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I'm going to assume that many people who'll read this are too young to remember such a thing (technically, so am I), but when Home VHS first showed up you couldn't get many or even most of the popular or classic movies you'd assume people would immediately seek out on the format. That vacuum in the market (or, rather, on the shelves of video stores) wound up being filled by smaller, often more offbeat material that otherwise might never have seen that kind of prominence. To put it bluntly, the reason most American video audiences were exposed to Evil Dead, Troma or the early works of Peter Jackson was that they were the guys who got in early to a market that the big boys hadn't figured out yet.

A similar phenomenon is now going on in the world of "on demand" video streaming services - not everything has arrived yet, but much of what has is pretty obscure, unusual material that knows it has a better chance to be seen in a yet-uncrowded market. So I'm going to dig into one of the more popular of such services, Netflix Instant, and point you in the direction - with links! - of some singularly odd stuff that (many of) you can see at the push of a button.

NOTE: I am aware that the particular service being used as the jumping off point here is not available in the same form (or at all) in all regions and territories. However, I hope that won't prevent folks from seeking out the listed titles in some other (legal!) form if the mood so strikes them.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space

It's exactly what it sounds like: A gory/silly spoof of 50s-style alien invasion movies in which a small town is beset by grotesque alien clowns. It's pretty much just wall-to-wall visual gags based on monsterized versions of clown iconography (popcorn guns, cotton candy cocoons, giant mallets, a circus tent spaceship, etc.) courtesy makeup FX maestros The Chiodo Brothers, who also directed. I've found that this makes a great party movie with the right crowd.

The Final Countdown

When people talk about "idea driven" science fiction no longer getting made, this is the kind of movie they're talking about: an ultra high-tech U.S. Navy aircraft carrier and its crew are inexplicably transported almost half a century into the past. That alone would be pretty incredible, but in this case it's the specific place and time that are the hook. They've arrived off the coast of Hawaii in December of 1941 ... just in time for the attack on Pearl Harbor. While we get to see the attendant spectacle one expects (re: then cutting-edge F-14s dog fighting with WWII-era Japanese Zeroes) the real action is cerebral - they have the power to change the course of history, but should they?

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