This one hurts. This one really hurts. In an act of brazen anti-horror insanity, Netflix announced today in its monthly what’s new to Netflix press release that it would be removing Stanley Kubrick’s monumental horror masterpiece The Shining from the service on Oct. 1, 2017. That’s right—to kick off the start of horror movie season, Netflix will remove the film that is #1 on our own sprawling, in-depth list of the 70 best horror movies currently streaming on Netflix. Said list, by the way, will be updated and made current on Oct. 1 as well—sadly, without The Shining on it.
This result is a Halloween tragedy. Why did it have to be The Shining, Netflix? Could it not have been Zoombies leaving the service? Or Zombeavers? We could live with those losses. But not The Shining.
It seems obvious that the loss is almost certainly the result of contracts to distribute the film simply expiring, but dear god, could these things not possibly be considered with a little context in mind before the agreements are made? If The Shining disappeared from Netflix on Nov. 1, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would notice or care. But the start of October? That’s literally the one time per year when maintaining the quality of your horror library should be a priority. It’s also, by the way, the one month of the year when the majority of Netflix’s users are actually searching for horror films. Is it not worthwhile to cater to this portion of the customer base?
To look at the rest of the additions and subtractions for October, the answer is clearly “no.” As in previous years, Netflix hasn’t put any expenditure of effort into bringing new horror titles to the service that arrive in October and take advantage of the Halloween window. There are only a couple, largely of zero merit, such as The Reaping, 13 Demons and the new Cult of Chucky, which hopefully is at least watchable ‘ala the last straight to video sequel Curse of Chucky. The only horror film coming to the service in October worth getting excited about is Julia Ducournau’s Raw, which is currently #5 in our list of the best horror films of 2017 so far. But who is going to give up The Shining for any of those? It’s THE SHINING, for god’s sake! This is like removing It’s a Wonderful Life from your service on Dec. 1, or Independence Day on July 1. It’s willful madness, and it will not stand.
Is it any wonder that genre-specific streaming services such as Shudder continue to grow and thrive, when Netflix can’t be bothered to care about horror in the one month of the year when horror is in demand?
Well, at least we still have Room 237, right?