Shudder is the latest specialty streaming video service to launch in Canada

Despite the runaway growth of larger competitors like Netflix, smaller streaming entertainment services are catering to niche audiences seeking deeper cuts

Horror movie still


As the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens. In this case, that door is opening very slowly with a menacing creak.

Shomi may be shutting down at the end of November, but horror fans can rejoice as Shudder—AMC’s specialty horror streaming service—is officially open for business in Canada. And just in time for Halloween, to boot.

Originally launched last year in the United States, Shudder aims to deliver quality horror movies not found elsewhere.

The $4.99-a-month service is curated by Colin Geddes, a Torontonian who has served as the programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival’s “Midnight Madness” series, and former Fangoria editor Sam Zimmerman.

When I spoke with Geddes last year, he talked about how there’s a bright future for specialty and niche-oriented streaming services.

“Netflix isn’t necessarily serving up quality,” he said. “They’re like Walmart, we’re like a boutique store.”

With more than 200 titles, Shudder’s library is considerably smaller than the thousands of shows and movies available on Netflix, but the service does boast that 85 per cent of it is exclusive.

Among its upcoming exclusive titles are Japanese ghoul film Sadako vs. Kayako,  Rob Zombie’s 31, and We Go On, from writer-directors Andy Milton and Jesse Holland.

Unlike Rogers’s and Shaw’s Shomi and Bell’s CraveTV, Shudder has the benefit of having big U.S. dollars behind it in the form of AMC. (Rogers Communications owns Canadian Business.)

By launching in the U.S. first, the network has also been able to fine tune the experience before expanding internationally, which is why Shudder is available on the major platforms–iOS, Android, Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku–except for game consoles.