It’s inevitable in today’s fast paced society that often we must rid ourselves of the old to make way for the new. Whether it be clearing out your old toys to make way for teen angst, or simply selling off some sappy romance novels to read some quality literature, everyone at some stage in their lives must throw away their past to make way for the future. Sadly, streaming giant Netflix is no exception to this rule. As of October 1, in order to make way for new additions to their catalogue, numerous movies and TV shows have been cast aside. The full list of films can be viewed here and it includes, but is not limited to classics such as Annie Hall, Romeo + Juliet and The Big Lebowski. Also included on the list are Halloween staples The Exorcist, Interview with a Vampire and Nightmare on Elm Street. Therein, you see why I’m particularly ticked off at Netflix right now.
It’s October, meaning if you’re a Halloween nutjob like me (and the rest of the Arcade) you’re already stockpiling sweets, games and movies sure to scare the costume off you. The weeks leading up to Halloween should be a celebration of all things that go bump in the night, topped off with a weekly (or nightly) horror classic to curl up behind the couch with. This is by no means the time to be removing some of those classics from your catalogue, Netflix! It’s like you want people to go pirate! What’s more, there are still many kids these days that haven’t seen older films like The Exorcist or Nightmare on Elm Street, are you really gonna condemn them to today’s crappy remakes of bone chilling classics?
Furthermore, it should be noted that not only horror has taken a hit in this autumn cleaning binge. Classic films such as Annie Hall and The Big Lebowski are also being removed, leaving me to ask what criteria Netflix uses when clearing the catalogue? I could understand removing such thrilling titles as The Beautician and the Beast or Bratz Kidz: Fairy Tales, no one will mourn those being lost to the ages. But come on, you have The Producers and This is Spinal Tap on the list! It begs the question what constitutes saving in an era where we’re quickly running out of hard drive space for all the work being produced in the film industry. Does commercial success make a film worthy of the ages or does it simply mean we, as consumers, will give our money to anything these days? (Oh hey, look, Twilight is on the list too!) What about from a critical standpoint too, does something that performed poorly in the box office but well received by critics deserve preservation?
In my opinion, when we’re looking at what we want to preserve vs what we want to forget, we should be thinking about “What kind of future do I want to see in film?” You can’t expect greatness if you don’t show someone what greatness looks like. If you want a scene as chilling and gorey (and albeit hilarious) as the one in Nightmare on Elm Street where Johnny Depp dies, you need to show people where to begin and where the bar should be set. And with a society where the term “Netflix and chill” is quickly replacing the age old “watch a movie”, you don’t need much indication as to where people will be looking first when it comes to the classics. What Netflix should be doing is cutting down the B movies to find the space they need. Netflix has a rating system after all, why not use it as a way of letting your users decide what stays and what goes? Hell, the Arcade has even made a column out of the worst things we can possible find on there, if you’d like you can just give us total power and we’ll heave ho everything we find right out the window and into film obscurity! So long as you don’t take my blood and gore away from me, I am more than happy to oblige!
So what do you think, readers? Is there anything on the list that you wish could stick around? And how do you think Netflix should handle the spring cleaning when it comes to adding new content? I’d love to hear some opinions in the comments below!