Top ten hidden gems on Tubi (NSFW)

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Over the past decade, the ways in which we consume film in the home has drastically changed. The advent of streaming services has led to a steady decline of physical copies. One streaming site in particular offers a unique edge. Tubi has soared in popularity over the past year, offering a free service albeit with advertising in place.

Whilst there is undoubtedly a lot of content on Tubi that is simply low budget trash, there are a growing number of hidden gems, forgotten classics and indie films that are well worth looking into and might just surrpise you. In no particular order here are ten titles that are well worth your time

What we left behind

Released in 2019, What we left behind is a documentary on the hit star trek series Deep Space Nine. Regarded by many trekkies to be the best series in the franchise, Deep Space Nine was also the most controversial. Taking place on a space station, the series was more character driven and darker than its predecessors.

Star Trek on a space station might sound like a terrible idea, but somehow it worked and many argue the series remains the best in the franchise- Paramount

What makes this documentary stand out is that it features 20 minutes of footage that has been digitally remastered for wide screen. Although shot on film, the series has never before had a HD transfer. The series was shot in wide screen but was cropped to 4.3 for the standard sized TV sets of the time. Unfortunately this meant that much of the series was filmed with equipment and staff visible in areas that would later be cropped out. For the documentary it was simply a case of selecting scenes where this would not be an issue.

The Documentary also features a pitch for what a continuation of the series would look like if shot today. This pitch is made by a number of the show’s key writers and shown as comic book style animatics. This documentary is a must for any fans of the series.

Demon Seed

Shot in 1977, Demon Seed is a science fiction movie that is perhaps more relevant now then when it was initially released. The film follows Julie Christie, who plays Suzie, the estranged wife of a scientist who has developed a sentient artificial intelligence. Whilst staying in her husband’s smart house Suzie soon becomes a prisoner when her husband’s A.I project takes over the building.

Its difficult to talk about this one without giving away too much. Suffice to say this one is not quite as straight forward as you would expect and features some impressive special effects work for the time.

Whilst there are a few films around which involve a protagonist being trapped in their home with a captor, this is the only one that also deals with an A.I evolving beyond its programming – United Artists

Turbo Kid.

Set in the distant future of 1997, a comic book fan who travels a baron wasteland on his BMX forms an unlikely bond with a mysterious young woman named Apple. The two of them uncover a suit of futuristic armor with built in weapons and go up against a local warlord.

Think of it as Mad Max on bicycles. – EMA Films

Turbo Kid is an unusual one; it borrows heavily from the spaghetti western genre but peppers it with a lot of 80s nostalgia and over the top gore. Whilst there are many films that set out to achieve a retro sci-fi vibe; few feels as heartfelt and genuine as Turbo kid.

Society

Billy is a typical teenager who lives in Beverley Hills. Things unravel after he uncovers that his parents belong to a strange elite cult that might no longer be human.

You’d have to have your head up your own backside not to be at least a little curious about this one – Wild Street Picture

Society features some of the weirdest body modification gore effects ever put to screen. The practical effects are astonishing and weird as all hell. Combine that with a plot that mixes Invasion of the body snatchers with They Live and you have one hell of a classic film.

Doctor Mordrid

Played by Jeffrey Combs, Doctor Mordrid is a seemingly immortal sorcerer who takes on his rival, another sorcerer that trained with him and intends to break a dimensional lock and allow demons to come through into our reality. If the plot sounds a little familiar you’re not alone.

Rumour has it that this was originally intended to be a Doctor Strange adaptation but was changed when the licensing negotiations broke down. It’s hard not to notice the similarities and the elements which were likely changed.

Hell comes to frog town

Imagine an adaptation of the Fallout video game series but instead of mutants and Ghouls there were giant frog people running around. Its worth noting that this film came out several years before the fallout franchise began. It’s undoubtedly one of the many influences of the hit video games and has loads of that ”B-movie trash” charm to it.

At times Hell comes to Frog Town feels more like a side quest from one of the Fallout games. Its a fun adventure, though this could easily have led in to a much bigger franchise. – New World Pictures

The plot if you dare to call it that involves Rowdy Roddy Piper as Sam Hell, one of the last few fertile males in post apocalyptic America. After being captured by what remains of the government. Sam is sent on a mission to save a group of women held hostage by the frog mutants of Frog town.

Trancers

Whilst there is a wide range of films from the independent film company “Full Moon Cinema”, its fair to argue that the Trancers series is one of their most iconic. For those not in the know, the Trancers series follows the exploits of Jack Deth a hard as nails police detective who travels through time hunting down people who have become mindless slaves known as Trancers. The first film in the series has him travel to the 80s where he must track down a criminal from the future who is creating Transers in the past whilst adjusting to life in the time period.

In Transers, time travel is achieved by using a drug that allows someone to transfer their consciousness into one of their ancestors. Whilst its often considered to be a series of diminishing returns, the original is well worth taking a look at.

Forbidden zone special edition

Forbidden Zone is more of an experience than a film. It’s like a feature length art piece that people either get behind or run out of the house screaming. – The Samuel Goldwyn Company

This is by far the oddest film on the list and one of the most surreal and unusual films that I’ve ever seen. Imagine a musical comedy, inspired by 1930s cartoons, written under the influence of magic mushrooms and featuring the music of Danny ELfman and his band Oingo Boingo,

The story involves a door in a family’s basement that leads to the 6th Dimension. Most movies would be played reasonably straight and would only leap into surrealism and absurd concepts once the characters pass through into the 6th Dimension. Forbidden Zone is different; things start weird and only get weirder. If a film with talking chickens, frog people senior citizens playing teenagers sounds like your cup of tea, then give this one a whirl.

You would think this scene set in a high school would take place in the 6th Dimension but you’d be wrong. – The Samuel Goldwyn Company

Contamination

Back in the 70s a ton of Italian sci fi, horror and of course spaghetti westerns were shot and redubbed into English for Western markets. Contamination deals with strange extra-terrestrial pods that are unstable and explode spraying anyone nearby with an acid like chemical that dissolves human flesh. A small team is assembled to track the origins of the pods and eliminate the threat at the source.

Inexplicably one character spends a few scenes pre-emptively cosplaying Kramer from Seinfield.

Feeling like a high budget 70s era Doctor Who story, there’s a lot to love in this movie. The film has a killer soundtrack by the Italian prog rock band Goblin which scored a number of classics from the era such as Dawn of the dead and Suspiria. Refreshingly the government team is led by a competent level headed woman.

The Book of Monsters

To finish up our list we have The Book of Monsters, If you’re looking for a gory horror film with an assortment of nasty looking monster killing teenagers, then this will likely scratch that itch. What makes this one interesting is that it was crowd funded through kick starter and a number of the creative decisions such as which monsters would be used was determined by the project’s backers.

Whilst the acting is serviceable at best with some ropey dialogue, most horror fans will forgive it because the practical effects work is solid and the film is paced well paced.

With an estimated budget of US$76,000, Book Of Monsters just goes to show how much can be achieved with a micro budget. -Dark Rift films.

The story centers on Sophie – a teenager hosting a party for her 18th birthday. Things go horribly wrong when monsters that were written about in a book that her mother used to read to her as a kid, suddenly gate crash.

Wrapping up

With more and more content dropping on Tubi every day, we’re sure to have missed plenty of other hidden gems. It’s also important to mention that the American catalogue is vastly more extensive then what is on offer in other countries such as Australia. If you enjoyed this list be sure to also check out this list of obscure space adventure movies.

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