Recommendations from the Shudder Hotline (Oct 2022) – Week 2

October is back which can mean only one thing: we’re calling Shudder curator Sam Zimmerman and asking for some personalized recommendations!

It’s a truly unique service unlike anything offered by every other streaming service, and we’re incredibly grateful to Shudder, and to Sam for providing it.  Every Friday in October (and April), you can call the Shudder hotline during a one hour window and get personalized recommendations.

This week’s recommendations were the basic gamut of horror subgenres: a slasher movie, a paranormal movie, a monster movie, and a sci-fi horror movie!

Slasher – The Unseen (1980)
3. Unseen
Directed by Danny Steinmann, Screenplay by Michael L. Grace, Story by Kim Henkel, Nancy Rifkin, Michael L. Grace, Danny Steinmann, and Michael Viner

In a script that clearly had a lot of cooks in the kitchen, this slasher still manages to be filled with early 80s camp.  Featuring three reporters as they report on a local festival, the true star is the incredibly shady hotel owner, that’s clearly hiding something.  He strikes this perfect balance between creepy threatening and genuinely aloof.

As far as slashers from that era go, The Unseen feels more mystery that overt kill fest, but it has an interesting twist and manages to stand out among a sea of early slashers from back then.  Without getting into spoilers, its ending winds up being more poignant than you would expect from something like this.

Paranormal – Dachra (2018)
1. Dachra
Written and Directed by Abdelhamid Bouchnak

Coming from Tunisia, this supernatural thriller deals with three students doing an investigation for journalism class, as they go down a dark rabbit hole into witchcraft.  It’s always fascinating to see the folklore and fears of other countries and cultures via the horror films they produced.

There have been plenty of cannibal and witch films in the US, but this one deals with a particular culture’s superstition, and it’s very interesting to explore that.  Shot on location and rich with its own mythology, Dachra is an incredibly creepy film that is an excellent addition to the tourism horror subgenre.  It’s also really cool to see a culture’s own superstitions put in a horror film by creators of that culture as well.

Monster – Mon Mon Mon Monsters (2017)
2. MonstersWritten and Directed by Giddens Ko

Whenever dumb teenagers and horror are blended, they’re getting picked off one by one in a slasher film.  This horror/comedy from China takes a different, and quite refreshing approach.

A group of obnoxious teenage boys come across what can best be described as a zombie (the fast moving kind), and manage to capture it.  Rather than take it to the authorities or attempt to do something about it, they just sort of screw around and have fun.

Until of course more show up and now they must band together and take on this supernatural threat.  A lot of horror movies are criticized for the unrealistic and dumb decisions that the characters make.

However, in this movie their stupidity and recklessness seems pretty in line with high school aged boys.  Plus, it boasts some legitimately impressive creature effects that seem mostly practical.

Sci-Fi – Minor Premise (2020)
4. Minor Premise
Directed by Eric Schultz, Written by Eric Schultz, Justin Moretto, and Thomas Torrey

Sam’s sci-fi horror pick this week went full philosophical, thought-provoking.  Minor Premise features a scientist who’s attempting to map the brain to better understand consciousness itself.

But in his experiments, he splits his own mind in such a manner that he actually separates things like his intellect, ego, id, and libido so that each one of them has full control of his body for a few minutes at a time.  It’s an intriguing idea that feels like a more intellectual approach to something like Split (although the movie is quite clear that it’s not multiple personalities).

It’s a movie that challenges your philosophy of what it means to think or even be human, while also highlighting the chilling realities of how someone could use this for nefarious purposes.

We’ll be back next week with one more set of awesome recommendations from Shudder Curator Sam Zimmerman!  Until then, enjoy your October and watch tons of horror movies!

5. Hotline
Be sure to call in for recommendations!

The Unseen, Dachra, Mon Mon Mon Monsters, and Minor Premise are all streaming on Shudder

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