Today is the day, horror fans. Shudder has officially launched. It’s a movie streaming service that features nothing but horror movies and TV. Which is why I have been checking out exactly what it has to offer. It’s starting with a selection of about 200 movies, which should keep us going for a few weeks, but has the added bonus of bundling many of the movies together in different collections. You can get inspiration from bundles as varied as “Weird Science”, “Animal Planet”, “Identity Crises”, “Socko Spoofs”, and many more. You can also spend some time watching whatever movie is currently playing on Shudder TV, a rotating selection of the movies that can help you decide on your next viewing choice.
But, let’s be honest, all you want to know before subscribing is what is available on there, from day one. Which is why we decided to give you 31, count ’em, recommendations. Just in case you were late in starting the 31 Days Of Horror for this October.
31. Blood Rage – Sometimes competent and sometimes godawful, Blood Rage is at least consistently entertaining (if sometimes for the wrong reasons). The kills are decent, the plot is enjoyably ludicrous, and Louise Lasser gives a performance that rivals the one from Desiree Gould in Sleepaway Camp.
30. Blood And Black Lace – Not the only Mario Bava movie available here – there are five other titles in a collection entitled “Bava-thon” – but arguably the best movie ever made by the horror maestro. And also one of the very best giallo movies. If you’re looking for a starting point to explore either field then you won’t regret picking this.
29. Night Of The Demons – I stand by this review here.
28. Pin – A very odd film, very odd indeed, but also a very freaky one. Give this one a watch if you’re wanting to stay far away from any standard slashers or supernatural movies.
27. Death Walks On High Heels & Death Walks At Midnight – Cheating slightly, and it won’t be the only time I cheat here, these two Luciano Ercoli movies were recently released in a fine boxset from Arrow Video, and they’re excellent choices for fans of Euro-horror.
26. The Hills Have Eyes – The classic Wes Craven movie, featuring inbred Desert dwellers and a whole lot of nastiness. If you consider yourself a horror fan then I consider this essential viewing. Not just because of the influence upon the subgenre already mentioned, but also because of seeing a stepping stone in the career of Craven. It’s fascinating to see someone manage to tone down a cinematic primal scream into something more acceptable to mass audiences while somehow not diluting the power of his work.
25. The Mutilator – Another cheesy slasher movie? Yes. Irresistible, mainly thanks to the tagline; By sword, By pick, By Axe, Bye bye.
24. Society – Reviewed here. Once seen, never forgotten.
23. Demons/Demons 2 – Cheating again, but you really can’t watch one without wanting to also watch the other. My review of the first film is here, and you could apply many of the same comments to the sequel.
22. Jug Face – My high opinion of this movie hasn’t changed any since this review.
21. Frankenhooker – Yet another personal favourite of mine. Directed by Frank Henenlotter. That should be all you need to know. If you only see one film in your life that involves a loved one who is killed in a tragic accident involving a lawnmower, a man who uses trepanning as a way to relieve the pressure in his head, and prostitutes putting themselves in danger by using explosive supercrack then that film had better be Frankenhooker.
20. Frightmare – Because anything by Pete Walker is worth watching, but especially this one.
19. Dead Hooker In A Trunk – The Soska Sisters have become a bit of a hot property, and therefore a bit more divisive, in the horror community (they’re currently getting to work on a remake of Rabid) and this is where their directorial career began. It’s a solid start, not quite as accomplished as their best work – American Mary – but still better than See No Evil 2. There’s a full review here.
18. Pontypool – Another zombie movie that shows how interesting and varied the subgenre can be. This movie is not for those seeking a quick fix of blood, guts and scares. It is, rather, for those seeking out something with some fresh ideas and the courage behind it’s particular convictions.
17. The Canal – This is absolutely the kind of film that horror fans should seek out, support, and hope to see more of. Like the titular waterway, it’s dark, it’s chilling, and it’s got depth.
16. Horror Of Dracula – It’s the time of year to visit/revisit at least one Hammer horror, so why not choose one with both Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in starring roles.
15. Sorority Row – One of the better remakes in recent years, this one benefits from a great supporting turn from Carrie Fisher and a decent updating of the plot that still retains the essence of the original movie.
14. The Devil’s Rejects – Remember when Rob Zombie was making movies while saying that he would never be interested in remaking any classic horrors? This was from that time, if memory serves me right. And some still view it as his best film.
13. Evil Aliens – A fun comedy/horror/sci-fi mish mash that loses points for not making better use of the lovely Emily Booth. But it gains a lot of points by having Emily Booth in the cast.
12. Let The Right One In – Although I didn’t like it as much as many other people, this is an interesting variation on the standard vampire tropes. And it’s one to check off if you’ve not yet got around to it.
11. Lovely Molly – Superior, mature horror from Eduardo Sánchez, this features a few disturbing moments and an ending that will have you questioning everything you just watched, in a good way.
10. Spider Baby – You may recall that this was just reviewed here.
9. The Horseman – Absolutely top-tier revenge tale. Writer-director Steven Kastrissios does very well with his first feature, impressing with his handling of the material, the actors and the choice of what to show and what to keep hidden.
8. Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 – Am I still alone in praising this one, or have opinions started to change over time. A sequel to The Blair Witch Project that decided not to just retread familiar ground, this film instead looks at
7. The Beyond – No serious horror fan should get through the season without at least one Lucio Fulci film assaulting their eyeballs. This is one of his best.
6. Turkey Shoot – Classic exploitation fare from Brian Trenchard Smith. I didn’t actually see this film until earlier this year, and I’ve been kicking myself for not getting to it sooner.
5. The Mist – A fine adaptation of the Stephen King novella, and one of the best endings in modern horror cinema, especially compared to the relative non-ending of the original story.
4. Inside – This is certainly not for those who dislike their horror movies to “show too much” but I should just add that there is also a decent story lurking under the streams of blood and viscera.
3. The Battery – Seriously, take the opportunity to watch this if you haven’t managed to get around to it before now. Here’s my glowing review.
2. Lesson Of Evil – I reviewed this here, and didn’t think we’d ever see it widely available. I am glad that I was wrong.
1. American Horror Project Vol. 1 – Ending with another cheat? Yes I am, and no wonder. These films seemed to be unavailable for so long, and now we have both the superb boxset from Arrow Video and each title available to stream here. The Premonition is, to me, the least of the three, but still worth a watch. Malatesta’s Carnival Of Blood is enjoyably odd, and The Witch Who Came In From The Sea is a fascinating study of psychological damage and the potential effects of abuse.
And there you have it. Plenty to take you right up to Halloween, and beyond.