AMC Networks' Streaming Service Shudder Launches Original Programming With 'Primal Screen' Doc (Exclusive)

Primal Screen - H Publicity 2017
Courtesy of Shudder

AMC Networks' streaming service Shudder is entering the original programming arena.

Shudder, which says it "super-serves" fans of thrillers, suspense and horror, is launching its original slate with the premiere of Primal Screen, a new horror documentary from Rodney Ascher (Room 237, The Nightmare).

In addition, Shudder has five other projects in development, all of which — along with Primal Screen — will debut under the banner "Shudder Originals." The other projects include a mystery series, a Ted Bundy-inspired scripted project and a series based on an Emily Schultz novel.

Primal Screen, which premieres Thursday, explores how individuals are simultaneously attracted to and repelled by what scares them most. The film, described as a hybrid of documentary and horror, explores the pop-culture artifacts that traumatized individuals in their youth and the effects it has had on their lives.

"Primal Screen is a gripping, unique horror documentary that's unlike anything we've ever seen and we look forward to presenting it to our members as our first 'Shudder Original,'" said Owen Shiflett, vp development at Shudder."At Shudder, we carefully select every new title added to our library to ensure we are giving our members something beyond what is expected. Expanding into original programming is a natural progression for us, and we're proud to further enhance Shudder's offering by bringing our members the vision of emerging and established storytellers who are pushing limits within genre entertainment."

Added Ascher: "Fear, obsession and people's attempts to understand these things are a particular focus of mine. Shudder was a fantastic partner and they gave me the freedom to dive deep into this new rabbit hole. I'm thrilled to present Primal Screen on a streaming service that showcases an expansive collection of Mario Bava films, a wide selection of horror-documentaries and a great variety of thrilling entertainment."

Other projects in development include: 

Deadwax, a shortform series series about the hunt for a mysterious record that drives its owners mad and kills anyone who dares to play it.  From Graham Reznick, co-writer of Until Dawn and director of I Can See You.

Riprore, which focuses on the heart of gangland Los Angeles, where a gruesome discovery sparks a frenetic homicide investigation, but underneath the surface lurks a darkness that leads to the end of days. It's from Sam Sheridan, former MMA fighter and author of A Fighter's Heart and The Disaster Diaries, with Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins attached.

The Blondes, which centers on a woman who treks to find the father of her unborn child while navigating a world where blonde-haired women could turn into rabid monsters at any moment. It's based on the novel by Emily Schultz and executive produced by J. Todd Harris, Marc Marcum and Branded Pictures Entertainment.

— An untitled Arkasha Stevenson project focusing on a serial killer, loosely based on Ted Bundy, and his relationship with his longtime girlfriend, written and directed by Stevenson (Pineapple).

Shudder streams ad-free in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Ireland on the web, iOS, Android, Chromecast, Apple TV and Roku for $4.99 a month or $49.99 with an annual membership. The service also offers new film and series releases, including Alice Lowe's horror-comedy Prevenge, J-Horror franchise mashup Sadako vs. Kayako and the Swedish series Jordskott.

Along with the premiere of Primal Screen, Shudder is launching AMC's first augmented reality campaign, where users can experience a "creepy ventriloquist dummy coming to life in the palm of their hand."

Ascher is repped by CAA and Lee Stobby Entertainment.

Watch the Primal Screen trailer below.

Meanwhile, this summer, the second annual Shudder Labs workshop will connect established content creators with a new generation, led by director Mike Flanagan (Ouija: Origin of Evil, Hush, Gerald’s Game) and writer Nick Antosca (Channel Zero, Hannibal, The Forest). It will be held June 11-15 at the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, N.Y.