Shudder, the new horror movie streaming service from AMC has been sending out invitations to its beta, and I’ve been lucky enough to get one fairly early. A lot of horror fans are no doubt wondering if the service will be worth their money once they have the option to subscribe. The short answer is probably.

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Now let’s get to the long answer.

At the very least, it’s worth a free trial, which they’re offering up front. In fact, they’re giving those with access a 60-day free trial, which is twice as long as you’d get with most services, including Netflix. That’s a pretty good amount of time to get familiar with what Shudder has to offer.

Beyond the free trial, you can pay $4.99 a month or save $10 by paying $49.99 for a whole year. It’s only available in the U.S. to start, but will expand worldwide “soon”.

The biggest selling points for this service are going to be the titles offered, how they differ from those of competitors like Netflix and Hulu, how frequently new ones are added, and how easy it will be to watch these titles on the device of your choosing.

Considering that the service only just launched in beta, it’s doing pretty well in the titles department. See the end of the article for the full list of what’s available. There’s a pretty good selection across a broad range of sub-genres. There are classics, modern classics, not-so-classics and a lot of stuff in between. In the end, you’re likely to find some titles you’re interested in regardless of what kind of horror fan you are.

Still, it’s unclear how often it will be updated with new titles, and once the trial period wears off, that’s going to be a major point of consideration for those deciding whether or not to pay for this each month. Unless horror is the ONLY kind of movie you like, you’re not going to want to cancel your Netflix subscription and just use this, so if you are already use Netflix, you’re looking at an extra monthly bill, and there is a great deal of overlap between what’s available on both services. If Shudder can get more new releases on a fairly regular basis as well as some more obscure oldies, they’ll have a good shot at earning your hard earned money.

Another thing that could help, and which has certainly helped Netflix, would be adding high quality original content, not to mention TV shows in general. Despite this being an AMC product, for example, there’s no The Walking Dead (which is a huge hit on Netflix).

Shudder does offer users the ability to request titles. There’s a nice little form that lets you include a title and its director. They say they’ll use requests to shape their strategy for getting content. Obviously a request is no guarantee that they’ll get what you want, but it’s nice that they’re giving users the ability to weigh in.

There is an interesting Livestream feature that serves as a 24/7 running channel of horror content. I’ve glanced at it a couple of times to find things I didn’t recognize playing. Unfortunately, there was no information readily available telling me what I was seeing. I’m not sure how often people would use this feature, but I guess it could be fun for Twitter-based viewing parties.

 

The actual site’s usability could be a little better. There’s no search function, and it could really use the ability to save movies to a queue like Netflix. We must remember it’s still in beta, however, and everything about it is likely to improve. In fact, they already say the search feature is in development. For now, you can sort alphabetically, by release date or by those that have been watched/reviewed the most.

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To find titles so far, I’ve just been clicking through the entire list and making my own list in a Google Doc of what I want to watch, just to keep track. They also have lists of specific types of movies so you can browse that way. These include things like “A-Horror,” “Psychos and Madmen,” “Identity Crisis,” Comedy of Terrors,” etc.

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One thing that’s a little misleading and off-putting is that they’ll use images from movies that aren’t actually available to stream to represent categories. They use an image from Contracted to represent the body horror collection “Gross anatomy” for example, but don’t include that actual film. They use an image of Danny from The Shining for a documentary collection. I assumed that meant I’d find Room 237 in there, but this is not the case. This isn’t a huge deal. Just a minor annoyance. To add insult to injury, both Contracted and Room 237 are available on Netflix.

Overall, however, I’m quite pleased with Shudder. So far, I’ve watched two films  (Asylum Blackout and Red, White & Blue – both of which I’d recommend, by the way), and I’ve been very happy with the service so far. Picture and audio quality have been non-issues, and I’ve experienced no playback issues whatsoever.

In terms of device compatibility, Shudder only works from the web browser for now, but that will change soon. They’ve already said they’ll have iOS, Android, and Roku compatibility in the future, though no timeline has been given to my knowledge. These (and other) platforms will be key for a lot of people.

Your best bet for watching Shudder content on your TV right now is to have a Chromecast. If you use one of these $35 devices, you can use Google’s Chrome web browser to watch Shudder on your television pretty easily. That doesn’t really help you if you want to watch stuff on your phone or tablet though.

Here’s a complete list of titles on Shudder as of the time of this writing:

A Tale of Two Sisters

The ABCs of Death

Absentia

Acolytes

An American Werewolf in London

Anamorph

And Now the Screaming Starts

Antichrist

Apartment 143

Area 407

Asylum

Asylum Blackout

Bad Biology

Baron Blood

A Bay of Blood

Before the Fall

Beyond the Black Rainbow

Birdemic

Black Death

Black Sabbath

Black Sunday

Blood Car

Bloody Birthday

Burke and Hare

Cadaver

Canniba! The Musical

Carnival of Souls

Castle Freak

Chaw

Choose

Citadel

City of the Living Dead

Class of Nuke ‘Em High

Cockneys vs Zombies

Cold Sweat

Combat Shock

Cropsey

Crowsnest

Dark Mirror

Dark Star

Day of the Dead

Dead & Buried

Deadgirl

Dead Hooker in a Trunk

Dead Snow

Deadly Blessing

Death Bell

Deathdream

Deep Red

The Disappeared

Discopath

Doghouse

Don’t Look Back

Don’t Torture a Duckling

Donkey Punch

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Dream Home

Eaten Alive (Hooper)

Exam

Exorcismus

Faces of Death

Fascination

Fathers Day

Fears of the Dark

Fermat’s Room

Five Dolls for an August Moon

Frankenhooker

Frankenstein’s Army

Frightmare

Ganja & Hess

The Ghost Galleon

The Grapes of Death

Grotesque

Habit

Heartless

Hellgate

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer

High Lane

Hobo with a Shotgun

Home Movie

Horror Express

How to Make a Monster
Hush

I Am a Ghost

I Saw the Devil

I Sell the Dead

Ichi the Killer

In Their Skin

In Their Sleep

Intruder

John Dies at the End

Jug Face

Julia’s Eyes

Ka-Boom

Kidnapped

Kill Baby Kill

Kill List

Leftbank

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie

Let the Right One In

Lisa and the Devil

Lost Soul

Lucky Bastard

The Machine Girl

Magic

Maniac

Maniac Cop

Marebito

Memento Mori

Monsters

Mother’s Day

Murder Party

Mutants

Night of the Living Dead

Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut

Nightmares in Red, White And Blue

Nosferatu

Nosferatu, The Vampyre

Occupant

Opera

Paintball

Penumbra

Piranha 3D

Playback

Pontypool

Prey

Puffball

Pulse

Puppet Master

PVC-1

Red, White & Blue

Requiem

Requiem For a Vampire

Return to Sleepaway Camp

Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky

Rites of Spring

Room of Death

S&Man

Saint

Santa Sangre

Sauna

Schizo

Septien

Severance

Shadow

Shakma

Sheitan

Shock Waves

Shrooms

Shutter

Shuttle

Sick Nurses

Simon Killer

Sleep Tight

Sleepaway Camp

Southern Gothic

Spider Baby

Spiderhole

Splinter

Stitches

Storage 24

Summer of Blood

Tetsuo the Iron Man

The Appeared

The Battery

The Beast Must Die

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

The Church

The Corridor

The Countess

The Crazies (Romero)

The Devil’s Rain

The Devil’s Rock

The Eclipse

The Evil Eye

The Golem

The Haunted Castle

The Horror Party Beach

The Host

The House of the Devil

The Housemaid

The Human Centipede

The Human Centipede 2

The Innkeepers

The Last Winter

The Living and the Dead

The Monkey’s Paw

The Moth Diaries

The Objective

The Pact

The Possession of David O’Reilly

The Shiver of the Vampires

The Shrine

The Silent House

The Skeptic

The Snowtown Murders

The Toolbox Murders

The Toxic Avenger

The Whip and the Body

Them

Timecrimes

Toad Road

Tokyo Gore Police

Tombs of the Blind Dead

Tormented

Tourist Trap

Trail of the Screaming Forehead

Troll Hunter

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

Two Evil Eyes

Undocumented

V/H/S

Vampires

Vampyres

Victim

We Are the Night

We Are What We Are

Werewolves on Wheels

Whispering Corridors

White Zombie

The Wild Man of the Navidad

Wishing Stairs