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Every major streaming service—Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu—offers horror, sci-fi, and suspense programming to some degree, but if you’re a lifelong fan of those genres, you’ll be craving for more. If you’re the type of person who watches scary movies not just around Halloween but all year long, the kind who feeds on obscure B-movies and revels in lost classics, you’re going to want to check out these Shudder movies.
What is Shudder?
Shudder is a standalone streaming service that specializes in horror, sci-fi, suspense, and avant-garde cinema. While the major streaming services have great horror selections for new fans of the genre, often lifetime aficionados find their catalogs to be full of things they’ve already seen or, worse, just don’t care about. That’s what makes Shudder so special.
From movies you’ve only heard about in magazines to TV shows and special new releases exclusive to the service, Shudder has everything a fright fan needs to ruin a night’s sleep. Placing famous classics like Hellraiser alongside more obscure but important films like Dario Argento’s Inferno, Shudder functions as sort of a college level-course in horror.
How does Shudder work?
Shudder movies are broken up into subgenres, letting you focus on Asian horror, Euro-trash, smart vampire movies, lost classics, demonic possessions, cerebral thrillers, and any other kind of specific thrilling options you might desire. Movies from every era of horror are represented, with a wide range of international options included that other services simply can’t compete with.
Beware, Shudder is not a safe space. While the most extreme Shudder movies come with a content warning beforehand, it takes dealing with a topic like necrophilia to trigger it. This is a service that places frights above all else, so make sure you read the synopsis of each movie before you watch. It’s easy to find yourself in over your head, especially if you’re curious about German horror.
How much does Shudder cost?
The best part of Shudder, besides its incredible selection of titles, is its absurdly low cost. A subscription is just $4.99 per month or $47.88 per year if you pay for it all at once. Students are also eligible for a special 20 percent discount if they’re registered with Student Beans. Users can subscribe through Shudder’s website or via Shudder’s Amazon Prime channel. But not: A Prime subscription can’t be used to watch on the Shudder site or app, and vice versa. They count as separate subscriptions.
Shudder offers a wide range of options when it comes to how you can watch. The service has apps for Apple, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Xbox One, all of which can be accessed by subscribing on Shudder’s website or through its app. Shudder also offers subscriptions through Amazon Prime Video and the bundled streaming service VRV. These standalone subscriptions cost the same as a standard membership but limit how you can view your content.
Streaming via the Shudder app or a channel subscription both have their own issues. While the Shudder website is a fine resource for finding the content you want, the Shudder apps are often frustrating to use unless you’ve already built your queue on the website. Shudder’s app doesn’t offer a way to browse every title in its library; instead, it forces you to look through subcategories in the menus. While browsing for a movie to watch can be fun, sometimes you just want to look at a master list.
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However, the Shudder app features exclusive streaming of Shudder TV channels, which let you watch never-ending streams of genre movies from different categories all day long. It’s a joy, especially if you like having a movie on as background noise while you work.
The channels have their own selling points, however. While we have not tested the VRV set up, on Amazon Prime’s Shudder channel, the experience is easier to use. Genres are more clearly defined, navigation is easier, and the menus load faster. Also, Amazon is often slower to delete movies from its listings than Shudder proper. You can’t find Bay of Blood right now on the Shudder app, for example, but you can find it on Shudder via Amazon. Amazon subscribers miss out on features like the live streaming channel options, but there’s something to be said for not having to learn another app.
20 Shudder movies that will give you nightmares
With so many Shudder movies to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. No matter what your taste in horror, there’s something on Shudder that fits your needs. Here are the best movies on Shudder right now. (Note: For this article, we only include movies that can be found on every version of Shudder.)
1) Hell House LLC (2016)
Five years after an unexplained event kills 15 people during a Halloween haunted house, a group of documentarians set out of finally uncover what happened that night. Mixing footage from the haunted house with the documentary crew’s investigation, Hell House LLC manages to prove there’s still fresh blood to be found in the found-footage genre. Director Stephen Cognetti puts his name on the genre map with this haunting chiller.
2) Lady Vengeance (2006)
After spending thirteen years in jail for a crime she didn’t commit, losing her child in the process, Geum-ja Lee is released with vengeance on her mind. The first entry in Chan-wook Park’s Vengeance trilogy that birthed Oldboy, Lady Vengeance is a harrowing film. Fans of revenge movies may think they know what secrets Lady Vengeance holds, but we promise you’ll never see the nightmarish ending coming.
3) Mandy (2018)
The sleeper hit of 2018 has finally hit streaming as a Shudder exclusive. Explaining what Mandy is about would ruin the psychedelic joy of experiencing the film for yourself. Just know it involves Nick Cage fighting a gang of demon-bikers and a hippy cult in a technicolor nightmare out of an Alice Cooper acid trip. If you’re going to get high before one horror movie this year, make it Mandy.
4) The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)
Alzheimer’s Disease is a crushing monster that has brought horror into the lives of millions of people. In The Taking of Deborah Logan, a documentary about an Alzheimer’s patient becomes a record of nightmares in the soul rather than the brain. Over the course of months, Deborah Logan and her family are observed. But as time passes it becomes clear Doctors aren’t the ones who can fix this situation. Thoughtful, dark, and somber; if you’re looking for a grown-up possession film you’ve found the right place.
5) Creepshow (2019)
In the 1982 Stephen King and George Romero teamed up for two anthology films ripped from the pages of old EC Comics. This year Shudder is jumping on the reboot bandwagon with a new anthology show based on Creepshow. Season one features twelve episodes, dropping once a week. It’s like a little advent calendar for Halloween.
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6) Take Shelter (2011)
Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain are beloved figures in Hollywood today, but in 2011 they were still carving out careers. Take Shelter was part of their breakout, thanks to its thoughtful combination of apocalyptic visions and family drama. Shannon stars as a father hiding a dark secret from his family; he is having visions of natural disaster looming in the future. Is he crazy, or gifted by God? You’ll have to watch to find out.
7) Found Footage 3D (2D Version) (2017)
Sick of found footage? So are the makers of Found Footage 3D, a satirical (until it’s not) send-up of the genre and all of its problems. Unlike the outright horror onslaught of Hell House LLC, Found Footage 3D is a deeply funny movie about independent filmmaking and issues that have caused the found footage genre to grow stagnant over the years. By the time a third act twist arrives with actual frights in tow, the movie will already have won you over, and then it’ll leave you with a terrifying finale you won’t forget.
8) Tigers Are Not Afraid (2019)
While we like to pretend that all children get childhoods, often they face just as many horrors as adults. Tigers Are Not Afraid blends real life and fantasy into a nightmare sset in the backdrop of Mexico’s drug war. After a cartel kills their parents, a group of orphans go on the run, with only the promise of three wishes to protect them. Gruesome, whimsical, and genuinely moving, it’s understandable why luminaries like Guillermo del Toro have been singing this film’s praises.
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9) Revenge (2018)
Horror has always had a complicated relationship with the male gaze, particularly when it comes to the “rape revenge” genre. That’s why Coralie Fargeat’s staggering Revenge is such a breath of fresh air, even if it feels like a gasp while drowning. Jen goes on a secluded getaway with her married boyfriend, only to have the festivities crashed by his scumbag friends. When she’s assaulted, Jen tries to escape, only to end up injured and left for dead by her pursuers. Unfortunately for them, Jen lives, taking her revenge on each man as they hunt her down through the night. Vicious, without lingering on the sexual assault, Revenge puts a defiantly feminist twist on an otherwise unforgivable genre.
10) I Saw the Devil (2011)
There are movies on this list that will scare the hell out of you, and there are movies on this list that very well might hurt your heart. I Saw The Devil is the latter, a mean little piece of work from Korea that features some cruel acts of violence. Beware: This is pure horror without a moment of relief. There’s nothing special about the premise, but the execution is unlike anything you’ve seen before. When a serial murder case becomes deadly personal, a police detective decides to start hunting the killer on his terms. If you fear man above monsters, you can’t pass this chiller up.
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11) Downrange (2017)
The latest from Ryûhei Kitamura, director of Versus and No One Lives, is yet another masterpiece of splatter and tension. Six college students on a cross-country road trip experience a blowout in the middle of nowhere. Upon closer examination, it appears someone shot out their tire, a fear that’s quickly confirmed when the bullets keep coming. Utilizing a single location for the majority of a movie is a brave move, but Kitamura uses the space to create a desolate killing field. Smart, sharp, and chilling Downrange is a Shudder exclusive worth signing up for.
12) The Beyond (1983)
This splatter classic from director Lucio Fulci was brutally censored when it was originally released, but thanks to helping from Quentin Tarantino, the uncut version is finally available. The plot is largely nonsensical, but the imagery is unforgettable, with gore set pieces that will have you howling or gagging depending on your tastes. During renovations on a house she just inherited, a woman accidentally opens a portal to hell, summoning ghosts, monstrous spiders, zombies, and other horrors from its depths. Time has helped soften the blow of the violence, but this is still a film where a zombie child gets its head blown in half. Don’t eat spaghetti while you’re watching.
Only ’90s kids will remember TNT’s late-night horror show Monster Vision with Joe Bob Briggs, but thanks to the magic of Shudder, everyone can experience it now. Featuring legendary genre film critic Joe Bob Briggs and Darcy the Mail Girl, The Last Drive-In finds the duo breaking down classic genre features. Season 1 features 18 classic movies, each broken down to their drive-in totals, including kill counts and nudity. This is easily the most fun way to catch up on Shudder’s back-catalog, including titles like Street Trash, Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2, and Wolfcop.
14) Mayhem (2017)
Grinding your way up the corporate ladder can be soul-crushing, but at least it isn’t murder. That is unless you live in a world that’s discovered a highly infectious virus that makes people act out their wildest desires. When Derek Cho gets framed for someone else’s mistake at work, he decides to fight back. Unfortunately for him, and everyone at his office, an outbreak the virus is about to turn these cubicles into a killing field. This dark as night horror comedy stars Steven Yeun of The Walking Dead and is exclusive to Shudder. It’s also an absurdly fun, occasionally scary, blast of horror action. Shudder has even included a commentary track version of the film for your enjoyment.
15) Chopping Mall (1986)
80s horror gets a bum rap sometimes for being a never-ending series of masked killers murdering stupid teens. That’s ridiculous; it was a golden age of horror where any idea could come to life if filmmakers worked with a low enough budget. Chopping Mall is one of the decade’s best, pitting a group of teens partying after hours in a mall against murderously malfunctioning security robots. You get gore, lasers, one-liners, an amazing head explosion, and surprisingly smart direction all in one tight 77-minute package. Don’t miss this movie.
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16) Wake Wood (2011)
What would you do to see a loved one who died for a few more days? Months after the death of their daughter two parents are faced with that terrifying question when their car breaks down in a small Irish village. Somber, beautifully paced, and grim, Wake Wood is a gothic tale of the beyond that will chill your bones.
17) The Exorcist III (1990)
You’ll have to trust us, The Exorcist III is a masterpiece hiding in plain sight. Lieutenant William F. Kinderman from the first Exorcist is investigating a series of brutal murders. There’s just one catch, they match the MO of the long-dead Gemini Killer. His investigation takes him to the psych ward of a hospital where he meets a patient that claims to be the reincarnation of Rev Karras from the first film. Mixing a serial killer thriller with a possession narrative, The Exorcist III stands on its own in the horror pantheon, even if it’s a sequel.
18) Big Bad Wolves (2013)
Quentin Tarantino called Big Bad Wolves the best movie of 2013, which serves as both praise and a warning, as the infamous director is well known for his love of violent horrors. Israel isn’t known for producing horror yet, but Big Bad Wolves marks the country’s first bonafide classic. Three fathers are searching for a killer who has been kidnapping little girls in their community and just nabbed their girls. When a police blunder causes the suspected killer to go free, they take matters into their own hands, but revenge is rarely simple.
19) Inferno (1980)
Dario Argento’s surreal classic Inferno deals with witchcraft and the end of the world, but it’s mostly remembered for the terrifying atmosphere created by its stunning cinematography. Following the disappearance of his sister, a young student named Mark travels to New York only to discover a supernatural conspiracy involving three witches who seek to take over the world. As bodies pile up, the mystery deepens, and Mark must uncover the enemies in his midst while fighting supernatural powers beyond his imagination. Argento injects the film with a dreamy quality that makes its graphic violence more palatable, allowing its magic elements to shine through. You’ll have to forgive a few plot holes, but this classic of supernatural horror more than earns your understanding.
20) White God (2014)
White God is not a conventional horror film. It reads like the plot of a fairy tale: A teenage girl is searching for the dog her dad threw out of the house, while the dog works to escape from the clutches of an evil dog catcher. The problem is White God takes place is a world where the dogs bite and people get seriously hurt because of it. The film is made all the more remarkable by the low-budget production and use of 250 real dogs for the stunts. Each animal performance has a surprising soul that’s hard to explain without watching it. If you want a chill that’s out of the ordinary, White God is a treat worth sitting for.
New to cord-cutting? Here are our picks for the best movie streaming sites of 2018 and free live TV apps and channels. If you’re looking for a specific channel, here’s how to watch HBO, Showtime, Starz, ESPN, AMC, FX, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, FS1, and NFL RedZone without cable, as well as free movies on YouTube.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
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John-Michael Bond is a tech reporter and culture writer for Daily Dot. A longtime cord-cutter and early adopter, he's an expert on streaming services (Hulu with Live TV), devices (Roku, Amazon Fire), and anime. A former staff writer for TUAW, he's knowledgeable on all things Apple and Android. You can also also find him regularly performing standup comedy in Los Angeles.