There is certainly no shortage of cant-miss content on Shudder, but we all know that the real issue at hand is not what to watch, but which to watch first? Hundreds of movies and series on the plethora of streaming services… the choice is daunting!
Luckily, I have made it just a teensy bit easier by narrowing it down to one streaming service… and 22 movies. I can’t make the final decision for you! You’re on your own for that last part, but I think going from hundreds of movies to just 22 is a big improvement!
Whether you’re in the mood for zombies, demons, aliens, or British people; I have absolutely no doubt that you’ll find something to scare the trousers right off ya!
Color Out of Space
A hypnotizing, vivid entry into the “Nic Cage Gone Wild” library, Color Out of Space is an aesthetic, comedic visual trip. Without saying too much, if you’re a fan of the cosmic and the Lovecraftian, and you haven’t already seen this… where have you been!? This is one of those films best served concealed.
Meteors. Alpacas. Nic Cage and Tommy Chong. Need I really say more?
New Argento! Ten years since the not-so-beloved Dracula 3-D, Dario Argento is back with a Shudder original. After trying to escape a serial killer, Diana is left blind by a car accident that also kills the family of a ten year old boy. Starring Ilenia Pastorelli and Asia Argento, Argento’s daughter, the film has been considered a return to form by some, with the classic motifs and overbearing music that fans know and love.
Dark Glasses was released on Shudder on Oct 13.
Found-footage fans rejoice! A new scary-good entry to the best sub-genre has just hopped on the scene. Released on Shudder on Oct 6, Deadstream comes from the minds of Vanessa and Joseph Winter, who are also directing a segment of the upcoming V/H/S 99 film, also streaming on Shudder later in the month.
The found-footage flick made its debut at SXSW earlier this year, later appearing at Panic Fest, our own creeptastic film festival here at DownrightCreepy. After getting basically cancelled by his own fanbase and the rest of the internet, Shawn (played by director Joseph Winter) goes on mission to win back his followers by spending the night alone in a haunted house. Unsurprisingly, this internet micro-celebrity shows himself to be foolish enough to piss off a spirit, and chaos unsurprisingly ensues.
Gonjiam Haunted Asylum
Another found-footage gem, Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum is similar to Deadstream in that it follows internet celebrities staying in haunted places, pissing off things that they don’t understand and facing the consequences. Unlike Deadstream, Gonjiam is actually a whole crew of people; each with their own POV camera, as well as cameras set up in each room.
The film is filled incredibly effective jump-scares paired with absolutely nightmarish imagery that is guaranteed to reappear in those dark corners of the room after you’ve stared at them for a tiny bit too long. Fans of the Netflix hit series Squid Game will also recognize Wai Ha-jun, the group’s leader, as the police detective Hwang Jun -ho from the show.
The only decent “Covid-film” (in my humble opinion) to come out of the early years of the pandemic, Host was filmed entirely on Zoom in early 2020. Host is short, coming in short of an hour, at 57 minutes; which, for a Zoom movie, was probably the best decision. The film has a simple premise: six friends and a medium host a séance over Zoom and (surprise, surprise) they don’t respect what they don’t understand, and have to deal with the consequences. Or simply put, they fuck around and find out.
Don’t let the gimmicky nature of the film turn you off, this absurdly short feature packs some hardy scares. Plus, since when did we start hating gimmicks? William Castle is surely rolling in his grave; put flying skeletons back in theaters you cowards!
Of course we’re not done with the “Cage Gone Wild” entries! What kind of list would this be with only one? Funnily enough, this one is also a colorful, acid trip; some might even say a nightmare. A tale of bloody vengeance with Cage at the helm, scored by the one and only Jóhann Jóhannsson. What I would endearingly refer to as sick as shit. Check this one out, you won’t regret it.
Noroi: The Curse
From the elusive and unequaled Koji Shiraishi, comes Noroi: The Curse. Certainly his most well-known work, alone with Occult, Noroi: The Curse is a one-of-a kind found footage delicacy. Shiraishi’s films are notoriously difficult to come by outside of Japan, so to have this film be accessible in the biggest horror streaming platform is truly a miracle. Without a DVD or Blu-ray release to date, its unlikely that his films will ever receive any sort of wide distribution outside of its availability on Shudder; and this almost certainly extends to his other, lesser known films.
The mockumentary style film is a genuinely frightening flick, creeping out even the most jaded of horror veterans. One of those “I feel like I shouldn’t be watching this”-type movies.
One Cut of the Dead
One Cut of the Dead is another Japanese found-footage (can you tell what my favorite sub-genre is?) but on a little more of the comedic side. The film is absolutely absurd, but what else can you expect from a movie about a film crew shooting a zombie movie, only to get attacked by real zombies during it? The film takes “the show must go on” to the extreme, giving us our own Kubrick or Ford Coppola in the form of another “art-first, actor-safety-last” director in Higurashi.
A funny, bloody good time!
Resurrection — Oct. 28
Starring The Night House’s Rebecca Hall, is the highly anticipated Resurrection from writer/director Andrew Semans. Starring alongside Hall is Tarantino favorite, Tim Roth in this film about a woman’s past unexpectedly coming back to upend her life after two decades.
No doubt the crowning jewel of David Bruckner’s The Night House, Rebecca Hall’s name alone is more than enough reason for excitement.
Credited, for better or for worse, with launching the American remake trend of the 2000s— specifically of Japanese horror films— Ringu is the trendsetter for good reason. The blueprint for so many scares in film today, Ringu is a classic that holds up even after two decades. Even if you’ve never seen it, you’ve heard of cursed tapes that kill you, and phone calls that tell you “you’re gonna die in seven days.” Whether it’s your first time or your tenth time, this Japanese jewel is a solid pick for anyone’s late-night watch.
The Taking of Deborah Logan
The often looked-over The Taking of Deborah Logan is a 2014 found-footage film that sadly got lost in the sub-genre trend of the time. During the late 2000s and early 2010s, there were a resurgence of possession and found-footage movies just oversaturating the market. Among the many cash-grab, formulaic permutations of the possession found-footage film, was the genuinely scary and unnerving The Taking of Deborah Logan.
Equally as horrific is the story of Deborah’s Alzheimer’s, represented in the film as a sort of possession. Its a genuinely terrifying film with an equally, if not more, terrifying concept at the center of it.
Tetsuo: The Iron Man
Think you’ve seen fucked up practical effects? If you haven’t seen this 1989 Japanese film, you should maybe think again. Tetsuo: The Iron Man centers around a metal fetishist that plagues a businessman after he is hit by the man’s car and disposed of afterwards. Yeah, metal fetishist.
Completely in high-contrast, stark black-and-white, the film is a 67 minute experience that is like nothing you have ever seen before. The movie is metal as fuck (pun very-much intended) with a sublime soundtrack that only pulls you deeper into this bizarre, terrifying world. It’s unapologetically gross, loud, and disturbing— so it’s obviously a pretty gnarly time.
Caving is crazy enough on its own (seriously, if you do that, you need help), so imagine being stuck underground, with limited supplies, and all the while you’re being stalked by screeching, subterranean monsters. It’s difficult to sell this movie without giving away the existence of the monsters, but the film does a really great job at keeping them under wraps until their reveal.
The best way to watch this one (from personal experience) is with a group of friends who don’t even know monsters are involved, I guarantee you they won’t see it coming. Funnily enough, even the actors didn’t even see it coming, as they were kept in the dark about the monsters on set until the day of shooting those scenes. Filled with spectacular kills, tense character drama, and incredibly set up scares, The Descent will leave you needing a massage after how tense you’d been keeping your body the whole runtime.
The Exorcist III
The importance of William Friedkin’s The Exorcist in horror history (and film history in general) goes without saying; the sequel to that masterclass in filmmaking?— well, it exists. After the failure that was The Exorcist II: The Heretic, it’s no surprise that people tend to ignore the third Exorcist film. However, I am here to tell you that you are missing out! Directed by author of the original book, William Peter Blatty himself, the third installment of the series takes place 15 years after the first film, as Lieutenant William F. Kinderman investigates a series of murders seemingly committed by the presumed dead Gemini Killer. With the return of a surprising character from the first film, the third Exorcist film contains startling sequences that are more in line with what you’d expect from an Exorcist film. Director W.P Blatty takes his own material and brings it to life, basing the story on his novel Legion. By all means, skip II, but do yourself a favor and jump straight into three (+you don’t need II at all to understand the film).
Somewhere we hardly hear about in horror film (or film at large really): Thailand. Which is a shame because of we’re missing stories like the one in The Medium, we are really missing out on some untouched horror potential. From director Banjong Pisanthanakun, The Medium is “A story about shamanism in Thailand.” And that’s really all you need.
An intense, slow-burn mockumentary that is unforgiving in the best way. The film is raw and, honestly, had me questioning whether they said its fiction just to make me feel better.
This time from Taiwan, is Robert Jabbaz’ The Sadness. Take the terribly-fast zombies from World War Z, and the unrelenting levels of gore and violence from Ichi the Killer and you’ve got The Sadness. I mean it. This is one messed up outbreak movie; overflowing with bloody, sexual, unspeakable violence. It’s transgressive, and at times impossible to stomach, but what is horror if not boundary-pushing?
Korea has been on a steady streak of churning out some of the most effective, instant-classic, horror movies of the recent decade. The Wailing is one of the most notable. The Wailing follows a policeman trying to track down the origin of a mysterious spreading sickness. The film is dripping with dread and uncertainty; and is ambiguous in the most chilling ways. The perfect rainy watch.
After thinking I was pretty much desensitized at that point, I did not expect anything special out of this 80s British mockumentary. But for the first time in years, I couldn’t close my eyes after watching a movie. Not your typical horror movie, Threads plays out more closely to a drama. You’d assume it was a bona fide documentary if it weren’t for the fact that what it documents is the moments leading up to and during a nuclear holocaust.
Its not particularly scary in a regular sense, but what it is instead is a hyper-realistic hypothesis on what a nuclear holocaust might actually look like. Its unflinching in its graphic depiction of the end of civilization as we know it; so if you’re looking for some existential dread to gnaw on while you try to sleep, I guess this exists. Sincerely, someone with (a)n (completely) ir(rational) fear of nuclear war.
Train to Busan
Probably the most popular Korean horror to hit the scene in recent years, Train to Busan has quickly become a genre classic. The word ‘classic’ is thrown around a lot (I myself have used it a lot in this article), but Train to Busan truly deserves it. Despite being released less than a decade ago, the film has already had such a major impact on the zombie sub-genre, and the horror genre as a whole.
Fast zombies, human depravity, all aboard a train on its wat to Busan, a safe Haven from all the chaos. With the inclusion of characters you quickly get attached to, not only will the film make you scream, but it might just make that cold heart of yours cry too.
Introducing the world to a sewer resident that the likes of Pennywise would run from, V/H/S 94 revived the V/H/S series with a bang. V/H/S Viral, released in 2014, was the third installment of the series; and widely regarded as the worst of the anthologies. So after 7 years, for the return of the series to be as well-received as it was, is something only horror fans could end up pulling off. Oh the last one was awful? And you’re making another one? Count me in!
Taking place in— you guessed it— 1994, each short film is found by a police S.W.A.T team in a seemingly abandoned warehouse. As the team ventures further and further into the building, and the tapes, a sinister conspiracy is slowly brought to life. Featuring exploding rabbits and grotesque, botched cyborgs, V/H/S 94 has a little something for everyone!
V/H/S 99 — Oct 20
As the fifth installment in the wildly popular anthology series, V/H/S 99 might be the most anticipated release on Shudder this October. Last year in 2021, V/H/S 94 was the biggest movie premiere in the streaming service’s history, so this year’s volume has a big act to follow.
As the title suggests, the contents of the film’s videos take place in 1999, at the break of the new millennia. Along with promising producers like Radio Silence (Scream 2022) and David Bruckner (The Night House), involved in the film are a handful of promising names within the genre.
Don’t miss this heavy-hitter when it’s released on Thursday Oct 20.
Wake in Fright
Previously considered a piece of lost media, Wake in Fright found a new life in 2009 after being digitally restored and re-released at Cannes that same year. Premiering at Cannes in 1971 as Outback, and nominated for the Palme D’or; the film was a massive commercial flop back home, due in part to protests about what is arguably the film’s most notorious scene.
The film follows John, an Australian school teacher, who gets accidentally stranded in the rural outback town of Bundanyabba. Bogged down by the sweltering heat, and surrounded by unbridled levels of hypermasculinity, John is slowly consumed by madness with no way to escape. In an infamous scene taking place under the dark cloak of the outback’s night sky, John and some locals go out to drunkenly hunt kangaroos. A they run down the animals in a jeep, shooting wildly into the night, the chase is intercut with brutal footage of the animals’ corpses jerking wildly as they’re struck by bullets. The scene is naturally harsh and difficult to watch, but is made much worse when you’re worst fears are confirmed, and you learn that these scenes are in fact very real.
An article written by Senses of Cinema titled “The Hunt”, details about how and why the scene was filmed this way are discussed— the story of which is arguably much worse than the footage actually in the film. Although no doubt hard to stomach, the film is far from being purely shock value; and though a little slow at times, it’s visualization of the decline into insanity is engrossing. Almost lost to the sands of times, Wake in Fright is a staple of Ozploitation and an unforgettable piece of cinema history.