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Shudder’s Halfway To Halloween Celebration Returns

SHUDDER’S “HALFWAY TO HALLOWEEN HOTLINE” OF HORROR FILM RECOMMENDATIONS RETURNS THIS APRIL ALONG WITH A KILLER LINE-UP OF NEW ORIGINAL FILMS AND SERIES

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We’re coming up on the halfway mark to Halloween and Shudder is celebrating with the return of their annual Halfway To Halloween celebrations which will see a killer line-up of new Original series, films, and genre-defining additions to Shudder’s unbeatable movie library of timeless horror classics.

“We’re curating a slate of the best in horror all year round, but April and October give us a unique opportunity to connect with and hear from our members directly about the movies they’re craving and what they love most about the genre. And we’re pairing that with an impressive lineup of new, fan-favorite titles, as we continue to go deep on the genre like only Shudder can.” – says Craig Engler, Shudder’s General Manager

April will also see the return of its awesome and popular “Halfway to Halloween Hotline” of personalized horror movie recommendations. Every Friday in April from 3pm – 4pm ET / 8pm – 9 pm BST, members are invited to call Samuel Zimmerman, Shudder’s VP of programming, for customized horror viewing recommendations from Shudder’s expansive film collection – from his favourite genre films of all time to highly anticipated releases this year. A new hotline phone number will be announced each Friday on Shudder’s social media platforms. 

Please note: While recommendations are provided for free, please note that normal phone and long-distance charges may apply. Call volume is expected to be high, so please keep trying if a busy signal is received. There are no guarantees that every call will be answered, but Sam will get through as many as he can within the hour.

NEW SHUDDER ORIGINAL AND EXCLUSIVE FILMS & SERIES

Cursed Films II – A Shudder Original Series
New Series Premieres 7th April with New Episodes Every Thursday

Shudder’s acclaimed documentary series is back to explore the facts and myths surrounding a new batch of famous films some consider cursed. The new season will feature The Wizard of Oz, Rosemary’s Baby, Stalker, The Serpent and the Rainbow, and Cannibal Holocaust. Featuring new interviews with FX expert and former Mythbusters host Adam Savage, Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins, actor Bill Pullman, and director Ruggero Deodato, among many others. 

The Cellar – A Shudder Original
New Film Premieres 15th April

Filmed on location in Roscommon, Ireland, The Cellar tells the story of Keira Woods (Elisha Cuthbert), whose daughter mysteriously vanishes in the cellar of their new house in the country. Keira soon discovers there is an ancient and powerful entity controlling their home that she will have to face or risk losing her family’s souls forever. Official Selection, SXSW 2022. Written and directed by Brendan Muldowney.

Virus 32 – A Shudder Original
New Film Premieres 21st April

A virus breaks out and a chilling massacre rages through the streets. The sick become hunters, and only calm their fever by unscrupulously killing all those not yet infected. Unaware of this, Iris (Paula Silva) and her daughter spend the day in the sports club where Iris works as a security guard. When night falls, their fight for survival begins. Their only hope of salvation arrives when they discover that after each attack, the infected seem to stop for 32 seconds of calm before attacking again. Also stars     Daniel Hendler and Sofía GonzálezWritten by Juma Fodde and Gustavo Hernández and directed by Gustavo Hernández.

NEW ADDITIONS TO SHUDDER’S MOVIE LIBRARY

4th April

·           Haunt

              On Halloween, a group of friends encounter an “extreme” haunted house which promises to feed on their darkest fears. The night turns deadly as they come to the horrifying realisation that some nightmares are real.

·           Lords of Salem 

              Heidi, a radio DJ from Salem, is plagued by bizarre nightmares of vengeful witches after playing a mysterious record by a group known as The Lords. When the record becomes a huge hit, Heidi and her colleagues receive tickets for the band’s next gig, but upon arrival find that the show goes beyond anything they could have imagined. From modern horror maestro, Rob Zombie, The Lords of Salem is an enigmatic and visually stunning take on the mythology of witches that blends a 1970s aesthetic with modern day counterculture to create a vivid, macabre horror.

·           Cutterhead

              Rie is visiting the Copenhagen Metro construction to portray the European cooperation when an accident occurs. She is blocked in a pressure chamber alongside Croatian Ivo and Bharan from Eritrea. Despite radically different worldviews, they must put their lives and bodies in each other’s hands to survive.

·           The Ritual

              After the violent death of one of their group, four old college friends decide to take a hiking trip deep in the Swedish wilderness in order to bond and reminisce about old times. However, the inexperienced hikers soon find themselves hopelessly lost in the dense woods. As their fragile friendships begin to crack and old resentments surface, they become increasingly desperate to escape the woods. But they are not alone. Someone, or something, malevolent is watching them, intent on making them face their deepest fears and ensuring they never leave.

·           You Might Be the Killer

              As Sam (Fran Kranz) flees from a masked killer at camp, it slowly dawns on him that HE might be the killer. With the help of his film buff friend Chuck (Alyson Hannigan), Sam navigates through horror movie tropes to try and make it out of this plot alive. 

11th April

·           Rocktober Blood

              An executed rock star comes back to haunt a rock star who betrayed him, or so she thinks.

·           [REC] 2

              In this Spanish horror sequel, [REC] 2 immediately follows the events of [REC], focusing on a swat team and a doctor who have been sent in to retrieve blood samples from the quarantined apartment building. Navigating the floors of the building, the group are attacked by the infected, as new and familiar faces emerge inside. This highly anticipated follow-up expands on the events of the first film, hinting at the origins of the deadly outbreak and features more scares, more zombies, and more terror.

·           [REC] 3: Genesis

              In the third instalment of Paco Plaza’s [REC] series, a couple’s vows are put to the test when a demonic virus turns their wedding guests turn into rabid monsters. Clara and Koldo’s wedding reception is going well, except for their uncle, who seems unwell. At the party’s peak, he turns into a bloodthirsty being, and soon the guests also catch the deadly disease. Can Clara and Koldo make it out alive or is the honeymoon already over?

·           [REC] 4: Apocalypse

              The final instalment of the [REC] series, [REC] 4: Apocalypse brings the horror full circle. Continuing from the events of the first film,[REC] 4 rejoins plucky television presenter, Angela Vidal in the aftermath of her traumatic ordeal inside the apartment building. Sent to a special quarantine facility on an oil tanker, Angela fears the worst when she realises the deadly virus has followed her on board. She will have to fight the deadly zombie outbreak one final time before it infects the entire facility.

·           Puppet Master

              Assailed by nightmarish visions, Alex Whitaker and his fellow psychics descend on the Bodega Bay Inn. There, they discover that their compatriot Neil has apparently committed suicide. But, as the gruesome visions continue, they sense that there’s still something sinister afoot. When they find themselves hunted by a band of homicidal marionettes created by twisted puppeteer Andre Toulon, they discover they’re right.

·           Puppet Master 2

              The malicious marionettes are back to resurrect their dead master and evict parapsychologists from the family estate.

·           Puppet Master 3

              Gestapo agents face killer dolls when they murder puppeteer Toulon’s wife in this prequel to Puppet Master.

12th April

·           Subspecies

              Michelle and Lillian are two American students who have joined their friend Mara in Romania for their studies of the ancient myths and legends of Transylvania. But Myth turns into reality when the women become the object of desire of the powerful and grotesque Radu, an evil vampire obsessed with making them his consorts.

·           The Pit and the Pendulum

              In the quest to save souls, the Spanish Inquisition will stop at nothing and knows no boundaries for its evil. Maria must find the power to save her husband from the ultimate machine of torture: the razor-sharp pendulum poised over the pit of hell under the direction of Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor of Spain.

·           Intruder

              The overnight crew of a supermarket find themselves pursued by a mysterious maniac in this fun late-80s slasher from regular Sam Raimi mainstay Scott Spiegel, who co-wrote Evil Dead 2 and appeared in many of Raimi’s films.

18th April

·           The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula Seasons 1-3

              After its biggest-ever hit fourth season and its first as a Shudder Original, past seasons of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula are coming to Shudder, making the streamer the exclusive home for all four seasons plus 2020’s Resurrection special. The beloved reality series is a competition created and hosted by The Boulet Brothers to find the world’s next Dragula Supermonster. Each season, a new group of drag artist vie for the title and crown through a series of challenges to demonstrate their mastery of the four pillars of Dragula: drag, horror, filth, and glamour.

·           Antiviral

              Syd March is an employee at a clinic that sells injections of live viruses harvested from sick celebrities to obsessed fans. Syd also supplies illegal samples of these viruses to piracy groups, smuggling them from the clinic in his own body. When he becomes infected with the disease that kills super sensation Hannah Geist, Syd becomes a target for collectors and rabid fans. He must unravel the mystery surrounding her death before he suffers the same fate.

·           The Crazies

              In this remake of George A. Romero’s sci-fi horror, a small town descends into chaos when the local water supply becomes infected with a virus that turns the town’s inhabitants into ruthless, bloodthirsty killers. Attempting to contain the infection, the authorities block off the town leaving sheriff, David Dutten and his family to band together with the last remaining survivors, defending themselves against the infected hordes. Director Breck Eisner manages to create a stylishly crafted psychological thriller that pays homage to Romero’s original film, whilst streamlining his socio-political message for the modern age. 

25th April

·           Etheria – Season 5

              Eleven episodes featuring savage serial killers, desperate robot husbands, ghostly visitors, gory body horror, demented sibling rivalry, ruinous secrets from the past, witchcraft and witches of several kinds, mermaids, campfire legends, and a hilarious cult indoctrination.

·           Nekrotronic

              Our hero, Howard North, is a young orphan dragged into a conflict between the Nekromancers – a family of badass demon hunters, and Finnegan – an evil demon who absorbs people’s souls to increase her power. When Howard finds out the truth behind Finnegan’s past and her dark plans for the future, he teams up with his new friends to discover he is the ultimate Nekromancer, the only one with the power to defeat her.

·           The Reef

              A ferocious shark stalks a group of friends trying to swim to safety after a shipwreck. As the fiend with fins picks off each of the pals, the blue Australian water is turned into blood-red broth. Who will make it to shore in one piece – and who will wind up in ol’ Toothy’s stomach? This aquatic Australian horror film breathes new life into the frightful fish genre in an era when Sharknado is more well-known than Jaws. The scariest thing about The Reef? It’s all based on a true story.

·           Jamie Marks is Dead

              Fifteen-year-old Adam McCormick’s life hasn’t been the same since classmate Gracie Highsmith found Jamie Marks’s dead body at the edge of the river. Adam becomes fixated on Jamie’s death and gradually a deep bond develops between the living teenager and the dead boy’s ghost. But the more attached Adam becomes to Jamie’s ghost, the weaker his ties to reality become.

29th April

·               Becky

                 Rebellious teen Becky (Lulu Wilson) accompanies her father (Joel McHale) on a weekend getaway to a lake house in an effort to reconnect. But the trip soon takes a turn for the worse when a group of escaped convicts, led by the merciless Dominick (Kevin James), suddenly invade the house. With her father’s life at stake, Becky has no choice but to take matters into her own hands.

30th April

·               Insidious

     Insidious is the terrifying story of a family who, shortly after moving, discover that dark spirits have possessed their home and that their son has inexplicably fallen into a coma. Trying to escape the haunting and save their son, they move again only to discover that it was not their house that was haunted…

·                 Insidious 2

           The terrifying sequel to Insidious following the haunted Lambert family as they seek to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world.

·               Insidious 3

           Go back to the beginning… in this chilling prequel that takes place before the unforgettable haunting of the Lambert family. When paranormal investigators Tucker and Specs team up with the psychic Elise to help a teenage girl contact her late mother, Elise is forced to venture back into ‘The Further’ where she finds a ruthless supernatural entity craving the souls of the living. It’s the darkest chapter yet in this spine-tingling portrayal of evil unleashed.


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HORROR

Prey | 20th Century Studios | Hulu

The origin story of the Predator in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. Naru, a skilled female warrior, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.

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Genre:

Action, Drama, Horror

Release Date:

20222 (Hulu)

Director:

Dan Trachtenberg

Cast:

Amber Midthunder, Dane DiLiegro, Stefany Mathias

Plot Summary:

The origin story of the Predator in the world of the Comanche Nation 300 years ago. Naru, a skilled female warrior, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.

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HORROR

Choose or Die – A Miss For Netflix

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Netflix’s home page suggestions can always be hit or miss, and unfortunately its latest release ‘Choose or Die’ falls into the category of the latter. Captivated by Asa Butterfield on the poster, I was curious to see what this film had to offer and begrudgingly it didn’t have a lot.

We follow Kayla, a broke student who has a lot to deal with in terms of her family situation and being the sole provider for herself and her mum. She then stumbles upon a retro video game from the 80s which forces her to choose and ultimately leads to various chain reactions of horrific events involving people close to her.

Lola Evans as Kayla and Asa Butterfield as Isaac

The premise of the film sounds interesting, however, I think it swings and misses quite early into the film’s first act. Eddie Marsan sets the tone and trail of interest for Choose or Die as we are introduced to this sadistic game and the chain of events it will inevitably pursue. 

Choose or Die doesn’t make it easy to empathise with its characters, finding any connection to Kayla or Isaac was difficult. This ‘are they aren’t they’ subplot lingers throughout the film’s narrative but adds nothing to the overarching story. The supporting characters, such as Thea and Laura, are much more interesting and genuinely have you intrigued as to what decisions they will make.

What stood out to me was the violent and gore-like scenes of 80s horrors, with some pretty good stomach churning special effects make-up. Those intense scenes, one involving a rat, had me genuinely glued to the screen, anticipating what may happen next. Choose or Die’s strongest component are the early moral decisions Kayla has to make and ultimately demonstrate Meakin’s passion for the horror genre.

Ioanna Kimbook as Grace in Choose or Die, seen here in the diner in one of the more grotesque decisive moments for Kayla

The way in which this film is shot, felt very “student-esque” with its lackluster camera movements and setting. The set design lacked little depth, except for Isaac’s room which is full of detail, therefore making the world feel small and less three dimensional. An element which pulled me out of this cinematic experience, was the fact that this was evidently filmed in the United Kingdom, and the cast contained predominantly a lot of British actors doing an American accent so I wasn’t fully immersed into this world. 

Meakins clearly uses his passion for the horror genre to influence this film’s dark tone, from it’s leading characters’ moral compass as well as the gorey visuals that inevitably come with those decisions. The whole world feels cold and derelict, be it the place in which Kayla cleans or the housing estate of which she lives in, this is an unwelcoming world that no-one wants to comfort you in. 

Choose or Die isn’t a film that will stick out as one that defined 2022, however I’m sure someone will take something away from this film, be it’s reference to 80s gaming or the violent and graphic elements that the director is clearly passionate about. 

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HORROR

Off Season – To Premiere Exclusively on Shudder

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Shudder, AMC Networks’ premium streaming service for horror, thriller and the supernatural, announced that OFFSEASON will be available exclusively to stream on the platform starting on Friday, June 10, 2022. As a Shudder exclusive, the platform will be the only subscription service that will carry the film in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

Upon receiving a mysterious letter that her mother’s gravesite has been vandalized, in OFFSEASON, Marie (Donahue) quickly returns to the isolated offshore island where her late mother is buried. When she arrives, she discovers that the island is closing for the offseason with the bridges raised until Spring, leaving her stranded. One strange interaction with the local townspeople after another, Marie soon realizes that something is not quite right in this small town. She must unveil the mystery behind her mother’s troubled past in order to make it out alive.

Check out the film’s trailer below and read our review HERE as it debuted during SXSW 2021

Written and directed by Mickey Keating (Psychopaths), OFFSEASON stars Jocelin Donahue (Doctor Sleep), Joe Swanberg (The Rental, “Easy”), Richard Brake (3 From HellMandy), Melora Walters (The Pale Door, “Pen15”) and Jeremy Gardner (After MidnightThe Mind’s Eye).

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