It’s finally October, and this is my last list of recommendations from streaming services for the fall. In case you haven’t kept up, I’ve done 10 picks already for Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max and Amazon Prime.
This time I’m going to cover some of what Shudder has to offer. It wasn’t an easy task, given that Shudder is home to nothing but horror (or horror-adjacent) films, and there’s no way I could watch all of them. But I think you’ll like the variety offered here. Let’s get into it!
“Blood Quantum” (2019)
Quick Synopsis: Something is causing the dead to come back to life, causing a zombie apocalypse. But there’s a twist: The Indigenous people on the Mi’kmaq reserve of Red Crow are immune, so they create a compound in which to escape the infected.
More Information: The horror genre in North America doesn’t have a great track record with representation of anything other than white people (like most Western media), but Indigenous representation was often nothing but tropes about burial grounds and curses. Luckily, we now have “Blood Quantum,” which explores family drama, colonization and more with a sort of zombie apocalypse as the setting. It can be funny and campy at times — and it doesn’t skimp on gore — but mostly it’s terrifying and often bleak. There’s also some breathtaking animation in a few scenes. It’s unlikely you’ve seen a movie quite like this.
“The Transfiguration” (2016)
Quick Synopsis: Milo (Eric Ruffin) is obsessed with vampires and has his own violent tendencies. When he becomes friends with Sophie (Chloë Levine), he has to decide how much of himself to share — and whether he should continue living his life in the same way.
More Information: Like “Let the Right One In,” another vampire-related story about friendship, this is a slow burn movie that mostly falls into the category of drama. Ruffin and Levine both give outstanding performances as weird teenagers who find comfort in each other’s company. Don’t let that fool you into thinking there isn’t horror here, though, because there is. This movie’s climax threw me for a loop.
“The Burning” (1981)
Quick Synopsis: After teens at a summer camp play a prank that leads to the disfigurement of the camp’s caretaker, the man seeks revenge.
More Information: Jason Voorhees wasn’t the only one slashing teens at a summer camp in the early 1980s. This is a pretty enjoyable entry into the ’80s slasher subgenre — you can expect plenty of the tropes, like teens being murdered right after having sex. But it also has a young Jason Alexander in short shorts, which is weird to see!
“Tigers Are Not Afraid” (2017)
Quick Synopsis: Five children must survive on the run from the cartel that made them orphans.
More Information: This film is haunting. Writer/director Issa López created such a grounded world, even though the fairy tale and fantasy elements are everywhere. “Tigers Are Not Afraid” is equal parts creepy, sweet and heart-wrenching. (Side note: López is apparently working on a werewolf Western with Guillermo del Toro, and I’ve never been so excited about a project that’s in development.)
“Ginger Snaps” (2000)
Quick Synopsis: Sisters Brigitte (Emily Perkins) and Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) are outcasts but have a close bond with each other. When Ginger is attacked by a werewolf one night, that bond is tested.
More Information: This is a great coming-of-age film and a great werewolf film. It’s also an easy one to rewatch every few years, in part because it’s a mix of horror and teen drama. If you’ve somehow missed “Ginger Snaps,” it’s definitely worth it to go back and check it out.
Quick Synopsis: Malik (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman) and Aaron (Ari Cohen) are a same-sex couple who move to a small town with their teenage daughter (Jennifer Laporte) in 1995. It doesn’t take long for stay-at-home writer Malik to realize that their neighbors are more than just weird, and something in this town doesn’t add up.
More Information: “Spiral” is a riveting mystery that’s full of surprises. Bowyer-Chapman does a good job in the lead role, finding the midway point between sympathetic and unreliable narrator. I wasn’t sure exactly what route this movie was going to take, but I will say that I found it unpredictable, in a good way. This is by no means a perfect movie, but it is a refreshing one.
“The Wrath” (2018)
Quick Synopsis: After three sons mysteriously die in one family, a woman who is pregnant with a child of one of the sons becomes aware of spirits that haunt their property.
More Information: This is a supernatural period piece from South Korea (and a remake). Some of the human characters in “The Wrath” are as scary as the spirits, which gives the film an interesting angle. It has a good mix of dread, tension and the occasional jump scare.
Quick Synopsis: A new employee at Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium (a video store) learns about horror films from Chad himself (Jeremy King) through seven stories.
More Information: This is an anthology with seven short films. As with most anthologies, there are hits and there are misses. But anyone familiar with horror movie tropes is sure to get something out of “Scare Package,” even if it’s just a laugh. This one is close to my heart because it was filmed at the now-closed Vulcan Video, which was my local video store. Ah, the memories.
“The Mutilator” (1984)
Quick Synopsis: Ed Jr. (Matt Mitler) accidentally killed his mom as a small boy. Now he’s in college and vacationing at his dad’s beach house with friends — but his dad is out to get revenge, which means a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with the group.
More Information: I fully admit that this is not a good movie. The acting is terrible, and the story doesn’t really make any sense. But sometimes you just want a goofy slasher, and “The Mutilator” delivers that! I believe it was originally called “Fall Break,” and it has a catchy (and very ’80s sitcom-esque) theme song that sounds like a cross between Billy Joel and Randy Newman. It’s truly something to behold.
Quick Synopsis: Content warning: This is a rape revenge film. Jen (Matilda Lutz) and her married boyfriend (Kevin Janssens) go on a trip, and his hunting buddies show up a few days earlier than expected. One of them assaults Jen, setting off a fight for everyone’s lives: the three men vs. the vengeful Jen.
More Information: Writer/director Coralie Fargeat filmed the assault scene in probably the best way possible, and it isn’t an extended scene. Instead, the focus of this film is the inhumane actions of the men involved — even those who take no action but stand by instead of stepping in — and the strength and resilience of Jen. “Revenge” is surreal, bright and bloody, with a number of memorable set pieces.
What are you watching now that it’s “officially” spooky season? Let us know about your seasonal favorites and new discoveries — and give us your thoughts on this list.
Originally hailing from Pennsylvania, Jackie has called Austin home since choosing to attend the University of Texas, where she graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism. She loves spending time with her dogs, writing about pop culture in all its forms and spending time with friends – eating, drinking and doing trivia.