A Bloody Good Time 11.14.13: Ten Horror Films That Need Blu-Ray Releases
Posted by Joseph Lee on 11.14.2013
From Stephen King's It and Cube to Slither, Candyman, The Exorcist III and more, 411's Joseph Lee counts down the top 10 wanted horror releases on Blu-Ray!
Opening Logo courtesy of Benjamin J. Colón (Soul Exodus)
Welcome to A Bloody Good Time.
This has been a really big year for horror blu-ray releases. All six Child's Play films, all twelve Friday the 13th films, In The Mouth of Madness, The Burning, From Beyond, the Psycho sequels and the original version of The Haunting all hit blu-ray for the first time. That's only a handful of the releases this year. Next year we have releases announced for the Cabal cut of Nightbreed (which I'm definitely excited for) and more importantly, Suspiria.
If I made a list of the films I most want to see on blu-ray (not just horror, but any genre), then Suspiria would have made it at the top. So now that the folks of Synapse Films are putting it out, and hopefully giving horror fans a release this film deserves...what horror films remain?
So this is a list of the movies that still aren't out on blu-ray that I want to see get "next gen" releases on home video. I expect Scream Factory to render most of this list obsolete by this time next year, because Scream Factory is awesome.
The Omen IV and Psycho IV - Neither of these movies are particularly good, but from a completists standpoint, it seems silly to have the other films out and not these. An Omen collection was released by FOX on DVD with Omen IV, but not on blu-ray. A collector would find themselves very frustrated.
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday - I obviously mean the uncut version here. A lot of Friday fans, myself included, were very upset upon learning that Warner Bros. would not provide the unrated edition of the film on blu-ray. Not only is the unrated version gone, but so is the commentary from director Adam Marcus. This isn't a huge deal for me because I own Jason Goes to Hell on DVD and barely watch it (it's one of my least favorites, after all), but once again, why would anyone knowingly choose a rated cut of a Friday film?
#10: Candyman (1992)
This one actually has a release in the UK, but not everyone has a region free player and it needs a wider release here in the States. With Clive Barker's biggest release already available and Nightbreed on the way as it was meant to be seen, it's time that Candyman gets a wide release in HD. The film is certainly better shot than the others and I think it would look great in the format.
Not only that, but the Candyman series seems to be mostly ignored years later. The sequels aren't great, but the original is almost lumped with them as it remains largely forgotten. It had a special edition DVD but that was nearly ten years ago. A big blu-ray release with great extras and a retrospective interview or two to really fit this great 90s horror film. Bonus points to whoever decides to release all three Candyman films in one set for completists like me.
#9: May (2002)
This movie not seeing a blu-ray release is a little more understandable as it's an independent release that only fans really remember. But Lionsgate has put out a lot worse on blu-ray and there's no reason fans of this movie shouldn't be able to get an HD transfer of it yet. This film is a little too recent for someone like Scream Factory, but I think they would be the perfect company for something like this as it's not a huge movie and they could give it the great collector's edition that Lionsgate probably wouldn't.
For those who haven't seen the movie, it was the breakout role for Angela Bettis, who sadly isn't as big of a name as she should be after this. I blame the awful Carrie remake she was in. Anyway, it's a horror movie, but also an interesting character study of a lonely girl who slowly loses her mind. It's another movie that has largely been forgotten and that's a shame, because this is one of my favorites of its decade.
#8: Slither (2006)
Before he got a job directing Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn directed this amazing horror comedy. Sadly, the reason this isn't on blu-ray yet is also painfully clear, as it bombed at the box office (in the same year where the When A Stranger Calls remake made a ton of money) and the DVD has been out for some time, typically found in a five dollar bin. It's not a big hit, is what I'm saying. That's a shame because it's a great movie.
The film stars Nathan Fillion, Michael Rooker and Elizabeth Banks, among others. It's a hilarious and disgusting little horror comedy that is very reminiscent of Night of the Creeps (which does have a blu-ray release). The special effects, which are mostly practical, are amazing and deserve to be showed off in HD. All of the stars of the film are bigger names now so you'd think this would be a no-brainer.
#7: Cube (1997)
This is another film that was independently released. It spawned two (not good) sequels so it could probably also benefit from a collection release. While Cube's DVD isn't out of print, it is very old and it didn't feature much in the way of extras. A revamped special edition with an HD transfer is just what Vincenzo Natali's best film needs. Once again, Lionsgate has the rights and are just sitting on them. Maybe they don't think an independent film would make a lot of money, not when they have big franchises like The Hunger Games sitting around.
However, genre fans can and often do show up when they get a worthwhile release of a movie they love. If you must, provide box art similar to Saw in order to draw in that crowd. It was a precursor for that series. I don't agree with it (the latest box art for Near Dark is awful) but if it gets me a blu-ray release of Cube I'm not going to complain much. I'm not sure Cube would look the best with an HD transfer (Cube 2 definitely would) but at least I'd have it.
#6: The Changeling (1980)
This is one of the last older classics to not get a blu-ray release and that's a shame. It's definitely a horror classic in every sense of the word. It's deliberately slower-paced and providing a creepy, atmosphere murder mystery with George C. Scott providing one of his best performances. It's definitely an influence on guys today like James Wan, which you can see in things like Insidious or The Conjuring. It's just a great, great movie that sadly hasn't had any respect in home video.
The film got a DVD release in 2000, but it had nothing except those little written biographies of the talent. When "interactive menus" are promoted as a special features, you know two things: 1) the DVD is old, 2) it has no extras. There's no reason a film this good should be forgotten and shouldn't get a great HD special edition for fans of these foreboding ghost stories. If you haven't had a chance to see this, do yourself a favor and check it out.
#5: Stephen King's IT (1990)
I'm almost positive that Warner Bros is sitting on a blu-ray release of this until they can get the remake off the ground, as major studios tend to release the original when they put the remake in theaters. They could also be hanging on to it because it's a TV movie and it wouldn't look as good in HD. I'm not convinced that's true, as IT looks more cinematic than other TV movies of its time.
What I am convinced of is that the DVD release for this movie sucks. It's a plain double-sided disc (remember those?) with nothing but a commentary. The commentary should be kept, because it features John Ritter talking about the film, but come on..not a single bonus feature? No interviews with Tim Curry or Stephen King? Pet Sematary is getting an entire documentary dedicated to that movie and we can't get a little love for Pennywise?
Not only do I want to see a remake of this movie just because it needs a better adaptation, but I want to see a remake because maybe it'll motivate Warner Bros. to finally give this the release it deserves, horrible ending and all.
#4: The Exorcist III (1990)
We're back to George C. Scott again. I could understand not wanting to acknowledge the fact that Exorcist II or Exorcist: the Beginning exist, but why ignore the only good sequel in the series? In my opinion, this film is the true continuation of the story while also being it's own little movie. Scott overacts some but mostly reigns himself in and Brad Dourif is absolutely amazing here. They even manage to bring back Jason Miller!
The DVD, which I own, has nothing on it. The DVD contained within the "complete anthology" has nothing on it. Even The Heretic got a theatrical trailer added. The film looks great and the score would sound great with a new transfer. Instead of re-releasing The Exorcist with a 40th anniversary edition that isn't that different from the previous one (and that no one asked for), why not do an HD transfer of all five movies? If you don't want to do that, then just call this The Exorcist: Legion and give it its own release?
#3: Lord of Illusions (1995)
Unlike Nightbreed, Clive Barker eventually got to release a film close enough to his vision when the unrated director's cut of Lord of Illusions hit VHS and later DVD. Barker said the theatrical version is not his movie and that makes sense considering, like Nightbreed, a ton of stuff was cut out of that movie and only put back in on home video. If you haven't ever seen this movie due to bad reviews, then ignore those reviews and check out the director's cut. At least give it a chance as it was meant to be seen.
Unlike other films on this list, Lord of Illusions is out of print on DVD. The cheapest you can get a new copy is for $35 dollars, although there are used copies for much cheaper. It's not that rare yet. However the DVD itself is very old (1998) and doesn't have anything for fans of the movie. Hopefully Nightbreed sells really well (it will, fans have been waiting a long time for the Cabal cut) and it convinces someone to give Lord of Illusions the blu-ray treatment.
#2: Phantasm (1979)
I think Anchor Bay still owns the rights to the Phantasm movies, so I'm not sure why they haven't been put on blu-ray yet. The company seems fine with milking the Halloween movies it has the rights to (although at least the latest release has the best transfer) and it hasn't released any of the movies featuring The Tall Man. We wouldn't have any of the series on blu-ray at all if Scream Factory didn't get the rights to Phantasm II from Universal.
This is one horror movie that I think a great blu-ray treatment is criminal in terms of pleasing your fans. Phantasm is a classic and deserves some HD love. The movie still has fans and maybe home video sales could finally convince someone to give Don Coscarelli the green light on a Phantasm V before Angus Scrimm retires from acting. Last I heard was that he wants to do it, so let's get it done! Put it on Kickstarter if you have to, I'll gladly chip in. Oh yeah, the blu-ray. Yeah, do that too. This is a great movie and I want my HD collector's edition.
#1: The Beyond (1981)
If Suspiria was my original choice for #1, then The Beyond is an easy #2. Considering how many of Fulci's other high profile films have made it to blu-ray, including the other two films in his Gates of Hell trilogy (The House by the Cemetery and City of the Living Dead), why isn't The Beyond out in the format yet? I find it hard to believe that a company like Blue Underground (which did the releases for the other two) hasn't put this one out yet.
I don't really count Arrow video's version, because you have to import it and pay a ridiculous amount of money to buy it, at least if Amazon is to be believed. I wouldn't pay $50 for a blu-ray of Halloween, and that's my favorite horror film of all time. It's way too much money to expect of fans, no matter how much you put into it. Give it a worldwide release for all horror fans to enjoy, not just a few.
That's it for me. Leave some comments here on or my Twitter. Next week, I'm going to talk about the zombie apocalypse.
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