Despite its origins in Celtic culture and its spread to countries around the globe, there are few things more American than Halloween. As we continue to survive the scariest years of our lifetimes, suddenly witches, ghouls, vampires, and werewolves don’t seem so frightening. Luckily, when even the outside world is more fearsome than ever, horror films provide a much-needed catharsis from anxiety.
Both the horror industry and Halloween’s increasing ubiquity as an economic force in the United States have helped to usher in the rise of Shudder, a niche streaming service analogous to Netflix but catering specifically and exclusively to horror fans. Shudder has recently reached a major milestone: the burgeoning brand has hit 1 million subscribers, meaning that the relatively new company is likely to become even more influential in the coming years.
Shudder’s philosophy and eccentric catalog of exclusive content has helped the brand establish itself as unique in a crowded streaming marketplace. Curator Sam Zimmerman’s expanded notion of horror often includes rare foreign films and arthouse creations on the fringes of horror culture that are not often spotlighted by more typical fans of the genre.
To celebrate the brand’s newfound success and to help usher in the spooky spirits who haunt the world every October, we’ve picked out 36 of our favorite films from Shudder’s impressive repertoire.