While many general moviegoers are skeptical of the horror genre’s past/future, I see no need for panic. Mainstream horror seems to be shambling along aimlessly, as studios churn out an endless heap of assembly-line-produced procedurals based on some type of existing property (sequels, reboots, game-based movies), but the horror genre is alive and thriving if you know where to look.
Y’all can argue about the meaning of Deathwave until you turn blue in the face, whether you hate the term or dig it, because despite classification qualms, there’s no denying an influx of horror movies with substance, vitality, and an all-encompassing cinematic meatiness. Alas, these titles are certainly much harder to find than big-budget remakes, and while a few stumble onto Netflix’s streaming catalog out of blind luck, general horror audiences rarely discover a movie like Stitches until years later.
That’s where a new horror-only streaming service called Shudder comes into play – an inarguable must-own for devoted genre fans.
For the low, low price of $4.99 a month (or $49.99 a year), you can gain access to an ever-growing collection of closely curated horror tiles that meet quality standards upheld by a hand-picked team of experts. You can browse Shudder’s whole collection or pick from one of the already existing collections (Animal Planet, Psychos And Madmen, Smart Slashes, etc.), but either way, you’ll find carefully selected films that have earned their celebrated status amongst horror buffs. Netflix generally operates on larger contracts with entire companies, while Shudder goes out of its way to bring genre-pushing, important, utterly batshit material that’s been tested by generations of hardcore horror lovers. It’s the kind of service that not only has the balls to host Nekromantik and Nekromantik 2, but recommend them as well – waters Netflix will surely never tread.
So if you’re a Netflix member, why would you drop extra dough on Shudder? Netflix has their own horror section, and it’s admittedly pretty expansive. But Neftlix doesn’t possess the horror knowledge that Shudder displays, boasting a team made up of genre luminaries (festival runners, former critics, ravenous horror lovers) who have seen it all/attend festivals to stay up-to-date on horror’s constantly transforming landscape. Curator Sam Zimmerman spent years covering horror for numerous high-profile genre publications, while co-curator Colin Geddes is a twenty-year veteran in the world of content programming for The Royal Cinema and TIFF’s Midnight Madness – aka, these guys know movies. Especially horror movies.
You’re right to assume their selections reflect a passion for bizarre, boundary-challenging cinema, snagging the rights to such fanfare as Grizzly, Cannibal Holocaust, and Carnival Of Souls. Everything from Mario Bava to Lucio Fulci can be found, from Dario Argento to John Landis, but the new age of horror is also well represented. You’ve got your Ti West, Jeremy Saulnier, Ben Wheatley – from the new to the old, Shudder makes certain to represent heralded classics and future films that will be talked about with the same excitement. Shudder’s catalog is built on the bold, the weird, the famous, and the infamous – but most importantly, each film has marked its territory in a fit of genre dominance.