Have you tried the new streaming service SHUDDER yet? If you haven’t and you call yourself any kind of horror fan, then you should take a moment to head to their site and sign up for your two week free trial right away. For less than $5 a month, or $50 for a year’s membership, Shudder offers horror fans unlimited streaming to a growing digital library of classic genre titles.
Sure, that sounds an awful lot like what Netflix offers at the moment, but Shudder holds a key advantage over the streaming behemoth. The film selections at have been carefully chosen, “curated” is the term they prefer, in order to appeal to now-and-future-hardcore horror fans. Netflix gobbles up any title they can secure the rights to in order to bowl subscribers over with sheer numbers. While there are diamonds in there, they exist amongst a lot of subpar material. Shudder offers a smaller library (as of this writing they have about 400 movies available to stream) but much more appealing content to the horror fan. It’s the difference between Budweiser and a small label craft beer. Both have their place, but given the choice, most true connoisseurs would opt for the specialized option.
For November, Shudder added two dozen titles to the mix, including those that fall under their new collection of “Extreme” horror title. In the fields below we’ve spotlighted five of those films as well as listed the other inclusions as well.
Our Top Five Picks For SHUDDERS’s November Additions:
1. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST The granddaddy of cannibal films can also lay claim to a number of other distinctions. It may be the first “found footage horror film.” It’s also one of the only films in cinema history where the director was brought up on murder charges. The Italian courts were so convinced that what the film contained was real, they put Ruggero Deodato for killing his cast. After making the cast sign waivers that they wouldn’t appear in public until after the film’s release, Deodato was forced to have them appear before the court in order to prove his film was a work of fiction.
Confession time: I’d never watched this film until streaming it via Shudder earlier this week. I knew the backstory of actual animal death and dismemberment , and was familiar with the iconography of the film (the woman with the pole jutting from her mouth is one of the most disturbing images I’ve ever seen) but nothing, and I mean nothing could prepare me for what the film had in store for the viewer. It’s a mean spirited, brutal assault on the senses, and time has not dulled its impact.
2. DEMONS The titular creatures break through the fourth wall and hold an audience captive in this crazed bit of Italian horror from Lamberto Bava (son of the famous giallo director Mario Bava). The mashup of punk, new wave and metal on the soundtrack make this a nice snapshot of 80s splatter and it’s a damn fun work of gore and zaniness.
3. AUDITION “Jesus Christ the bag fucking moved!” Famed Japanese madman Takashi Miike established himself as one of the most demented and crucial creative forces of the late 20th century with this unholy blend of romance, comedy and torture. When a television producer decides to hold a mock casting audition in order to find love and romance, he never could have dreamed the level of psychosis he opened his life up to. Audition contains a climax that to this day, I cannot bear to watch again. Whenever this film is discussed on one of the many “best of” horror documentaries that appear from time to time, I have to switch away from it until the segment finishes up. A decade after seeing this film for the first time, it remains one of the most horrifying movies I’ve ever watched.
4. NEKROMANTIK While inevitable crossover exists between Shudder and other streaming services, if I were to wager my daughter’s college fund on one surefire, iron clad bet, it’s that German director Jorg Buttgereit’s tender ode to sex with corpses will never, ever, ever find its way onto Netflix. The film remains banned in many countries even to this day, and lost among the never ending flurry of graphic, fucked up imagery is a dry, sardonic sense of whimsy that marks any truly great love story. More than 25 years after making its debut, NEKROMANTIK remains the kind of extreme title that separates the adults from the kids when it comes to professing one’s love for hardcore horror.
5. ROB ZOMBIE’S H2 This was the first film we reviewed, way back in the summer of 2009 and to this day, I’ll defend my appreciation of Zombie’s followup to his flawed remake. H2 feels like the film he wanted to make all along, and though it’s hard to defend it as a Michael Myers movie, it remains a fascinating examination of PTSD and how three very different persons try to recover from horrific events. It’s not a masterpiece, and Zombie’s insistence of including his wife in every one of his films continues to hold him back, but it does offer some spectacular set pieces and some of the most gruesome, hateful moments to make them way into wide release horror during the last decade.
The best of the rest:
COME OUT & PLAY
THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW
CAT IN THE BRAIN
THE DEATH KING
LET US PREY
THE DRILLER KILLER
DAY OF THE ANIMALS