The Youtube bargain bin

More stories from Winter Heffernan


YouTube’s recommended section has a similar function to these bargain bins, by sifting through the endless tides of reaction videos and unboxing, a few gems can be discovered.

Have you ever dipped your hand into those large bins in the middle of a Walmart walkway, the ones that have movies piled in them like balls in a Chuck E. Cheese ball pit? 

I have found many obscure movies in them that I would not have known about otherwise, some good, some not worth the disc they are scanned onto. 

YouTube’s recommended section has a similar function to these bargain bins, by sifting through the endless tides of reaction videos and unboxing, a few gems can be discovered. 

In this article, I will be highlighting three films available on YouTube that I discovered through random recommendations. These aren’t just random videos however, each one of these has a long runtime, lots of effort put into them and a credits sequence at the end.

 Let’s dive into the YouTube “bargain bin.”

BioCraft: Chronicles – A BIONICLE Minecraft Fan Film

“Bionicle” was a Lego theme that ran from 2001 to 2010. It came at a time when Lego as a company was struggling to stay relevant and fresh. 

Through multimedia stories, games, movies and a new joint-based building system, Lego created characters and stories that still entertain a large fandom long after its discontinuation.

In 2019, after eight years of writing, planning and building, the TTV Channel, a Lego-focused YouTube channel, released a loose retelling of the original Bionicle story that lasts around one hour and 10 minutes. 

This isn’t just a “Minecraft let’s play” — it has a script, decent voice actors and a soundtrack.

The story surrounds an island Minecraft server created by Matthew-Nui, a godlike being. His evil brother, Makuta, corrupts this island, but Matthew-Nui goes to sleep instead of saving the day. The story surrounds six heroes who must defeat Makuta and restore peace to the server.

The plot isn’t anything to write home about, but the film oozes character and personality. You can tell it was made by a group of passionate fans that loved every moment of recreating this story.

You don’t have to be familiar with Bionicle to enjoy this film. I recommend watching this late at night with a few friends that don’t mind watching something a little bizarre.

The PriceMaster

Early in 2001, the college town of Denton, Texas, was subjected to a peculiar garage sale. Eager customers would peruse a wide variety of items, but to purchase them, they must talk to a masked enigma only known as the PriceMaster.

Clad in a metallic shirt, odd-shaped crimson pants and a golden mask, the PriceMaster speaks into a mic that reverberates his voice. His commanding presence reminds one of the “Wizard of Oz.”

When a humble customer comes before him, his booming voice commands an extreme price; a woman offers a dollar for a purple cape, and in response, the PriceMaster demands a payment of $150,000.

This film is a little over a half-hour long and shows a bizarre instance of performance art. High-pitched, curdling music plays as the Pricemaster’s minions, known as “the communicators,” help their master run his business. 

If you enjoy analog horror, surreal humor or public pranks in the style of Eric Andre, “The PriceMaster” is worth a watch.

The Max Headroom Hijacking Incident – THE BIZARRE

Released in 2019, this documentary investigates the infamous Max Headroom Incident, a series of television hijackings from 1987 that remain unsolved to this day. 

The Reyna Brothers, the writers and directors of this film, explore the history of Max Headroom (the character that was used to disguise the hijacker), summarize similar hijackings in television history and investigate the mysterious identities of the Max Headroom hackers. 

Youtube has many channels that talk about true crime and unsettling mysteries, but the production quality of this video is heads above everything else on the platform. The cinematography of this production is why I qualify this as a film. 

The cold open is chilling and atmospheric, making you feel like you are in some undisclosed location late at night in 1980s Chicago. Likewise, the conclusion is poetic and ethereal. It explores the thoughts of the man behind the mask and the fallout of his actions.

If you enjoy true crime or just a good story, check out “The Bizarre.” They have not been able to create more videos because of the high quality of their work and the pandemic, but a new documentary was released last month, so if “The Bizarre” turns out to be your piece of pie, there is more content to dig into.

Heffernan can be reached at [email protected].