Deconstructing Shudder's 'Shudder Essentials' collection

Dark Night of the Scarecrow. Image courtesy Shudder
Dark Night of the Scarecrow. Image courtesy Shudder /

We’re baaaack! If you have been keeping up with 1428 Elm’s ongoing series of articles about Shudder’s collections, you’ll be glad to know that we’re taking a look at the Shudder Essentials collection.

It includes a couple of “oldies but goodies,” alongside some lesser-known films, and some Shudder Originals as well, and my personal recommendations are marked with an asterisk. Let’s take a look!

The Babadook – Mr. Babadook is the star of the world’s creepiest pop-up book, and as grief-stricken widowed mom Amelia soon discovers, he may actually be real. Amelia’s young son Sam is…well, let’s just call him “challenging,” so her life is difficult enough already. But things get worse when Sam insists the Babadook is in their house.

*Dark Night of the Scarecrow – Originally released in 1981 as a made for television movie, this one has lived on in infamy, and for good reason. Larry Drake (Dr. Giggles) stars as Bubba, a kindly, mentally challenged man who is hunted down and killed by a group of good ol’ boy vigilantes, who set up the scene to make it look as if they were defending themselves. Soon after, the men begin to suffer mysterious (and very inventive) deaths. Charles Durning puts in a killer performance as Otis Hazelrigg, the leader of the vigilantes.

*Perfect Blue – Mima is a very popular pop star who has decided to quit the music biz and get involved in acting and modelling instead. Mima’s fans are not enthused about her change in careers, and a stalker seems to be coming after her. As she is manipulated by managers and producers, Mima’s mind starts to slip, and she questions what is real.

Tenebrae – In this Dario Argento film, horror novelist Peter is on book tour in Rome. A string of murders committed by an obsessed fan results in Peter having flashback memories to his past. Argento was inspired to write this story after he received multiple phone calls from a fan who was upset about the potential for negative psychological effects from the director’s previous work. The phone calls escalated to death threats at one point.

Messiah of Evil – “A young woman goes searching for her missing artist father. Her journey takes her to a strange Californian seaside town governed by a mysterious undead cult.”

Ring – The original film that started the craze for Japanese horror, Ring is about a videotape reputed to cause the death of anyone who watches it. As the story unfolds, we learn that a vengeful entity is responsible for the deaths, and she doesn’t care who gets in her way.

Ginger Snaps
Ginger Snaps - Courtesy Shudder /

*Ginger Snaps – Brigette and Ginger are teen sisters obsessed with death. When Ginger is bitten by a werewolf, her sister is determined to save her by finding a cure. This film manages to combine comedy, blood and a lot of heart.

*Halloween – You know it, you love it: The night HE came home! The original John Carpenter super-iconic film is always available to watch on Shudder.

*The Texas Chain Saw Massacre – Another horror film that is canon, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is gritty, hard core…and largely free of gore. Tobe Hooper produced TTCSM in 1974 for around $140,000 (which is $800,000 in today’s terms), and it has lived on in the hearts of horror lovers.

Make sure you check out the Shudder Essentials collection and pick at least a few of these selections to enjoy for yourself.

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