What is Shudder? Everything you need to know about the horror streaming platform.

When it comes to TV and movies, we are most definitely in the age of the streaming service.

In the past year alone, we’ve seen the arrival of HBO Max, Peacock, and Quibi, while late 2019 brought the launch of giants Disney+ and Apple TV+.

In the background, meanwhile, there’s been another platform steadily picking up steam: Shudder.

Although it was founded back in 2015, the AMC-owned horror, thriller, and suspense service has been growing ever since — spreading from the U.S. to Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, and recently passing the one million subscriber mark.

Mashable spoke to Shudder’s General Manager, Craig Engler, to find out more about the streaming platform, what it offers, and what its plans are for the future.

What is Shudder?

If you’re a big horror fan, you may already have heard of Shudder. Although the streaming service markets itself for fans of “thrillers, suspense, and horror,” the latter is the genre it’s probably best known for. Shudder has a large number of movies divided into genres and sub-genres (“Supernatural”; “Creature Features”; “Revenge,” etc.) as well as a selection of TV series and podcasts and a growing number of originals/exclusives.

What countries is Shudder available in?

At the time of writing, the service is only available in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand — but per the site’s support page, it’s hoping to expand worldwide “very soon.”

How much does Shudder cost?

As far as streaming services go, the price is pretty much what you’d expect. The service costs $5.99 a month or $56.99 for the whole year if you pay in one go, or you can get a seven-day free trial if you want to test it out first.

What films and TV shows does Shudder have?

Although Shudder’s TV offering is fairly modest — there are around 30 shows at the time of writing, although many of these are exclusive to the platform — its film library is extensive. The platform has hundreds of horror movies, around a third of which fall into its Original/Exclusive category, with more being added on a regular basis.

Within the horror genre, the range of titles is fairly diverse. There are recent blockbusters like Insidious and It Follows, critically-acclaimed foreign language films like Issa López’ Tigers Are Not Afraid, cult comedy horror like Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, and popular new originals like Host and Spiral.

Shudder original 'Host' takes place entirely over a Zoom call.

Shudder original ‘Host’ takes place entirely over a Zoom call.

“Most streaming services are trying to be all things to all viewers,” Shudder’s general manager, Craig Engler, told Mashable. “We’re focused on one thing — being the best service for horror, thriller, and supernatural programming. The result is that, even though we’re not as big as Netflix or Amazon Prime, our shows and movies are ranked right up alongside theirs, or in many cases ahead of theirs. We finished last year with the best-reviewed horror movie of the year (Tigers Are Not Afraid) and new horror series of the year (Creepshow).”

Engler added that Shudder’s subscribers tend to be open to trying movies they’ve never heard of, even if they don’t happen to have big stars or aren’t in the language they speak.

“We’re able to acquire indie and international titles that other streamers wouldn’t know how to market because we know if we think they’re great, chances are, Shudder members will agree,” he said.

How much original and exclusive content is on Shudder?

Quite a bit. As we mentioned earlier, a big chunk of Shudder’s catalogue is exclusive to the platform. At the time of writing, we counted around 80 movies in the Original/Exclusive category, and more are being added on a weekly basis.

Many of these originals, such as ’80s serial killer thriller Summer of ’84 and horror-comedy Scare Me, have proven popular with both audiences and critics. If you’re looking for a good starting point, we’ve rounded up some of the best original movies on Shudder here.

So how much more exclusive content like this can Shudder members expect in future?

“While we don’t give out numbers, we’re absolutely doubling down on original content,” Engler said. “You’ll see many more original series and movies than we’ve ever had, both in traditional formats and also some experimental content. We’ve had a lot of success with formats other streamers won’t try, like our 56-minute-long Zoom-based movie, Host. Most people would have passed because they’d say 56 minutes is too short a run time for a movie, but we knew it wouldn’t matter as long as it was a great film. Now it’s being called the best horror movie of 2020.”

Horror-comedy 'Scare Me' is just one of Shudder's recent original movies.

Horror-comedy ‘Scare Me’ is just one of Shudder’s recent original movies.

What’s coming up next on Shudder?

In terms of the near future, it’s worth keeping an eye on Shudder’s YouTube channel to catch their latest movie trailers. Looking further ahead, Engler said they weren’t at the point where they could announce some of their upcoming original shows and movies yet — but he did say that 2021 is going to be Shudder’s biggest for original programming. 

“And we’re bringing back all of our hit series, including second seasons of Creepshow, Cursed Films, and A Discovery of Witches, and a third season of The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs,” he added. “We’ve also announced a few of our upcoming exclusive movies, like Peninsula, the sequel to the blockbuster Train to Busan, and The Dark and the Wicked, from the director of The Strangers.”

Is Shudder worth subscribing to?

Although I only subscribed to the service earlier this year after hearing about the success of Host, I’m loving it so far. Original content is the main thing in my mind when I consider signing up to a new streaming service, and this an area in which Shudder is excelling.

So far I’ve only scratched the surface of the platform’s exclusives, but the likes of Host, Spiral, and Tigers Are Not Afraid are already making it worthwhile.

If you’re lukewarm on horror films, Shudder’s probably not going to be the platform for you. But if you’re a fan on the lookout for some new material, it’s well worth checking out.

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