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10 Greatest Sci-Fi Found Footage Movies, Ranked

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project almanacDean Israelite’s twisty time travel thriller Project Almanac finally hit theaters this weekend after several delays, aiming to woo ticket buyers that are willing to watch MTV Films and Platinum Dunes do found footage with teenagers. Regardless of whether or not you go out to see it—producer Michael Bay is watching you, though—we’ve pulled together a list of the best sci-fi found footage and faux documentaries out there, just in case you need a second entry for a double feature. Or just something to keep your nightmares nice and light.

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Eight Scary Slices Of Sci-Fi You Might Not Have Seen

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It’s Halloween, kids. Or adults. And pantomime horses. Today is the greatest holiday of the year, and we’re willing to let you get on with your festivities as you do, but we’re just letting you know about some currently streaming below-the-radar sci-fi movies that will bring the terror almost as much as that haunted house down the block that’s actually just a garage filled with carbon monoxide. That’s why trick-or-treating never lasts that long in this neighborhood.

So without further a-boo, here are eight under-seen flicks you can find and watch right now. If you da…oh, you do dare? Okay, then.

europa reportEuropa Report (Netflix Instant)
People bitch a lot about the found-footage subgenre, and for good reason, but low budgets do not always equal low intelligence. Sebastián Cordero’s Europa Report is a testament to that, sending a crew of six people out to Jupiter’s most promising-for-mankind moon to see if it can sustain life. Prepare yourself for a slow burn of a space exploration film that gets to that Upworthy point where “what happens next may shock you.” Is anything scarier than a Dan Fogler-as-a-genius cameo? Maybe, maybe not.

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Cross The Streams With The Terminator, The Running Man, And The Fifth Element

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This weekend’s box office was completely taken over by Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which debuted to the tune of $96 million, while the other impressive genre debut went to Under the Skin, also starring Scarlett Johansson, which opened on four screens and earned $140,000. But you don’t need to head out to theaters to get heroes in costumes, mysterious villains, or sexy ladies, because an embarrassment of riches has hit streaming sites in the past week. (Along with a couple of just-plain embarrassments.) Cancel all your appointments and save the future by excelling in the present.

Here’s what’s new this week in streaming science fiction!

the terminatorThe Terminator (Netflix Instant & Hulu Plus)
The film that made James Cameron a household name and Arnold Schwarzenegger one of the coolest actors in Hollywood, The Terminator is a classic in every sense of the word. An excellent story (which will soon be violated completely with Terminator: Genesis), combined with blockbuster direction, paved the way for an even greater sequel. It’s a sad reality that this was one of the last times Schwarzenegger actually played a bad guy, which he does quite well. (No, I’m not even considering Batman & Robin when I say that.)

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A Giant Freakin’ Thanksgiving 2013

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Brent’s Thankful For…

AHumanAlmost Human
Fringe may be dead and buried, but showrunner J.H. Wyman wasted no time getting back on the broadcasting horse with his new robo-buddy-cop series Almost Human. On the surface these two shows have little in common aside from their procedural nature and sci-fi leanings, but the two are similar in the way they approach the well-worn tropes of a cop drama and use speculative fiction to turn them on their head. We’re only three episodes into our relationship with Almost Human, and I don’t want to jump the gun, but guys, this could be the one. There’s a grim future, mismatched partners who push each other, sex ‘bots, mysterious criminal networks, and action. What else can you ask for? This year we’re definitely thankful that there’s good, gritty sci-fi on TV, and that we get to see Karl Urban (Dredd) on a weekly basis.

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Frankenstein’s Army Will Terrorize Your Home On September 10

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frankenstein's army viktor
Good news, boils and ghouls! You don’t have to wait until this year’s Halloween to step into the craziest haunted house imaginable. The intensely immersive horror funfest Frankenstein’s Army is coming to DVD and Blu-ray next month, just after the film’s theatrical and VOD run is complete. Don’t you just hate it when movies take fucking forever to get a home release? Don’t you also hate it when the Nazis…do anything?

Frankenstein’s Army will be available for purchase on September 10, and you can bet your sweet, bloody bippy I’ll be snatching it up as soon as possible. If you’ll recall, I watched the film a few weeks ago and spent around 900 words fawning over it. (Read that glowing review here.) It is by no means a perfect movie, mind you, but it is the perfect movie to sit down and watch with some of your best friends, especially if they happen to dig video games and giggling their way through their terror.

Luckily, this won’t be a cheapo bare bones release, and Dark Sky Films will really give fans the good stuff with these special features. We’ll get a 31-minute Making-of featurette, which will take viewers behind the scenes of the pre-production process, including the designing and creation of the film’s utterly remarkable creatures, as envisioned by director Richard Raaphorst himself. They should just give this guy a flashlight and a campfire and let him talk about his inspirations for the entire thing, seeing as how there doesn’t appear to be a commentary track. He filmed Frankenstein’s Army in and around abandoned World War II sites throughout Europe, so hopefully some location footage will get shown here as well, since the desolation of the seemingly empty towns are half of what makes the film so creepy.

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Movie Review: Frankenstein’s Army Is The Giddy, Monsteriffic Madness Your Summer Is Missing

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frankenstein's armyWhen trying to recommend Richard Raaphorst’s Frankenstein’s Army to others, it’s almost necessary to use words that may make modern-age moviegoers wary. It’s a found-footage-style indie horror where zombified monsters are being created by a Nazi mad scientist. This is not a description likely to be repeated at any prestigious awards ceremony at the beginning of 2014, but I have no doubt this flick will have amassed an enormous audience by that time. Mark my words, however: this is the best found-footage-style indie horror where zombified monsters are being created by a Nazi mad scientist. I’m certain I won’t have a better time with a horror film this year. Sorry, James Wan.

For his first feature, Dutch director Raaphorst takes viewers back to the final days of World War II, as a small Russian military squad crosses into enemy territory, picking off the few Nazi stragglers still left fighting. Following them with camera in tow is Dimitri (Alexander Mercury), a non-soldier tasked with documenting the unit’s final mission for posterity’s sake. Mother Russia will be so proud! The soldiers themselves are luckily distinctive enough to avoid becoming mere horror movie pawns, though they can easily be described in few words. Novikov (Robert Gwilym) is the gruff-and-ready commander. Sergei (Joshua Sasse) is his more level-headed second-in-command. Vassili (Andrei Zayats) is the gun-happy, testosterone-laden bully. Ivan (Hon Ping Tang) is just as testosterone-laden, but with more discipline. The mousy Sacha (Luke Newberry) has a bravery that belies his wide-eyed staring. And finally there’s Alexei (Mark Stevenson), who is admittedly the most generic one of the bunch.