Attended my first ever online horror movie viewing party on Saturday 10/19/19. The subreddit Shudder hosted this event. You need a Shudder.com subscription (free 7-day trial available) to watch the streaming movies but there is no other cost to participate. The Shudder subreddit has over 4,500 subscribers.
The subreddit operates a channel using the popular chat app, Discord. Everybody that wanted to be involved met at the #viewing-party channel in Discord and had their Shudder app at the ready for a countdown to start the synced multi-user viewing at 7pm PT / 10pm ET.
I have watched movies online with others through the virtual world Second Life over 10 years ago, so this isn’t the first time online I’ve watched movies with others online, but this was the first time outside of a virtual world environment.
With virtual 3D avatars it’s a bit more unusual watching, but that experience was entertaining. The barrier to entry isn’t as daunting as simply showing up in a chatroom online and queuing a movie to watch through Shudder on Roku (or streaming on the computer via the app, your choice). It gives the viewer the impression she/he is participating in an interactive movie theater experience. Only, you are encouraged to text chat during the movie.
2nd Annual Halloween Mystery Movie Event … begins!
The “mystery” part of this event involved not telling anybody in advance what movies were going to be watched. I arrived at the chat about an hour and a half before the event, waiting patiently in the Discord chat for announcement of what movie to queue up. I was hoping some or all of the movies chosen would be ones I hadn’t seen yet.
About seven minutes before the event started the host arrived. Interestingly enough, the host’s nickname was Snake Plissken, the character played by Kurt Russell (no, it wasn’t really Kurt Russell). in John Carpenter’s Escape from New York. Snake announced the first movie was …
Demons 2 ⭐️⭐️⭐️
I saw the first film Demons⭐️⭐️½ earlier this month as part of the Shudder 31 Days of Halloween event. Was glad we were watching something I hadn’t seen yet.
As additional people arrived in chat, they typed in
….and then the bot responded with the sync time so people could fast forward to that spot in the movie and be part of the live chat at each moment in the film.
At the conclusion of Demons 2, there was a 10 minute or so break for the second movie to be announced and start …
Another movie I hadn’t seen yet, yay! And it has a backdrop of Amsterdam, which is a place we would like to visit someday. Serial killer on the loose in Amsterdam. Kept hoping this one would focus more on the serial killer and less on the detective’s trying to locate and catch the killer. As indicated in my review if you click through on the title, I enjoyed the movie Cobra better. This movie was a bit slow for me and it made me tired.
Unfortunately, I fell asleep with like 20 minutes to go, so ran out of horror gas with two movies in the event to go. I went back this morning, watched the ending so I could finish the Amsterdamned rating and review.
The final two movies in the 4-movie event watched by the group were:.
The House by The Cemetary.
I’ll watch these another time. They are here in this post so those reading who are also Shudder and subreddit subscribers can watch the movies and participate in the discussion. I’m also going to post a link to this blog post in the subreddit Shudder.
All in all, this was a fun event. If I didn’t have to work on Sunday, and I wasn’t an old fart, I’d have been able to stay up later — maybe for the entire event. I found what part of it that I could attend was enjoyable and added an online social element to watching the movie that is different than the traditional experience.
As far as concentrating on the movies themselves and watching more to enjoy and immerse myself in the film, this type of event is admittedly a bit distracting. It breaks up the flow of the movie and doubtful that I could experience any fear in this type of setting. Making fun of what’s supposed to be scary doesn’t lend itself to actually being scared.
On the plus side, it is more about following the chat and following the often humorous, creative thoughts and remarks made about the movie while everybody is watching, scene by scene and second by second. This is a different experience than watching a movie in a theater and the rules are not to speak, text or disrupt others in the theater.
Will I attend another event?
Yes, absolutely. And I’m recommending for others to give this a try as well. The solitary movie watching experience can happen any time. I think rewatching movies with a group who has already seen would also be engaging and worthwhile.
Nobody in the chat spoiled what was coming up in the movie, which I appreciated. I don’t know if that was an unwritten “don’t spoil the movie” rule but everybody respectfully did so. The chat was moderated and nobody stepped out of line either, which was cool to see. I’ve been in other online group events and chat where people have misbehaved, but this one everybody was cool.
The group are having more events, as indicated by the calendar graphic posted at the top of this post. Thursday night events are more difficult for me to attend because that conflicts with new movies opening in the theater, but I usually see the Friday matinee showings and prefer not to attend the more crowded theaters on the weekend nights.
A “Halloween Hootenanny” with Drive-In host Joe Bob Briggs is scheduled on Friday October 25, 2019 at 9pm ET / 6pm PT with movies to be announced at the event. Those interested should tune in and have fun with the rest of the friendly, spirited group. I posted a link to this review in the subreddit, please upvote if you liked. Thank you to all who take time to host these events.