Forget Netflix: 3 streaming services for horror lovers

The dawn of horror streaming services is upon us, and it’s not going to be found on Netflix.

A variety of websites have been popping lately, challenging the aforementioned streaming services giant in regards to the theatrical realm of terror. This attack should come as no surprise; Netflix’s horror section is notoriously bad. Gems such as The Guest and Starry Eyes shine on the site’s list of movies, but even that doesn’t make up for the general lack of watchable horror.

If you’re not an enthusiastic lover of the genre, I would recommend to stay with the popular streaming service; there’s a thin surface to scratch, but its enough to satisfy the itch of a casual viewer. If you’re a horror lover like me, however, then these streaming additions have the ability to be heaven.

Here’s the top three you should keep your eye on:

1. Shudder

(photo courtesy of Shudder)

(photo courtesy of Shudder)

The most popular of these streaming services additions comes from the workers over at AMC. The site is still in a stage of infancy, as seen by the fact that the service is only available in the U.S., but it’s alluring nonetheless.

It follows the expected pattern of debuting movies every month, but it conquers Netflix by allowing members to have a say in what those movies are. To put in a request, one only needs to provide the name of the film and the director involved. If the member wishes to be informed if and when the movie is added, they can include their email in the request form.

This local library-esque way to manage the business shows a care for the customer that Netflix seems to lack sometimes. I wonder whether this form of conducting business will continue as the company settles its roots and moves past the beta stage.

For a service that’s still in its beginnings, it’s surprising to see that its digital library is so vast and full of movies worth watching.

There’s some big name classics (Carnival of Souls, An American Werewolf in London) placed against more recent releases (Kill List, I Saw the Devil), combining itself into a succulent, bloody feast. There’s some bad movies, of course (please don’t watch Exorcismus), but that’s to be expected.

It costs $4.99 a month, but it’s only $49.99 if you pay for the year all at once. If you’re not sure whether you want to commit or not, a two-week trial is available.

2. Screambox

(photo courtesy of Screambox)

(photo courtesy of Screambox)

Screambox has been around for a year now, and, like Shudder, is in its beta stage. Despite that there’s no big name company backing this project, it has done well for itself, having gained a bit of a following on social media.

New movies are added every week, but the types of movies that are added tend to be for a more niche audience. Even the about me page for the site talks about their less-than-commercial collection, mentioning that those involved want to avoid putting up mostly old school horror that everyone knows about.

What’s found instead is a lot of foreign movies originating from Europe and Asia as well as some lesser known American releases.

There’s some downfalls here. With such a limited budget, I don’t see this site having an overly impressive stockpile any time soon. Even now, the shelves look a little bare. If any of the services on this list is to fail, it’d be Screambox. No matter how good your product is, you usually need something well known to draw people in, and Hellraiser along with a few Elvira titles isn’t going to do it.

This site is more for the horror fan that has already seen the majority of the genre and now wishes to explore a much more obscure path.

A monthly subscription is available for $3.99. For those looking to try out the service, there’s a 30-day trial period. It’s currently not available in the app store.

3. SundanceNow

(photo courtesy of SundanceNow)

(photo courtesy of SundanceNow)

I know, I know. SundanceNow isn’t exclusively a horror streaming service  it offers many genres to choose from  but it has such an impressive horror section that I had to add it to the list.

All the movies listed on the site are independent releases. Other than with exceptions like The Babadook, this makes it harder to find the movies available here on other streaming sites. That’s the allure of it all and the only upside.

Unless you’re rolling in the deep end of a pool full of money, SundanceNow isn’t the most economical option to get your horror fix. At first, it’s easy to believe that these movies are offered for free because registration costs nothing, but that’d be too good to be true. Once it comes to actually watching something, you have to pay for the movie individually, with most of them being close to $5 to stream or download.

It’s a little treat you can offer yourself every once in a while and is also a means of keeping up with the indie horror releases that gather buzz on the web.

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