If you were keeping tabs on film Twitter talk last week, you’ll have noticed some murmurings about the hotly anticipated arrival in Australia and New Zealand of one of the great genre streaming platforms:
Yep, as of today, August 17th 2020, SHUDDER is officially live. The service has been available in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, and Germany, for a long period of time, delivering up some of the best horror films from around the globe, as well as a wide array of excellent exclusive films and series, like Horror Noire, the critically acclaimed flick Host, as well as the fascinating documentary series Cursed Films.
Now Australia and New Zealand can jump on the horror streamer and enjoy the excellent array of movies, series, podcasts, and shorts. The service is wonderfully curated, with each title being a must-see for horror aficionados. As SHUDDER says, if it’s on SHUDDER, it’s there because we believe it’s worth watching.
One of the excellent features that SHUDDER has to offer is ShudderTV, a service that plays just like television, where you can’t rewind or pause, but instead just leave it on like regular TV. It’s odd that nowadays that feels like a unique feature for a streaming service, but, it makes for an excellent way of discovering the odd film that you didn’t know existed.
Now, if you’re signing up to SHUDDER and need some recommendations, then we’ve got a few Aussie horror films (and one Kiwi flick too) that you should really be checking out. A few of these are mighty hard to find, making their place on the service a cause for celebration.
The most recent film in this list is Tony D’Aquino’s slasher flick, The Furies. This is a film that Travis Johnson called ‘a punchy, rollicking, blood-soaked slasher that genre fans will enjoy‘, making this one a must see for those signing up to the service. This kind of hard-R rated horror film is a rarity in modern Aussie cinema, so to see D’Aquino pull out all stops and create a hard-as-nails slasher on a budget is impressive.
Once you’re done with The Furies, why not check out one of its major influences, Brian Trenchard-Smith’s nihilistic, bonkers Ozploitation film, Turkey Shoot. Featuring all kinds of brutal depravity and madness, this film plays brilliantly with Trenchard-Smith’s acidic look at future police-states, just as he did with the masterful Dead End Drive-In, and has a gloriously terrifying performance from Roger Ward. Schlocky in all the right ways, and a little too close to home at times, Turkey Shoot is a film that shows the excess of Ozploitation perfectly.
It’s not all excess and blood and gore with Ozploitation though, as Next of Kin shows with its slow simmer, gradually ratcheting tension. Focused around a weathered rest home for the elderly, Next of Kin is a horror film that almost was lost to time. Revived recently thanks to Umbrella Entertainment, this one leaves you sitting in quiet moments of tension, before unsettling your core with a desperate unease. The climax turns into a traditional Ozploitation extravaganza, yet, it feels like a natural transition from the eerie mood that lead up to it.
Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead
Low budget filmmaking has become the norm for Aussie films, especially for genre fare. But, the lack of a massive budget hasn’t stopped filmmakers like brothers Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner from making a mark on the horror genre. Wyrmwood is an ocker-zombie flick, one that’s full of blood and guts and shocks and thrills, alongside a fair amount of gumption and spirit too that invigorates the undead-formula with a welcome Akubra and a slap of Vegemite.
Dead Kids and Thirst
And now we hit a pair of films that I have’nt seen, and as soon as I saw them as part of the SHUDDER lineup, I simply had to add it to my watchlist.
First up, Dead Kids. This Ozploitation film by way of New Zealand has a scientist experimenting on kids and turning them into murderers, and as anyone who watches horror films know, horror films and murderous kids is always a great mix. Known as Strange Behaviour internationally, this is co-written by Bill Condon (yeah, the Bill Condon), and is certainly going to be a fascinating slice of ocker/kiwi-horror.
Next, there’s Rod Hardy’s Thirst, a film that’s got a plot as insane as the image above. Here’s the spiel from IMDb:
The descendant of Elizabeth Bathory is abducted by a cult of self-proclaimed supermen who achieve this state of superiority by drinking from the “blood cows” (read: people) kept at the “dairy farm”, and they try to get her to join them.
Yep, so Thirst is one that I’ve been meaning to see for an age, and even though I’ve had the DVD on my shelf for a while, I believe its presence on SHUDDER will finally get me to check this Aussie blood-fest out.
Finally, there’s the kiwi-horror Housebound. This utterly delightful and bonkers horror comedy is made all the better with the presence of Hunt for the Wilderpeople actress Rima Te Wiata. A young woman has to return home to live with her parents, where she soon finds out that something nefarious is taking place. Bumps in the night and atmospheric chills powered with some radical twists make Housebound an utter joy to watch.
As SHUDDER‘s library of films starts to fill out more and more, expect to see even more Aussie and Kiwi films on the service. There’s so much more to experience and dig into, with some obscure and hard to find horror films that have been impossible to find in Australia (One Cut of the Dead, Prevenge, and Revenge in particular) making this new streaming service an absolute must for anyone who loves a good horror film. With October not far away, and with plans starting at $5.83 a month, now’s the time to sign up here: https://www.shudder.com/.
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