If you’re a horror fan, a Shudder subscription is a must. This streaming service offers a vast selection of horror and dark fantasy movies, as well as anthology TV shows and incredibly incisive documentaries that take a deep dive into the horror genre.
Below are some of the best movies on Shudder in the UK. These are only the tip of a very bloody iceberg, however, as there are many other titles we could have mentioned. Let us know what you think of our picks and if you have any ‘best movie’ suggestions of your own, please leave us a comment in the reply section below.
An American Werewolf In London (1981)
John Landis’ movie is arguably one of the scariest werewolf movies of all time. It’s also one of the funniest! It tells the story of an American student (David Naughton) whose best friend Jack (Griffin Dunne) is killed by a marauding wolfman on the Yorkshire Moors. It’s a terrible tragedy but if the two had listened to the less-than-friendly folk at The Slaughtered Lamb (a pub best avoided), they would have avoided the hairy beast that was wandering around the countryside looking for its next prey.
The movie is full of sequences you are unlikely to forget, such as David’s horrific transformation into a werewolf and the dream-within-a-dream moment that could give you your own nightmares. The special effects courtesy of Rick Baker were ahead of their time upon the date of its release and they still look horrifically good today, over 40 years after this classic movie was made.
While you have probably seen An American Werewolf In London before, it’s always deserving of a rewatch, especially as very few werewolf movies since (including the belated sequel An American Werewolf in Paris) have surpassed the hair-raising frights of this blackly comic masterpiece.
Zoom meetings are traumatic enough due to microphones that refuse to operate and work colleagues doing embarrassing things after forgetting to turn off their cameras, but very few calls are as nightmarish as the ones experienced by the group of friends in this inventive terror tale.
After foolishly deciding to invite an Irish medium to their latest Zoom meeting – couldn’t they have organised a Netflix watch party instead? – something evil emerges from the spirit world and starts to turn their lives into a living hell.
Host wasn’t the only horror movie that was made during lockdown conditions (and using the pandemic as a backdrop) but it is arguably the finest.
It has a run-time of just under an hour but in that time it packs in some of the finest jump scares and terror moments in recent times. The fact that all of the scary happenings take place in the background of Zoom windows makes director Rob Savage’s movie even more remarkable.
The Babadook (2014)
Were you ever scared of monsters lurking in your closet or under your bed? Six-year-old Samuel (Noah Wiseman) certainly is but while the monsters in our fearful imaginations were (presumably) not real, Samuel’s worst fears start to come true when the nightmarish title character from his pop-up book mysteriously appears and begins to manifest itself in various forms as it persecutes both him and his grieving mother.
Jennifer Kent’s movie is very scary, largely thanks to the Babadook itself, a grotesque top-hatted monster that has sharper claws than Edward Scissorhands. It is a terrifying creation to be sure, not only in terms of appearance but also in the way it sounds.
This creature, which looks like something that could have come from the German Expressionist films of the 1920s, eventually infiltrates Samuel’s mother’s mind and instructs her to do things that a mother would never dream of.
On the surface, this is a traditional horror movie but as the Babadook is a metaphor for mental illness, we can recognise horrors of a very real kind when watching this creepy Australian chill-fest.
Night Of The Living Dead (1968)
George A. Romero’s masterful horror piece is one of the finest zombie movies of all time and is still one of the scariest, despite its age and low budget. The movie’s most well-remembered line – “They’re coming to get you Barbara” – has been the bane of women called Barbara ever since, and the shambling zombies that threaten the lives of the movie’s protagonists have been the cause of nightmares for any lucky (or unlucky) viewer who has sat down to watch this traumatising horror classic.
The movie, as you probably know already, tells the story of a group of people seeking refuge in an isolated farmhouse after the dead start to emerge from their graves. Unfortunately, despite their best attempts to lock themselves away, the group are no match for the walking dead who manage to break through the barricades that have been hastily constructed.
One of the characters, Ben, does manage to make his escape, but in one of the most upsetting final scenes in a horror movie ever put on film, he falls prey to a monster of a very different kind before losing his life in an undignified way. Romero’s movie has been much-imitated – even in comic form (Shaun Of The Dead) – but has never been bettered.
Mad God (2022)
This stop-motion horror piece from special effects whiz Phill Tippett was 30 years in the making. It centres on a figure known only as ‘The Assassin,’ a man tasked with a mission that takes him into the depths of hell where he encounters all kinds of disturbing and squelchy terrors, from giant beasts that look like maggots to a hairy spider that spreads colour and joy to those trapped in the labyrinthine wasteland before disposing of them in horrible fashion.
Mad God is quite unlike any movie you have seen before and while it isn’t particularly scary, there should be enough here to creep you out if you’re able to withstand the journey through the apocalyptic landscape. Expect scenes of torture, violent experimentation, and battling monsters that look like they have come out of a Ray Harryhausen flick in Tippet’s nightmarish vision of the God-abandoned netherworld.
The Ritual (2017)
If you’re ever planning a weekend away with your mates, be sure to think twice before embarking on a hiking trip in the woods. Nothing good ever comes from such an excursion as you will know already if you have seen such movies as Deliverance, The Cabin In The Woods and The Blair Witch Project.
After watching this tale about four friends who go on a hike through a Swedish forest and who run into a demonic monster, you will be further convinced that a staycation or a beach holiday is far better for you than a woodland adventure.
Director David Bruckner’s atmospheric horror movie is laced with chilling sounds and striking imagery, and there is a sense of dread throughout. The Ritual is a very traditional scare-fest in some aspects, with its spooky woodland cabin, lurking ancient evil, and ominous-looking symbols that have been carved into the forest trees.
But it is also a study of male masculinity, grief, and the passing of time, as these men are forced to face up to the realities of their lives as well as the monster that starts to take them out one by one when their trip ends in gruesome fashion.
The Sadness (2021)
In recent times, we have all experienced horrors of a very real kind thanks to the pandemic that brought the world to a standstill. But as terrible as it was (and continues to be), we can at least be grateful that it didn’t turn us into the zombie-like men and women that go on a violent rampage in this gore-filled horror tale.
The movie begins pleasantly enough as Taiwanese couple Jim and Kat begin their day. But it’s not long before we (and they) realise that something has gone very wrong in their neighbourhood as, during their morning commute, the people around them start to behave in ways that cannot be considered normal. The reason for this is the Alvin virus, a disease that causes the infected to become crazed zombie-like killers, who are less like the shambling undead of Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead and more like the rage-filled monsters of 28 Days Later that were surprisingly light on their feet.
The Sadness is far more violent than either of those horror classics but despite the many scenes of gore that will turn your stomach, this shocking and gruesome movie is far more entertaining than it has any right to be.
Super Dark Times (2017)
If you enjoyed Stand By Me, Rob Reiner’s coming-of-age movie based on the Stephen King novella, you might be interested in this one. It follows another group of boys in a period setting (this time in the 1990s) who do all the usual things teens do, such as giving each other dares, riding their bikes, and watching movies that are far from age-appropriate. Sadly, they are forced to grow up very quickly when one of the boys accidentally kills another with a samurai sword, leading to a cover-up and some horrifying ramifications.
We know from the very start that this isn’t going to be a normal coming-of-age tale as the movie opens with a harrowing scene featuring a blooded moose barely breathing in a school cafeteria. A cop brutally puts an end to its life, a precursor to the violence that is to come, which goes beyond the initial murder of the unfortunate teen who dies at the hands of his surprised friend.
This underseen gem is a captivating movie, being both a study of the darker side of childhood and the consequences of guilt. It might not be classed as a horror film, but it is still tense and frightening with an ever-present feeling of dread throughout. Super dark times indeed!
Goodnight Mommy (2014)
After a TV actress returns home following cosmetic surgery, her two sons begin to suspect the woman, whose face is covered in bandages, is not their mother. Something feels ‘off’ about her, not only because of her frightening appearance but also because she starts to behave in an unusually cold manner to one of the boys. Has she become a Stepford mom? Or are the boys letting their imaginations run away with them?
Writer-directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala lure us into this dark tale with a mysterious setup and then punch us in the gut with some increasingly brutal moments that might prove to be an endurance test for some. But while some elements of this Austrian movie are shocking and grim, you should still give this a go, especially if you’re as keen as the boys are to discover the identity of the woman claiming to be their mother.
This is a nerve-shredding thriller with an interesting twist, with horrors that you won’t be able to unsee after watching (even if you do wrap your face up in bandages).
Psycho Goreman (2020)
When young siblings Mimi and Luke accidentally uncover a magical amulet in their backyard, they are able to resurrect an evil being that has long been entombed on earth. The monster – Psycho Goreman – wakes up with a thirst for vengeance, but as the kids are able to control it thanks to the amulet in their possession, the beast’s mission of revenge is waylaid because one of the kids decides to use it as their plaything.
If you’re a fan of the 80s horror movies that relied on men in rubber suits for their monster effects instead of CGI, you are likely to get a kick out of this low-budget but still creatively put-together movie. There is a touch of Amblin about it thanks to the relationship between the monster and the two kids but as this is gorier than anything Steven Spielberg would come up with, this can’t be considered ‘family friendly.’
Still, this is more of a comedy than a horror movie so if you’re looking for a deliciously daft monster movie that tickles the funny bone rather than puts chills down your spine, this one is for you.
And there we have it, our picks for our 10 favourite movies to watch on Shudder UK.
What do you think of our list? Have we included your favourites? Or have we missed any must-watch movies that deserve to be on our Shudder watchlist? We love to hear from you so do feel free to let us know in the comments below!