Back in 2012, I noticed that Netflix had added a batch of oddball catalog titles from the MGM films archives, movies like LITTLE CIGARS and CURSE OF THE CRIMSON ALTAR that had been previously unavailable on any home video format. Realizing that Netflix has a tendency towards not being inclined to promote their non-new release, non-mainstream titles, I started a Facebook group called “Psychotronic Netflix,” posting daily links to the obscure oddities that you could now easily stream to your television.
Thanks to our former editor Geoff Todd, this soon grew into a regular column here at Daily Grindhouse, where I started to write regularly. Eventually, I stopped being exclusive to Netflix (due to both the service losing a lot of its catalog content and the increasing number of streaming services that had a significantly deeper scope in terms of content) and re-branded the Facebook page as “Psychotronic Streaming,” with the column being rechristened “I Wake Up Streaming!,” bringing weekly guides to what’s new and noteworthy on over a dozen different services.
The weekly (and later, monthly) lists were fun to do, but became a bit of a burden to put together, so I wanted to figure out a better way to track the titles rather than simply throwing them in a Word document as I saw them. MY solution was to create a database of titles, one where I could easily add the service and date it was associated with, along with some basic information about the film. This, I reasoned, could produce something dynamic that I could just cut and paste when I needed it, something like this.
The thing is… as I started working on putting together a database, I found myself actually having fun. I started to add more stuff to the film information, bringing in artwork and trailers and using the OMDB API for Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb data. It was becoming a little larger than my individual attempt to categorize a few things for a streaming video column. I had an actual streaming video database set up, one that I was maintaining with the latest films available that could be described as “psychotronic,” and unlike other streaming service databases that provided general information but weren’t geared to a specific audience, I had something I wanted to share with the cult film-loving world.
So began WATCHTHISTHING, a database of new streaming titles for the… discriminating connessieur of cinematic goodness. Now, this is very much a personal project and a work-in-progress, so my intention is to add a number of additional functions (more API integrations! Mobile friendliness! Apps! Reviews! My roadmap is out of control.), I figured it works fine as a way to allow movie fans to see what’s new on their favorite services for the time being. I’ll be updating it daily with the latest in streaming titles from a variety of different sources, including several that many other similar databases tend to overlook.
“But Paul,” you ask, “What about I WAKE UP STREAMING!?”
Well, dear reader, the fact that the “dump” of new titles has been outsourced means that I WAKE UP STREAMING! can go back to what PSYCHOTRONIC NETFLIX was originally – a column about specific streaming content rather than just listing all of the new stuff. It means I can focus my attentions on genres of film (for example, next week’s column will be all about psychotronic Christmas films on streaming that aren’t DIE HARD), controversies and questions regarding streaming itself, or streaming services that may have fallen under the radar, like Brown Sugar, Midnight Pulp or Night Flight Plus. It’ll be my chance to make this an actual column rather than, y’know, a note that you can now watch all of the SAW movies on Netflix.
I’m really looking forward to serving multiple sides of the streaming audience, be it from a more in-depth perspective here or just to tell you what’s new over at WATCHTHISTHING. (And if you prefer the good ol’ fashioned list of new titles by service, you can still get an auto-updated version here.) I hope you enjoy, and happy streaming!
- JIM WYNORSKI RETURNS WITH THE CREATURE FEATURE ‘GILA’ - May 1, 2014