Streaming has changed the way that we consume media. For many, it’s a source of the latest and greatest in new-jack, big-budget studio multi-episode extravaganzas. As nice as that is, I have been looking for something more. What I wanted was the online equivalent of a dusty old basement stacked to the ceiling with dog-eared VHS boxes and dusty DVD wallets full of blood-drenched horror of old. Even better would be if this service were absolutely free (ok, I’ll settle for mostly free). Upon hearing my cries, the gods of horror provided the gift of Tubi.
Tubi is blowing my mind at the moment. Their horror catalog is extremely deep and even a seasoned horror veteran can find something to watch. While Tubi is supported by ads, the ads are sparse and tastefully done. The best part is that they are spaced about a 1 Indian Pale Ale apart. As far as streaming services are concerned, this one is the closest I have found to paradise. In this reoccurring article, Malevolent Dark will hand select a few gems from Tubi and tell you want you are missing. To date, I have packed a few of these into the Stain of Mind series, but series this will be dedicated to the craft.
Macabre (1980) – A Lamberto Bava Love Story
I’ll have to confess that I might not have picked this one up if it had not been for new Malevolent Dark contributor Peggy Christie tipping me off to this one. She’s just getting started, but be sure to check out her work. Directed by Lamberto Bava, Macabre (1980) is almost as batshit crazy as his follow Demons (1985) but in the sleaziest and most disturbing way possible. In fact, it may be one of the most perverse love stories that I have ever seen.
The story involves a woman, Jane Baker (Bernice Stegers), that spends her days stealing away from her husband and meeing another man in an apartment. Her infidelity has a profound impact on her family, resulting in a tragedy. In her rush to get back to the house, Jane and her boyfriend get in a deadly accident that decapitates him. All seems to be on the mend until Jane returns to the apartment one day.
In short, Jane simply can’t give up on her love for her boyfriend and the shrine that she keeps just isn’t enough.
As Tubi Terrors go, this one is as good as any. While I wouldn’t call it a classic, it represents the insanity and depravity of Italian horror cinema very well. It really has an awful lot in common with Joe D’Amato’s Beyond the Darkness and it too has a zinger of an ending, so make sure you get to the finish line. Watch It here: Macabre (1980).
Madhouse (1981) – Italian Slasher/Giallo by Ovido G. Assonitis
One night, on the edge of sleep, I threw on Tubi with the intent of watching something to go to bed to. What I thought I was picking was Madhouse the 1974 film featuring Vincent Price. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was about to watch something completely different. Directed by Ovido G. Assonitis, a real name, this one has far more in common with Italian cinema. On technical grounds, the film could be considered a giallo, but I find that is has far more in common with Michele Soavi’s Stage Fright (1987). Let’s call it a Euro-slasher with giallo-esq sensibilities.
Notably, this film is scored by the legendary Riz Ortolani of Cannibal Holocaust fame. As expected, his work on Madhouse holds all of the distinguished charm of the Cannibal Holocaust score.
From a pure plot perspective, I am not 100% sure that this one makes 100% sense, but it’s well choreographed and visually appealing. What’s more, the film reveals a colorful villain quite early on. This performance carries the film. I especially enjoyed the performance of Trish Everley as the female lead Julia Sullivan. Unexpectedly, this one also possesses emotional depth that unfortunately plays out for at least one victim.
Madhouse is another better than average Italian horror flick and another fantastic Tubi Terror. Check it out here: Madhouse (1980).
Demonia (1990) – Lesser Celebrated Fulci
The final flick in this Italian episode of Tubi Terror covers a Lucio Fulci film that I had unsuccessfully tried to hunt down. For whatever reason, Fulci’s Demonia (1990) fails to get the recognition of his other films. I’ll be the first to admit that Demonia fails to reach the pinnacle of Fulci’s work, but it’s fairly representative of his middle-tier. I would be remise not to mention that this film features the Italian horror icon Al Cliver in the role of Porter. He has graced several Fulci films including Zombie (1979), The Beyond (1981) and The Black Cat (1981).
The story concerns a group of nuns in Sicily. After accusations of witchcraft, the townspeople gather up the nuns and summarily crucify all of them. Flash forward to modern times, a woman Liza sees visions of the execution while participating in a seance. Months later, she would find herself participating in an archeological survey at the very site of the nuns execution. Fulici lazily sets this one up, but whatever. This is Tubi Terror, not Masterpiece Theater.
As the action unravels, Liza learns that the nuns historically participated in orgies and lured young men into sex. during climax, they would slash the men’s throats and drink their blood. Those that got pregnant would carry the child to term and sacrifice it in flames.
Again, this plot is shaky for sure, but Fulci does Fulci. Anyone that hang around will be gifted another ridiculous death by house cat. The one thing we always say about Fulci, the man hates eyeballs, and he proves it once again in Demonia. Is Demonia a greta movie… no. It is a great Tubi Terror, and I sincerely doubt that the average Fulci fan will find themselves disappointed in this one. Check it out here: Demonia (1990).
Welcome to Tubi Terror
Right Tubi offers veritable wealth of horror content. In our meager opinion, at the moment Tubi is one of the best horror streaming services on the web. We will continue to dig deep in their archives to surface the gems that are hiding out there.