Discovering Shudder and the world of horror streaming

I’ve always been a fan of Horror. I wouldn’t say I’m a casual fan but I’m definitely not the type of person who only watches War. I’d say it’s a high priority but not the only thing I want. Still I watch enough of it that I want more than the typical offering in your usual streaming services.

When I first signed up for Netflix and discovered streaming I was amazed at all of the awesome horror movies they had. Eventually as things have changed with Netflix facing more and more competition the one thing I have noticed as well some of their horror movies have gone down in terms of their available Classics and specially they’ve actually done a really good job focusing on horror on the platform and that’s commendable to me it’s the one thing that keeps me coming back to be honest. All it takes is one look at stranger things to know that Netflix cares passionately about horror films and fans.

So when I learned there was a streaming service that was nothing but horror focused my first instinct was to write it off as too narrowly focused to niche. But as social distancing caused by a real world Horror Story a global pandemic has left me at home fairly isolated I’ve been looking for more content to stream to view to watch as is most people these days.

So the first thing I decided to do was download the app sign up for the free trial and browse through the selection. Now as a fan of the slasher genre I was immediately relieved to find some of the best slashers available right off the bat.

At this point in time they currently have all of the original Paramount Friday the 13th movies, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a couple of the house on Sorority row type horror slasher films, a mixed bag of modern and old, some of the Halloween films and a handful of others far better variety of that particular genre than the other streaming services.

I was immediately disappointed at the shallowness of their selection. Being a genre specific streaming service their offerings are very tailored to a certain taste which I definitely appeal to that’s Me I’m Their audience however I quickly realized that they don’t have the numbers but I’ll not let that bother me at this point there’s still plenty to watch.
I was impressed with the 6 hour long Friday the 13th documentary narrated by Corey Feldman who had been a staple in the Friday the 13th series at one point and is an 80s movie icon himself.

In a similar vein to Netflix having a library of catalog titles they do have also a handful of TaylorMade selections that appeal to her fans which I have not yet had an opportunity to check out but have been impressed that they do exist.

As a service as a whole it will not be enough to satisfy my bloodlust obviously. But I’m very glad that I finally took the opportunity to invest in a streaming service that has a focus on content that does heavily appeal to me. When Netflix was new I envisioned specific Services similar to this service.

I picture to service that exclusively cater to horror fans and had the best horror films you could get. I also envisioned one that had a focus on sci-fi films, anime, a different one that focused on superheroes and comic books the list goes on I thought that would be a good way to go about it if they could get enough content to satisfy individual fans each service wouldn’t appeal to the masses but they have it tailored audience that would be loyal and I think that works probably better with our society’s tastes then the studio model where you have your entire catalog but it’s a little bit of everything which gets boring and tired after a while because you still have to sign up for multiple services.

I understand we’ll never be at a time where you have everything at your fingertips at your disposal and nothing ever expires I’m I’ve accepted that movies and TV shows rotate in and rotate out as long as they rotate in and out quickly that they are constantly giving you enough variety and their Library to keep it fresh I think that works especially for a genre focused service.

What I’m looking for is a service like this that gives me all the best horror movies hand-selected by fans. So far that’s what I’ve seen and I like that. It does work for me better to have a variety a mix of old and new so that you can watch the new stuff and keep fresh if you’re a longtime fan but also explore the Retro classic stuff the origins if you’re a new fan or somebody who wants to revisit old favorites.

My first complaint is probably limited to some of the other streaming services that are out there competing with them but there’s no public domain films and there’s not a lot of the classic horror films the really old ones you know like the Universal Pictures and that Realm which is disappointing a little bit to me.. basically reminds me that as Studios push for their own everything catalog service it will take away the ability of services like this to even exist for example if Paramount launches their own streaming service in the future and with holds all of their Friday the 13th and the like it becomes even harder for service like this to get access to the good stuff limiting us to original content an indie film switch to be fair can be some of the best horror movies but it will limit their marketability to bring in new fans such as myself who was hesitant at first.

I also wonder if once social distancing is no longer than normal we go back to our regular lives will I still have a craving for all this additional content is this the service or one of the services I intend to keep. I have to decide that.

Now let’s actually look at the content itself.

Not too long ago I watched a movie called Phantasm 2 I had on a DVD and was looking for the first Phantasm 2 stream and I didn’t find it on any of the mainstream streaming services so became disheartened slightly and gave up. I log into shudder for my free trial and lo and behold to have the whole series – the one I actually have on DVD. They have an assortment of Halloween films which is nice and they also have a few documentaries and originals and TV shows that I think are worth checking out, I’m curious to see what there are like.

Again going back to licensing I’m slightly disappointed that they don’t have Friday the 13th the series the TV show or Freddy’s nightmares the TV show I think this would be the perfect streaming service to house those to permanently but it might not be in the cards.

I will say for me personally that 6 hour documentary chronicling the entire history of the Friday the 13th franchise was well worth the price of Entry itself. I have plenty of films in my list to browse and I have plenty of things to discover as time goes on my hope is I can watch what’s there before it goes away and new stuff will arrive in a consistent fashion that will keep me excited for the service.

One thing this service has as far as an advantage over Hulu or Netflix is that horror fans tend to be incredibly loyal and I believe that if there is sufficient content satiate that taste they will not only stick around but advocate for its success.

That was out getting into Fanboy territory I would like to say there are flaws in the service that can’t be helped likely due to licensing issues. And while my biggest complaint about Netflix is the vast majority of their horror selection does appear to feel like or appear to be low budget Indie fare, which I can’t say is necessarily A Bad Thing. So I can’t necessarily say that’s a bonus or Plus for shudder if I’m going to mark it as a down grade for Netflix or a strike against Netflix rather.

Only time will tell if the service provides a satisfying selection of content available to me in a manner which justifies the price. For the time being I’m gladly willing to try it out for the trial. And contemplating seeing how things go from there.

At this point I will say that the service has promised and I’m very glad that it exists cuz I’ve always envisioned a streaming service similar to this I just hope that it remains profitable enough to continue to curate content that will satisfy the taste of those who patronize the service for the duration of this Digital streaming world we live in.

What it’s been like working from home these past two weeks

I’ve had a lot going on in the last couple of weeks in my life just like most people in the world I would imagine.

I got the word two weeks ago today that my company wanted us working from home during the Health crisis.

Fortunately as a journalist who works for a newspaper this isn’t a major inconvenience for me although it has been difficult at sometimes. I’ve learned to adjust.

The first day was the most stressful because everybody knew we weren’t going to have access to our usual tools or resources or any of our sources for that matter and we still had to get a paper out. Based on my conversations with colleagues and co-workers we came to the decision that the first week went really smooth.

The second week however not as smooth so far. One of the reasons for that is things continue to get complicated elsewhere everyday towns and counties that surround us go in the lockdown and even our own cities in our own County have started to take measures towards that end.

The upside for the most part has been spending time with my cat and also getting to hang out with my sister and her kids more. I’ve also been getting a lot of housework done a lot of cleaning things of that nature I’ve even made small repairs to the house that were necessary.

Before I went to college I always had this fantasy this Daydream this wish that I could have an opportunity to work from home. I don’t like people I don’t like being out in the public so I thought it would be amazing great fantastic perfect all things good. And for the most part it’s not been that bad.

I feel there’s an economic trade-off that I’ve not prepared myself for mentally. The office where I work is about 20 miles from my house in the city that I cover is an additional give or take ten miles depending on what I’m covering or where I’m going so it’s saving me a lot of gas money by not having to drive anywhere.

The downside at least in terms of economics is I’m home all the time which means I’m always burning electricity I’ve always been cautious with the electricity I turn every Appliance in my house off when I leave. I make sure that there’s no lights on and I even turned the switch off my amplifier to my antenna while I’m at work as well as all the power strips to my electronics devices.

Sitting at home even with the lights off and most appliances still unplugged her to say I have to have my hat minimum my phone plugged in and charging because I’m using it for the hotspot to get to the internet on my laptop which is also plugged in and charging so I can work. I have to keep the TV on at least around the times that the television news cast come on because part of my responsibility as a news reporters to keep an eye on my competition which is also a gateway to sources and stories that I may have missed.

So that’s at least three or four appliances or devices that are constantly plugged in and burning electricity that have usually been turned off during the day I fear my power bill is going to be outrageous next month and I’m already delayed this one’s power bill into next month because of financial reasons.

The only good news out of all of the money situation is I got a better job offer and I will start my new job presumably at the end of the time. That my current job is going to and it’s work-from-home status although that’s not been determined yet.

My current job of course is news reporter for publication a daily newspaper North Central Texas community. My new job will be evening news producer for television newscast in the same Market.

I’m excited for the new job and the opportunity although I have reservations not about the job but about the status the world is in. And our current county has cases that have been confirmed and is making Necessary steps to do its part to contains the disease to prevent further spread.

We’ve been encouraged to get out of the house every once in a while to take a walk and get some fresh air. The problem is this has become difficult as it is constantly raining and so opportunities to be outside have been fairly limited although the last couple of days have been dry and warm the downside to that is I don’t have an air conditioner right now so I’ve been sweating quite a bit and have a rash places I’d rather not have a rash.

On a personal note it’s been nice to have a little freedom from the norm getting away from the crowds social anxiety has been on the decline these days I haven’t been socializing but other stressors have popped up I hadn’t taken into account. For example I live in a small camper with a cat who poops a lot which means I have to scoop the Box more frequently than I’m used to because I’m home sitting on my couch smelling it all the time versus coming home at the end of the day and just going to bed. Also Care Credit the cat is handled the stress of me being home better than I thought she would but she’s been getting outside more so maybe she that’s how she’s coping.

Even now is I Pace my property writing this article on my cell phone using voice to text as that is all I have access to she sits and stares at me making noises in my direction I don’t know if she’s trying to get my attention or what.

the first week I did spend some time playing video games and after I clocked out having completed my work for the day watching movies and TV shows. Second week I’ve been doing house chores cleaning and making minor repairs to my house every chance I get.

I have another week of work from home before I end my employment at the newspaper and start working for the TV station. I’m optimistic about the change. I imagine by that time I’ll be ready to get back out into the world hopefully things will have mellowed a little bit by then.

as a precaution communities all around us have been going into lockdown or shelter in place the community I cover has issued a stay-at-home but not quite shelter in place yet. as such my employer has provided us with credentials and documentation allowing us to be out in such cases as we are deemed essential.

all in all what I can say is if this was my permanent status but it is not the dream I thought it would be.

By the end of week 2 will see how I’m feeling I got one more day to go and I’m already starting to feel the anxiety starting to get stir crazy twice I’ve gone over to my sister’s house and harassed her to hang out with me just to get up just to have somebody besides my cat to talk to. I’ve also spent more time making phone calls to family members who are at a distance to me both of my parents live across the country as do two of my sisters that’s an unfortunate way of wording at my parents live together they just live on the other side of the country I should say.

And throughout all of this I’ve been fighting off a cough that just won’t go away. it’s not the virus and I’ve been quarantined enough at home away from the public to know that I would have had the virus by now but I have been to the doctor. it’s just seasonal allergies with all the rain the plants in my yard or growing exponentially so I do need to get that under control if it never dries up enough for me to cut the grass.

we’re supposed to have clear skies and a dry sunny day today so today might be the day. I get Amusement watching my cat chase the Wasps around my yard until she manages to chase one into my house before she attempts to eat it. I have successfully seen her eat to wasps so far so she seems to enjoy them. I did watch her eat a honey bee that must have stung her while she was in the process of doing so based on her reaction.

another somewhat negative is because I’m working on my computer and phone constantly I haven’t been checking Facebook or Twitter or other social media is much so I’m out of touch with my online community.

as I check in from time to time I noticed that most of their comments are long sign same lines as I’m feeling which I don’t fault them for that.

I’ve also noticed at least in a casual setting sitting on my couch I become somewhat complacent my work has not begun to suffer but I’ve been in a rush at times overlooking things that I probably wouldn’t for shouldn’t overlook under normal circumstances.

it’s excusable on my blog I’m My Own editor therefore I make the decisions anything I didn’t catch anything I missed oh well that’s on me. But that doesn’t work for the newspaper I do have editors looking over my work but I have to do a better job cross-checking the things that I write I’m trying to be aware of that. but that’s the thing from working from home you kind of get comfortable and it’s hard to switch your brain back to work mode.

I’d rather write about a comic book I read recently on a video game I just discovered or a new YouTube video or channel that I’m watching that’s not the way the world is right now I have to write about what’s happening when I seen what I’m feeling what I’m experiencing. I don’t have advice for others I haven’t found the trick yet myself unfortunately.

what I can say is this be careful what you wish for because sometimes when you get it it’s not what you expected. I have social anxiety and despised professional sports with a passion so I first seen the world shut down and all sports being destroyed for all intents and purposes I found it amusing it first aside from the fact that people were getting sick and or dying. but then I had a need to venture to a grocery store to pick up some Necessities for my own house and that’s when the reality sunk in people are losing their minds right now. I don’t think we need everybody on the planet in the middle State I operate in, it’s my Norm I’ve adjusted I know how to deal with it but it’s not healthy for everyone else and that makes me worried for the people who don’t know how to self isolate the people who don’t know how to distance themselves from social Gatherings as I have learned to do I desire and crave social contact as much as everyone else but I limitit to small doses but other people who aren’t used to that can’t adjust as easily. And that’s what worries me what will they do how will they react when they snap when the stir crazy becomes other kinds of crazy.

I said on my podcast recently I thrive in chaos which is a tagline to my show this is the spider’s Lair where chaos resides. and while that does ring true most of the time I can honestly say I’m at a point where I just want a little normalcy.

I do believe the upside to all of this is once things get moving again people will be relieved to get their lives back to normal and therefore activity will be more active than it was before I suppose that could be a good thing.

I’ll end this by saying that the most difficult part has been not having access to church as a Christian that has been important to me and so I have to evaluate my own values. I’ll save the effects of that for another article imagine I’ll have plenty to say. in the meantime stay home and stay safe and as always stay cool.

Guest Jenovi, Reggie, Nintendo woes, virus continues… movies and MORE!

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-35wgu-d6ce2b

There’s a lot going on in the world, this episode is a few days late, special guest is Jenovi from YouTube we talk Sega and YouTube stuff. Topics include Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Reggie at Gamestop, Nintendo woes? And other stuff. There’s a lot because of the you-know-what virus so it’s a bit chaotic, which I like as I love me some chaos. Enjoy. Stay Cool.

Friday 13th and pandemic apocalypse! Bonus episode

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-g3ti5-d6242b
and this short Friday the 13th bonus episode I talked a little bit about the virus that’s causing a panic worldwide some of the things that have been shut down. I also talked about to horror movies I’ve watched recently the first one is called soccer so Wes Craven film the second one is called a virus it’s a Jamie Lee Curtis film. stay cool

5 Things that make being trans difficult

Each week I get on social media and I connect with lovely trans people from all over the world. We all tend to have a lot in common but the one thing we share the most is how incredibly difficult it is for us to live our lives the way we wish to.

I am working on writing an article interviewing a number of trans women hoping to share their stories. In the meantime I thought I would share five things that makes being trans more difficult than you might think.

 

1. Periods

Okay no transwomen do not technically get a physical menstrual cycle like cis gender biological females do. But it’s not to say we don’t long to share the experience that defines our cis sisters. In fact despite all the negative that comes with it i.e. mood swing, cramps, bleeding, etc., the fact women have the amazing power to create life is something many trans women, myself included, long for. It is the one thing we can’t do. It’s not that I want to experience having a period for the sake of it. It’s more like I just truly want to be a whole woman as much as anyone else and the idea of being able to create a baby is something I totally wish I could do.

2. Makeup

Every woman has to worry about her looks. Transwomen have to worry even more so because we’re not just under the same pressure as cis women to be pretty. We’re also under additional pressure from ourselves, men and other women to pass. Meaning one of our goals is to be accepted as a woman. That means when someone sees you they automatically assume you are a woman and address you appropriately. This means we have to work extra hard at doing makeup. Also, for many of us it’s something we had to learn on our own in secret. It is painful for your trans girlfriends to ask you for makeup advice but if you have the capacity to be kind and help them please do so. She isn’t trying to take something away from you she just wants to share in something you learned as a child.

3. Dating

If you think dating is hard for even binary homosexuals, even more so than straight people, it’s extra difficult for trans people. Our options are extremely limited. There are cis gendered lesbians who do not want a girl with boy parts. There are cis gendered hetero males that don’t want a girl with boy parts. Then there are homo sexual males that don’t mind the boy parts but want a less feminine person. Finding someone who is compatible spiritually, physically and sexually is a big challenge. For most of us we navigate life utterly alone while some compromise who they are just to settle for anyone they can get. I don’t want to have to settle. I want someone that will accept me for me and be attracted to me as I am not someone that will say okay I can live with X Y and Z but you need to scale back on the Z and maybe emphasize the Y more. No. I am who I am deal with it.

4. Sex

If dating is hard imagine how much harder it is to find a compatible sexual partner. I mean you have to be compatible on all the other levels before you even get to sex. But it’s a trick. You have to consider what you are attracted to but also what the other person’s needs are. Then there is the reality. Trans women don’t always have the stuff they want to do the deeds the way they want. Some are okay with having male junk. Others not so much. But either way even if you want the surgery necessary to under natures mistake, it’s not easy it isn’t cheap and above all it requires years of invasive therapy and other crap that frankly nobody should have to put up with.

5. Shopping for clothes

I saved this for last because it’s actually the hardest thing. Dating can be done online. Periods we can live without until science catches up. Sex, well we have alternative options if we are so inclined and makeup we have YouTube stars like Stef Sanjati to show us how it’s done. But shopping for clothes as a trans woman is a nightmare. Many times we end up chickening out and buying stuff online that frankly never fits. We can’t always find a female to accompany us to the store to do it properly. Not to mention the utter dread of trying things on in a public dressing room! Oh the horror. Sure I can when needed muster the courage to push my shopping cart into the woman’s aisle and grab the first dress or blouse I see that looks pretty and might fit, rush to the checkout and head out the door. But it’s often a very anxiety filled experience that leaves me panting all the way to the car. It would be so much easier if we could talk our cis gender allies into taking us clothes shopping even once in a while. Some trans ladies have this, others do not. Myself, unfortunately I am pretty much stuck doing what I can with my limited options.

These are just a few things trans women have to deal with. I know trans men also have their own issues, those pesky periods are a little more troublesome I imagine to them. Yet society seems to have an acceptable place for them, the word is tomboy. For some reason women of all shapes and sizes can shop for men’s clothes no questions asked. If they don’t like makeup they can get away with little to none. But a trans woman has a number of issues not to mention the same overly sexually aggressive perverts all women have to put up with. Only ours can be a little more physically aggressive if they discover things aren’t want they seem.

I imagine trans men have their own issues and I would love to visit with more of them to get their perspective. I had a friend once that was but we fell apart. Let me know if you have experienced any of these anxieties. Or if you are an ally what do you do to help your trans sisters out?

PS2 anniversary memories, Suicide Squad thoughts, DuckTales returns new toys and more!

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-x3i3s-d5c5d1
in this episode I talk about a bunch of movies that I’ve never seen before that I watched recently including GoldenEye 007 John Carter 976 evil they live and Suicide Squad.
I talked about the Sony PS2 hitting its 20th anniversary so I share my PS2 memories and favorite games. Ducktales Remastered has returned to digital storefronts exciting.
I’ve got a Nintendo Microsoft Sony topic that’s not that cool. GDC got canceled bummer. I talked about a gamer bed that people are talking about.
and of course new toys that I bought mostly Transformers also Legos and stuff. and something about Wu-Tang Clan.

Smash JT talks YouTube stuff, Sega CD reissues, Toy Fair, Xbox specs, New Disney CEO and Sonic Movie!

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ezgvs-d53e36

Welcome back to the Dark Web Podcast at The Spiders Lair, Where Chaos Resides.

In this week’s video I take a look at the Sonic movie and what it takes to disappoint me in a film. I rant about the sameness of all the stuff coming out of Toy Fair. I talk about Disney getting a new CEO and what that could mean.

Limited Run Games is reissuing some retro Sega CD games and I am super stoked.

I talk about the confirmed, so far, specs of the next gen Xbox who’s name I refuse to say. Also I interview youTube commentator SmashJT! Find out what makes him tick and what he sees for the future of the platform.

 

There might be some other surprise topics you won’t want to miss! Stay Cool.

Changes coming to the channel and a new podcast in the works

This isn’t going to be easy. Ever since I first came out as trans, then walked it back to gender queer, I have been feeling an overwhelming urge to be more open on my channel. I created a character, the Retro Witch, to give me an opportunity to speak my mind as Stephanie without transitioning publicly fully at this time.

In the spirit of keeping my sanity I have turned the YouTube channel over to Stephanie. She will handle it from here on out. We will continue to operate as separate voices in that she will get the YouTube channel and I will, as the rat, continue to operate the Dark Web Podcast, for the time being. At some point in the near future I do plan on starting up a new podcast for the Retro Witch but it will be completely different from what I do currently. I don’t want to spoil what is coming just yet.

I haven’t actually sat down and had the hard conversations with everyone in my family yet. What I have done is admitted I was addicted to cross dressing and that I was looking into ways to find balance in my life. As such I decided to make some major changes in the way I do content.

I already wrote a post from the perspective of the Retro Witch. I created that separate account as a way to speak my mind as Stephanie while keeping generic content under my main account, THE RAT, because frankly more people know me as the rat than as Stephanie. But I am building a brand. The Retro Witch will eventually replace the rat as Stephanie takes over my life.

Because I cannot keep doing forever fighting who I really am I decided the best balance is to give the entire channel over to Stephanie. What that means is I will be returning to doing the same 5 day a week content as before, 5 for 5 on Monday and Tuesday, This or That on Wednesday, What’s Streaming on Thursdays and a weekly vlog on Fridays. The difference is I am not doing everything as Stephanie dressed as the retro witch. In time as I become her fully this old voice will slowly fade into a distant memory.

However, as my public life does necessitate I maintain a public image for the time being The Rat will live on in some form for a while longer.

I can’t say for sure that I will ever fully transition into Stephanie. What I have said all along as I will be her when I get to be and I will be THE RAT when I need to be. I have learned I need to be Stephanie more than I ever realized before. IN fact, if I could change my name and be her full time tomorrow I probably would. There is nothing keeping me tied to this old life other than a few loose ends I can’t shake due to a comfortable life I am not ready to turn upside down quite yet.

Stephanie will do the main videos for the site. She will host the above mentioned shows as well as a possible revival of the Dark Web TV rebranded as the Retro With Show or something similar. I am still working out the details. I hate having to exist as two separate persons fighting for control of the same life. Maybe someday I will find peace. Or I will let this crazy war wage on until it tears us in two. Either way this is my current outlet and nothing is going to stop me from being true to who I have always been regardless of how honest I was about it in the past.