What to Watch in Your 7 Day Free Shudder Trail


I’ve been waiting for Shudder for a while now. The Dead Meat channel are always talking about the cool stuff they watched on it. It arrived in Australia yesterday. We grabbed the free trail to decide if it’s worth it.

We haven’t been paid for this. We just like horror movies.

[REC]

Why not start with a terrifying nightmare about a group of people trapped inside during a viral outbreak? Hardly a break from reality, but [REC] is peak found-footage horror. A reporter and her cameraman join a team of firefighters as they answer a call for help in an apartment building. Not long after entering they get sealed inside to contain what has been a gruesome contamination. The infected turn feral and attack others and it becomes a quest to both survive and escape. It was remade as Quarantine, but it lacks the finesse of the original.

HOST

We haven’t had much time to dig through the Shudder originals, but this one was the most topical. It’s a haunted Zoom call, you see. It’s not as fun as Unfriended or as polished as Searching, but it is…well, it’s silly. We love a bit of social exploitation though, so we watched it.

HORROR NOIRE: A HISTORY OF BLACK HORROR

The horror genre is weirdly open to minorities wishing to tell their stories. African American culture in particular as a strong relationship with horror, when Candyman, Get Out, Night of the Living Dead, Blackula and more being landmark achievements in film for one reason or another. This documentary is a fantastic look into this unique representation and is essential viewing.

IT FOLLOWS

Glibly described as ‘cursed STI’, this modern horror is much more than that gimmicky concept. The curse is passed on by sexual contact, and manifests and a spectre who follows you. It appears as different things, it will kill you if it catches up to you and it will never stop. From the anachronistic setting to the complex relationships, unique electronic score and well crafted scares, It Follows is close to perfect.

TURKEY SHOOT

This movie was hunting humans for sport before Battle Royale…even before The Running Man. It comes from the era of Ozploitation, cheap and nasty Australian movies, and reputedly used real guns and live ammunition on set. In a futuristic re-education centre, five prisoners are chosen to be hunted by the guards with the promise of freedom if they survive. The cast or Aussie soap stars add to the surreal quality of the grindhouse lunacy. It’s a historical artefact.

THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE

Surgical horror is the one thing I’m squeamish about, but the intrigue of the story and the talents of Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch as a father and son mortician team pushed me past it. A late night job in the autopsy lab turns up some unexplainable and potentially supernatural oddities around the corpse under discussion. It’s an original mystery story where the clues are hidden among layers of human flesh.

CREEPSHOW

Shudder has put out its own reboot of the cult classic, creating a series of short films exploring new and classic horror concepts. The quality varies, but the best are worth the time it takes to find them. ‘The House of the Head’ is an interesting and spooky tale that provides an innocent perspective on an uncertainly event. There’s plenty of great actors and film-makers drawing on all manner of sources, so dive in.

IN SEARCH OF DARKNESS

This document is a blatant celebration of 1980s horror. There’s little narrative, instead it works through the years and showcases the best and most interesting horror gave us during this formative and creative time. VHS opened the floodgates to independent productions and we wound up with the best and the worst horror has given us.

BEHIND THE MASK: THE RISE OF LESLIE VERNON

From documentary to mockumentary, this oddball slasher is more than a simple satire. In a world where slasher movie killers are real and have been absorbed into culture in the same way of infamous serial killers, wannabe Leslie Vernon is planning a night of violence that will turn him into an icon. We see Leslie plan out all the slasher movie tropes, demonstrating how he can seemingly appear in two places at once and explaining the importance of the Final Girl, before delivering a couple of twists of his own.

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

You’re more likely to have seen the English language remake Let Me In, which cleaning slices off some key aspects of the characters. If you didn’t see the original, we must make a point of catching up. A young bullied boy forms a friendship with a mysterious girl with vampiric qualities. It’s an oddly sensitive portrayal of their young relationship, and when the horror lands it’s brutal and beautiful.