Like many of you, I tend to start the year with one hell of a to-do list of movies to catch up on. So many good ones come out in the theater and on streaming each year, it can feel overwhelming. Toss in the vast library of classics out there and oy vey. We here at Nightmare on Film Street have your back. While Shudder isn’t the only way to see good horror, it is a hearty source of horror-leaning options. Here are the 10 best movies currently streaming on Shudder and a good place to start if you have some catching up to do.
The Changeling (1980)
Behold 1980’s Canadian wonder The Changeling, starring George C Scott (Dr. Strangelove). The Changeling is one of my top ten movies of all time, not just on Shudder. It is tense, brooding and wonderfully shot. It set the standard for haunted house films and its influence can be seen in everything from The Others to The Haunting of Hill House. Despite being a favorite flick of the likes of Scorcese and Amenabar, it has largely flown under the horror fan radar. Fix that now if you too haven’t seen it. It’s spooky, it’s scary and it’s one hell of a well-made movie. It’s also based on a true story and I know you guys love that shit.
The Changeling tells the story of a film composer who decides the best way to get productive is to finish his latest in a remote mansion. The opportunity presented itself and he took it. The place is huge, beautiful and perfectly haunting. At first, it seems to be just what the doctor ordered. Soon things start getting very dark indeed and not in the good artistic way. The house has some history that is just dying to come into the light.
Mandy is that movie everyone is telling you to see. The movie that many are calling Nic Cage’s comeback. Well, Shudder’s got your back. They snagged the exclusive right to stream it, so your wait to catch this fever dream is over. Mandy is unlike anything else and it’s truly great.
The official description is so good, I can’t top it: “In the Pacific Northwest in 1983, outsiders Red Miller and Mandy Bloom lead a loving and peaceful existence. When their pine-scented haven is savagely destroyed by a cult led by the sadistic Jeremiah Sand, Red is catapulted into a phantasmagoric journey filled with bloody vengeance and laced with deadly fire.”
Summer of ‘84 (2018)
Oh boy do I love this movie. As a kid, I gobbled up any sci-fi or horror that involved a gang of kids solving a mystery or saving the day. Not only does this movie have that in spades, it’s set in the 80s!
In, well, the Summer of ’84, 15-year-old Davey Armstrong is the son of a journalist who broke the story about a local serial killer. Kids are going missing and are showing up dead and it’s all they talk about at home. Davey and his group of friends become vicariously obsessed and, of course, suspect No. 1 is the cranky neighbor, who happens to be a local police officer.
Revenge is one of those movies that you must see if you missed it on release in 2018. Fair warning, it is rough. Just know that the brutality the main character endures leads to some karmic brutality in return. This movie is a classic revenge story, but is much more Girl with the Dragon Tattoo than, say, Kill Bill. The direction, the cinematography, all of it is tops. But the thing that truly cinches it is the utterly genuine performance of Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz. It’s tough, but damn it’s good.
Jen and her boyfriend are on a romantic getaway when some of her boyfriend’s sleazy friends show up. Things get very ugly quick and soon Jen finds herself assaulted and left for dead in truly disturbing fashion. Unfortunately for her assailants, Jen recovers and starts down a path of exacting revenge on them one by one. If every action has an equal but opposite reaction, Jen is Isaac Goddamn Newton.
Lake Bodom (2016)
Lake Bodom is a classic slasher that modernizes a very retro horror trope. You won’t be disappointed.
In the film, a group of true crime fans decide to take the ultimate challenge and camp at the very site where a horrific crime once occurred. In typical slasher fashion, they decide to party and get a little rowdy. They have a blast until, well, people start dying. Will they survive their night by the lake or are there things there that are more alive than urban legend?
Satan’s Slaves (2017)
Ok, another movie set in the 80’s, but this one isn’t set in the 80’s of North America, but of Jakarta, Indonesia. Satan’s Slaves is a 2017 horror wonder by director Joko Anwar (Ritual). Evil cults, haunted houses and family secrets?! Yes, please. This movie is scary as hell and uses the isolation and desperation of the family to make it all the more compelling. If you love dark, shocking ghost stories, you will love this one.
Rini, her father and three brothers live isolated outside Jakarta. For three years the matriarch of the family has been bedridden and dying. Mom uses a bell to summon family members when she needs them and has been ringing it for years. Problem is, when she dies, the bell keeps ringing. Rini wants to find out more about her newly deceased mom and learns a shocking secret, that her mother was part of a dark cult. Soon, the house is consumed by very dark forces who seem unleashed by the passing of the mom. It is up to Rini and her family to find a way to make peace or get the hell out of there.
Sleepaway Camp (1983)
Wow, where to start. My love for Sleepaway Camp knows no bounds. It is weird, it is wonderful and it is unlike anything else you’ve ever seen. The filmmakers had far more love for the project than knowledge about storytelling or film production. In the end you get something that makes very little sense, but is tons of fun from start to finish.
Angela and her twin brother live near a summer camp. I think? Probably. One day while boating with their father, a terrible accident occurs leaving both her brother and father dead. She goes to live with a woman referred to as ‘the doctor’ who I believe is her aunt. At least, I think she lives with her, I’m not sure. Anyway, she’s a traumatized, incredibly shy girl and the lady who I think is her aunt convinces her to break out of her shell and go to summer camp with her, uh, cousin, I think. Soon after summer camp gets underway, people start dying. Who is the killer? Will Angela and her most likely cousin survive?
The Void (2016)
I absolutely love a good practical effects movie. I also love monster movies, creepy hospital movies and movies about cults. So, when The Void came along and promised to be all those things rolled into one, I was in big time. It delivers on it’s promises and is a truly underrated gem. It’s tense, claustrophobic and gripping. It hits the ground running and doesn’t let up. If you haven’t had the pleasure, now’s the time.
James and his girlfriend flee a bloody scene at a farmhouse only for the girlfriend to be shot during the pursuit. James gets away and is lead to a nearby hospital by a sheriff’s deputy. Once there, though, a nurse starts killing a patient and seems to be missing all the skin on her face. When a trooper responds to the scene, he’s attacked by a robed cult member in the parking lot. Now people are experiencing strange visions and committing brutal acts and mysterious cult figures and their rituals seem to be the cause. It also appears the ritual has opened a door to another dimension and something monstrous is coming through. Who will survive and is the portal the solution as well as the problem?
There are several classic, seminal movies that are required viewing for any horror fan. There are just certain classics that must not be missed. Hellraiser influenced not just horror movies to come, but other genres, TV shows and even bands like NIN. If you haven’t seen it, get on it! Hellraiser is scary, atmospheric and full of twists and turns. You’re going to love it.
Frank Colton seeks the heights of carnal pleasure and buys a magic box that will purportedly send him to another dimension of pure sadomasochistic fun if solved. When he solves it, all that happens is he gets ripped to bits. Later Frank’s brother Larry is moving into the house and cuts his hand. Somehow the blood resurrects Frank, but Frank is only a little back and needs more blood. He convinces Larry’s wife to bring people to the house for him to kill. Once back, he tries the box again, but this time he’s unleashed demons from another realm called the cenobites and all they want to do is make him pay. Can they be stopped? Or will the whole world become a cenobite playground?
Are We Not Cats (2018)
Are you looking for something a little out of the ordinary? Sick of demons and serial killers and needing a fix of the unexpected? Well, this one is for you. Are We Not Cats is such an odd and refreshing movie that I kick myself for not seeing it sooner. It is disturbing, engaging and at times romantic. It will take you to places you never saw coming and I assure you it won’t be like anything you’ve seen before.
Eli gets dumped, loses his apartment and just about loses everything, all in one day. He’s desperate to get past this rut and decides to essentially say yes to any new experiences that come his way. He parties, he takes risks and he ends up in way over his head. That’s the bad news, the good news is he finally meets someone who shares his secret habit of eating hair. Maybe this new weirdo in his life is just what he needs.
These 10 Shudder finds are a great mix of different sub-genres and decades of horror. Consider them your to-do list to start your 2019 off right. If you haven’t seen them, get to it! And let us know what you think on Twitter, our Official Subreddit, and the Fiend Club Facebook Group. Which are your favorites and what are you most looking forward to?