Halloween is arguably the most movie-friendly holiday. After all, it’s the perfect excuse to stay in to watch a classic (or brand new) horror movie with someone you’re comfortable screaming at. And this year, various home video companies have unleashed an embarrassment of riches on the market.
From cult classics to all-time favorites to brand new films making their Blu-ray debut, there’s something for every discerning horror fan, and we’ve got a handy guide to the best new Blu-ray releases and 4K horror coming home. video just in time for Halloween.
“Paranormal Activity:” The Ultimate Chills Collection (Paramount Home Video, $67.99)
In 2007, a found-footage horror film called Paranormal Activity began making the festival rounds. Made for $15,000, it was apparently scary enough to scare Steven Spielberg, who watched an early version on DVD. Picked up by Paramount, who invested another $200,000 to film a scarier ending, it was released in 2009 and began one of the most unstoppable horror franchises in modern cinema. This deluxe box set is packed with extras, including an entire bonus disc dedicated to a new feature-length documentary called “The Unknown Dimension: The Story of Paranormal Activity.” (This is the only place outside of Paramount+ where you can also watch last year’s Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin.) Fans of the franchise or newcomers to the series will enjoy both the presentation of the films and the abundance of additional material handy. Are you ready to be haunted?
Child’s Play, Child’s Play 2, Child’s Play 3 4K (Shout! Factory, $36.98 each)
Chucky is really having a moment. Between its Syfy series, the 2019 remake, and a still-ubiquitous onslaught of merchandise, everything follows “Child’s Play.” In fact, it’s easy to forget how excellent the original films were – especially the first three installments, which have been lovingly restored by Shout! Factory packaged and beautiful on 4K ultra-HD Blu-ray. The accompanying Blu-ray discs include plenty of special features (including making of documentaries, photo galleries and original documentaries), but the real star of the show are the films themselves, which look better than you’ve ever seen. their. Stefan Czapsky from “Child’s Play 2” (probably the Platonic ideal of a “Child’s Play” movie) is particularly popular. Chucky looks like he might reach out and grab you, making the experience all the more terrifying.
“The Lost Boys” and “Poltergeist” (Warner Bros. Home Video, $33.99 each)
This Halloween Warner Bros. has revived two of the biggest horror favorites from the 1980s and it shows amazing. Seriously, I threw on the “Lost Boys” record and I was impressed. (Michael Chapman, Martin Scorsese’s cinematographer on “Raging Bull” and “Taxi Driver,” shot “The Lost Boys.”) So does “Poltergeist,” where the optical and makeup effects take on an even more tactile realism. (Can you believe the movie was rated PG?) All of the special features from previous releases are present and accounted for on these new discs, and perhaps most incredibly, there’s actually a new transfer on the bonus Blu-ray disc. That means if you have to watch on a regular Blu-ray player, you’ll also get a fresh take on “Poltergeist” and “The Lost Boys.” How’s that for an extra Halloween treat?
“Halloween” 4K Box Set (1995-2002) (Shout! Factory, $129.98)
Shout Factory/Scream Factory released the original 1978 “Halloween” and a slew of its sequels last year around this time. But they didn’t release all of them… Due to a strange licensing agreement, “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers”, “Halloween H20” and “Halloween: Resurrection” had to be packaged and sold together and here they are ! While this wasn’t the pinnacle of the franchise, it marks an interesting break in the series before it headed into uncharted territory with the two Rob Zombie remakes and returned to more stable ground with the 2018 sequel. Both versions of “The Curse of Michael Myers” are presented here in beautiful 4K, which means you can choose which you prefer – the more coherent “Producer’s Cut” or the bloodier “Theatrical Cut” (we’re partial to the latter, if only for that a young Paul Rudd seems to have developed a sense of humor between principal photography and reshoots). And “H20” is a lot of stripped-down fun (the work of uncredited screenwriter Kevin Williamson really comes through on rewatches). The less said about “Halloween: Resurrection” the better, but completists shouldn’t be without this beautiful set.
Return of the Living Dead, The Funhouse, Army of Darkness 4K (Shout! Factory, prices vary)
Cult classics, assemble! Shout/Scream Factory has taken three beloved cult classics – Dan O’Bannon’s ‘Return of the Living Dead’, Tobe Hooper’s ‘The Funhouse’ and Sam Raimi’s ‘Army of Darkness’ – and transferred them to a superb Blu-ray 4K. Each of these films is absolutely wonderful, and if you’re a fan of the genre, you’ve no doubt purchased them at least once before on home video (the “Army of Darkness” editions I’ve owned over the years have reached close to double digits) but all of these are very worthy of a new purchase. The picture quality and sound are unbeatable, and all the extras that came before have been ported over to the new editions (including the multiple versions of “Army of Darkness”). And if, for some reason, you’ve never seen these movies before, this is a perfect excuse to pick them up now (“The Funhouse” has flown under the radar for far too long, but it’s one of the most fascinating of visual horror). the 1980s).
“La Llorona,” “Arsenic and Old Lace,” “The Cure” (Criterion, $39.95 each)
Criterion’s entire October slate is super Halloween-y (and also includes their new 4K remaster of David Lynch’s ‘Lost Highway’ and Kasi Lemmons’ voodoo-infused ‘Eve’s Bayou’), but in the interest of budget constraints and the really scary, let’s focus. on three releases – “La Llorona”, “Arsenic and Old Lace” and “Cure”. Frank Capra’s classic dark comedy “Arsenic and Old Lace” (which takes place on Halloween, which makes it all the more essential) comes complete with a new audio commentary, a 1932 radio adaptation starring Boris Karloff and many others. 1997’s “Cure” represents the height of Japan’s horror resurgence and was a huge source of inspiration for Bong Joon-ho, and comes complete with a new transfer (which briefly took place in the theater) and extras like a conversation between director Kiyoshi Kurosawa and “Drive My Car” Ryusuke Hamaguchi (who was Kurosawa’s student). And “La Llorona,” a haunting ghost story and Guatemala’s entry for the 2020 Best Foreign Film Oscar, comes with a new documentary featuring interviews with the cast and crew. What more could you want?
“No” 4K (Universal Home Video, $44.98)
The best horror movie of the year is finally available on 4K disc, and it’s amazing. If you haven’t seen Jordan Peele’s latest genre masterpiece, it’s about a brother and sister duo (Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer) who take over their father’s horse farm and soon find themselves threatened by a sinister UFO. Bigger and grander than anything Peele had attempted before, the 4K disc perfectly captures the beautiful IMAX cinematography (by Hoyte van Hoytema) and has a great selection of special features, including an hour-long documentary called “Shadows”. Be forewarned, though: None of the special features illuminate some of No’s biggest mysteries, but they’re tantalizing all the same.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Blu-ray 4K (Vinegar Syndrome, $49.98)
The reimagining of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2” (like Tobe Hooper’s “Poltergeist”) is finally complete with this bells-and-whistles home video release from specialty label Vinegar Syndrome. Initially met with bewilderment, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2” took a different tone than its grisly predecessor, instead going for a mix of laughs and scares, and it walked that tonal tightrope for the duration. (Dennis Hopper stars as a chainsaw-wielding lawman bent on revenge.) This new package, created by Vinegar Syndrome, includes a transfer “restored from the original 35mm camera negative, previously unavailable for video home” and includes hours. of special features, many of them new (and exclusive) to this version. If you’re a fan of the sequel, this release is essential.