Hulu has gone from being a site where we got caught up with basic cable to the online equivalent of a free movie channel. Although it may have a number of cheesy rom-coms, the great thing about it is that there are plenty of great indies to go with the studio flicks, and most of them uncut, which means no one has decided what you should or shouldn’t be seeing. You gotta love the interview.
Here are top ten of the best indie films you can find for free on Hulu…
Ink actually created quite a stir when it was a huge hit on BitTorrent with no advertising. This resourceful fantasy movie follows Emma as she goes to another plane of existence to fight off the Incubi out to tear apart Emma and her father. It’s a cleverly done film that shows indie fantasy isn’t just possible, but can look good.
Here’s a common situation: two women go to an LA bar looking for gigolos, only to pick up two unemployed construction workers, who they decide to put up in their pool house in exchange for sex. You get one guess how that works out in this romantic comedy that Hulu actually made a hit; it’s the number one most watched movie on the site.
The Zatoichi Series
The Zatoichi series of films follows a blind masseur who also happens to be a master swordsman. All of the Zatoichi films follow the same formula: Zatoichi shows up on an innocent errand, the local villain freaks out, and Zatoichi stabs a lot of stuntmen. What’s fun, beyond the fights, are the occasional idyllic moments, hilarious misunderstandings, or Zatoichi using his disability to trick pretty much everybody into giving him what he wants. It’s a fun look into Japanese pop culture courtesy of Criterion and Hulu.
The Hebrew Hammer
It’s an exploitation film where the lead is a dynamic, butt-kicking Hasidic Jew. Do we really need to tell you anything else?
OK, OK, the plot centers around the hero, our aforementioned Hammer, saving Hanukkah from the son of Santa Claus, who wants to make everybody celebrate Christmas.
In other words, it’s a cross between a blaxploitation film and an educational children’s film. It also got in trouble for mocking Jewish stereotypes, to the point of lawsuits, which gives you an idea of the kind of humor you’re in for.
Interview With the Assassin
Imagine you’re a documentarian interviewing an old, old man who says he has a secret to reveal. Now imagine that secret is that he was the man who really shot JFK. Interview with the Assassin does what would seem impossible; turn a series of interviews into a suspenseful and disturbing thriller with a killer ending.
A controversial film by Orson Welles, with at least three different cuts, Mr. Arkadin is also one of Welles’ best. As a man digs into the past of wealthy magnate Gregory Arkadin, and falls in love with his daughter, he discovers Arkadin’s criminal past, and that everybody who knew about it is getting picked off one by one. It’s a bit of film history that also happens to be a lot of fun.
Def By Temptation
One of the fun parts of looking up indie movies is seeing stars working the cheap gigs before they were famous, and Def By Temptation stars none other than Nick Fury himself, Samuel L. Jackson. It also happens to be a pretty good vampire movie; kind of what A Vampire In Brooklyn would have been if it hadn’t started sucking halfway through.
King of the Ants
Stuart Gordon (Reanimator) never really got a fair shake, but he at least gets to make the movies he wants to, like this grim neo-noir full of tragedy, double-crosses, and a lot of people getting beaten with golf clubs. You’ll never see Norm from Cheers in the same way.
Surf Nazis Must Die
Again, do you really need us to provide you with any other information other than its availability on Hulu? If that’s not up your alley, Hulu actually has a big chunk of the Troma catalog, including classics like Poultrygeist and Citizen Toxie up for your viewing pleasure. Did you know that Troma is actually America’s longest running independent movie studio? Yes, really. Kind of depressing, huh?
Believe it or not, this is what the director of cult action flick Shoot ‘Em Up was doing before he tried to make the first anti-gun movie with awesome gunfights. And it’s actually a cute story of a guy who meets a girl, can’t figure out who she is, and tries to find her. Hulu even has the sequel/remake 100 Women available.
And, failing that, there’s always the Hollywood stuff. Personally, I’m enamored of watching Predator 2.
Any great indie films we missed? Let us know in the comments!