You have a lot of streaming options in the world today, but while most aim for broad appeal some go all-in towards a niche. Shudder is one of the latter, and that niche is all things horror. The service has a growing backlog of genre favorites, and each month they add older gems along with newer titles and Shudder Originals. Here’s everything new for October 2020 along with five great women-directed horror movies on Shudder!
The list of new arrivals to Shudder for October 2020 is below, but first, I’m going to celebrate five films currently available on the world’s best horror streaming service. As with the film industry in general, horror is a genre with too few female voices in the mix. It’s getting better, slowly, but there’s still work to be done. As a nudge in the right direction, I wanted to highlight five of the best women-directed horror movies on Shudder!
The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
“A female high school student’s slumber party turns into a bloodbath, as a newly escaped psychotic serial killer wielding a power drill prowls her neighborhood.”
Amy Holden Jones‘ early 80s slasher is known to many as a terrific slice of feminist horror, but those who’ve never seen it might think it’s just another generic tale of some crazy guy killing co-eds. It’s actually a little bit of both! Jones and writer Rita Mae Brown deliver T&A alongside the bloodbath, but it takes the phallic symbolism inherent in most slashers further with its driller killer pursuing the young women. Brown’s script was apparently written as a comedic riff on the genre, but Jones shot is as a more traditionally straight slasher — the result is a solid entry that ticks the expected boxes (including dumb victims!) while also managing a minor commentary along the way. While some films value the message above all else, The Slumber Party Massacre knows that fun comes first. Jones’ debut was followed by three more modest hits, but she ultimately found her niche as a writer with successes as varied as Mystic Pizza (1988), Indecent Proposal (1993), The Relic (1997), and this horror movie to her name.
Dearest Sister (2016)
“A village girl travels to the Lao capital, Vientiane, to care for her rich cousin who has lost her sight and gained the ability to communicate with the dead.”
Ghost stories from outside the United States often carry more weight and emotional power than American audiences find in their homegrown fare, and Mattie Do‘s second feature is a prime example. The film is layered with slow-burn dread and drenched in the pain of history. Sure, it’s more dark drama than traditional horror, but that doesn’t lessen its grim message. Capitalism, as it turns out, is a real bitch. And when it comes as a result of Western colonialism? The dead speak here on how the sins of the past pay forward into the future, and no matter the origin, the greed of the present will have dire consequences.
“Widow Ruth is seven months pregnant when, believing herself to be guided by her unborn baby, she embarks on a homicidal rampage, dispatching anyone who stands in her way.”
Alice Lowe found her psychotic bent in the hilarious Sightseers (2012), but she digs even deeper as a pregnant woman guided towards violence by the fetus within. She wrote, directed, and starred in the film while actually pregnant — seven months along! — and there’s a catharsis of sorts in her character’s relationship with the child inside her. The unborn’s voice is Lowe herself meaning she’s effectively talking with and for her own child, and while that adds a layer of creepiness to the proceedings it also lends it weight. Pregnancy is beautiful, after all, but it’s also body horror of a very real kind.
“Never take your mistress on an annual guys’ getaway, especially one devoted to hunting – a violent lesson for three wealthy married men.”
Movies about victims of assault seeking out violent revenge are nothing new, but far too few of them have been told by a female voice. Coralie Fargeat‘s feature debut is a rare exception, and the wait was most certainly worth it. Gorgeously shot by Robrecht Heyvaert, thrillingly scored by Rob, and starring Matilda Lutz in the lead role, Revenge is a blistering tale of lines crossed and justice dealt. Fargeat wisely (and thankfully) pulls the camera away during the initial assault (the only nudity we see in the film is male) but it lingers in physical pains elsewhere. Unfolding across a hot desert in the light of day, the movie sees bodies pushed to the extreme and losing far more blood than is physically possible, but like a fever dream it keeps on going towards a ridiculous and satisfying conclusion.
Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017)
“A dark fairy tale about a gang of five children trying to survive the horrific violence of the cartels and the ghosts created every day by the drug war.”
Issa López‘s feature debut infuses its atmosphere and tone with both stark realities and supernatural horrors, and as with Fargeat above, the result is the highly memorable arrival of a new genre voice. The focus here are children left unattended and orphaned by poverty and violence, and their lives are harrowing enough even before more traditional horror elements are introduced. Life here means being constantly close to and surrounded by death, and it’s a terrifying reality.
The Complete Shudder October 2020 List
|10/1||The Fall of the House of Usher|
|The Ghoul Log||Shudder Special|
|House of 1000 Corpses|
|The Masque of the Red Death|
|Scare Me||Shudder Original|
|Theater of Blood|
|The Tomb of Ligeia|
|10/5||The Deeper You Dig|
|The Monster Club|
|WNUF Halloween Special|
|10/8||The Cleansing Hour||Shudder Original|
|10/15||The Mortuary Collection||Shudder Original|
|10/22||32 Malasana Street||Shudder Exclusive|
|10/23||Joe Bob's Halloween Hideaway||Shudder Special|
|10/26||The Creepshow Halloween Special||Shudder Special|
|10/29||May the Devil Take You Too||Shudder Original|
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