I love horror movies and we are lucky that there are so many great movies that you can watch online for free. Today, I’m going to focus on three classic horror flicks that are available to watch on Tubi.
THE EXORCIST Starring Linda Blair, Max Von Sydow, Ellen McRae, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn, and Jack MacGowran. Description: When a charming 12-year-old girl takes on the characteristics and voices of others, doctors say there is nothing they can do. As people begin to die, the girl’s mother realizes her daughter has been possessed by the devil–and that her daughter’s only possible hope lies with two priests and the ancient rite of demonic exorcism. Watch The Exorcist on Tubi
THE LOST BOYS Starring Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Dianne Wiest, Barnard Hughes, Kiefer Sutherland, Alex Winter, and Edward Herrmann. Description: Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. When a woman and her sons move to a California town, they discover the fun of vampire life. Watch The Lost Boys on Tubi
INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE Starring Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Stephen Rea, Antonio Banderas, Christian Slater, Kirsten Dunst, and Domiziana Giordano. Description: In late 20th-century San Francisco, a 200-year-old vampire tells his story–of desire, love, yearning, grief, terror, ecstasy–to a young reporter, weaving the history that has come to be known as Interview With The Vampire. Watch Interview with the Vampire on Tubi
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We had a very honest and candid discussion with indie filmmaker Ian Russell of Ringo Jones Productions about his debut feature, the micro-budget horror comedy The Killing Death. The movie, in true b-horror, is about two bumbling cops who are on the trial of a serial killer who makes pizza out of their victims!
When? The Killing Death was originally shot in 2006 over a five day period for approximately $500 (Canadian). It was screened that October and then put away in a drawer and the depths of various hard drives for years afterwards. A few film festival rejections led nowhere, so I figured it was a test feature rather than anything that would make much noise.
Flash forward over a decade. Amazon Prime has opened up a new avenue for independent movies and I’m contacted by Zellco who had attended the original screening and asked if the movie was available to put online. I decide to open up that drawer and dig through those old hard drives to re-evaluate the movie. With the passage of time, I noticed that there’s some funny stuff that could appeal to cult movie fans. I commissioned an all-new soundtrack from Bogman to replace the public domain old-timey jazz of the original cut and found that the movie suddenly played much better! From there, Zellco put it on Amazon Prime (and other streaming sites) for the world to see and a handful of curious people do.
What? The Killing Death was inspired by the Herschel Gordon Lewis gore classic Blood Feast. Way back in my university days, I took a cult film class and was exposed to some obscurities that I’d never seen. Now Blood Feast is pretty famous to horror fans, but I’d missed it and there was a lot to like despite the budget limitations. Watching it, I thought that if it had only leaned a little more into comedy, it could work even better, so I decided to write a spoofier version. I kept the idea of two bumbling police officers on the trail of a killer following an Egyptian ritual, but amped up the silliness.
The story was deliberately kept simple to make it possible to shoot on the cheap and I took the idea that the reason the killer was murdering his victims was to take the best parts of them to feed to his new girlfriend in pizza form. That way, she’d be the sum total of all of the things he liked about others. That aspect of the story was perhaps a little undeveloped, but it was my first try, so it is what it is.
Where? While the location the story is happening is never explicitly stated in the movie, The Killing Death was shot in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. We used a handful of apartments of the crew, my parents house, some streets where traffic would be at a minimum (since we didn’t bother with permits), a convenience store one of the cast worked at, the universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba where I’d been a student, and a local pizza joint. That restaurant, Chicago Phil’s, generously closed for a few hours so we could shoot inside. They may have been under the impression the movie was going to give them some free advertising, instead of just a couple of huge orders we put in to feed everyone.
Who? I [Ian Russell] wrote, directed, edited, produced, location scouted, etc., The Killing Death. You name it, I probably did it. I’d hold the camera, set the lights, hold the boom, whatever needed to be done. But so did a lot of people. I had whoever was around take part, so the crew all got a chance to work on camera, lighting, sound, etc. Heck, one of the actors brought his teenage son to the set and we let him film a scene too! We were all amateurs who didn’t bother to let the fact that we had no idea what we were doing slow us down. Now a lot of that shows on screen. There’s stuff that makes me cringe and wonder if I should have ever let this out into the world, but then I’ll watch some terrible b-movie and see something way worse and not feel so bad.
I learned everything by doing. I’d only taken a short workshop in filmmaking, so if there was a mistake, I made it. My editing experience came from editing a short from that workshop on Final Cut Pro, so I basically was self-taught. There are so many more tutorials out there on Youtube nowadays that would have been lifesavers back in 2006, but I had to struggle through on my own.
My buddy Lee Hansen helped out with everything, from making the fake blood to directing a couple of scenes when the room was too crowded for crew, to letting us decorate his apartment walls with pornography. You’ll spot him in one scene talking to the University Professor who’s about to lose his brain.
Because this was our first project, everything that could go wrong did. From lights that got so hot everyone was sweating profusely, to the fact that our elderly cast members couldn’t bend at the knees to examine corpses, to overly verbose conversations, to a fight scene that was so poorly choreographed that the entire sequence was cut from the final movie. (Unfortunately I’d forgotten to tell that actress and she came to the screening with her entire family only to find out that her scenes had been whittled down to a few seconds. Oops!) Luckily we had some great actors who saved our bacon. The lead cops were played by Jeremy Dangerfield and Tyhr Trubiak, with the killer played by Neil Reimer and his girlfriend played by Veronica Ternopolski. Tyhr’s gone on to star in some other interesting indie horror movies (Aegri Somnia and Tempus Tormentum). Veronica was in Dark Forest, while Jeremy retired to Vancouver and Neil became a teacher overseas. Everyone did a great job with what they had to work with and I only wish I’d given them more and better things to do!
Why? The Killing Death was made because we wanted to make a movie! In Winnipeg, there’s a very strong short film community based around the local film co-op. Taking Guy Maddin’s work as inspiration, they play festivals and get artistic cred. I didn’t want to go that route. I wanted to make schlock that was fun and entertaining without taking itself seriously. So rather than go through government funding organizations or apply for grants, I just sold some of my various collections (video games, comics, etc) to raise enough cash to buy a decent (for the time) prosumer camera, shotgun mic, home depot lights, and took the plunge. The script came quick (too quick) and we had a casting call to find people that were willing to work for free. The lead cop, Jeremy Dangerfield, was a member of the Actor’s Union so we had to sign a deferral agreement with them to use him, but everyone else was just as indie as we were.
I really wanted to use this as a chance for everyone to learn and grow, so the atmosphere on set was loose and open. My only regret was that we did everything so fast that I didn’t really get a chance to explore the story as much as I should have. I had so many ideas for new stuff that came after the fact. Which is what led to the novelization of the movie coming ten years later. It’s the version of the movie that I should have made / wish I could have. If you like anything you see on screen, read the book. It’s definitely a million times better in every way.
How? Before COVID hit, I was all set to film another feature, but that’s been put on hold until restrictions lighten up here. In the meantime, I’ve been keeping incredibly busy publishing books, making youtube videos, and writing new screenplays. Everything I’m doing all connects back to The Killing Death and the characters of Frank and Jimmy have many more adventures on the page and (hopefully soon) on screen.
Today’s spotlight independent movie is Nowhere Michigan, a crime thriller comedy from director Robert Vornkahl and starring Tequan Richmond, Jenna Boyd, Christina Scherer, Ashlie Atkinson, Seth Kirschner, Richard Riehle, and Nick Jax Slater.
Official Description: Fleeing the scene of a murder, David (Tequan Richmond) drives north, attempting to get as far as away possible. He ends up in a small, frozen town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and reluctantly becomes absorbed into the town.
Soon after, criminals involved in the murder track David down bringing violence and chaos to this town in Nowhere, Michigan. The colorful locals of this small town become integrally woven into David’s life. Madison (Jenna Boyd), a pregnant bartender with a rough past and hard nosed attitude; April (Christina Scherer), a girl-next-door waitress who can barely conceive of a world outside her hometown; Martin (Richard Riehle), an older, gruff ice fisherman who is deeply suspicious of David; and Erin (Ashlie Atkinson), a local drug dealer who befriends David but gets caught in the crosshairs when his past catches up with him. (Source: Website)
I love that YouTube has a wide variety of movies to watch for free, but I wish there was a better way to search them (the free section is just a jumbled mess of movies from all years & genres). While scanning through the options, I stumbled on three movies I haven’t seen in 20 plus years. A collection of Ernest comedies to watch for free!
For those who don’t know him, Ernest P. Worrell, played by physical comedy legend Jim Varney, was a clumsy/goofy yet lovable doofus who saved Christmas, went to camp, and was scared stupid (to name a few of his hijinks). If you don’t know the character, you for sure know Varney’s voice as he provided it for Slinky Dog in Toy Story and Toy Story 2. The Ernest character started in commercials, then moved to TV where Varney received a Daytime Emmy, and finally made the leap to movies in 1987 where the character was featured in 9 movies.
What does YouTube have streaming for free right now?
ERNEST GOES TO SCHOOL Description: Jim Varney’s recurring dim-bulb character Ernest P. Worrell returns in this film as a school maintenance man seeking to obtain a high school diploma. Watch on YouTube
ERNEST RIDES AGAIN Description: Buffoonish Ernest and his dimwitted pal Abner unearth a huge cannon reputed to contain the crown jewels of England. Watch on YouTube
SLAM DUNK ERNEST Description: Ernest P. Worrell becomes a basketball star after an angel bearing an uncanny resemblance to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar gives him a pair of magic sneakers. Watch on YouTube
What movies from your childhood have you stumbled on while scanning through free movies? What movie marathons have you been able to put together?
We had the opportunity to talk with writer/director/producer Jude Klassen on her indie musical, Love in the Sixth. She shares lots of great insight on making an independent feature musical with what you have available to you. Read for more details and where to watch Love in the Sixth!
Why? Love in the Sixth is my first feature – a kind of accidental musical that was inspired by watching a cool film made for a grand (Mourning Has Broken) by my now producing partners, The Butler Brothers. At the time I was making political satire music videos with LITS DP, Rob McGee and we decided that we could definitely afford to make a feature for that amount of coin. We ended up spending more, but we did keep costs to a bare minimum with an incredible volunteer army.
I dusted off a script I was working on and started to assemble a team. At my pal Asher Ettinger’s music jam party, in April 2014, I met TC Folkpunk aka Tim Cameron who ended up being my co-star and co-composer on Love in the Sixth. Together with Asher we rather spontaneously started writing songs for the characters to perform.
What? It’s an “enviromantic” musical about living in the sixth extinction. LITS has been called “Blondie meets Cassavetes” and I think that’s pretty accurate. It’s not your typical musical, it’s a gritty, funny, naturalistic drama intercut with documentary footage – the main character, Dani interviews strangers on the street about love, relationships, and politics. OK, maybe a nod to the documentary style footage in When Harry Met Sally.
Some of the songs are full color productions like Fucking Love! and Mancation, others are weighty, black and white, dark night of the soul numbers like Murder Us to Sleep. An audience favorite is Bitch in My Pants that was recorded live – an authentic glimpse into the song-writing process where mating and making music meet. Dani is fighting the “Bitch in her Pants” who keeps ruining her life with bad man choices.
Where? We shot all over Toronto: west side, east side, my house, the actor’s houses, nobody was spared. The beauty of truly independent filmmaking is that you really can be spontaneous and that can lead to some pretty magical shit. LITS is a cool window into the Toronto artistic community with not-so-ordinary people coping with life in what feels like the end of days.
When? I started working on LITS in April of 2014 at the end of an intense breakup and threw every good, bad, beautiful, toxic emotion into the film. We had our World Premiere at the 2015 Whistler International Film Festival, and our US premiere at the 2016 Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (CIMMFEST). LITS screened in Toronto at the Fox Theatre in June of 2017 and November 2017 at a launch for being on the NFB / First Weekend Club’s Canada Screens website.
Who? Starring whoever showed up! That was our running joke. Thankfully, I know a lot of naturally hilarious people. Actors, musicians, painters, story tellers. The story revolves around single mom, tutor, and entertainment writer/host Dani (me) who films interviews: Martini Think Tanks in her living room. Her bestie, Mavis (Wendy Sinclair) is in a thruple with two brothers (Brett Butler, Jason Butler) and is falling for one of the bros. Dani’s daughter, Kat (Mikhael Klassen Kay) is the 11 year-old climate activist who fights the power and questions her mom’s choice of a boyfriend. Dani’s friend Qalie (Shay Steinberg) is in a dysfunctional relationship with Tamara (Lisa Santonato), and has some beautiful moments of romantic breakdown that includes putting on lipstick while driving.
Since in real life I was an entertainment writer/host I was able to wrangle a few interesting cameos from the likes of Survivorman (Les Stroud) who helped me recreate our Movie Entertainment interview as fiction with the intrusion of the jealous boyfriend, Sid (TC Folkpunk), who scares him off before Dani can finish the interview. There’s a sweet cameo from actor/comedian Dennis Trainer who plays a Survivorman super fan who pops out of the shrubbery to ask a few questions. Globe and Mail TV critic, John Doyle plays himself on Dani’s live streamed Martini Think Tank show with model/actor/voice of The Corporation, Mikela Jay playing a cynical Canadian TV star set on pissing off her controlling publicist who shuts Dani’s livestream down. We also have a cameo from environmental bad boy/musician John Lefebrve who does a duet with Bitchumen Bitch (me in a black wig) called Dirty Lies which we shot on both the Scarborough Bluffs (with epic paper-mache oil-covered duck costumes by Laura Lind) and Salt Spring Island in BC. John’s footage was captured by my second cameraperson, Jeremy Gilbert, who was on the island visiting his sister. “Hey Jer, while you’re there…“
How? You can catch Love in the Sixth on Amazon Prime Video in the US, Canada, and the UK. Final tidbit: I’m currently in post on my second feature as writer/director, Stupid For You, also a musical with the Dani and Kat characters in another time/dimension and the focus is on the teenage LBGTQ love triangle. Produced by the aforementioned Butler Brothers (Substance Productions Inc), with the same musical production team: Tim Cameron, Asher Ettinger and me. Still has that living at the end of the world atmosphere and wicked tunes but with a John Hughes nouveau vibe.
With Godzilla vs Kong set for release in a couple days, now would be a good time to revisit older movies from the Godzilla and King Kong collections. While I was browsing IMDB TV, I stumbled on Godzilla 2000 available to watch online for free! In the Takao Okawara movie, the monster must once again save Tokyo…
“Godzilla saves Tokyo from a flying saucer that transforms into the beast Orga.”
Click here to watch Godzilla 2000 for free on IMDB TV! The monster movie stars Takehiro Murata, Hiroshi Abe, Naomi Nishida, Mayu Suzuki, and Shirô Sano.
There are so many streaming websites offering free movies that it can be really hard to choose what to watch online! Today we’re going to spotlight three classic Sci-Fi films that are all available to watch online for free (legally with commercials). Today’s spotlight looks at movies that are available on YouTube.
THE TERMINATOR Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, & Michael Biehn. Description: A cyborg is sent from the future on a deadly mission. He has to kill Sarah Connor, a young woman whose life will have a great significance in years to come. Sarah has only one protector – Kyle Reese – also sent from the future. The Terminator uses his exceptional intelligence and strength to find Sarah, but is there any way to stop the seemingly indestructible cyborg? Watch The Terminator for free on YouTube
CONTACT Starring Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, John Hurt, Tom Skerritt, & Angela Bassett. Description: “We are not alone…” Two-time Academy Award-winner Jodie Foster and Hollywood’s brightest new star, Matthew McConaughey, shine in this spellbinding drama of a dedicated astronomer’s quest to make first Contact. Watch Contact for free on YouTube
STARGATE Starring Kurt Russell, James Spader, Alexis Cruz, Jaye Davidson, & John Diehl. Description: Set against the wondrous backdrop of the Great Pyramids, “Stargate” tells the story of two very different men (Kurt Russell, James Spader) who join forces to unravel the mystery of a curious artifact which could reveal the origin of civilization. Watch Stargate for free on YouTube
How do you choose what movies to watch online? Whenever The Terminator is available to watch, I watch it. What are the movies that you need to watch when you stumble on it?