Thursday, October 9, 2014

10 Free Movies Worth Watching

Sometimes a movie has become public domain or open source. For whatever reason, they’re free to watch and you can find the films almost anywhere on the web. There are hundreds of these free movies to pick from, but I have compiled a list of ten that are really worth checking out.

10. The Last Man on Earth (1964)- This movie is the story of I Am Legend starring Vincent Price. He is the survivor of a plague that has turned the rest of humanity into vampires. It is a pretty fun adaptation and Vincent Price is a charming guy that plays the protagonist well. There were many adaptations of this story, but in my opinion, this was the closest Hollywood ever got to a decent interpretation of the original story.

9. The Phantom of the Opera (1925)- A silent film starring Lon Chaney, the man of a thousand faces.  It’s worth watching just to see how amazing he was on screen. Not only did he do his own ghoulish mask up, every one of his body movements tell a story of its own. Lon Chaney had deaf parents so he really learned the art of communicating with his body. The Phantom of the Opera is a great display of that talent in action.

8. Metropolis (1927)- Fritz Lang directs this German expressionist sci-fi silent film about a dystopian society. The movie itself is beautiful and dream-like as most expressionist films were at the time. It was also incredibly expensive with lavish special effects (for the time period) and would go on to influence many futuristic movies for years to come.  It was considered a lost film for a long time until 2010 when the nearly completed footage was found and restored.

7. Faust (1926)- Directed by F.W. Murnau, who is famous for Nosferatu. Faust is the tale of the devil Mephisto making a bet with an angel for the dominion over the earth.  He gives the alchemist, Faust, various powers in an attempt to corrupt a righteous man. For a silent movie, the effects are great; the costumes are wonderful and the acting is impressive. It is certainly worth seeing as it is Murnau’s final German film before coming to the United States. It is purely a lovely movie.

6. The House on Haunted Hill (1959)- William Castle directs Vincent Price in the story of a man inviting people to a party where they stay in a haunted house for one night. If they do manage to last the whole night, they will receive $10,000.  The movie is very campy and fun. This was a time when William Castle would turn theaters into fun houses and outfit theaters with glowing skeletons on wires that would fly around at specific times. They would also plant actors in the audience dressed as the stars of the movie to interact with the audience and even offered scare insurance to people before entering the theater. It is fun to watch and to think of a time when you could watch movies that made the show a real event.

5. M (1931)- M is a film directed by Fritz Lang where town’s people seek a child murderer, played by Peter Lorre. This was the first major starring role for Lorre.  The movie is very dark and deals with complex issues of justice and the safety children. It even seems to dig into the subject of the nature of the serial killer. Is he born that way? What makes him do what he does? It’s a smart and clever movie for its time and certainly worth checking out.

4. White Zombie (1932)- This movie is considered the first feature film about zombies. In this case it takes place in Haiti where a man named Murder Legendre, played by Bela Lugosi, has developed a way of enslaving men as mindless zombies to do his bidding using chemicals and voodoo magic. The film is unique as it was an independent horror film that used many of the props and locations that Universal Studios had to offer. It is an eerie movie that is truly a milestone in horror history.

3. Carnival of Souls (1962)- If you are a Twilight Zone fan you will enjoy Carnival of Souls. The movie feels like you are watching someone’s nightmare unfurl before you.  It is the story of a car crash victim attempting to get on with her life in a new town. She cannot find peace as ghoulish apparitions haunt her.  It is a movie that will linger with you long after seeing it and you will never look at an abandoned theme park the same.

2. Night of the Living Dead (1968)- The recently deceased are coming back to life and eating the living. George Romero took the basic concept of I Am Legend and made it something that society has embraced. Some people think it is about racial tensions, others think it is a B-movie that was made to earn a return on the investment. There are good arguments on both sides and you can decide for yourself. Either way it is a creepy film that has withstood the test of time and has gained several sequels.

1. Sita Sings the Blues (2009)- The most recent movie on this list, Sita Sings the Blues, is an animated feature that tells the story of a woman’s divorce compared to the story of the Ramayana, all with musical interludes by Annette Hanshaw. It is animated beautifully. The story is great and the music is well placed throughout the film. It is one that every animation fan should see. Having known very little of the Hindu religion, it was very interesting to learn the story of the Ramayana. It’s both enchanting and enlightening.

Many movies have become free to view. These are just a few of the great things you can find in your search for great movies.  Give them a try and see what you like. At the very least, you will discover that there are more options out there.  Happy watching.

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