A whole slew of new releases will be landing on Shudder in February, and we have the US highlights. As always, when the month rolls around we’ll present the full regional lineup of Shudder releases, but for now, let’s see what is on offer. Originals and Exclusives will be in bold in the schedule.
Shudder Originals and Exclusives
A NIGHTMARE WAKES
Premieres February 4. While composing her famous novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley descends into an opium-fueled fever dream while carrying on a torrid love affair with Percy Shelley. As she writes, the characters of her novel come to life and begin to plague her relationship with Percy. Before long, she must choose between true love and her literary masterpiece.
An unsettlingly intimate portrayal of a brilliant artist at her most troubled, A NIGHTMARE WAKES traces the tortured birth of a timeless masterwork and the rightful ascension of its creator to stand alongside her creation.
Starring Alix Wilton Regan (The Wife), Giullian Yao Gioiello (Scream: The TV Series, Marvel’s Iron Fist), Philippe Bowgen (The Mick), as well as Lee Garrett, Claire Glassford, and Shannon Spangler. Written and directed by Nora Unkel. A Shudder Original (Also available on Shudder Canada, Shudder UK and Shudder ANZ)
Premieres February 11. Official Selection Tribeca Film Festival. Ten years into his small-town, storybook romance with Abby (Brea Grant, Lucky), Hank (Jeremy Gardner, The Battery) suddenly wakes up to an empty home. With nothing but a cryptic note to explain why she left, Hank’s charmed life begins to fall apart. To make matters worse, Abby’s disappearance seems to trigger the arrival of a ferocious creature that crawls out of the old grove on the edge of his property. Directed by Jeremy Gardner (The Battery) and Christian Stella (Tex Montana Will Survive). A Shudder Exclusive. (US only.)
Premieres February 18. When Mia, a social media star, becomes the target of an online terror campaign, she has to solve a series of tests to prevent people she cares about from getting murdered. But is it real? Or is it just a game at her expense? Starring Daisye Tutor (Guest House), Emily Goss (Snapshots), Nicola Posener (The Bold and the Beautiful), Octavius J. Johnson (Sleepless), Stephanie Simbari (Here and Now) and Grant Rosenmeyer (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend). Directed by Jennifer Harrington (Housekeeping). A Shudder Original. (Also available on Shudder Canada, Shudder UK and Shudder ANZ)
THE DARK AND THE WICKED
Premieres February 25. Official Selection Tribeca Film Festival. On a secluded farm, a man is bedridden and fighting through his final breaths while his wife (Julie Oliver-Touchstone, Preacher) slowly succumbs to overwhelming grief. Siblings Louise (Marin Ireland, Hell or High Water) and Michael (Michael Abbott Jr., The Death of Dick Long) return home to help, but it doesn’t take long for them to see that something’s wrong with mom—something more than her heavy sorrow. Gradually, they begin to suffer a darkness similar to their mother’s, marked by waking nightmares and a growing sense that an evil entity is taking over their family. Directed by Bryan Bertino (The Strangers). A Shudder Exclusive. (Also available on Shudder Canada, Shudder UK and Shudder ANZ)
New Series and Seasons
A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES Season 2
New episodes every Saturday. Matthew (Emmy-nominated Matthew Goode, Downton Abbey) and Diana (Teresa Palmer, Hacksaw Ridge) have hidden in time in the fascinating and treacherous world of Elizabethan London where they must find a powerful witch to help Diana master her magic and search for the elusive Book of Life. In the present day however, their enemies have not forgotten them. Returning for Season 2: Alex Kingston (Doctor Who), Valarie Pettiford (Half & Half), Lindsay Duncan (The Honourable Woman), Edward Bluemel (Killing Eve), Aiysha Hart (Line of Duty), Daniel Ezra (All American) Aisling Loftus (War & Peace), Trevor Eve (Waking the Dead), Owen Teale (Game of Thrones), Malin Buska (The Girl King), and Gregg Chillin (Da Vinci’s Demons). A SUNDANCE NOW/SHUDDER ORIGINAL SERIES. (Also available on Shudder Canada)
JOE BOB PUT A SPELL ON YOU
Friday, February 12 at 9pm ET. Love is in the air for the first-ever Last Drive-In Valentine’s Day special! Joe Bob Briggs hosts a double feature of two unusual films about the power (and horror) of love. Dim the lights, pour a glass of bubbly—Dom Perignon or Lone Star, your choice—and join us on the Shudder TV feed for the live premiere Friday, February 12, or watch on demand beginning Sunday, February 14.
AUDREY ROSE (Director: Robert Wise)
In this haunting, psychological horror directed by a true master of the genre, a happily married couple find their lives thrown into frightening disruption when a stranger appears at their door claiming that their adopted 12-year-old daughter contains the reincarnated spirit of his little girl. Starring Marsha Mason, Anthony Hopkins, John Beck, Susan Swift. (Also available on Shudder Canada)
THE QUEEN OF BLACK MAGIC (1981) (Director: Liliek Sudjio)
A woman is accused of being a witch and thrown to her death over a cliff. A strange man rescues her, nurses her back to health, and tells her that she must master black magic in order to exact vengeance on her tormentors. Starring Suzzana, Alan Nuari, Siska Widawati, WD Mochtar (Also available on Shudder Canada, Shudder UK and Shudder ANZ)
Note: This 1981 Indonesian horror classic was the inspiration for Kimo Stamboel’s The Queen of Black Magic, a Shudder Original premiering January 28.
VAMPIRE’S KISS (Director: Robert Bierman)
After a night of passionate lovemaking in which he is bitten on the neck, a troubled literary editor becomes convinced that he is a vampire and begins to live the role. Audiences in 1989 may not have been ready for Nicolas Cage’s unleashed, expressionistic performance (some in 2021 aren’t either), but the film has become an essential watch among Cage connoisseurs. Starring Nicolas Cage, Maria Conchita Alonso, Jennifer Beals, Kasi Lemmons (Also available on Shudder Canada)
HEAD COUNT (Director: Elle Callahan)
Newcomer Evan joins a group of teens on a getaway in Joshua Tree. While exchanging ghost stories around the campfire, Evan reads aloud a mysterious chant from an internet site. From that moment, someone—or something—is among them. As unsettling, inexplicable events become more frequent, Evan realizes this summoned shape-shifting creature is targeting them to fulfill a deadly ritual. Starring Isaac W. Jay, Ashleigh Morghan, Bevin Bru, Billy Meade, Hunter Peterson, Chelcie May (Also available on Shudder Canada and Shudder UK)
A NIGHTMARE WAKES (see above for details)
A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES episode 205 (see above for details)
NIGHT TIDE (Director: Curtis Harrington)
In this eerie ‘60s thriller from the director of Queen of Blood, Johnny begins dating a woman who thinks she may be a mermaid. Encounters with a witchy woman and the fact that her exes both drowned slowly convince Johnny that staying with her may be dangerous. Fans of mysterious, mid-century horror like Cat People, The Seventh Victim and Carnival of Souls shouldn’t miss this uniquely moving fright flick, which drew on underground filmmaking styles to create an experience decades ahead of its time. Starring Dennis Hopper, Linda Lawson, Gavin Muir (Also available on Shudder Canada)
THE “WHISPERING CORRIDORS” TRILOGY
A new teacher’s arrival initiates a gruesome series of events at a private school in this acclaimed series of hit horror films based on high school urban legends in South Korea.
WHISPERING CORRIDORS (Director: Ki Hyeong Park)
In this dread-filled debut, a former student returns as a teacher. When she strikes up a new friendship with two students, the bodies begin piling up and ghosts haunt the hallways. Starring Choi Kang-hee, Kim Gyu-ri, Kim Roe-ha (Also available on Shudder Canada)
MEMENTO MORI (Director: Kim Tae Young)
Young student Soh Min-ah finds a diary kept by two senior students, a lesbian couple ostracized for their relationship. When one of the students kills herself, the diary causes Soh Min-ah to experience strange visions and supernatural occurrences as the guilty parties get their comeuppance. Starring Kim Gyu-ri, Park Yeh-jin, Lee Yeong-jin (Also available on Shudder Canada)
WISHING STAIRS (Director: Jae Yeon Yoon)
When best friends Jin-sung and So-hee are driven apart by a ballet competition, Jin-sung visits a magic staircase which grants wishes to those who step on it and asks to win the contest. But when her wish leads to So-hee’s death, Jin-sung returns to the stairs to try to undo her deadly deeds. (In Korean with English Subtitles). Starring Song Ji-hyo, Park Han-byeol (Also available on Shudder Canada)
CARMILLA (Director: Emily Harris)
Isolated from the outside world, fifteen-year-old Lara lives in seclusion on a vast country estate with her father and strict governess, Miss Fontaine. When a mysterious carriage crash brings a young girl into their home to recuperate, Lara immediately becomes enchanted by this strange visitor who arouses her curiosity and awakens her burgeoning desires. Inspired by the 1872 Gothic vampire novella by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu. Starring Tobias Menzies, Jessica Raine, Greg Wise, Hannah Rae, Devrim Lingnau (Also available on Shudder Canada)
THE STRANGE COLOR OF YOUR BODY’S TEARS (Directors: Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani)
This visually stunning Belgian giallo homage follows a man who returns home from a trip, only to find his wife missing. Seeking answers, Dan visits his nasty neighbors who draw him into a surreal mystery that gets stranger and stranger. Is there a conspiracy at work? How many secret passages does the building have? And where is Dan’s wife? Starring Klaus Tange, Ursula Bedena, Joe Koener (Also available on Shudder Canada)
AFTER MIDNIGHT (see above for details)
JOE BOB PUT A SPELL ON YOU (see above for details)
A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES episode 206 (see above for details)
BASKET CASE (Director: Frank Henenlotter)
Siamese twins, separated at an early age, avenge their separation by killing the doctors responsible. Starring Kevin Van Hentenryck, Terri Susan Smith, Beverly Bonner (Also available on Shudder Canada)
THE NINTH CONFIGURATION (Director: William Peter Blatty)
A troubled psychiatrist takes command of a military asylum filled with insane soldiers in this creepy only-in-the-’70s oddity written and directed by the writer of The Exorcist. When Kane arrives at an army castle to cure the inhabitants, he bonds with an astronaut who snapped before a mission. But as the two men examine their demons, it becomes clear Kane may be more in need of help than his patients. Blatty’s unsettling mix of psychological horror and Altman-meets-Joseph Heller-esque comedy has fascinated die-hard cult cinema fans since its release in 1980. Starring Stacey Keach, Scott Wilson, Jason Miller, Ed Flanders (Also available on Shudder Canada)
OUTCAST (Director: Colm McCarthy)
Mary harbors a dark history but must confront her past when a hunter with magical powers is assigned to capture her and kill her son. As the terrifying cat-and-mouse game continues, a deadly fear takes hold as locals begin to die at the hands of an unknown creature. Combining dark arts with street-level realism, Outcast is an underseen UK chiller from the director of The Girl with All the Gifts. Starring James Nesbitt, Kate Dickie, James Cosmo, Niall Bruton (Also available on Shudder Canada and Shudder UK)
SHOOK (see above for details)
A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES episode 207 (see above for details)
ONE MISSED CALL (Director: Takashi Miike)
Student Yoko receives a phone message from her future self, ending with her own death scream. Two days later, she dies in a horrific accident. As the mysterious phone curse spreads, claiming more young lives, Yoko’s friend Yumi joins forces with detective Hiroshi, whose sister met the same gruesome fate. But can they unravel the mystery before the clock runs out on the next victim–Yumi herself? Starring Ko Shibasaki, Shin’ichi Tsutsumi, Kazue Fukiish (Also available on Shudder Canada, and Shudder UK)
OPEN 24 HOURS (Director: Padraig Reynolds)
A delusional woman who set her brutal serial killer boyfriend on fire has just been released from a mental hospital. Her vulnerable demeanor helps her get a job at an all-night gas station. However, left alone to her own devices, her paranoia and hallucinations return with furious consequences. Starring Vanessa Grasse, Brendan Fletcher, Emily Tennant (Also available on Shudder Canada)
PSYCHOMANIA (Director: Don Sharp)
In this beloved ‘70s mind-blower, a motorcycle gang burst from their graves to crush a world of psychedelic hippie pleasures under the wheels of black leather occult mayhem. Starring George Sanders, Beryl Reid, Nicky Henson (Also available on Shudder Canada)
THE DARK AND THE WICKED (see above for details)
A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES episode 208 (see above for details)
So that is what is on deck for the US in February. We’ll be back early next month with the complete regional schedule and our selections for each region. See you soon!
#ChadGetsTheAxe Coming Out September 1st
But sometimes there comes a film that’s smartly written, full of humor and social commentary, plus great acting. Oh, and scares that actually scare the shit out of me.
Almost a year to the date, I got to watch such a film called #CHADGETSTHEAXE that I saw as a screener for FilmQuest Fest in October, 2022. And I was blown away by the talents of director/co-writer Travis Bible and co-writer/producer Kemerton Hargrove; starring Spencer Harrison Levin (Black Jesus), Michael Bonini (New Amsterdam), Taneisha Figueroa (Duck World), Cameron Vitosh (Walker), Brandon Doyle (Murder Made Me Famous), and Shun Hagins (Snitch).
Mini-Review, I swear it’s short:
And, I know, I know, I know. ‘But Brannyyyyk, isn’t livestreaming horror movies just a flash in the pan? Hasn’t it been done beforeeee?’ For one, stop saying it like that, it’s weird. For two, not like this. The care and attention that went into #CHADGETSTHEAXE is wickedly clever with such tongue-in-cheek humor of influencers, humanity, and the toxic culture of fandom. It’s the shining example of live-streaming movies because it’s so f-ing smart.
Case in point, the characters are living up to their personas. However, even when the personas are ragged and driven to the edge of life and death, we never see them as people, fully dimensional people, because we never see them break away from their devices. There’s never a shot that shows us ‘hey, this is a film, now let’s see them as the real character they are’. The actors are really carrying dual roles as the personas and the real people underneath; as they are struggling to keep up appearances in front of the millions of viewers.
Plus, don’t get me started on the characters within the livestream feed, along with running jokes and clues to the haunted house.
Anyway, I don’t want to give too much away as I’m going to be covering it on Streamin’ Demons soon. But I wanted to also tease about the fact that I’m going to be interviewing some VIPs from the movie for What’s Kraken? So, shhh, only tell your closest friends because it’s going to be incredible.
Join the Hype Train:
Adapted from an award-winning short with the same title, #ChadGetsTheAxe follows four social media influencers as they live-stream their trip to Devil’s Manor, former home to a Satanic Cult. Things don’t go well. And as the violence ramps up… so do the views.
The film premiered at FilmQuest in October 2022 and Internationally at FrightFest Glasgow in March 2023 where it was well received by critics. #ChadGetsTheAxe was produced by Travis Bible, Eric Gibson, Kemerton Hargrove, and Frances O’Hanlon, while Dream Big Group serves as executive producers.
The Horror Collective is the genre label of Entertainment Squad — a production and distribution company founded by veteran producer Shaked Berenson (TURBO KID, TALES OF HALLOWEEN). The label’s latest releases include the Daytime Emmy nominated Limited Series DOOMSDAY, the killer-pants Shudder Original SLAXX, and the critically acclaimed horror-comedy SUMMONING SYLVIA.
June Title for Arrow Streaming
Welcome to June! There’s so much on the hopper for Arrow that I just have to give you, my friends, the hot goss.
June 2nd: Paul Joyce Documentaries
June 2nd kicks off the month with ARROW’s latest curation of Paul Joyce documentaries, this time looking at legendary filmmaker John Cassavetes, straight from the mouth of his friend and collaborator co-star Peter Falk (Columbo) in Out of the Shadows: The Films of John Cassavetes.
After a six year directing hiatus, Monte Hellman sat down with Paul Joyce and just talked for an hour while Joyce filmed. The result is Plunging on Alone: Monte Hellman’s Life In a Day.
June 2nd: the wild world of Ero Guro
What is Ero Guro? Well, the Japanese sub-genre of horror and pink films Ero Guro combines the erotic (ero) and the grotesque (guro) to deviant, decadent and unforgettable effect. ARROW’s Ero Guro collection features the unholy trinity of core Ero Guro films, Teruo Ishii’s Shogun’s Joy of Torture and Horrors of Malformed Men and Yasuzo Masumura’s Blind Beast, plus plenty more exciting, explicit and enticingly depraved delights to delve into.
Titles Include: Shogun’s Joy of Torture, Blind Beast, Irezumi.
June 6th: Warriors Two (US/CA)
After making his directorial debut with the intense The Iron-Fisted Monk and firmly solidifying his worth at Golden Harvest, Sammo Hung would be given more creative control behind the camera. Now able to inject more of his own personality, Hung would bring to life the more upbeat (yet only slightly less violent) Wing Chun cult classic: Warriors Two!
Predating the Ip Man tetralogy by three decades – as well as Hung’s own The Prodigal Son (starring Yuen Biao as the younger incarnation of Leung Tsan) by a few years – Warriors Two is one of the earliest films to authentically portray the teachings of Wing Chun while also delivering the kind of kinetic and pulse-pounding fights synonymous with the name Sammo Hung!
June 16th: Eli Roth Selects (UK/IRE/US/CA)
Splatter icon Eli Roth takes a stroll through the archives with Eli Roth Selects (UK/IRE/US/CA). “I absolutely love Arrow and have been a collector of their editions for years, and Arrow Player is the most streamed channel in my house. I’ve seen a lot of Select lists, and while I agree with them, I wanted to highlight some that people might have otherwise overlooked.”
Titles Include: Basket Case, Contamination, Madhouse.
June 19th: Toru Murakawa’s Game Trilogy (UK/IRE/US/CA)
Made at the end of the 1970s, Toru Murakawa’s Game Trilogy launched actor Yûsaku Matsuda as the Toei tough guy for a new generation. Matsuda was the definitive screen icon of 1980s until his career was tragically cut short by cancer at the age of 40, following his Hollywood debut in Ridley Scott’s Black Rain.
The Most Dangerous Game (UK/IRE/US/CA): In this career-defining triptych, Matsuda is Shohei Narumi, an ice cool hitman of few words, a steely trigger finger, and a heart of stone, hired in The Most Dangerous Game by a company bidding for a lucrative government air defence contract to take out the competition.
The Killing Game (UK/IRE/US/CA): Narumi finds himself caught in the midst of violent yakuza gang warfare, while his own brutal past catches up with him in the form of two beautiful women still bearing the emotional scars of his past assignments.
The Execution Game (UK/IRE/US/CA): Narumi falls for a mysterious saloon bar chanteuse who may or may not be part of the same, shadowy underworld organization as the rival hitmen he is employed to rub out. (I’m assuming the tough-guy way and not the sexy way)
June 23rd: SHAAAARKS!!!
Yessss, Cruel Jaws is coming to Arrow!
ARROW heads to the beach for some terror with shark attacks.
Cruel Jaws (US/CA): A huge shark terrorizes a beach in Florida, and the locals try everything to kill it.
Deep Blood (US/CA): Several young men have to stop an ancient native American evil in the form of a killer shark which is attacking a small beach community.
June 23rd: Sci-fi Stunners (UK/IRE/US/CA)
For the penultimate Season, ARROW boldly goes to the stars on June 23, seeking out new life and new cinema.
Sci-fi Stunners (UK/IRE/US/CA): There are other worlds than these. Come and explore them in this collection of cybernetic, planet-probing, time-travelling, cosmos-trotting, aliens-zapping, virtual and far-too-real adventures in Sci-fi Stunners – ARROW’s home world for the coolest Cult science-fiction films in the galaxy.
Titles Include: No Escape, Donnie Darko, Crimes of the Future.
Last but not least
Cosa Nostra Collection (UK/IRE/US/CA):
The most American of directors according to celebrated critic Paolo Mereghetti, Damiano Damiani (A Bullet for the General) nevertheless surveyed his own country’s mafia history unlike anyone before him, to critical and box office success.
Full of twists and a fascinating meta-commentary on cinema, Damiani points the camera at himself and the genre as he investigates the social impact of mafia violence, a fitting end to this survey of Damiani’s Cosa Nostra.
Titles Include: Day of the Owl, The Case is Closed, Forget It, How To Kill a Judge.
From Arrow Films, a recognized world-leader in curation and creation, ARROW is a premium platform giving audiences an unparalleled viewing experience across multiple devices, so fans can explore the films and TV shows that the Arrow brand is famous for.
Specially curated by members of the ARROW team, ARROW is home to premium film and TV entertainment, exclusive new premieres, cutting edge cinema, international classics and cult favorites – such as the works of Lars Von Trier, Brian De Palma, Dario Argento, David Cronenberg and Park Chan-wook, and brand-new short films from both new and established filmmakers.
In the coming months, ARROW will be adding Oscar-winning hits, European classics, Asian cinema masterworks, rediscovered Westerns, offbeat gems and much more as part of ARROW’s international strategy to support and celebrate the medium of film.
A horror author goes to Nebula Con
The Science Fiction, Fantasy Writers Association is one of the most prestigious organizations in America for speculative fiction writers. While horror is not specifically mentioned, we all know that it’s nearly impossible to discuss fantasy and science fiction without the shadow of horror creeping in.
Each year, SFWA hosts a convention for writers called Nebula Con. I have virtually attended the convention for the past two years. And if you’ve never attended, you might want to consider it. Even if your writing, like mine, is long in the shadows and short on the elves.
First off, I do want to be clear that Nebula Con is a convention for speculative fiction writers. There are some fan panels, like the one on the works of Robin McKinley, this year’s Grandmaster. But the majority of the panels and events are for writers.
That being said, there are panels for writers at every stage of their careers.
For writers interested in crafting better stories, craft panels abound. My favorite panel was the one titled For The Love of Short Fiction. This panel started with a reading of some of the best short works from 2022. Then, each panelist dug into what made that piece work for them.
There were several other terrific panels, including one all about constructing a realistic legal system in your fictional world and writing fictional podcasts. (Like I do.)
But, you might say, these are panels for sci-fi and fantasy writers. No, these are panels for speculative fiction writers. Horror authors who want to have any kind of career would do well to master the short story. And if you don’t think there’s room for some legal horror in the market, you are wrong.
While the craft panels were wonderful, the career and marketing panels were probably the most useful and valuable of the whole convention. Are you, like many other online creatives, worried about the effects AI-generated writing is going to have on our field? There were two informative panels regarding that. Are you wondering how writers’ relationships with agents have changed now that self-publishing is so prevalent? There’s a panel for that.
A lot is going on in the publishing world. It’s confusing as hell, my friends. And one of the ways we keep each other up to date is with conventions like this. What I got out of the panel most was that having a career in writing is possible. My fellow participants and I learned from writers who are doing the thing. It’s hard, but it’s possible.
Of course, a convention is more than just panels. There’s the chance to meet with other authors. This might be where a virtual convention seems to have a deficit. And while I’ll admit that meeting online isn’t the same as meeting in person, there are certainly perks. I was able to meet, chat with and share stories with other writers in a Zoom chat room. And I came away feeling much like I did as a kid, having met new friends at summer camp. Even if I wasn’t sitting across from them, it was great to be surrounded by other people who want to make a living scaring the hell out of other people.
All of this writing joy culminates with the Nebula Awards Ceremony. If you’re interested in catching the awards but didn’t make it to the convention this year, you can watch it all on Youtube. Each year speculative fiction authors of all kinds of honored, from written work to gaming to television. This year’s toastmaster was Cheryl Platz, an author, and actress. As a critic, awards ceremonies are usually something I usually force my way through. The Nebula Awards are a rare treat in that scene. Partially because there’s a chance I’ve met the people up for the awards. But also because the people involved are, first and foremost, writers. It’s amazing how much more entertaining events are when the people being honored are, you know, talented storytellers.
If you’ve been on the fence about attending Nebula Con virtually, I suggest giving it a try. The world certainly needs more stories that go bump in the night.