Regardless of which side of the aisle you lean toward, politics has turned America into a scary, scary place. So scary, in fact, that Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn is taking notice, and aiming to do something about it. The director behind such cult favorites as Drive and The Neon Demon has decided to start his own, 100% free, streaming service.
"Over recent years, I’ve bought and had restored scores of old movies as a hobby," Refn writes in The Guardian. "I wondered what to do with them. Then I realized I should share them for free, so I set up a website where they could be streamed. There’s no catch; you’re not being sold anything. Take it or leave it."
His streaming service, byNWR.com, officially launches later this month, and will include little-known cult and horror films from Refn's own collection. The films he has announced for launch include Night Tide (about a woman performing at a circus who may be a real mermaid), The Nest of the Cuckoo Birds (about a masked killer who terrorizes a government agent who stumbles upon a beachside inn run by an ex-showgirl and a taxidermist), The Burning Hell (a propaganda film in which a preacher explains the horrors of Hell), and Hot Thrills and Warm Chills (in which two women plot to steal the King of Sex's crown at Mardi Gras).
"We need to be pushed out of our comfort zones – of complacency, and, for most of us in the west, an easeful life. I’m not advocating physical pain, but I do believe mental pain can be a way to stimulate and reset the brain," says the director, who is well known for his love of weird cinema. Refn is currently involved in remakes of little-known cult horror films Witchfinder General, Maniac Cop, and What Have You Done to Solange?
"The future must be different. I want it to be an uncontrolled place of beautiful chaos, where everyone can create their own universe and is free to speak their own mind, without being overseen by big business," writes Refn. "A place of free speech and free access. I hope my site will inspire people to see the world a different way. Setting it up has helped me reconcile myself to a different concept of culture than the traditional, romantic one I was raised with. People of my generation – I’m 47 – want tangible tokens of mortality to cling to. But nostalgia is artistic suicide. You have to accept the fact that everything disintegrates in your hands."
What do you think of Refn's ideas? Can cult-horror films help people see the political world with different eyes?