Despite the wild claims, the Internet has not changed everything. I mean, I still eat my Coco Pops with a rudimentary spoon and I can’t see Google or Amazon stuffing it into my mouth through some new-fangled screen tube. What it has changed, however, is the way we consume entertainment – and that includes the humble horror film. Gone are the days when we’d trawl market stalls for obscure secondhand Italian horror flicks or spend all our pocket money importing a rare slasher movie onVHS from a sweaty fella in Texas. Now pretty much any scary film is a finger tap away – so what’s the best place for getting your digital (and legal) horror fix?
Well, this month we’ve got Shudder – the streaming service claiming to offer the very best in horror, thriller and supernatural flicks. I was worried a pure horror service would be bulging with cheap modern horror knock-offs, the likes of which I keep seeing on supermarket shelves. You know – endless found-footage movies or Conjuring clones. But what’s actually on offer here is a lovely mix of recent and retro.
Of the newish films, there are solid choices like the thoughtful and creepy Lake Mungo or the slick and nifty
The Inkeepers. I also enjoyed the monster movie Digging
Up The Marrow, in which Ray Wise thinks he’s found a race of underground mutants. Especially welcome is the brilliant adaption of The Whisperer in the Darkness by the HP Lovecraft Historical Society (which features Charles Fort as a character, no less!).
The retro selection
It’s like a friend rocking up and saying “Hey! Look at my horror film collection!”
really tickles too: like the psychedelic 70s Omen rip-off
The Visitor (below) – as star-studded as it is utterly bizarre. There’s also the brilliant and little seen
Blue Sunshine from 1978, about people who go bald and homicidal 10 years after taking some bad LSD (looking lovely in HD I might add – the film, not the baldies). Witch trial shocker
Mark of the Devil, Bigfoot creeper The Legend of Boggy Creek and under-rated slasher
Madman all feature. Heck, even Faces of Death is on here – I doubt you’ll ever see that on Netflix. If you like your horror disgusting and extreme, you’ll find We Are The Flesh and the
Human Centipede movies too, among others. All are curated under handy collection headings too, from ‘Giallo’ to ‘Hammer Movies’ to ‘Slashics’
As with most streaming services, you can get a free month’s trial; but I reckon you’ll be tempted to pay the £4.99 a month to keep it going, since they add to the selection every week. I just noticed they’d put up a documentary on the making of Fright Night, that clocks in at over two hours long! Plus, the channel even makes its own original content and short films.
You’ll find Shudder on most (but not all) platforms, so you can watch these films anywhere (although, if someone spots you on the bus watching Human Centipede 2, don’t expect them to sit next to you!) Which is another bonus of this service, I guess. Shudder is a bit like a friend rocking up saying “Hey! Look at my horror film collection”. In this case, they actually have decent taste, and a few little gems you’ve always wanted to see.