AMC Network’s Shudder is a premium video-streaming service that has been the gift that keeps on giving to genre fans. With new titles added every month, including an extensive selection of both current and classic movies, Shudder is a necessity for horror fans. While we’re all still social distancing, now would be a great time for you to check out the top 10 horror movies on Shudder, which feature hallucinogenic performances from Nicolas Cage, imaginary friends, punk rock, haunted Zoom sessions, Lovecraft, and vampires.
Director – Joe Begos
Written and directed by Joe Begos, Bliss is the dizzying, color-drenched, psychedelic story of an artist named Dezzy, played by Dora Madison, who can’t find any creative inspiration. When she tries the drug Bliss, she begins having blackouts and creates a massive painting leading to a blood-soaked nightmare finale. This movie should be played loud.
Directors – Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson
Moorhead and Benson are well known for their incredible, mind-bending genre films like Resolution (2012), The Endless (2017), and Synchronic (2020), which all exist in the same universe. Spring is a horrifyingly beautiful story about a man who goes to Italy and falls in love with a woman, who has a devastating secret. This film features magnificent creature effects and fantastic performances, and it will terrify you and absolutely break your heart.
Director – A.T. White
Filmmaker and musician A.T. White wrote, directed, and scored Starfish, his first feature film, which stars Virginia Gardner as Aubrey, who is mourning the death of her friend Grace. Starfish is a visually stunning, Lovecraftian style journey into grief, monsters, mixtapes, and one girl’s desperate attempt to save the world as she knows it.
Director – Panos Cosmatos
Eight years after his first film, Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010), Panos Cosmatos unleashed his second film, Mandy (2018), upon the world. The film stars Nicolas Cage and Andrea Riseborough in a story about a man so grief-stricken, he goes to some unimaginable lengths to get revenge on the crazy cult leader who destroyed his life. Mandy is a color-soaked acid trip about love and vengeance and one man’s horrifying descent into madness that includes Nicolas Cage in a chainsaw battle to the death.You can’t really talk about the top 10 horror movies on Shudder without mentioning Mandy.
Directors – Scott Beck and Bryan Woods
If you recognize the names Beck and Woods, it’s because the filmmakers are also the writing team behind A Quiet Place. Perfect for putting you in a Halloween mood any time of year, Haunt is a story about a group of friends who go to an extreme haunted house on Halloween night. Beck and Woods absolutely nail the haunted house aesthetic. The biggest scare of all comes when the identities of the people running the haunt are revealed. The SFX makeup is fantastic and makes the big reveal, of who or what is underneath the masks, truly terrifying.
Director – Brandon Christensen
Much like Christensen’s first feature film Still/Born, Z confronts the difficulties of parenthood and presents the story of a little boy who has an imaginary friend named Z. The creature effects in this multi-layered story are extraordinarily unnerving and the film features a phenomenal performance from Keegan Connor Tracy (Bates Motel). Z is guaranteed to haunt your dreams.
Director – Jenn Wexler
Jenn Wexler’s The Ranger is a fast-paced, punk rock-styled horror movie about a group of friends who encounter a psychotic park ranger, unforgettably played by Jeremy Holm. In addition to Holm, the film features a standout performance from Chloe Levine (The Transfiguration), and also stars Amanda Grace Benitez, Granit Lahu, and Jeremy Pope. While the ranger hunts the friends in the woods, The Ranger expertly showcases authentic punk blended with the thrill of eighties slashers.
Color Out of Space
Director – Richard Stanley
If, like me, you can’t get enough of trippy Nicolas Cage movies, Richard Stanley’s Color Out of Space is for you. Based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft, the film also stars Joely Richardson and Madeleine Arthur, and tells the nightmarish story of a family whose lives are changed forever when a meteorite lands in their front yard. The story unfolds in dazzling color and gruesome special effects that you have to see to believe.
Director – Rob Savage
In real life, the pandemic has forced us to spend most of 2020 isolated and communicating through video apps like Zoom. Written by Gemma Hurley, Rob Savage, and Jed Shepherd, and directed by Savage, Host is a brilliant, timely story about a group of friends who conduct a séance on Zoom, resulting in some of the scariest footage you’ll see this year. Definitely one of the Top 10 Horror Movies on Shudder.
Daniel Isn’t Real
Director – Adam Egypt Mortimer
Miles Robbins and Patrick Schwarzenegger are outstanding as Luke and his imaginary friend Daniel in Daniel Isn’t Real, a chilling, thought-provoking story that believably deals with mental illness. Showcasing some mind-blowing practical effects, the film follows Luke as he realizes Daniel is real and might be something far worse than anything he could have ever imagined.