Interview with Colin Geddes and Sam Zimmerman: Curators for Shudder


There is no end to the amount of horror movies to choose from but the genre is often plagued by films that reek worse than a rotting corpse. Well, there is a new premium streaming service that will satisfy your hunger and it is called Shudder.

Shudder currently features several hundred titles with new films and TV series being added on a regular basis.  These films are curated by true horror aficionados who want to give you the best horror/thriller/suspsense film selection possible. I interviewed lead curator Colid Geddes and curator Sam Zimmerman about their process and learned about some of their favorite films.

Join the Shudder community experience commitment-free for 7 days, visit www.shudder.com.

About Shudder Lead Curator Colin Geddes:

Colin Geddes comes from the film festival world, where he selected cutting-edge films for the Toronto International Film Festival. As a former programmer for TIFF’s Midnight Madness and Vanguard selections, he introduced new talent and hosted the premieres of beloved films including Miike Takashi’s Ichi the Killer; Alex Aja’s High Tension; Jim Mickle’s Stakeland; James Wan’s Insidious; Mike Flanagan’s Oculus; and Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever and Hostel.

About Shudder Curator Sam Zimmerman:

Sam Zimmerman is a curator of Shudder and represents a well-respected voice in this enthralling community while racking up his impressive knowledge from past work as former web editor at Fangoria and managing editor at the horror site Shock Till You Drop. He’s recognized as an early champion of acclaimed contemporary horror including The Babadook and Kill List. He’ll watch anything with witches.

1.      How did you get involved curating for Shudder?

SAM ZIMMERMAN:  I was very fortunate to be connected to the folks at AMC Networks developing Shudder early on, and even more fortunate to do programming work alongside Colin, whom I had known and respected in the genre community. That led to the Curator position and a few years later, it’s sort of insane that this is work!

COLIN GEDDES: Apparently, when brains at AMC Networks were asking around about someone who “knew” horror, my name kept coming up. At that point, I had been the programmer of the Midnight Madness selection of the Toronto International Film Festival for around eighteen years and had been responsible for helping horror and genre directors break out like Eli Roth, James Wan, Adam Wingard, Takeshi Miike, Alex Aja and many others. As soon as they told me about what Shudder was, actually it didn’t even have a name then, I was keen to get onboard!

2.      What are the advantages to curating films on a movie viewing platform?

SAM ZIMMERMAN: At the real core, it’s getting the opportunity to share great work. Whether it’s library additions to the service or series and films we release as Shudder Exclusives, it all comes from a deep love and admiration of the genre, and an enthusiasm to share it; to introduce our members to these titles, or simply get stoked on revisiting them together. That’s not to mention the joys of really being a part of a creative, genre-focused community and being at the forefront of discovering new filmmakers and talent.

COLIN GEDDES: Since we’ve seen the slow demise and near extinction of the video store, where can you track down and see classics and new horror films? If you meet someone at a party and they rave about AND SOON THE DARKNESS, PULSE, MURDER PARTY, BLUE SUNSHINE or GOAL OF THE DEAD (I’m hopefully turning folks onto to some goodies…), where would you go to see them? I like to think that we are helping fans get access to the good stuff even if they happen to live far from a cool urban center. Hopefully we are helping to creatively and creepily corrupt many a young mind!

3.      There is a zombie sized horde amount of horror movies out there. How did you go about making your selections?

SAM ZIMMERMAN: There’s no shortcut. It’s getting in there with the horde and finding the freshest corpses.

COLIN GEDDES: We like to joke that the library is all killer and no filler! Everything we have on the service is there for a reason, but it is an ongoing tough process because we do have to be selective. I think that it soon becomes obvious that there are real live people curating and selecting the collection at Shudder and not a computer relying on algorithms. And for the record, last I saw Sam, he was live.

4.      Tell me about some of your favorite collections and films on Shudder.

SAM ZIMMERMAN: Oh boy, where to begin? I’m a big fan of our collections like Bad Genes & Killer Kids, Hexes and Ooohs, Love Sick and The Unraveling Mind. And I’m proud of our robust Giallo collection, for anyone looking to get into the great genre. I love killer kid movies, and am wildly engrossed by tales of witchcraft and obsession. I think if I was simply a Shudder member, that’s where I’d head first.

But man, our films? I adore our new haunted attraction documentary, SPOOKERS, which really gets at all of us who love the Halloween spirit. I think SHREW’S NEST is one of the best genre films of our young century. I’m thrilled by the buttons movies like PREVENGE and KUSO push, and I love the melancholy, eerie style of SWEET, SWEET LONELY GIRL. We’ve got a ton of exciting stuff. I love the legendary BBC special GHOSTWATCH, which holds up as a fun, creepy essential. I love the great classical thrillers ROAD GAMES (1981) and AND SOON THE DARKNESS. I love the nightmare logic of Argento’s INFERNO, as well as under-the-radar newer releases like THE ALCHEMIST COOKBOOK, CREEPY, ALENA and NINA FOREVER. And you can never go wrong with EVIL DEAD 2 or The Universal Monsters.

COLIN GEDDES: I second what Sam says, it is so hard! My tastes in horror are pretty broad, from slashers to arthouse, but I do tend to veer towards the supernatural and uncanny rather than real life terror. My wife Katarina and I had fun making up the names for most of the collections and I have say we are really proud of Hexes and Ooohs. Some of my favorite films on Shudder include Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s CREEPY, PREVENGE, BORGMAN, WILD BEASTS, THE BURROWERS, THE HOST, SEVERANCE, MURDER PARTY, and I AM A GHOST, just to name a few.

5.      If you could be in any kind of horror movie, what would you choose and why?

SAM ZIMMERMAN:  No question, I would want to be in some atmospheric, British, occult-centric, STONE TAPE-esque haunter about paranormal research. I love good clothes and the supernatural too much.

COLIN GEDDES: An Old Dark House style creepy murder mystery based on some kind of ancient family curse. There has to be old suits of armor, cobwebs, a sinister butler, dungeons and an organ that plays by itself. An Edgar Wallace kind of abode.

6.      What do you hope people take away from your collections?

SAM ZIMMERMAN: What I hope mainly is that they provide the paths anyone on Shudder is looking for. We want Shudder to be a service where our members really watch, and I hope our collections do a great job at navigating them to their tastes, moods and whims, or getting them into a vibe or subgenre they previously hadn’t explored. It’s all about sharing, and I hope our collections do a terrific job of getting viewers excited about what we have on Shudder.

COLIN GEDDES: Fun being scared and creeped out! The horror genre is a broad and wide one, so we try to have a selection that matches the diverse amount of tastes that our audience has. And hopefully the collections get them experiencing something quicker than normal, rather than scrolling endlessly and waste time going through filler content.

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Shudder’s expanding library is available in the US, Canada, UK, and Ireland on the web, iOS, Android, Chromecast, Apple TV, Fire TV, Xbox One, and Roku for $4.99/month or $49.99 with an annual membership.

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