paramount vault

We live in a strange new world. A decade ago, the mere thought of streaming a movie online seemed foolhardy and weird. Now, a major movie studio has created a YouTube channel that offers viewers the chance to watch a selection of their films for free. The Paramount Vault is here and it feels like a big deal. Never before has the ever-changing film industry made us feel like such crotchety old people. Back in our day, we had to get off the couch to watch a movie!

Check out the details of the Paramount Vault channel (and some of our recommendations) after the jump.

The Paramount Vault has technically been around for three weeks, but it arrived with little fanfare. Now, word seems to be spreading among the various online film fan tribes that this thing exists. And oh boy, is it a weird and wonderful thing. Sure, the channel is currently lacking in the blockbuster and universally beloved classics departments, but it more than makes up for that in the “Oh, Wow! I’ve Been Meaning To Watch That!” department.

However, the “sizzle reel” at the top of the channel includes clips from movies like Airplane!, World War Z, Transformers, and Forrest Gump, so we imagine that bigger movies will arrive online at some point.

The current library is a great mixture of genuinely good movies, forgotten and under-looked gems, and a healthy dose of junk and schlock. We love anything that puts Oscar nominees like Ironweed on the same channel as the hilariously disgusting The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. This is your chance to catch up with The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek and American Ninja 2!

If you’re looking for a recommendation, we’ve got you covered. There’s something for all tastes here.

Why not start with Margot at the Wedding, a pitch black and totally merciless comedy from writer/director Noah Baumbach. It features one of Nicole Kidman‘s best performances and it will make you lose your faith in humanity. Win-win!

If you want something a little more gnarly, we cannot say enough nice things about The Loved Ones, a movie that rocked film festivals all over the world before being bought by Paramount and vanishing from sight. This is your chance to catch up with one of the most impressive horror debuts of the past decade, a high school prom revenge story that has enough shocks, gore, and sadistic laughs for a dozen movies.

Masters of the Universe is one of those debacles you have to see to believe. Baffling from frame one, it is every bad habit of ’80s filmmaking turned up to 11. It’s terrible. It’s wonderful. It was the subject of a great How Did This Get Made column. You owe it to yourself to experience this thing at least once.

The final film of B-movie genius William Castle (whose House on Haunted Hill landed on the list of my favorite movies of all time), Shanks finds one of cinema’s greatest purveyors of schlock taking a more artistic approach to his work. Marcel Marceau – yes, the famous mime – plays a mute puppeteer who raises the dead and uses them to do his bidding. It’s a strange film, more beautiful and surreal than anything else Castle ever made, and it’s a must-see for fans of unusual cinema. For years, it was almost impossible to see. And now here it is. On YouTube. All hail Paramount Vault!

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