Friday, August 28, 2015
"Shudder" Netflix for H-fans
Movie night sure ain't what it used to be.
In the era of streaming video, the options seem limitless. The likes of Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, Vudu and even YouTube offer so many movies that scrolling through them can turn into a sort of all-you-can-eat nightmare, the media equivalent of pushing Olive Garden breadsticks down your throat until dough's coming out of your nostrils. With so many options at your fingertips, it's hard for anything to stand out.
But Shudder, a new streaming service just for the horror genre, may have the answers to movie overload we didn't know we were looking for.
The service, which is backed by AMC Networks, offers relatively little content -- you might call it "limited," but "specialized" or "curated" fit the bill, too. There are just 269 movies to choose from, according to our count, and they're broken into collections like "Alien Intruders," "Romantic Bloodsuckers" and "Monster Mash," so you know exactly what type of horror flick you're in for. The curators who select the movies for Shudder aim to present a mix of classics -- a "canon," in their words -- in addition to total obscurities you probably haven't heard about. More on this later.
By contrast, there are well over 300 titles in Netflix's "Horror" section alone, though it also includes not-so-horrory horrors like "Sharknado 2" and lacks entries like "Pulse," an acclaimed Japanese flick offered on Shudder.
As with other platforms, each movie on Shudder is rated and reviewed by community members. And, if you're truly indecisive, there's the Shudder TV experience, which drops you right into the middle of a film, emulating the experience of stumbling upon a movie while channel-surfing.
You can sign up for a free 14-day trial on Shudder.com. The service also offers apps for Android and iPhone. A subscription is $5 per month, or $50 for the whole year.
In fairness, it's Shudder's smaller library that helps it avoid the discoverability problem common to Netflix, where the glut of content can be a hinderance. Since there are fewer movies to sift through on Shudder, it's harder to get lost finding something you want to watch, especially if you're enough of a horror fan to sign up for the service to begin with.
(DCD - I haven't checked out the listings yet - wonder how many have been reviewed here over the years?)