What is Shudder?
Well, the short answer is, it's a subscription-based service that horror fans should find irresistible. Here's the way they describe it:
Shudder is a diabolical new premium streaming video service, serving horror fans with curated worldwide programming ranging from hard-to-find independent fare to cult grindhouse classics to Hollywood blockbusters. Shudder has something for everyone, from the casual fan to the hardcore horror devotee. Backed by AMC Networks, Shudder”s growing library of curated horror is available ad-free and for unlimited viewing on Shudder”s website, mobile apps for iOS and Android, and the Roku platform with a free 14-day trial or $4.99 monthly/ $49.99 yearly membership. To sign up or learn more about Shudder, visit http://www.shudder.com
Simple enough, right? Most of the time, services like this as based on what's available in a particular catalog. When you go to Crackle, for example, as much as Crackle wants to be this all-purpose service, their selection is really strange and random. Want to see twenty totally random episodes of “Newsradio”? Well, then, you're in luck!
But what really sets Shudder aside is that word “curated,” and I consider this a significant thing. Especially when the lead curator is none other than Colin Geddes, the man whose Midnight Madness section in Toronto has been non-stop amazing for several decades now. Part of what he does for ten nights every September is he puts together ten movies, picked from hundreds or, I would imagine, even thousands of submissions, and he has a pretty remarkable batting average.
With Shudder, he and his programming team aren't just giving you a monthly library of a few hundred closely picked horror titles, they're also breaking them down into far more intuitive and fun categories to help you pick something based on your mood. “Slashics” and “Spectral Encounters” and “Zombie Jamboree” evoke enough of an idea of what you're looking for that you can dig deep. Want some “Eco Terror” or some “Alien Intruders”? You're covered.
I truly believe that curation is the future of film criticism, and this kind of carefully selected and very specific subscription-based content is where we're heading. And for $50 a year, this is a service that genre fans will get real use out of. They're hand-picking these movies for you, and when the hands are this well-informed, Shudder becomes indispensable.