Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The 150 Horrors of Roku

Psychobabble generally has nothing but disdain for the modern world. iPads and iPhones? Blecch! Computers? Never use them! Food processors? They’re the devil’s toaster ovens! Yet there is the occasional gizmo invented after 1966 that receives Psychobabble approval, one of which is the Roku. In case you don’t already own one of these modern wonders, the Roku is a little device for streaming video content from the Internet (Interwhat?) right to your very television set. What will they think of next?

The reason why the Roku gets the Psychobabble retro-brand of retro-approval is because it provides several channels of free (FREE!) content, including feature-films from the classic age of horror cinema. One can view some 150 flicks ranging from the great to the godawful with just a couple of remote-control clicks.

Roku recently added a channel titled House of Horrors, which promises “over 75 classic public domain horror-themed movies” for a flat rate of $1.99, but several other channels offer twice that many choices for a cost of nothing. The best of these are Pub-D-Hub and Drive-In Classics. The two channels offer much of the same content, but each has its own special features to recommend it. The more immediately impressive is Drive-In Classics, which is solely focused on horror and science fiction. Along with the usual crop of public domain classics (Night of the Living Dead, Spider Baby, Svengali, Nosferatu, etc.), the channel offers 15 exclusive 3D films, including Creature from the Black Lagoon, Revenge of the Creature, Dial M for Murder, House of Wax, and Carnival of Souls. If you have your own set of red/blue 3D spex, and don’t have a tendency to get seasick in your living room, you’ve got it made in the shade!

The single drawback of Drive-In Classics is you have to sit through a commercial before your movie begins, which isn’t outrageous. Go pop your popcorn. By the time you’re done, the commercial will be over and your movie will be ready to start without further interruption. However, if that minute or two of crass money-grubbing is too much for you to bear, there’s always Pub-D-Hub. This channel earns its keep by offering a “gold membership” for an annual fee of $2.00. Apparently, that deuce gets you more frequent content updates, but that may not be necessary considering how many commercial-free movies are already available on the channel. With Halloween season less than two months away, Drive-In Classics and Pub-D-Hub are a couple of groovy ways to keep you going when you’ve run out of monsters movies… assuming you haven’t already seen such little-known masterpieces as The Beach Girls and the Monster and Gog. Happy haunted viewing.
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