Recommendations from the Shudder Hotline – Week 4 (Oct 2020)

Unlike any other streaming service, Shudder continued its Halloween Hotline this week, with another hour window where fans could call and get personalized recommendations.

We’ve called the last three weeks and got some awesome movie picks, so we thought it would be fun to do it again and here we are.  This week we asked Shudder curator Sam Zimmerman for the following recommendations: something demonic, something romantic, something fun, and a hidden gem.

Something Demonic – Iskander: Shadow of the River (2018)
Created by Aurélien Molas, Directed by Olivier Abbou

Technically a 4 episode miniseries rather than a movie, this supernatural crime thriller is one part gritty detective mystery, and one part demonic horror.  Set and shot in French Guiana, the location itself almost feels like a character in itself.

Especially because the main character is transferred there at the beginning, so there’s a sense of “outsider syndrome”.  I’ve described several movies in the past (including Shudder’s own Belzebuth) as a blending of Se7en meets The Exorcist, and while those specific movies don’t necessarily fit the comparison here, their tone very much does.

What’s great about Iskander is it keeps the supernatural element (for a while at least) just within the fringes of reality so as not to spoil the hard-boiled detective aspect of it.  It somehow manages to deliver for fans of both serial killer thrillers and paranormal demonic stories!

Something Romantic – Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (2019)
Directed by J.-P. Valkeapää, Story by Juhana Lumme

Definitely not romantic in the “traditional” sense, Dogs Don’t Wear Pants follows a widower who delves deep down into a rabbit hole of BDSM, when he meets and becomes enthralled with a dominatrix.  It masterfully blends dark humor, brutal shock value, and genuine human emotion.

Beneath the exterior, which may prove too intense for some viewers, is a strong message about not being ashamed for liking what you like, even if it’s not deemed “normal” by society.

For those who are open-minded enough to enjoy it, Dogs Don’t Wear Pants has the potential to inspire its viewers to go for what they really want in life.

Something Fun – Prom Night II: Hello Mary Lou (1987)
Directed by Bruce Pittman, Written by Ron Oliver

In both the horror genre and cinema overall, there are few sequels that overtly surpass their original.  Hello Mary Lou is definitely one of those examples!  30 years after a tragedy that killed a popular prom queen, her vengeful spirit returns to get revenge and have some fun.

It has everything there is to love about 80’s slashers with a fun supernatural twist, and one of, if not the best female slasher villain in the history of cinema.

Released in at time that horror movies weren’t encouraged to “play it safe”, it took bold strokes and tried different ideas.  The first Prom Night was decent at best, but it’s nowhere near as fun or memorable as this one.

Hidden Gem – Angst (1983)
Directed by Gerald Kargl, Written by Gerald Kargl and Zbigniew Rybczynski

Long before The Purge or The Strangers, there was Angst; a brutal Austrian home invasion film that definitely left an impression with anyone who saw it.  Not for the faint-hearted, Angst taps into the very basic anxiety we all have about safety.

Granted, it’s a theme that every home invasion film tackles, but few get as under your skin as this one does.  Unlike some of the other movies on this list, Angst isn’t at all fun (unless you’re a psychopath), rather it elicits disgust and terror, but that’s very much the point.

It’s a great movie to put on if you wanna traumatize your friends, and will encourage you to double check that all your doors and windows are locked every night!

Iskander, Dogs Don’t Wear Pants, Prom Night II: Hello Mary Lou, and Angst are all streaming on Shudder!

We’ll be back just one more time this month with another set of awesome recommendations from Shudder curator himself, Sam Zimmerman.  Until then, stay scared and enjoy your October!

The Shudder Hotline is open every Friday in October from 3-4pm ET!

For more reviews, rankings, lists, and other fun horror content, follow Halloween Year-Round on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube!


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