Access to Scary Films Just Got Better!

“As the old saying goes, ’tis the season for screamin’. But what if you like your scares year-round? Lucky for you, we’re in an age of niche streaming services like Shudder, which specializes in suspense, thrillers and horror movies and TV shows.” M.  Castillo, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Alice Lowe in “Prevenge.”Shudder Films

Excerpt: Love Scary Movies? Shudder Lets You Stream Them Year-Round, By Monica Castillo, The New York Times

“Shudder, from AMC Networks, provides movies that range from gruesome to campy, from silent to chain-saw loud, from low budget to no budget. There’s also a healthy collection of foreign horror films and TV, like the cruel and torturous ‘Audition’ from Japan, the terrifying Spanish zombie movie ‘[Rec],’ the Japanese series ‘Penance’ and the Swedish series ‘Jordskott.’ If you’re daunted by the sheer number of titles, then look into Shudder’s easy-to-browse collections, like their films about the apocalypse or women-led horror movies. That should also help you weed out some of the more lurid and trashy movies on Shudder, which may not be of interest. Not sure where to start? Here are a few suggestions:

Classic Creepers

Shudder treated its subscribers to a collection of classic Universal Monsters movies:

Dracula’ (1931)

Bela Lugosi as Dracula (1931)-Universal Pictures

‘Frankenstein’ (1931)

Boris Karloff-Frankenstein (1931) Film Society of Lincoln Center

‘Bride of Frankenstein’ (1935)

Boris Karloff and Elsa Lanchester in BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, 1935.

‘The Mummy’ (1932)

Boris Karloff as The Mummy 1932

‘The Wolf Man’ (1941)

 ‘The Invisible Man'(1933)

Claude Rains and Gloria Stuart in “The Invisible Man.”Universal Pictures

 You don’t even see the Invisible Man (Claude Rains) for most of the movie. Rains’ smooth voice is your only guide through the tragic downfall of an overambitious scientist and his insistence on injecting himself with a serum that makes him both invisible and unstable…

In the ’50s and ’60s, the director, producer and all-around showman William Castle frequently packaged his horror movies with some kind of a theatrical gimmick to help sell tickets. For his 1959 monster movie, ‘The Tingler,’ he added devices that would shake theater seats in an attempt to scare audience members into believing the monster was loose…

Vincent Price in The Tingler. Columbia Pictures

This early adaptation of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’ changed the names of the book’s main characters and features a vampire who looks closer to a bat than a charming count.

International Scares

The Devil’s Backbone

Guillermo del Toro seems to have affection for misunderstood monsters — That sense of empathy is also present in his earlier movies, like  ‘The Devil’s Backbone.’ In that film, a boy is sent to an oppressive Catholic orphanage during the Spanish Civil War, where he discovers the supernatural presence of a lost soul. This lonely story is not as scary as it is sad.

‘Battle Royale’

Years before ‘The Hunger Games,’ there was this berserk Japanese movie, first released overseas in 2000. To punish society’s ever unruly adolescents, the government sends an armed group of students into an arena to kill one another until only one child remains A dark sense of humor drips from “Battle Royale,” especially during the preposterously violent death scenes.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate -Advanced

Language Skills: Reading, writing and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.

Time: Approximately 2 hours.

Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video.

Objective:  Students will read the article with a focus on reading comprehension and new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through discussions, and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Tasks

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Tasks

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. We’re in an age of niche streaming services
  2. The service provides movies that range from gruesome to campy.
  3. Some people are daunted by the sheer number of titles.
  4. The new process should help fans weed out some of the more lurid films.
  5. Shudder also has an app for all major streaming devices.
  6. The article provides a few suggestions.
  7. You can also pay for multiple streaming services.
  8. Many movies have a a theatrical gimmick to help sell tickets.
  9. Many of the movie experiences can’t be replicated at home.
  10. The film’s director uses the exaggerated shadows of  monsters to scare people.

Reading Comprehension


Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

Shudder ___are ___in the United States for $4.99 a month or $47.88 a year, and in Canada, Britain and___at locally adjusted prices. A ___app is available on all major streaming___.

WORD LIST: Ireland , Shudder, devices, available, subscriptions


Using Adjectives  to describe pictures    

Directions: Have students choose a picture from the article  and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.

III. Post Reading Tasks 

 Reading Comprehension Check

WH-How Questions 

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  answer the following questions. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. People  like to watch scary movies on Halloween. What are the scariest films you’ve seen?
  2. Have you seen any of the films mentioned in the article? what did you think of  the film?
  3. If you could choose to be a monster which one would you be? Why?
  4. Are you going to a party this year? If yes, describe your costume.
  5. How is Halloween celebrated in your country?
  6. What are some symbols of  Halloween in your country?

Extra: Web Search

Directions: In groups/partners have students search the topic on the web and see what additional information they can find. Students can either have further discussions or write an essay about the subject.

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.


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