Maximizing Your Shudder 7-Day Trial
If you are a fan of PHASR, you are likely a fan of horror, suspense, and thriller films. Perhaps you’re on the fence about trying a service specifically for that: Shudder. One has to be careful when considering the service. Some horrors are total flops, while some are hilarious cult classics. Others really hit the nail on the coffin by giving us that feeling of fight or flight.
Fortunately, Shudder manages to cover all bases. They have originals, exclusives, classics, shows, and movies that will likely hit many niches you could want. Are we going to be inundated with ads, will we have to dig to find these gems, is it just a one-trick pony?
No! Shudder provides an ad-free experience even during the 7-day trial, it has an immaculate setup showing you categories ranging from most horrifying, “Shlassics”, and series. As I mentioned before, the folks at Shudder really have made strides to pique your interest and keep you looking for more. There is a series of Nic Cage films and multiple series including cult favorites Elvira and Joe Bob Briggs.
Today, I want to go over the films I watched during my Shudder 7-day free trial. If you have seen any of these films, let us know your thoughts on social media!
Surely as a band has a song about a woman, a movie with a similar naming practice will be balladesque, endearing, and move the heartstrings to play the loveliest of symphonies, right? If you believe this for a second Mandy is going to rip your heart from your chest and kick a field goal with it. Mandy is a 2018 Action/Fantasy/Horror directed by Panos Cosmatos and written by Panos Cosmatos, Aaron Stewart-Ahn, and Casper Kelly, it is a Shudder exclusive, and stars one of my favorite actors, Nicolas Cage.
The story occurs in 1983 with Red (Nicolas Cage) as a lumberjack resigned to the remote reaches of the countryside. The movie is named after his girlfriend who is an artist that enjoys reading. The story clashes loudly as a cult leader shows up and takes a fancy to Mandy and decides to kidnap her. Leaving Red no alternative but to pursue, he takes what weaponry he can find and embraces the darker side of human nature, for the greater good.
If you are looking for a movie that is both scary, intense, and with great visuals, this is one you should add to your watch list as this one is a visual trip without having to take any drugs. If you enjoy your movies with adaptive mood lighting, this one will definitely give you the experience as the bright purples and burning reds will definitely accentuate the story you watch unfold before you.
RELATED: Mandy (2019) Review
Color Out of Space (2020)
Nic Cage…enough said am I right? Color Out of Space goes beyond just their landing of the iconic actor and brings forth an interpretation of an H.P. Lovecraft story that is exclusive to Shudder. The setting takes place in a town known as Arkham, devoid of the Wayne family and other asylum inhabitants, and has a family coming from a large city to settle into a calmer existence in the countryside.
A meteorite crashing nearby kicks off a whirlwind of events that sees the characters swept under influences like a tsunami and hanging on to the fine fabrics of their reality as if it were a tornado ripping them from it “A dream you dream alone, is a dream. A dream you dream with others, is reality.” Nathan Gardner.
The Gardner family is residing on Nathan’s father’s farm, the introduction sees us with a ritual, a possible love interest introduction, the titular event, and finally, brings us full circle with a squatter on the property Ezra (Tommy Chong). The inclusion of the robust colors, paranormal, and otherworldly elements have this horror/suspense standing out as a horror entry to be seen.
The film builds a story with the family but give you events that are far from predictable and will have you uneasy, unsure, scared, and sure of everyone’s breakdown. A family’s individual problems become exacerbated with the introduction of the meteorite but it also brings a slew of its own issues into the fray. This horror movie strongly asserts that sometimes in horror your best strategy is to abandon all hope.
RELATED: Color Out Of Space (2020) Review
Prisoners Of The Ghostland (2021)
Prisoners Of The Ghostland is a 2021 Fantasy/Horror/Thriller (it is a stretch for the genre to be horror), directed by Sion Sono and written by Aaron Hendry and Reza Sixo Safai, it naturally stars one of my favorites Nicolas Cage and has a run-time of 1 hour and 42-minutes. PoG sees Nicolas Cage as an imprisoned bank robber who is freed from jail to be tasked with locating the governor of Samurai Town’s granddaughter.
He leaves one imprisonment for another as he is placed in a leather suit that has a 3-day timer to retrieve the granddaughter, if she is found safe, the suit will provide an additional 2 days of time to return her. Can our hero complete the task without being blown into worm food and find a path to redemption? Or is he doomed to become nutrients for mother earth’s soil?
If you are looking for a movie in the pipeline of Escape from New York or Escape from L.A. with some Mad Max thrown in there or if you’re familiar with video game storylines from Fallout then this movie will make sure to scratch your itch with efficiency. The production is high with some classic cinema takes, an oriental-western setting, and outlandish action/fighting that set this movie up as a great nonsense watch. Many plot lines emerge separating people in and outside the city by ways of class and religion, reunions of friends thought lost, and the ever-important “question the way things are”, you’re sure to hang onto one of, if not all of these elements as it unfolds.
For many of us, suspense/thriller and horror are movies we want to gravitate towards but often leave with a sense of disappointment, rarely walking away feeling surprised and enriched by what we viewed. Shudder is a company that makes its calling card to be towards those genres and I decided based on a random trailer I had seen, that Glorious was going to be my dive into their offerings. When J.K. Simmons is cast, I’m always hard-pressed to see a movie go wrong and Shudder definitely delivers in this film. His counterweight Ryan Kwanten also delivers a noteworthy performance, if unsettling.
The beauty of this movie taking place in a restroom is that there are no moments of rest, alternatively, the irony of calling it a bathroom is that there is no space left clean. It is truly a chess match of misunderstandings and assurances from the beginning to the inevitable close, giving rise to questions about what we can understand about man and forces beyond. You get to see many emotions develop and break as the main character is exposed to his past and present life and his current and inescapable situation.
RELATED: Glorious (2022) Review
Birdboy: The Forgotten Children (2015)
A good horror/suspense will usually give us a question to ponder that goes beyond the medium we are consuming and oftentimes, leaves it unanswered. When we watch horror/suspense, we don’t go in ONLY hoping for a terrifying experience that keeps us scared but we often want to explore the dark places of our mind that exist without us always comprehending the “why”. In Birdboy: The Forgotten Children, we are given an animated story that discusses hardships presented before our existence, during our growth, and coming to terms with some things that are not meant to be (at least in the way we had imagined).
For this experience, if you view it on Shudder, you will be viewing the movie in its original presentation with Spanish as the language, so unless you are fluent subtitles are a must. This movie is based on the graphic novel: Psiconautas and follows the lore and reality of a character simply known as Birdboy through an exploration of life from a character named “Dinky”. The art style I draw a comparison to is from a video game called Hollow Knight as it is very dark but seldom vibrant and with demons having imposing and exaggerated features.
For a lot of horror fanatics, films about possession, the occult, and things born in blasphemy or contrast to religion are the first viewing. We’ve seen it in films such as the Poltergeist, The Shining (to some degree), Amityville, Pet Sematary, and so many listless others. In Belzebuth, my initial thought was it would be a take on the demon known as Beelzebub so I knew I was in for a movie that would dance around with many religious items.
I will advise that the beginning 40 minutes of this film will contain some very harsh themes and may not be viewable for all audiences. The second item of note, if you do not speak Spanish, you will want to utilize subtitles as the film has a greater portion of its speaking parts in that language. The film stars Tobin Bell of the Saw series and follows a detective or law enforcement officer “Ritter” as he goes through many strange incidents.
RELATED: Belzebuth (2017) Review
This is Gwar (2021)
If you are a horror fan, odds are you might enjoy heavier music and comic books and if that rings true, you’ve probably heard of Gwar. Gwar is a large band production that has been around since the 80s that has managed to produce some very heavy music, very heavy stage work, and make huge waves in the music industry. In this Shudder exclusive, we see the band from its inception, its growth into different iterations, and where it is currently. It means we get the good, the bad, the ugly, and the touching moments that have made this band the rock stage show that it is.
If you are looking for a documentary instead of horror, This is Gwar is a great entry for your Shudder viewing. If you’d like to get a feel for their music, their latest entry is titled “The New Dark Ages”.
RELATED: This Is Gwar (2021) Review
Mad God (2021)
For most of us, we watch movies that involve intricate dialogues, loads of CGI, and with soundtracks that include familiar and recent music. Shudder’s presentation of Phil Tippett’s “Mad God” steps away from most of those ideas, relying more heavily on environmental storytelling, stop-and-go animation, and whatever you can interpret from the ongoing events that unfold.
If it’s been some time since you’ve experienced a stop-and-go animation, I’d highly recommend this one. I WOULD NOT recommend having children watch this without parental guidance, IF AT ALL, as the sounds, scenes, imagery, and the film as a collective whole could scare them during a formative time.
As you follow the character undertaking the exploration of this world in shambles, you will get some items that you can tie into a few modern-day working realities, a detached mental state but an engrossed physical burden to work, depictions of classes that are pitted against each other, and the somber thought that destruction breeds creation and vice versa. This movie is terrific as the definition of what a movie or motion picture can be.
Related: Mad God (2021) Review
What Are Your Favorite Films Available On Shudder?
We hope you enjoyed our breakdown of the best films I found during my Shudder 7-day free trial. Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know on social media!