Be afraid: Shudder’s most terrifying horror movies
Got you, didn’t we? Now you’re sufficiently spooked, delve deeper into the depths of the dark side with a murder of devilish, demonic, and zombified offerings from the horror-based VOD service Shudder. Got a date with the devil tonight? Chalk up your pentagons, light up some candles, and scroll up FD’s top Shudder picks.
I Saw the Devil (2010)
Both Min-sik Choi (Oldboy) and Byung-hun Lee (A Bittersweet Life) give a gut-wrenchingly stunning performance in Jee-woon Kim’s I Saw the Devil (the devil being an NIS agent who will stop at nothing to avenge the murder of his fiancée). Revenge is a dish best served with a dose of blood, torture, and a slashed achilles tendon. Yeowch!
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
If you’re at a loose end tonight, why not crack on a classic? No one can resist Leatherface and his crazy chainsawing ways. His family takes dysfunctional to another level – it’s no wonder he got so fucked up.
The saying “first appearances can be deceiving” couldn’t be truer for this thriller from king of splatter gore Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer). The story follows a widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition, arranged for him by a friend to find a new wife. However, the one he picks is not who she appeared to be after all . . . .
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Who can deny the brilliance of Anthony Hopkins (Hitchcock) in Jonathan Demme’s 1991 crime thriller? “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti” . . . you know what comes next.
The World of Kanako (2014)
This Japanese suspense film directed by Tetsuya Nakashima (Kamikaze Girls) follows a former detective (Koji Yakusho) who learns a shocking secret about his teenage daughter (Nana Komatsu) while investigating her disappearance. Robert Ebert described this film as “filtered through a lens that’s so covered in grime and blood that many people will consider the nihilistic trip not worth the effort.” Although the review was meant to come off negative, gore fans ate it up. It’s like telling a heroin addict their drugs are too heroiny.
This absolute classic of a B-movie follows a pair of American college students travelling through the depths of the northern English countryside. Funnily enough, they actually manage to find something even stranger than the locals. They should’ve done what they were told at the start: “Keep off the moors – stick to the roads!”
Most honeymoons are the right-thinking members of society’s fresh hell anyway, so it makes sense as the central focus for a slashfest. In this film, Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones) and Harry Treadaway (City of Ember) star as newlyweds whose honeymoon in a secluded cabin is wrecked by some strange, truly disturbing events. And no, these “events” are nothing to do with Facebook bragging and first-class upgrades.
A group of random people are invited to a screening of a mysterious movie only to find themselves trapped in the theater with ravenous demons. It’s dumb and it’s gory, but it’s a whole lotta funny. What horror junkie can argue with that?
Red State (2011)
The film that no one knew they needed, Red State satisfies the world’s disdain towards the most hated family in America, telling the story of three high school boys who, on their way to an arranged meeting with a woman, end up crossing paths with a fundamentalist preacher. Before long, the meeting descends into utter chaos. What’s better than a horror film about the Westboro Baptist Church? A horror film about the Westboro Baptist Church with guns, duh.
Prom Night (1980)
Teenage slasher lovers, this one’s for you. The Canadian horror from Paul Lynch is led by #1 scream queen herself, Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween). Prom Night is a classic tale of bloody vengeance, following a group of high school seniors targeted by a mysterious masked killer for their culpability in the accidental death of a young girl. Question is: who’s axed off in the runup to prom night? You’ll have to watch to find out. Boo!
Following expectant mother Ruth on a vicious yet laugh-out-loud reign of terror, Prevenge is a clever comedy that weaves together themes of loneliness, depression, destruction, feminism, and what to expect when you’re expecting.
Alice Lowe, best known for her role and credit as cowriter in 2012’s Sightseers, wrote, directed, and starred in the new comedy-horror that follows a similarly dark theme: exploring what happens when ordinary people lose their impulse control.
Channeling Rosemary’s Baby, Lowe works against every perceived wisdom surrounding “being in the family way”. Prevenge, filmed while Lowe was nearly seven months pregnant, is best when it’s discussing prenatal psychology. Lowe, in her dark-as-the-night way, acknowledges the fear of a “hostile takeover” that so many women experience, in addition to the common feelings of fear and isolation.
The Love Witch (2016)
The campy, loving homage to the heyday of glorious Technicolor relays a vital feminist message.
Anna Biller wrote, directed, and very carefully constructed the universe where The Love Witch resides among the redwood trees of Northern California.
The film deconstructs gender, female sexuality, and glamor throughout its (slightly long) 158 minutes of 35mm stock and nearly all traditional filmic techniques. Anna Biller ruled her set like an army drill sergeant, impressively engineering almost everything we see including costumes, set design, editing, and even music composition.
Seven years in the making, The Love Witch follows Elaine, a beautiful young witch, on her quest to find the perfect mate. Armed with spells that work just a touch too well and a general disdain for anyone not meeting her exacting standards, she blocks her pathway to true love. While The Love Witch may share stylistic cues with the sexploitation films of the 60s and 70s, it is anything but exploitative in its message.