The 25 Best Films Available On Shudder Right Now
My buddy / writing partner got me a year’s subscription to Shudder for Christmas this year, and I have to tell you after 23 days it’s already the most useful and amazing gift I’ve received in years. Sorry family members who have sent me much more elaborate gifts and helped me in incalculable ways during the past few years. Right now I’m sitting here watching Waxwork for the first time in years and I couldn’t be more pleased. Last night I watched The Rambler, a “psychotronic” (I think that’s the fancy way of saying Cronenberg-ian) film with Dermot Mulroney who I can’t take seriously in a horror film. I had a little Friday the 13th party early this month to recognize the “holiday.” I’d say I’m using Shudder to watch 2-3 movies a week since the account was created.
Originally described to me as “Netflix for horror” when they were sponsors at BeyondFest two years ago (I think?), the service has really come into its own recently. Their selection is pretty phenomenal if you’re a horror buff. They boast everything from Video Nasties to modern releases, Cult Epics titles like Angst and the Nekromantik films, old school giallo flicks, comedies like Cooties and Birdemic, new weirdness like Beyond The Black Rainbow, and classics like Nosferatu.
I could easily present you with a list of 50 great must-see titles you should be watching right now, but I’m already uncomfortable devoting time to a blog post about an app recommendation (aside from streaming on their website you can download apps to your phone or Roku) so I’m going to instead try to pare my list down to 25.
Go sign up for Shudder so we have something to talk about in the future. And here are the 25 best available right now, in alphabetical order because I don’t feel like ranking them. I’ll try to include as few plot points as possible in the hopes you’ll seek these out and watch them.
- 1990: The Bronx Warriors – Super derivative Italian film that basically rips off The Warriors and Escape From New York, but if you’re going to rip off movies those are two good ones to start with.
- Angst – I love this banned Austrian film from the early ’80s. A definite favorite were I ever to prepare a list of my absolute fullest recommendations. Cinematography by Oscar winner Zbigniew Rybczyński (not for this film, but still…) a score by Klaus Schulze, and a direct influence on the work of Gaspar Noe, who himself calls Angst a masterpiece.
- Berberian Sound Studio – A recent British film set in a ’70s Italian horror film studio, with music composed by Broadcast. Doesn’t get much better than that.
- The Beyond – Is there a more renowned Italian horror film than Lucio Fulci’s cult classic? Probably not. Depends on if you think Salo is a horror movie or not, I guess…
- Cannibal Holocaust – Yeah, you know the one. The quintessential cannibal movie. The one whose director was arrested on obscenity charges after its premiere, then charged with making a snuff film due to claims some actors were killed on camera. The OG found footage horror film.
- Cat In The Brain – Another beyond weird Fulci movie, with another classic Fabio Frizzi score. It’s been called the horror film equivalent of Federico Fellini’s 8½ thanks to its use of cynical, graphic horror humor.
- The Death King – Not for the faint of heart or weak stomached, this was the second in what is colloquially known as Jörg Buttgereit’s “corpse fucking” trilogy, along with Nekromantik and Nekromantik 2. It’s one of the most disturbing and depressing movies I can conjure from memory.
- The Devil’s Backbone – Gothic horror by Guillermo del Toro, which I think might be his best film.
- Driller Killer – Black horror comedy splatter-fest.
- The Fog – The John Carpenter cult classic that spawned at least two reissue record labels that focus solely on horror soundtracks! That’s probably not accurate, but it’s not going to stop me from writing it.
- Frontier(s) – If I’m not mistaken this is the only title associated with the New French Extremity movement that includes movies like Martyrs, In My Skin, and all those other nauseating body horror films of the 21st century.
- Grotesque – Gnarly Japanese horror. If you’ve already made it past Audition and Ichi The Killer this is probably slightly above those films in terms of splatter and extremity. Trust me, in terms of Japanese horror there’s still a few more levels to go after this.
- In A Glass Cage – Another staggeringly depressing film from the ’80s, this one Spanish and about an ex-Nazi child molester who is now paralyzed and depending on an iron lung to live. More psychologically terrifying than physically, it’s one of those movies that sticks to you for a while after you’ve finished it.
- Killer Nun – Classic late ’70s Italian nunsploitation. Yeah, that was a genre. Look it up.
- Maniac – Shudder has both the original William Lustig-directed Maniac and the remake starring Elijah Wood, both of which you should probably watch. Then you can watch Lustig’s Maniac Cop, which is also available to stream.
- The New York Ripper – The third Fulci movie on this list? Maybe I didn’t plan this out as well as I could have.
- Opera – I think Opera was the first Dario Argento movie I ever saw, so it holds a special place in my heart. Also my eyes. Oh, God. I get so uncomfortable when they do things to people’s eyes in movies.
- Pieces – Another exploitation slasher and drive-in favorite. You’ll never guess what the pieces refer to…
- Phantasm – Classic American horror that’s garnered a cult following. Dwarf zombies are involved.
- Raw Force – AKA Kung Fu Cannibals, this is probably the most fun you’ll have watching a horror movie from this list.
- Santa Sangre – Alejandro Jodorowsky. Need I say more?
- Sleepaway Camp – Another cult classic American horror story with one of the greatest twist endings in movie history.
- Society – Sounds simple, right? Trust me, you’re not prepared.
- Waxwork – What I just finished watching. Horror comedy at its finest.
- Zombie – Why not conclude with ANOTHER Fulci movie. Silly Americans travel to a zombie infested island in the Carribean. Sometimes referred to as “Zombi 2.” There was no “Zombi.” It originally written as a sequel to Dawn Of The Dead, which was released in Italy as Zombi. More great music from Fabio Frizzi!
Zomby – Quandary [MP3]
(See what I did there?)
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