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AMC’s horror SVOD selects the gore masters of tomorrow

Shudder Labs will work with 11aspiring filmmakers on new original content, which could result in new titles for the niche subscription service.
June 13, 2016

Shudder, the horror-focused SVOD owned by AMC Networks, isn’t just focused on the genre’s classics. The streaming service is looking to inspire a whole new generation of horror filmmakers through its newly announced initiative, Shudder Labs, which now has 11 participants working on 10 projects.

The aspiring filmmakers were selected from more than 300 applicants and will work to complete original projects with the help of a group of masters-in-residence, including director Larry Fessenden (Habit and No Telling), CEO of Snowfort Picutres president Travis Stevens (We Are Still Here, A Horrible Way to Die), screenwriter Clay McLeod Chapman (The Boy, Late Bloomer) and producer Jenn Wexler (Darling, Slumber Part). Program participants will study writing and directing, as well as horror essentials such as special-effects makeup.

Following the completion of the workshop, all filmmakers will receive a $5,000 grant and a year-long mentorship with one master-in-residence

Filmmakers and projects accepted into Shudder Labs include:

  • As the Dust Settles by Mike Olenick, in which an asteroid carrying the seeds of an alien life form crashes into earth and changes the lives of everyone in the neighbourhood where it crashed.
  • Shane Wheeler’s Beyond the Darkness, which follows a modern-day sorcerer dealing with his own depression and suicidal tendencies.
  • Black Bats, a teen horror film by Rick Spears. Two outcast teens are drawn to one another under the belief that they’re both transforming into monsters.
  • In the Night by Joshua Erkman, a film about a 24-year-old man who starts a new job picking up the dead for a mortuary, when he starts to sense sinister forces closing in on him.
  • Courtney and Hillary Andujar’s Lovespell, which follows a teenage girl in Hawaii who casts a dark spell, unwittingly unlocking something sinister within herself.
  • Polybius, Hunter Stephenson’s action film that follows hip baby-sitter Tiffany struggling to find her young charge Palmer, who is snatched after encountering a suspicious arcade game.
  • The Eyes by Will Forbes. Set in 1970’s Upstate New York, a spirit in the Catskill Mountains consumes the souls of the lost and weary. Three children set out to discover the truth when the spirit takes the life of their favorite uncle.
  • Melody Cooper’s The Sound of Darkness, which brings together a blind musician and a deaf sculptor. The two are haunted by a woman they can only hear and see (respectively), leading them on an epic battle against a terrifying legacy of evil.
  • Un-Seen by Lucy Cruell, which explores the dark things in life that cannot be unseen.
  • What Happens Next Will Scare You, Chris LaMartina’s satirical horror movie about a group of soon-to-be out-of-work click-bait journalists who uncover a cursed article that brings malevolent forces into their reality.

The initiative was first announced in February with the aim of attracting up-and-coming filmmakers to the industry, and hopefully create new content for Shudder, which launched in 2015.

The streaming service is priced at $4.99 per month (or $49.99 yearly). It currently does not produce originals, but has acquired SVOD rights to a wide array of horror films, from classics like Nosferatu to campy titles like Re-Animator (pictured) and modern cult favorites like The Human Centipede.

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