It’s October again, which means (other than it being the best month of the year) the Shudder Hotline is back! Every Friday this month from 3-4pm ET (12-3pm PT) horror fans can call the hotline number and speak directly with Shudder curator Sam Zimmerman for personalized movie recommendations.
It’s a truly unique service unlike anything offered by every other streaming service. So just like we did in April, we called it this week and asked for four recommendations: a slasher, a monster movie, a supernatural thriller, and something science fiction/horror. And here’s what we got:
Mortuary (1983) – Slasher
Written and Directed by Howard Avedis
An early 80’s slasher about a murderous cult, and starring a young Bill Paxton? What’s not to love about Mortuary?!
Given the nature of slashers, it’s quite fitting to have one set around a mortuary and its embalmer, as they deal with death on a very regular basis. But what makes this particularly interesting and fun is the murder mystery angle behind it.
The kills are done by a black cloaked figure with pale white makeup (sort of reminiscent of “The Family” from Omega Man). The early 80’s was a time when slashers were still experimenting, before the formulas really took over and it shows.
Mortuary boasts some great kills, and some cheesy but fun over the top performances that you’d come to expect from an 80’s slasher!
Uncaged (2016) – Monster
Written and Directed by Dick Maas
Hopefully after watching Tiger King would deter people from owning big cats and thus preventing this film’s plot from ever happening.
Police in Amsterdam begin finding pieces of mauled dead bodies and soon discover that an incredibly fake-looking CGI lion is to blame.
Uncaged (also known as Prey) has all the makings of a SyFy Channel Monster of the Week movie, however it’s not quite as ridiculous as Sharknado. This works to both the movie’s advantage and disadvantage.
It’s not quite so bad it’s funny, but it’s also not cheesy or terrible the entire time. So it’s kind of in the middle. The plot drags a bit at time, but it is legitimately fun whenever the lion is on a screen in a B-movie sort of way.
Spiral (2019) – Supernatural
Directed by Kurtis David Harder, Written by Colin Minihan and John Poliquin
Horror movies really do a great job of making small towns in the middle of nowhere look like the creepiest places on Earth and Spiral does this particularly well. Malik and Aaron move to a new town with Aaron’s teenage daughter Kayla.
Their primary concern is that they will face homophobia (especially given that this is set in the 90’s), but there’s something else going on in this town, something far more paranormal in nature.
It boasts really strong performances all around, and is legitimately tense and suspenseful. Even towards the end, the audience isn’t quite sure if the characters are losing their minds or if we are. For more about it, check out our full review here.
Starfish (2018) – Sci Fi Horror
Written and Directed by A.T. White
Growing up is hard to do, especially during the apocalypse. There’s a reason that coming of age literature and film remains so popular. It’s one subject that quite literally everyone can relate to as we’ve all had to do it.
Starfish takes this very common theme, but with an added twist. Aubrey (played by Virginia Gardner, who also played Vicky in 2018’s Halloween) is already facing the struggles and challenges of teen angst and discovering who she is as a person, when a world changing apocalyptic event leaves her completely alone and isolated with grotesque creatures and a long winter to deal with by herself.
Suddenly all the things that used to matter don’t, and she finds herself being very self-reflective with all the alone time. In some ways, it echoes I Am Legend, but with minimal action and more teen coming of age drama.
We’ll be back next with another awesome set of recommendations from Shudder curator himself, Sam Zimmerman. Until then, stay scared and enjoy your October!
Mortuary, Uncaged, Spiral, and Starfish are all currently streaming on Shudder!