By Dr. Zaius
Friday, September 4th, 2015 at 11:13 am
AMC may stand for “American Movie Classics,” but they’ve been riding the horror genre bandwagon hard the last few years. Already the home of horror’s most successful series, The Walking Dead, and featuring Fearfest marathons during the Halloween season, it only made sense for AMC to push further with horror. In the late Spring they debuted their new streaming service, Shudder, available online at Shudder.com, and on ROKU and other devices. If you are a passionate horror junkie, gore hound, or even occasional genre dabbler, Shudder is worth the price of admission. The best compliment I can give Shudder is that browsing the channel on ROKU, I felt like I was back in the VHS video store days, scanning shelves up and down.
Shudder has a steady stream showing horror movies every time you go to the site. Just yesterday, before I made a selection, they had on the awesome French zombie film, The Horde. The website allows you to browse through 29 sub-sections and sub-genres including “Psychos and Madmen,” “A-Horror,” “Zombie Jamboree,” and “Monster Mash,” or scan films alphabetically. If you’ve been unhappy with the selections on popular streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu, Shudder is the one for you. They offer free 14-day trials, where you can peruse the hundreds of titles. In my 2-week free period I filled up on a bunch of 70s/80s slashers I had missed, like the original 1983 Sleepaway Camp, 1979’s Tourist Trap, 1982’s Basket Case, and 1989’s Intruder. Last night, to honor the late great Wes Craven, I watched an unheralded pre-Freddy Craven film, 1981’s Deadly Blessing starring a young, then-unknown Sharon Stone.
Shudder offers a long list of horror films I have not found on any other streaming sites. Several of the infamous Video Nasties are there, including plenty of gore from maestro Herschell Gordon Lewis. You’ll find your grotesque (Human Centipede 1 & 2), some classics (Evil Dead, The Hills Have Eyes) and plenty of international flair from horror masters like Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento. If you don’t know the titles, don’t assume they are B-movie junk. As a self confessed horror superfan, I’ve found the streaming world to be a haven for horror fans, whereas the genre films that hit theatres are usually sequels, remakes, or desperate money grabs. I’m talking to you Ouija and Annabelle! Arguably, the two most critically acclaimed horror films in recent memory were 2014’s The Babadook, and this year’s It Follows. Both of those films saw limited theatrical releases, and gained tremendous word of mouth following online and through VOD services.
Some quick suggestions of movies you may have never seen or heard of: the phenomenal Absentia (in the Spectral Encounters section), the hilariously crazy Murder Party (in Psychos and Madmen), and one of my all time favorites, the mockumentary/slasher Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (in Socko Spoofs). Once you’ve browsed the selections and your two week free trial is over, Shudder costs $4.99 a month, or $49.99 (a $10 save) for the year. To a true horror fan, it’s totally worth it.
Shudder – The Best In Horror, Hand Picked by Experts