Friday, June 19, 2015

Shudder - A New Horror Streaming Service!


Horror fans rejoice! AMC and DramaFever have teamed up to bring us a new 24/7 horror streaming service. Shudder promises to deliver "Screams on Demand" for only $4.99/month or $49.99/year.

With more than 200 full-length, ad-free horror movies available, powered by DramaFever's video streaming platform, Shudder gives you access to horror content curated by "leading industry experts." Currently available only in the US but hoping to expand worldwide soon, the Beta version is only available through your web browser with apps for iOS, Android, and Roku launching in the coming weeks.

People who signed up for the Beta have been receiving invites over the last week and a half for an exclusive 60-day free trial offer. Visit their website at Shudder.com to sign up now. I received my invitation today and eagerly signed up to see what was available on their site.

They offer a variety of movies including an impressive selection of foreign films such as:

The ABCs of Death (2012)
Dead Hooker in a Trunk (2009) by the Soska Sisters
Doghouse (2009)
Dream Home (2010)
Faces of Death (1978)
I Saw the Devil (2010)
Sick Nurses (2007)
The Machine Girl (2008)
Tokyo Gore Police (2008)
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)

alongside classics like Germany's silent Gothic horror Nosferatu, Mario Bava's seminal slasher film A Bay of Blood, and Italian gore maestro Lucio Fulci's first installment of his unofficial "Gates of Hell" trilogy City of the Living Dead. All of which are separated into "collections" such as:


A-Horror (Asian Horror)
Psychos and Madmen
Socko Spoofs
Into the Wild
Comedy of Terrors
Gross Anatomy
The Unblinking Eye: Diabolical Documentaries
The Unraveling Mind
Urban Decay
Weird Science
Zombie Jamboree
Cult Masters: EuroHorror
Foundations of Horror
Monster Mash
Possessions: The Devil Made Me Do It!
Bad Genes & Killer Kids
Not Your Ordinary Bloodsuckers
School's Out... Forever
Spectral Encounters
...and more!


What impressed me the most were the titles I couldn't find on Netflix, not even for DVD rental. Movies like:

Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky - An insanely gory and violent adaptation of a Japanese manga that everyone should see (and probably have seen clips from) but is no longer available to rent from Netflix. I know I've rented this from them previously but maybe someone didn't return the disc.

Trail of the Screaming Forehead - From the same people who brought us the genre spoofs Dark and Stormy Night, The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, and The Lost Skeleton Returns Again comes this parody of old Sci-Fi movies that doesn't even turn up in a search of Netflix's database. In fact, the only copy I could find was a Region 2 import on Amazon.

Death Bell - Another movie that doesn't even show up on Netflix's radar. I was after this Korean horror for a list of school-related horror films I was compiling. I understand that Netflix can't possibly offer every obscure movie in the world, but they also have an inexcusably poor selection of foreign films.

Werewolves on Wheels - Alright, I'm not going to act like it's a crime if Netflix doesn't carry an exploitation film that mixes biker films with werewolf movies. I'm sure most people would just scroll past it even if they did stream it. For people like me that want to see it though, the disc is currently unavailable to rent and this is NOT the kind of movie you want to buy to watch for the first time.

Chaw - Another Korean film, this time a black comedy about a mutant killer boar, is also not available for streaming or rental. Once again, this is less about criticizing Netflix for not having every movie I want available and more about emphasizing the selection that Shudder does have. This just happens to be a movie I was looking for recently and I can watch it now thanks to Shudder.


In addition, Shudder also has a pre-programmed feed called Shudder.tv that airs a continuous loop of horror programs like a TV network.

Not all of the films have closed captions or subtitles, but they're working to bring more to the site. All of their non-English language content is subtitled across all their supported platforms, but it isn't possible at this time to enable CC on English language films except on their website. Members can also request titles to be added

If their initial selection of films is any indication of what's to come, I'm extremely excited to see what will be added next. AMC is known for their Fear Fest marathons every Halloween and have brought us shows like the wildly popular Walking Dead and the highly-anticipated, upcoming companion series Fear the Walking Dead. If anything, AMC has shown it understands what the horror community wants. Maybe the ads are right.