6 Horror Titles We Need On Blu-Ray
March 2, 2016
We live in glorious times, my friends. At this point, with the advent of the Blu-Ray format, giant high def, 3-D TVs, quality speakers, etc. – it’s fairly common to have a home set-up that rivals that of your local movie theater. And for the most part, all of our favorite horror classics have been restored and remastered for Blu-Ray.
Now we’re at the point where even the hardest-to-find cult favorites are making their way to Blu-Ray, thanks to so many specialty labels such as
Scream Factory, Synapse Films, Severin Films, Grindhouse Releasing, Code Red DVD and so many more. In the last week alone, I have amassed a pile in my living room which consists of PIECES, THE MUTILATOR and Dario Argento’s TENEBRAE. In high freakin’ def! Isn’t that amazing?
But alas, with the vastness of studio catalogs, there are always a few titles that slip through the cracks and never get that proper upgrade. Here are 6 horror titles that someone needs to step up and license for proper Blu-Ray releases, because we need them!
When you look at the decade that encapsulated all of 90s horror, one of the absolute best from that era was Bernard Rose’s 1992 adaptation of the Clive Barker short story THE FORBIDDEN, CANDYMAN. And it’s a shame that there isn’t a proper high def Blu-Ray presentation of this film here in the US. Yes, I’m aware there’s an import version, but not a region 1 edition. At the very least, the fine fiends at Scream Factory were able to secure the licensing rights for CANDYMAN 2: FAREWELL TO THE FLESH, but I still long for the original and best of the bunch. Tony Todd was already a well-established character actor at the time that CANDYMAN happened, but his performance as the terrifying hook-handed boogeyman put him right alongside fellow movie maniacs like Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers with his chilling portrayal here. Add to that Virginia Madsen, the skeptical graduate student who is researching the superstitious urban legend that terrorizes the Chicago housing project, and that incredible Philip Glass score, this one deserves the finest possible home presentation!
Lucky McKee has done some really interesting and fascinating work in the genre, and for the most part, his films such as THE WOMAN, THE WOODS and ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE are available on Blu-Ray. But what about his incredible, moving 2002 debut feature, MAY? Angela Bettis tops this all-star cast (which also features Anna Farris, Jeremy Sisto & James DeVall), as the title character May – a lonely, traumatized girl that has difficulty connecting with other people. What if she could take the best bits of these people she admires and make the perfect best friend? Shocking in spots, sympathetic in others, MAY is just an all around terrific movie that I’d proudly display on my Blu-Ray shelf.
How is it possible that the first feature film from the director of those little LORD OF THE RINGS and HOBBIT movies hasn’t made its way to Blu-Ray yet? Anchor Bay had done an amazing job celebrating Peter Jackson’s debut feature with a limited edition 2 disc DVD set back at the height of the DVD boom, but it has yet to resurface on home video in an upgraded presentation. Like Sam Raimi with EVIL DEAD before him, there are so many fun, gory gags and laughs packed into the movie’s 91 minute running time that Jackson’s enthusiasm is palpable in every shot. It’s also fun because the writer/director himself plays our lead, Derek, an imbecile with half his brain hanging out the back of his head that’s fighting aliens from outer space that have invaded a small New Zealand town with the intent of turning all its human residents into fast food! We need this ridiculous gore-fest on Blu-Ray, pronto!
Here’s one of my favorite films from the VHS generation. The 1988 WAXWORK helmed by Anthony Hickox had everything I’d ever wanted in a horror film at the time of its release. The film has a great cast – Zach Galligan from GREMLINS, Deborah Foreman from VALLEY GIRL, Michelle Johnson from BLAME IT ON RIO and the great David Warner from THE OMEN as the caretaker of new wax museum in town. Oh yeah, and it has scary variations on every freakin’ Universal Monster too! Dracula? Check. The Mummy? Yep. Wolf Man? He’s here too. And then you get all of them for the ultimate monster bash in the finale?! Essentially, if you fall into one of the wax displays, you are teleported into a real life horror movie. And if you die in that world, you’re dead for real and become part of the wax display. Now, this came out through Lionsgate on a DVD 6 pack, but it’s never been available uncut, the way the VHS was, which featured some impressive gory bits! A high def uncut version is out there, because I remember us airing it in the FEARnet days. However, Lionsgate has made it impossible to license out any of their titles and the company itself doesn’t seem to care about capitalizing on the Blu-Ray market unless it’s THE HUNGER GAMES. Fingers crossed that either they wise up or fork over that uncut version to one of the specialty labels that will treat the film the way it deserves to be treated!
I’m a huge, huge fan and admirer of this debut feature from Long Island filmmaker Stevan Mena. It’s as close as you can get to remaking (in spirit) John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN while incorporating all of the scariest elements from other classics like TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. It also acts as the centerpiece to an intended trilogy. The prequel, BEREAVEMENT, came out a few years back on Blu-Ray, and sadly, the third and final feature was put on the shelf for tragic reasons. That said, this first film is so beautifully shot, scored and executed that I’d love to experience all its jump scares yet again in the best possible presentation. It’s a heist film that stumbles onto the set of a traditional, shocking “slasher” and it needs to be on Blu-Ray. Do the right thing, Anchor Bay/Starz!
THE HILLS RUN RED
Anyone that’s experienced the horror of masked killer, Babyface, can attest to the awesomeness of this flick from director Dave Parker (TALES OF HALLOWEEN, THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING, COLDWATER) from a script by David J. Schow (THE CROW, LEATHERFACE: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE III). It’s just one of those films I like recommending because it’s smart, unique and has one of the coolest looking on-screen killers of the last decade. A group of documentary students are investigating the making-of William Concannon’s long lost horror film THE HILLS RUN RED, which apparently played only once and drove the audience mad. So they start by exploring the woods where the film was shot, only to discover the movie never stopped shooting! This is the only one of the Dark Castle horror movies produced that didn’t make it to Blu-Ray for whatever reason, but also, there is a far more graphic “director’s cut” that was talked about prior to the DVD release. Why not put this one on Blu-Ray with both the pre-existing, R-rated cut and the longer “director’s cut?” The image of Babyface, alone, is enough to entice new viewers and pique the curiosity of any horror lover that may have missed it on its initial run. We need this on Blu!