Streaming might be the future, but physical media is still the present. It’s also awesome, depending on the title, the label, and the release, so each week we take a look at the new Blu-rays and DVDs making their way into the world. Welcome to this week in Home Video for October 4th, 2022! This week’s home video selection includes horror favorites getting the 4K UHD treatment, new chillers hitting disc for the first time, and more. Check out our picks below.
Pick of the Week
Halloween 4K Collection [UHD, Scream Factory]
What is it? Closure in 4K as the the last three films in the original Halloween run come to UHD.
Why see it? The late Halloween films, before Rob Zombie’s reboot and the Blumhouse sequel trilogy, are considered low points by many as they carry the desperate stench unique to some 90s horror titles. They’re a mix of mythologies, one carries over plot lines from earlier films while another brings back Jamie Lee Curtis for a “final” face off against Michael Myers. The arguable highlight for the films is less about the Halloween content and more about some familiar faces, but Scream Factory’s new 4K UHD box set makes the case for revisiting them all over again.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) attempts to wrap up the cult angle introduced in the previous film (1989’s The Revenge of Michael Myers) by expanding on it in pretty bold ways. Unfortunately, the studio trimmed most of the subplot from the theatrical release resulting in a movie that doesn’t make a lick of sense. The producer’s cut, also given the 4K scan treatment here and presented on its own disc, addresses that issue by adding much of the footage back in. It’s still a bit messy at times, and director Joe Chappelle’s attempts at style are distracting at best, but the script’s attempt at something new is somewhat refreshing even if the franchise scares have grown cold.
Halloween: H20 (1998) is something of a dry run for the eventual David Gordon Green blockbuster as it brings back Jamie Lee Curtis for a direct sequel to 1981’s Halloween II. She’s a headmistress at a private school now, still suffering with PTSD from her terrible night twenty years earlier, and she even has a son (Josh Hartnett)! Michael returns, naturally, while just a handful of people are left at the school over the Halloween weekend, and the slaughter ensues. Michelle Williams, LL Cool J, Adam Arkin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Janet Leigh are along for the ride, but they don’t all make it to the end credits. It’s a perfectly competent slasher, thanks in large part to director Steve Miner, and earned big at the box office despite featuring a lazy-looking Michael.
Last, and arguably least, is 2002’s Halloween: Resurrection which posits that Laurie’s triumphant beheading of Michael at the end of the previous film was actually the murder of an innocent man. This is some Bobby in the shower on Dallas-level bullshit. Once Laurie is tossed to her death, the film’s main plot kicks in with college kids live-streaming a visit to the Myers house with the expected results. The camera footage is grainy as hell, the jumpscares are abundant and poor, and it makes you miss the days when the franchise would take risky left turns with satanic cults and bloodline shenanigans.
All three films in the Halloween 4K Collection come in their own case and hard slip, all fitting snugly into a box-set slipcase, and Scream Factory has continued the theme and format with their new cover art too. It’s a slick affair all around, and the label also earns points for keeping the extras on the Blu-rays allowing the films to take full advantage of the UHD’s bitrate.
[Extras: New 4K scans, commentaries, interviews, featurettes, deleted scenes]
Bram Stoker’s Dracula [UHD, steelbook]
What is it? An epic adaptation of the classic vampire novel.
Why see it? Francis Ford Coppola’s blockbuster tale of horror is beloved by many, but I’m continually left straddling a line with the film. It’s undeniably gorgeous with stellar work in its production design, cinematography, and special effects — but the damn thing is also so damn stagey in its execution. It never feels as if it’s unfolding in a real world, and the stilted performances of two of its leads don’t help. We love Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves, but they’re not quite selling the characters, period, or love story. The criticisms, though, are outweighed the sheer ferocity of the film’s visuals. Every scene gives us some beauty to stare at in awe, and the UHD takes full advantage of that delivering some truly beautiful shots and sequences.
[Extras: Dolby Atmos/Vision, commentaries, deleted scenes, featurettes]
Fright Night [UHD, steelbook]
What is it? A teen discovers a vampire has moved in next door.
Why see it? Tom Holland’s mid 80s classic has gotten both a sequel and a remake, but neither can touch the infectious charm and fun of the original. Funny, sexy, creepy — Fright Night has it all, and it holds up remarkably well on rewatch too. Roddy McDowall is just aces as the befuddled horror TV host roped into the adventure, and Chris Sarandon thrills as the vamp with a taste for young women and sweaters. Holland infuses the Rear Window-like plot with warmth and humor throughout, and the film’s special effects are as effective as they are endearing. Sony’s new UHD offers up a fantastic picture, and the extras (on the Blu-ray disc) include some great new additions.
[Extras: Dolby Atmos/Vision, 35th anniversary script read, featurettes, commentaries, documentary, interviews]
Sex and Lucia
What is it? Grief and shock lead a woman into a lush adventure.
Why see it? Julio Medem’s tale of sex, discovery, and wonder meshes various themes and tones into its magical realist tapestry. The plot takes some hard turns which might threaten to lose viewers, but the narrative isn’t the most important thing here. Instead, it’s Paz Vega’s journey through her past choices and relationships on a beautiful island that make for a mesmerizing watch. There’s real beauty here, beyond the much talked about high degree of sexuality and nudity, as Lucia’s realizations about the important things in this world come to light. The film’s been out of print on Blu-ray for some time and is well worth picking up.
[Extras: Featurettes, interviews, video essay]
Army of Darkness [UHD, Scream Factory, steelbook]
What is it? A visit to the Medieval Dead!
Why see it? The Evil Dead films aren’t really my jam, inexplicably, outside of the remake (which rocks), but this third entry has some fun with its medieval setting. Bruce Campbell is especially fun bantering with the dimwits, and Sam Raimi ramps up his stop-motion antics and practical effect showcases while slathering it all in slapstick humor. Scream Factory’s new release ports over all the previous extras, and it’s an extensive offering ensuring that fans have plenty of material to dig through in addition to the three cuts of the film.
[Extras: New 4K restoration of theatrical cut, director’s/international cuts, Dolby Vision/HDR, documentary, commentary, deleted scenes, interviews, featurettes]
Scream 2 [UHD, steelbook]
What is it? The survivors of the first are off to college, and a new killer has joined them.
Why see it? Wes Craven’s second entry in his Scream franchise is a favorite for many, but it remains the one I like least. There are numerous issues with its characters and narrative, but the deal breaker is the killer reveal at the end. The character in question is never believable as the killer, and the performance itself is oddly over the top leaving the reveal a bit of a flat line. Still, there are some fun beats here, and for fans of the film, this new UHD is a massive upgrade from the current Blu-ray release as it cleans up obvious issues and offers a sharp presentation.
[Extras: Dolby Atmos/Vision, commentary, outtakes, deleted scenes, music videos, featurette]
They Crawl Beneath
What is it? A ground slug/worm causes havoc in a small town garage.
Why see it? Well, someone saw Tremors, liked Tremors, and decided to remake Tremors with a few bucks and a misunderstanding of what makes Tremors so endlessly great. I kid, but while the setup here seems promising with poisonous, underground worms causing havoc, it quickly drops us into a dark garage for way too much of the time. We never get real thrills and instead watch as minor threats are dragged out.
Also out this week:
Bel Air – Season One, DC League of Super Pets, Dead for a Dollar, Into the Deep, Night of the Living Dead [UHD, Criterion Collection], Picard – Season Two, Plague Zombie: American Invasion, Watcher, Winning Time