Shudder is a fledgeling horror streaming service that is beginning to make ripples in the bloody pools of the horror marketplace. Rather than indiscriminately carpet-bombing the genre, Shudder prefers to utilise the more scrupulous curative powers of industry experts Sam Zimmerman and Colin Geddes.
Zimmerman has a refined background with Fangoria and Shock Til You Drop and Geddes used to programme the Toronto International Film Festival, where he unleashed some of the most influential genre films of the last twenty years. Ichi The Killer, Hostel, Saw, High Tension, You’re Next, Kill List and The Raid: Redemption were all debutants on his stringent watch.
The service employs engagingly fresh strategies towards categorisation as well as a commendable commitment to exclusive content.
What follows is a list of stunning genre films that are currently available to stream on Shudder.
1: RED WHITE & BLUE
Dir. Simon Rumley 2010 Slacker, Revenge, Thriller 103 mins
Three lives… bound together in blood…
Sexually capricious Erica is sleeping her way around Austin, Texas and crosses paths with a sociopathic Iraq war veteran. When one of her preceding conquests emerges to poke the promiscuous hornet’s nest things get very nasty indeed.
This insane funeral pyre of a flick burns slower than an asbestos-coated iceberg, then shreds your sentiments with a succession of toxin-tipped nail bombs.
A churning storm cloud of schlocky melodrama and introspective art house loathing, Red White & Blue stands as one of the most organically bellicose and spitefully discomforting horror movies of modern times.
2: WE GO ON
Dir. Jesse Holland, Andy Mitton 2017 Supernatural, Death Anxiety 89 mins
Some doors, once opened can never be closed again…
Miles is a despairing slave to his raging thanatophobia. He unwisely decides to stump up a $30,000 incentive for anyone who can show him definitive evidence of an afterlife and unlock the crippling shackles of his unrelenting panic.
Enlisting the help of his charismatic mother they sift through increasingly ruthless charlatans searching for the answers buried deepest in the skanky fuzz of life’s underbelly.
This genuinely frightening flick is one of those rare oddities that manages to take archetypal horror trinkets and string them together in an order that gives the impression of a neoteric whole.
What is entirely fresh is the endearing dynamic between mother and son, heightened by the fact that our protagonist’s mortality crisis is existentialist rather than predatory.
A Shudder exclusive at the time of writing, this is a clear statement of intent and already one of the most resourceful and spontaneous fright films of the year.
3: ISLAND OF DEATH
Dir. Nico Mastorakis 1976 Sleaze, Exploitation, Cult 106 mins
The lucky ones simply got their brains blown out…
A depraved couple embarks on an all-inclusive murderape vacation to the unlucky greek island of Mykonos, where nothing is safe….not even the fauna!
This emphatically offensive button pusher is about as cult as movies can get. Director Nico Mastorakis intended this as a reply, of sorts, to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. He had witnessed the sheer profitability of controversy and contrived to cook up a steaming slice of super-shock pie, so he drew up an ingredients list of the worst aberrations he could visualise, and set about committing them to film. He even managed to coerce quinquagenarian actress Jessica Dublin(The Savage Hunt) into a golden showers scene by using her favourite variety of tea!
By his own admission, Mastorakis envisaged a direct correlation between levels of screen depravity and financial reward. As a consequence, this sexploitation classic rips off its narrative parachute and plummets gleefully into a morally bankrupt black-comedy-hole.
4: THE MIST
Dir. Frank Darabont 2008 Survival horror, Supernatural Thriller 127 mins
Fear Changes Everything…
The morning after a brutal storm, David Drayton and his son Billy are besieged in a supermarket by an impenetrable fog. Worse still are the ferocious beasts enshrouded by the nebula, waiting to shred anything that is stupid enough to invade their misty domain.
This superb Steven King adaptation has not only stood the test of time but has enjoyed a steady rise in popularity from both critics, and much more importantly, fans alike.
The screenplay is immaculate in its treatment of Religious fanaticism and seems even more relevant in today’s delicate climate.
Darabont dared to revise the original novella’s conclusion, a decision Steven King himself wholeheartedly approved of, and as a result proffered the most emotionally destructive ending of any film of the last decade.
5: THE HORSEMAN
Dir.Steven Kastrissios 2008 Revenge, Torture, Thriller 99 mins
He has some questions…
Emotionally mangled Cristian Forteski will stop at nothing to drain the swamp of all those responsible for his daughter’s fatal overdose. He links up with a teen runaway and mounts a relentless road trip of revenge that makes Liam Neeson look like a Parisian lace ruff maker.
This ethically grimy revenge flick has no qualms in delving into the torment toolbox but it’s the sensitive acting and intuitive dissection of grief that lifts it out of the exploitation mire.
Cycling enthusiasts might want to circumvent the horrifying hand-pump scene.
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