A few weeks ago I caught wind of a new streaming service called Shudder being offered by the fine folks over at AMC (home to a little-known TV show called The Walking Dead); “Netflix for horror geeks” is how the service was described to me. Sounding like something straight up my alley, I immediately did some searching and secured myself a two-month beta test account.
On their “about us” page, Shudder claims to have “something for everyone, from the casual fan to the hardcore horror devotee”. Bold words…but how do they stack up?
First, I really like their landing page (below). It has some “recently added” selections as well as “staff picks”, “cult classics” and a link to ShudderTV (we’ll get into that). It also has some nifty quotes from random horror movies that seem to rotate regularly; I like that, it adds a welcoming nerd-ish touch.
There are a few ways to search for movies on Shudder and I like them all. I was a bit bummed out that is currently no search function, so if I want to see if American Mary is on Shudder, I need to use one of the browse or filter features. However, they say that they are working on a search feature and it should be ready in the coming weeks. For now, you can search by collection which is actually pretty snazzy looking (see below).
Or, you can hit “browse” and either “sort by” four different categories or you can hit “filter by”. Hitting “filter by” brings up the same sort of choices you would expect to see in “collections” but they’re broken down a bit further into two categories of “genre” or “monster”. Pretty damned cool. See below.
One of my biggest beefs with Netflix is my inability to find what I’m looking for. I feel that once Shudder adds the additional search feature, they will bury Netflix in that regard.
Shudder currently has a few hundred movies available for viewing. From Day of the Dead to Sleepaway Camp to The Cabinet of Caligari, they really do have something for nearly everyone and, from what I understand, they plan to add a lot more movies in the near future. The picture and sound quality is very good, however, it remains to be seen how often they add and rotate films.
Right now the service is only available in the US but they are hoping to go worldwide. It is currently available on web browser only but they say that they are working on versions for iOS, Android and Roku. Cost (after the two-month free trial) is $5 per month or $50 per year; a measly pittance for those of us who need our horror at any cost.
As mentioned earlier, there is also a ShudderTV channel available on the website which gives the user a 24/7 feed of horror for a more at-home TV experience.
Overall, I find Shudder to be very user-friendly (very odd for a beta test site) and I look forward to a bright and exciting future for myself and all horror fans. It’s easy to see by the fun categories that they’ve chosen and the cool quotes on the landing page and the fact that they let users leave movie reviews that they are really trying to build a fun horror community vibe here and from what I’ve seen so far it seems like they are well on their way to it; I am damned proud to be one of the community’s early members.
Viva la Shudder!
Check out Shudder at https://www.shudder.com/
Stay gory my friends,