Some lesser-known horror movie streaming video sites await viewers who want to get into the spirit of Halloween.
Sure, Amazon, Netflix and Hulu are stocked with scary movies, but die-hard horror film lovers may need to expand their video hunting grounds for new cinematic blood. Several such sites forebodingly loom online.
“Horror movies, in particular, seem to have cult followings, no pun intended, so a niche service for them makes sense,” says Chris Brantner, who runs the CutCableToday website and offered to give me a tour of some of his haunts.
Our first stop, horror film site Shudder (shudder.com), is actually a product of The Walking Dead parent network AMC. The subscription streaming service, which is available in browsers, Android and iOS devices and on Roku, has more than 260 films and a live streaming channel of non-stop horror movies.
In addition to Night of the Living Dead, there’s also the original 1922 vampire film Nosferatu and Werner Herzog’s 1979 remake. “Content is obviously chosen by horror fans intimately familiar with the genre,” says Brantner, who considers this the best niche horror site. It’s easy to navigate, the interface “looks great” and, he says, the selection goes beyond classics to also include “indie films you’ve never heard of.”
You can search movies alphabetically or by genre; examples include monsters, psychos and madmen and alien intruders.
When I checked out the live Shudder.TV feed, I got sucked in by a film I hadn’t heard of, Burke and Hare, a grave-robber comedy directed by John Landis with a cast including Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis and Tom Wilkinson.
New customers get a 14-day free trial, before being charged the $4.99 monthly subscription (or $49.99 annual fee).
Another site, Screambox (screambox.com, $3.99 monthly, also on iPad and Android tablets, Roku and other devices), may have a few more movies, but isn’t as snazzy as Shudder. “But this is definitely the second-best option out there,” Brantner says, “and with a free 30-day trial, it can take you right through Halloween.”
Among the movies I recognized from Screambox’s collection were Hellraiser, The Hills Have Eyes and Stephen King’s Children of the Corn.
Don’t want to pay to get your horror fix? Try FrightPix (frightpix.com), a free ad-supported site with hundreds of movies from Screen Media Ventures, the company behind free movie and TV streaming app PopcornFlix. (In addition to the browser site, FrightPix films can be found in the PopcornFlix app on iOS and Android devices, and other devices including Roku and Kindle.)
I didn’t recognize many titles here, but found The Attic, starring Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men), and a 1986 TV movie version of The Murders in the Rue Morgue, starring George C. Scott, Val Kilmer, Rebecca De Mornay and Ian McShane. FrightPix has a “good selection for being free, but not what you’ll get with a paid service like” Shudder and Screambox, Brantner says.
These services that cater to horror film fans could grow into monsters. “With low-budget movies like Saw regularly making tons of money, and the No. 1 show on TV being The Walking Dead, I think that the horror streaming services are looking to pull in the casual viewers as well,” says Brantner, who recently created an online guide to streaming The Walking Dead, which returns to AMC for its sixth season Sunday.
“Cord-cutting, in general, is about preference,” he says. “People want the content they want and nothing else.”
“Cutting the Cord” is a regular column covering Net TV and ways to get it. If you have suggestions or questions, contact Mike Snider via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow him on Twitter: @MikeSnider.
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