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). It is meant to raise awareness about movies that, for whatever reason, did not receive the long-standing distribution deal, so-bad-it’s-good cult status, widespread fan base or other accolades necessary to save them from obscurity. (However, a significant number of what I call “non-Netflix films” aren’t obscure; they are widely discussed and analyzed works, often made by celebrated directors, which makes their exemption from Netflix and/or relegation to VHS-only format a little puzzling).
The movies discussed on Hidden Films will run the gamut from small to large, from relatively well-known to completely unknown, from classy to asinine, from near-perfect to godawful. When possible, I will feature interviews with/excerpts from the directors, actors, screenwriters, set designers, dolly grips or anyone else I can find that is associated with these films–as well as film scholars and aficionados–to shed light on why, exactly, they either were swept under the rug or never saw the light of day to begin with.
My idea for Hidden Films came about after I compiled a list of roughly 5,000 movies that intrigued me while plumbing through the Internet Movie Database’s list of every movie ever made, and then discovered that many 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). They range from straight-to-video slasher pics to film school projects to thirty-minute silent films from as far back as 1898. I have been slowly accumulating these films via purchases from eBay, Amazon and countless other retailers of rare and/or VHS-only releases; gifts from my family and fiancee; writing directly to film archivists, film distributors and even directors and actors to request screeners or personal copies; and renting VHS tapes from a fantastic rare video store in Manhattan, Video Room.
I have traveled to Pittsburgh and Rochester to watch some of these movies at archival libraries, and expect my search for some of the very rare films to take me to random corners of the globe (which will satisfy two of my diseases: cinephilia and wanderlust!) I have purchased a multi-region DVD/VHS player to view films never released in NTSC/US format. I will also hopefully be attending little-publicized film festivals all over the world, so that this site stays as current as it can and helps new artists get some notice.
I hope you enjoy Hidden Films, that it gives you many campy and/or insightful nights of movie-watching, and I welcome any and all suggestions from readers about additional rare films I should seek out.