Last week, the hearts of dedicated horror fans sank when it was reported by TV Answer Man that NBCUniversal would be shutting down the Chiller network at the end of the year. While I was truly disappointed to hear the news, I wasn’t entirely surprised. Dedicated fans of Chiller knew this was coming for some time. The network we’d grown to love and support has been dying a slow death for the past year.
Launched in 2007, Chiller delivered horror genre movies and TV shows around the clock and gained a large following on social media. The movies shown on Chiller covered a spectrum of titles that ranged from high to low budget, well-known to obscure, and impressively good to laughably bad. It had something to offer for every horror fan.
I discovered Chiller on DirecTV shortly after it launched and I was hooked. It started as my default viewing channel when nothing else was on and quickly became my primary go-to channel. I devoured hundreds of hours of horror movies and couldn’t get enough. My favorite part of watching Chiller was discovering the hidden gems I never heard of before, like the mind-bending thriller Triangle, the retro-style Lovecraft adaptation The Whisperer in the Darkness, and the creepy documentary Killer Legends.
I also made friends through Chiller. Every Saturday night at 9pm ET, Chiller presented Don’t Watch Alone using the hashtag #ScarySocial on Twitter. During the two hours of the movie that week, I connected with people all over the country who were watching with me, sharing funny commentary and interesting trivia about the film. Chiller’s own Twitter account would also participate, making jokes and responding to our tweets. It was a lot of fun.
But in the fall of 2016, things began to change for Chiller and fans immediately sensed trouble. They slowed down on posting content to Facebook and before stopping entirely on November 29, 2016. Walking away from 175,000 fans on Facebook was a major red flag. They abandoned their Twitter account shortly after, and then the network’s content became stale. Instead of a good rotation of new and classic movies, Chiller was recycling the same old movies over and over, most of which weren’t very good. The last year has been a slow march to the end for the once-thriving horror network.
This is why I wasn’t surprised to hear NBCUniversal was shuttering Chiller. Their actions signaled to us a year ago that they’d lost confidence in the network and they were shifting their focus to higher-profile channels. And I get it—Chiller is a business and needs to generate revenue, which it has struggled to do. I just wish it wasn’t so because Chiller was an amazing network that did everything right for horror fans in its prime.
So where do I and all the devastated Chiller fans go from here? Shudder is a good start. The digital streaming horror service offers a wealth of movies and TV shows for only $5 a month. We can also hope that maybe NBCUniversal resurrects Chiller in the form streaming network, which I and other fans would gladly pay for. But for now, the permanent end for Chiller approaches, and we must enjoy what we can while it’s still on the air.
So, to everyone at NBCUniversal who worked on Chiller and made it awesome for all of us for so many years, thank you so much. We appreciate your willingness to take a chance on our genre and put forth so much great horror content for us. As we all move forward in a growing digital streaming world, Chiller will always be known as the greatest horror cable channel, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to enjoy it while it lasted. You were scary good, Chiller.