So, you’ve got a couple of hours to kill and you’ve worked your way through your entire Netflix queue. Or maybe you don’t have Netflix and are still mourning the loss of Megavideo. You could pop in those Stargate or Battlestar Galactica DVDs again, but you just want something a little bit different. What do you do?
Fear not! It turns out that there are some pretty fantastic science fiction films streaming online, free and legally. Between videos posted under fair use laws and films in the public domain, YouTube, Google Video and the Internet Archive have hours upon hours of genre classics for your viewing pleasure. Here are a handful of fabulous films to get you started…
The Last Man on Earth
This 1964 film was the first adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend and stars Vincent Price. If you’re unfamiliar with Matheson’s novel (or its other two film adaptations, Omega Man and I Am Legend), it follows a scientist in a post apocalyptic world looking for other survivors of a horrible epidemic that turned humans into “vampires”.
The Little Shop of Horrors
You’re probably familiar with the blackly comic musical starring Rick Moranis and Steve Martin. What you may not be aware of is that it is based on this 1960 black and white film directed by Roger Corman, with Jack Nicholson as the sadistic dentist. It is campy and strange and delicious.
Virus (Fukkatsu no hi)
Are you into Japanese movies about deadly biological warfare being accidentally unleashed on the world and scientists racing for a cure? Then this 1980 film by Kinji Fukasaku is for you! (Warning: it is dubbed)
A Bucket of Blood
So, this one’s more horror than science fiction, but any film made by Roger Corman for $50,000 in 5 days and set in “Bohemian San Francisco” is probably worth a gander.
A Trip to the Moon / Le Voyage dans la lune
If, for some reason, you still haven’t seen ‘A Trip to the Moon’ by Georges Méliès, you are a crazy person. It’s a seminal work in science fiction cinema and a lot of fun.
A Brief History of Time
If your tastes lean more toward documentaries, maybe you should check out this 1992 documentary on Stephen Hawking by Errol Morris. It won a couple of awards at Sundance and Morris has said that it is “actually one of the most beautiful films I ever shot.”
See even more free streaming options on Open Culture’s list of 450 Great Movies Online.