Hidden Films is an in-depth guide to films not currently available on Netflix (though it is not a critique of Netflix, more like a supplement). These range from critically praised movies that nonetheless are relegated to a VHS-only format, to box-office failures that escaped notoriety or camp status, to unreleased or undistributed works that only the directors and their families have seen. The site will eventually cover underground or little-known film festivals across the country, to help new artists reach an audience and avoid potential obscurity.
I compiled a list of roughly 5,000 films that intrigued me while plumbing through the Internet Movie Database’s list of every movie ever made, and then discovered that a good 1,000 of these films cannot be found on Netflix (some of them are designated as “Saved,” which means they may become available at an indefinite date). I have already begun accumulating these films via purchases from eBay, Amazon and countless other retailers of rare and/or VHS-only releases; writing directly to film archivists, film distributors and even directors to request screeners; and renting VHS tapes from a fantastic rare video store in Manhattan, Video Room. As a current movie reviewer for Screen Comment and The L Magazine, I plan to critique these films as I watch them, citing relevant excerpts from published reviews or academic essays. Where possible, I will include interviews with various cast and crew members associated with these films, as well as film scholars and critics.
Whether the obscure films you’re hoping to discover are the works of misunderstood geniuses or the trashiest fragments of low culture, I hope that Hidden Films brings you as many laugh-filled and/or insightful nights as I’ve experienced while building it. I welcome any and all suggestions from readers about additional rare films I should seek out.