(Welcome to Hidden Streams, a column focused on the best older movies available to stream on your favorite services, including Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and more.)

The demise of FilmStruck might make it harder for cinephiles to dig those older hidden gems out of the overwhelming piles of streaming titles. From lesser-known classics to cult favorites, we’ve put together a handy guide to some of the best older films you can stream on the various platforms.

In this edition of Hidden Streams, you’ll find plenty of golden (and not-so-golden) oldies to check out or revisit, including a transcendent concert documentary, a rowdy girl gang ahead of its time, a great Stephen King adaptation, and more – and nothing that was released after 1985.

Madhouse

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime

Release date: 1974
Director: Jim Clark
Cast: Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, and Robert Quarry

This 1974 British horror flick boasts the weirdly eloquent tagline, “If stark terror were ecstasy… living here would be sheer bliss!” But Madhouse is every bit as wild as that line suggests. Vincent Price stars as Paul Toombes, an actor best known for his role as horror movie antagonist Dr. Death. A series of murders committed by a man who looks an awful lot like the iconic horror character force Toombes to confront a dark possibility: Has Dr. Death become a separate, murderous entity? Or is Toombes losing his mind?

For fans of: An American Werewolf in London, Vincent Price, and Tales From the Crypt.

The Violent Years

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime

Release date: 1956
Director: William Morgan
Cast: Jean Moorhead, Barbara Weeks, and Art Millan

Jean Moorhead stars as Paula Parkins, a young woman whose wealthy parents ignore her – so she keeps herself entertained by leading a girl gang that terrorizes young men. B-movie icon Ed Wood wrote the screenplay for this exploitation flick, which was arguably decades ahead of its time.

For fans of: Savage Streets, Assassination Nation, and Switchblade Sisters.

The Dark Crystal

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime

Release date: 1982
Director: Jim Henson and Frank Oz
Cast: Jim Henson, Kathryn Mullen, and Frank Oz

Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s other dark children’s fantasy movie from the ’80s transports us to a faraway planet in the past, where a Gelfling heads out on a harrowing journey to find the mystical crystal shard that will allow him to bring peace back to his home. With gorgeous creature designs and world-building (duh), The Dark Crystal is a must-see for fans of practical effects, puppetry, and movies from a time when filmmakers didn’t treat kids like idiots.

For fans of: Labyrinth, Return to Oz, and The Last Unicorn.

Death Line (aka Raw Meat)

Now Streaming on Shudder

Release date: 1972
Director: Gary Sherman
Cast: Donald Pleasence, Christopher Lee, and Norman Rossington

Guillermo del Toro counts Gary Sherman’s 1972 horror movie among his favorites – for good reason. The plot centers on a pair of investigators (Pleasence and Rossington) looking into a series of disappearances in the London Underground, and the young couple that find themselves a little too close to the grisly mystery. As the culprit is revealed, Death Line becomes a surprisingly thoughtful exploration of cultural inequality.

For fans of: Raw, Housebound, and Dead & Buried.

The Dead Zone

Now Streaming on Shudder

Release date: 1983
Director: David Cronenberg
Cast: Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, and Tom Skerritt.

Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, The Dead Zone stars Walken (in one of his greatest roles) as a schoolteacher who wakes up from a coma to discover he has acquired psychic powers – which allow him to save lives and grant him the ability to alter the course of history. The Dead Zone is often overlooked when discussing Cronenberg’s filmography, perhaps because this body horror is more concerned with the mind than with oozing sores and grotesque mutations.

For fans of: Stephen King, Unbreakable, and Altered States.

Phenomena

Now Streaming on Shudder

Release date: 1985
Director: Dario Argento
Cast: Jennifer Connelly, Donald Pleasence, and Daria Nicolodi

A girl at a remote Swiss boarding school possesses the remarkable ability to communicate with insects. When multiple young women are murdered, the girl finds her skills might be more useful than she ever could’ve imagined in this dark, fantastical horror story from Dario Argento. Make it a Donald Pleasence double feature with Death Line.

For fans of: Carrie, Thelma, and Ginger Snaps.

A Woman Under the Influence

Now Streaming on Kanopy

Release date: 1974
Director: John Cassavetes
Cast: Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk, and Fred Draper

Rowlands gives an incredible performance as Mabel, a Los Angeles wife and mother whose growing mental health issues causes conflict with her blue-collar husband (Falk) and their family. Cassavetes’ film upends the suburban narrative, interspersing dark humor with prolonged sequences of banal discomfort. As Mabel becomes more “difficult,” the viewer can’t help but wonder if she’s the only sane person in her neighborhood.

For fans of: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Safe, and Wanda.

Titicut Follies

Now Streaming on Kanopy

Release date: 1967
Director: Frederick Wiseman
Cast:  N/A

Wiseman’s harrowing documentary takes viewers inside the Bridgewater State Hospital for the criminally insane in Massachusetts, where inmates prepare to participate in an annual talent show. Titicut Follies was the first and only film banned from release due to reasons other than obscenity or national security. A Massachusetts Superior Court judge ordered all copies of the documentary – which unflinchingly depicted the deplorable conditions at the facility – to be destroyed. 20 years later, seven families of patient-inmates who died under Bridgewater’s care sued the state and hospital. An attorney for one of the inmates argued that Titicut Follies may have had a substantial influence on the closing of Bridgewater. It would be another four years before the film was made available to the public.

For fans of: Let There Be Light, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, and people who enjoy being completely devastated in general.

Faust

Now Streaming on Kanopy

Release date: 1926
Director: F.W. Murnau
Cast: Gosta Ekman, Emil Jannings, and Camilla Horn

Murnau’s retelling of the German legend is a sumptuous and grimly beautiful silent picture featuring a fantastic score by William Axt – who was uncredited for his work at the time. The story tells of the demon Mephisto, who makes a wager with God that he can corrupt the soul of a mortal man, not unlike the story of Job. Emil Jannings is perfectly devilish in the role of the mischievous demon.

For fans of: Angel Heart, You Must Remember This, and The Night of the Hunter.

Stop Making Sense

Now Streaming on Vudu

Release date: 1984
Director: Jonathan Demme
Cast: David Byrne, Bernie Worrell, and Alex Weir

Directed by the late, great Jonathan Demme, Stop Making Sense transcended the concert documentary genre to become an iconic piece of music history. Shot over four nights at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater in 1983, the film borrows its title from lyrics in the Talking Heads song “Girlfriend Is Better.” Hailed as one of the greatest rock films of all time, Stop Making Sense opens with David Byrne performing an outstanding solo rendition of “Psycho Killer” before the rest of the band slowly joins him on stage, and the doc morphs into a full-on experience.

For fans of: Talking Heads, True Stories, and The Last Waltz.

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