Friday, August 7, 2015

Screambox


Back in June, I wrote about a new horror streaming service called Shudder that was aiming to be the Netflix for horror movies. While Netflix competes with Hulu and Amazon Instant Video, it looks like Shudder isn't the only horror streaming game in town.

Screambox is a company that's actually been around since 2014 and promises to deliver uncut horror movies the way they were meant to be consumed: "no filters, no restrictions, and no distractions." While both services claim to be the new home of horror, Screambox has a brash in-your-face attitude that's apparent even in their own description. 

"We are not your generic movie site. You won’t find any sappy fairy tales or slap-stick comedies or heart-warming musicals here. Don’t like it? Then leave.

We are not your parents’ horror destination either. That’s not to say we don’t love the classics (horror genius knows no age).

We are not here to make you feel safe or even comfortable. A romantic comedy or a night light can do that."

I can respect a company that's willing to weed out the tentative and doubtful to reach their target audience. These guys know what they're here to provide and to whom they're providing this service. If you don't know what you want, go sign up for Netflix.


If your interest is piqued however, Screambox offers a 30-day free trial and is only $3.99/month if you decide to keep the service. All the movies are uncut and commercial free with new content added on a weekly basis. Currently, the service is available on your desktop, tablets, iOS, and Android devices. You can also stream through Roku, Amazon FireTV, and Samsung Smart TVs with support for Google Chromecast, Xbox (360/One), and PlayStation (3/4) coming soon. 

Screambox's selection of movies have a pretty wide range in terms of quality. There are the classics and critically acclaimed films, there are B-movies and cult favorites, and then there are some lower end films you'd probably find bundled together with a dozen others at the bottom of a bargain bin. Screambox doesn't judge, they give horror movies from all walks of life an equal opportunity to shine. They also have a great selection of horror from around the world, offering "all-time classics, exciting new releases, and horror movies from Iceland, England, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Korea, Japan and Thailand."

The movies are divided up into five main categories: Killers, Supernatural, Monsters, Psychological, Extreme. Within each of those categories are subcategories such as Slashers, Crime & Giallo, Possession & Demons, Zombies, Animals & Nature, Body Horror, Cults and Fanaticism, Splatter, Torture, Brutal & Disturbing, etc.


There were a few films that I noticed appearing in both Shudder and Screambox's selections, such as:

A Tale of Two Sisters
Basket Case
Children of the Corn
Chillerama
Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2
Cold Prey
Hellraiser 1 & 2
House 1 & 2
Nosferatu
Re-Cycle
Shutter
The Hills Have Eyes


But what really impressed me about Screambox's selection were the amount of foreign films:

Ab-normal Beauty
Bloody Reunion
Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman
Chain Letter
Diary
The Echo
Face
Forest of Death
The Ghost
Ghost of Mae Nak
Gozu
H
The Heirloom
Imprint
Koma
Phone
The Roommate
Scream Girls


and more obscure/B-movies like:

The Driller Killer
Frankenstein (1910 silent version)
The Girl Next Door
Goblin (1993)
Hatchet
Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore
Monsturd
Pop Punk Zombies
Psycho Shark
Silent Night Deadly Night 1 & 2
Slaughter Island
Vampire Whores from Outer Space
Yellow Fangs


They feature a good selection of Tartan Asia Extreme films, Masters of Horror, Elvira Movie Macabre, some SyFy channel rejects, and even a couple Jack Ketchum films. They also seem to prominently feature The Hunger, a British/Canadian horror anthology series that was initially hosted by Terence Stamp and replace by David Bowie in the second season.


The site is easy to navigate, their setup is very similar to Netflix. There's a queue you can add movies to but unfortunately you cannot arrange the order of the queue. If you scroll over a movie, you have the option to play it, add it to your queue, or watch the trailer. The flash video player can stream up to 1080p video although not all movies are available in HD. I have come across a quite a few that were only available in 480p. The subtitles are hardsubbed on foreign language films, there aren't any options to change the subtitling. After watching a movie, you have the option to rate it out of 5 skulls (or stars). They also list related movies under the video player, so it's easy to find more movies to watch after you finish the one you're currently watching.


With Halloween approaching in the coming months, this is a wonderful option to expand the amount of horror movies available for consumption during this season. Screambox is a little rough around the edges in some areas but they're also still in beta, so hopefully it all gets smoothed out. You can tell this company has heart, they're like the ECW of streaming services. They may not have all the most popular mainstream horror movies but as a hardcore horror fan myself, I can find those movies anywhere. I've already seen and own most of the popular franchises on DVD or Blu-ray. This gives me the option of watching movies I'm not sure I want to buy sight unseen and don't have the option of renting on Netflix.