Thirteen The Fridayth: Shudder Roulette!

Sometimes these Fridays The 13th just sneak right up on you! I didn’t even know this one was coming. I better glance at the calendar and see when the next one might be so I can prepare.

(January!)

Anyway, welcome back to another edition of THIRTEEN THE FRIDAYTH, the insipidly named series where I discuss random horror movie goings on. Mostly since I just love horror and was raised by bad parents on that shit.

I don’t have a kid.

But I do have a niece!

With a really overprotective mother.

So this legacy probably dies with me.

But hey, keep it alive, y’all! Show your five and six year olds the classic slashers and great horrors of today. It builds a lifelong foundation of…

Ermmm…

Once a year or so, I dream Jason is trying to kill me.

Oh well. Worth it!


There’s no streaming service aside from Peacock that I have as much of a love/hate relationship with as I do with Shudder, which I imagine many of you reading this article subscribe to.

If you have Shudder, you can hear this picture.

On the plus side, Shudder is amazingly affordable, and it has an enormous library of new and classic horror! For around $5 per month, the content you get is exceptional. And there are so many movies–from all over the world!–that are either Shudder-exclusive or easiest to find on Shudder. Wow!

On the negative side, Shudder is the god damn glitchiest streaming service I regularly use. We get FREQUENT error messages, and that’s our sign that “Well, Shudder isn’t working right now, so we better find something else to watch”. It’s been worse than usual lately, too. We settle in for a movie, turn on Shudder, find something we agree on, and then… nope! Try again later.

But then… then there is also the middle side! And my wife and I refer to that as Shudder Roulette.

I mentioned above that there are probably hundreds, if not more, movies that I’d never hear of if not for this service. Smaller independent films come to the service with wild regularity. Horror flicks from around the globe are brought to us by Shudder. There’s just SO MUCH to watch on here.

And the quality of these flicks is… unpredictable.

You never know what you are in for when you select a movie on this service. There’s an in-service rating system, but it is super unreliable. For instance, we recently sat down to watch this movie:

Death Valley! It had Five Skulls out of Five on Shudder’s rating system! How could we go wrong?

Easily.

We could easily go wrong.

You see, Death Valley is a trashcan people movie.

Like… god bless the folks who made it! They are living their dream and making a movie a billion percent better than anything I have the proficiency to make. I’m extremely happy for them to have made and released their movie! Nothing but love and respect and admiration for the folks involved with this.

But it’s not good.

The acting is, at its very best, middling. The effects are fine, but nothing you haven’t seen before. The story is a 6th-tier Resident Evil rip-off… and those movies aren’t that good to begin with!

It’s happened… a lot. Shudder has given us a plethora of just godawful flicks that are either immensely boring or just terribly poorly done. Stuff that neither my wife nor I liked. Slapface. The Last Thing Mary Saw. Honeydew. Mass Hysteria. Satanic Panic. These movies, among others, brought us no joy. They passed time! But that was about it.

But then, sometimes, Shudder delivers an absolute peach.

I’ve written on my abject love and affection for Deep Murder before. And if this had been the ONLY good movie I’d ever seen on Shudder, the service would still have been well worth it.

But it’s not! It’s far from the only good movie I’ve seen here!

One Cut Of The Dead. Housebound. Scare Me. Psycho Goreman. Here Comes Hell. Those are just some of the good-to-fantastic flicks I’ve watched thanks to Shudder! Movies that I’ve not just liked, but thought were gloriously well done!

And that’s STILL not all there is!

Sometimes you get movies that… I don’t want to say “they’re so bad they’re good”, because that isn’t quite it. There are movies that are abysmally low quality and just earnestly try their best, and I like those. And there are flicks with a decent budget that aim to make schlock (anything about Sharks and -Nados or -Topuses or the like) that I don’t care for.

These are movies that have a level of competency, show they can generate real tension, and then just GO OFF THE RAILS in the third act and tickle me silly. Dawn Of The Beast and Night’s End spring to mind. Are these very good movies? Nope. Did I love them anyway? I did! Dawn of the Beast starts off as an Evil Dead (2013 remake version) clone that then descends into A SASQUATCH FIGHTING A HORDE OF WENDIGO, holy shit! Night’s End is an atmospheric psychological thriller about a shut-in that turns into a campy demon movie the INSTANT one character delivers the line “My thumb!”.

There is just no telling what you are going to get when you select a Shudder movie. It may be a one-star flick. It may be a modern classic. Or it may be something that just tosses you completely for a loop.

Shudder Roulette, man.

Just don’t trust the Skulls, man. The Skulls mean nothing.


I continue to march through my library of Movies That Why Haven’t I Watched Before, particularly in the realm of horror. Since the start of COVID, when I really went bananas on my movie watching, I’ve watched horror classics such as The Exorcist, An American Werewolf In London, Black Christmas, and a bunch of others for the very fist time.

But you know what I’m almost embarrassed to say I finally watched for the first time just last month?

The original Evil Dead.

There’s no good reason for it! I’ve seen Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness, and even the 2013 outing at least three times each. Many more times for AoD and ED2. I just… never sat down for the O.G.; I figured I never needed to.

It’s a very good movie.

Okay, so MY BAD.

Prior to COVID, I used to have much trepidation around watching big name movies I’d long since avoided. But, at least on the horror front, this has been proven baseless. I love these horror classics as much as I’m “supposed” to, which makes me feel a little less broken.

EXCEPT ONCE RECENTLY!

Arachnophobia, man. I don’t get the appreciation for that flick AT ALL.

This movie is boring as hell. You could easily simplify the opening half an hour into ten minutes or less. And the third act turns the previously insanely lethal arachnids into minor nuisances. One spider at a time was easily able to sneak in and get a bitey bite on a human. In the movie’s climax, Jeff Daniels is just running and falling through a house full them, protected by the most finely crafted plot armor.

It just felt cheap and uninspired. The John Godman stuff was the best part of the movie, but he appears in, what, less than five minutes total of screen time?

This is why I haven’t watched Tremors. Same era. Feels like the same attitude. I just worry I won’t care for it, either.

Let me know: Tremors. Yay or nay?


That will do it for this Friday The 13th! I hope you are having an inappropriately lucky day!

Until next time… take care!

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