of a substitute teacher looking for asylum in Montreal. A substitute, he takes over for a teacher who had recently committed suicide, only to find out that he has more in common with his students than he originally thought. A brilliantly crafted, almost proto-Bergman-style drama, Lazhar is a wonderfully made and emotionally devastating picture that will leave the viewer emotionally gripped throughout its runtime. Easily one of 2012′s greatest films, Lazhar is a perfect watch for anyone looking to stay inside this weekend and keep out of the rain.
2.City of Life And Death (Fandor)
If the rain doesn’t have you down, than director Lu Chuan may have your number. Currently available on Fandor is the director’s latest epic, The City Of Life And Death, and it’s one of the best films added to any streaming outlet in months. One of the highest grossing films of 2009 out of its native China, the film is not only a genuinely brilliant motion picture craft wise, but it’s also one of the more emotionally resonant films to be released in the last handful of years. Featuring top tier performances and absolutely harrowing set pieces, Life And Death is simply described as a masterpiece.
1.The Black Cat (YouTube)
Finally, some horror to make this weekend a little scarier. Recently fodder for a For Criterion Consideration post here at The CriterionCast, you can watch the masterful and underrated horror classic, The Black Cat, in the comfort of your own home. It’s available to stream on YouTube in a relatively solid transfer, thanks to the fact that it’s currently a public domain picture. Seeing Karloff and Lugosi on the screen, together, in easily their greatest team up is the stuff that dreams are made of. With odd anti-war themes and two firecracker performances from its leads, The Black Cat is a brooding and atmospheric horror gem that deserves a massive Blu-ray release from some studio with the smarts to toss in into the ether. Criterion? You listening?