31 Days of Horror 2013 – Day 1

The season of the witch is upon us.  In carrying on with the tradition started back in 2010, I’ll be watching at least one horror movie, playing one horror video game or otherwise indulging in some horror related media (books, magazines, boardgames etc.) each day of October until Halloween.

31 Days of Horror 2013 Card Design WIP

I start this year’s horror celebration with the 1999 modern classic, The Blair Witch Project.

Seeing a Blu-ray release in 2010, the filmmakers missed an opportunity in 2009 to present a “10th Anniversary” edition of the film.  The Blu-ray release sees a bit of a quality upgrade in the picture but given the nature of the film it doesn’t really matter.  The same holds true for the audio track.  There is a tiny bit of an upgrade but nothing dramatic.  If you bought the previous DVD release of the film you will be treated to the same special features ported over to the Blu-ray release with an exception of four (4) different endings to the film.  While fun to watch the first time, these new endings are just variations of the “Mike in the corner” ending.

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Halloween 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray

Halloween 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray

Damn you Anchor Bay!  How many times are you bastards going to make me buy this movie?!

This is Anchor Bay’s second Blu-ray treatment of John Carpenter’s seminal slasher masterpiece, Halloween.  Their first release back in October of 2007 was met with mixed reviews.  While most welcomed the new high-def transfer and 5.1 upgrade to the audio mix, there were huge issues with the color timing.  Sorely missed were the moody and spooky tones that director Carpenter and cinematographer Dean Cundey employed to make the shot in springtime California film feel like the midwest in the middle of the fall.  Instead, the 2007 transfer was overly bright with warm tones that made the colors seem to pop off the screen.
For this 35th Anniversary release, Anchor Bay used a Cundey approved remastered transfer.  Restored is the colder, more neutral feel of the film and long gone are the bright hues that gave Halloween that warmer tone.  For most, including myself this is the first time seeing the film on a home release as it was intended to be viewed by the filmmakers.

Attached to the remastered transfer is an all-new Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio track.

In addition to the usual Halloween supplements that get ported over to every incarnation of the film (trailers, shot for TV version scenes and TV and radio spots) there are two new features exclusive to this release.  The first is an all new audio commentary with writer/director John Carpenter and star Jamie Lee Curtis.  The second, a featurette entitled “The Night She Came Home”, a 60 minute documentary on star Jamie Lee Curtis attending a fan convention.

The Blu-ray comes housed in a digi-book style case featuring new artwork.  Forgoing the classic Halloween jack o’lantern, Anchor Bay used an embossed water color style profile painting of Michael Myers.  In a nice touch, the title “Halloween” is also embossed.  The digi-book features a really well written essay by Stef Hutchinson on the films production, themes, symbolism and impact on the genre as well as on cinema in general.  The essay is accompanied by a collection of production and behind the scenes photos, a few I have never seen before.

All in all this (as of now) is THE definitive version of John Carpenter’s Halloween.  If you waited to buy Halloween on Blu-ray because of the 2007 releases color timing issues, now is the time to pull the trigger.  Or you can wait ’til 2018 and pick up the 40th Anniversary Edition that Anchor Bay will be sure to be releasing.

I’ll be there buying it too.

31 Days of Horror – Day 12

               
Halloween II (1981) – Collector’s Edition

Released by Shout! Factory (although in an awesome little touch the Shout! Factory logo has been modified to say Scream! Factory) this is the definitive Blu-ray version of Halloween II.  Last year Universal released a 30th Anniversary Edition of Halloween II that everyone thought was going to be the definitive version of the film.  While the Universal disc was stacked with the alternate ending, deleted scenes and the truly awesome and welcome documentary “Terror in the Aisles”, this new Shout! Factory release is THE version to snag.  The Blu-ray/DVD combo includes:

  • The theatrical version and the television cut with added footage not seen in the theatrical version
  • Audio commentary with director Rick Rosenthal and actor Leo Rossi (theatrical version)
  • Audio commentary with actor/stunt coordinator Dick Warlock (theatrical version)
  • The Nightmare Isn’t Over!:  The Making Of Halloween II – Featuring interviews with director Rick Rosenthal, actor/stunt Coordinator Dick Warlock, actors Lance Guest, Leo Rossi, Nancy Stephens, executive producer Irwin Yablans, director of photography Dean Cundey, co-composer Alan Howarth and more!
  •  Horror’s Hallowed Grounds: The Locations Of Halloween II – Host Sean Clark revisits the original shooting locations of the film
  • Deleted scenes with optional audio commentary from director Rick Rosenthal
  • Alternate ending with optional audio commentary from director Rick Rosenthal
  •  Theatrical trailer
  • TV & radio spots
  • Still gallery

Plus it has that killer retro-style artwork with a reversible wrap with original theatrical key art.

Amazon is selling the Blu-ray/DVD combo for $24.99.  I picked up a copy in my local Meijer store in their Halloween section for $19.99.

Do yourself a favor and pick this disc set up in time for Halloween.  It’s hands down the best sequel in the franchise and ranks up there with one of the best horror sequels of all-time.

31 Days of Horror – Day 1

October has descended upon us and with it Halloween and the best time of the year to indulge in all things horror.  In 2010 my friend Jon started a tradition of watching nothing but horror movies during the month of October.  Last year I joined in on the fun and managed to hit almost everyday with some horror goodness.  So, today being October 1st, I’ve decided to start things off with Halloween 4:  The Return of Michael Myers.

Horror in High Def

Horror in High Def Logo

In a continued effort to stay on top of the high definition horror scene here is a complete list of all upcoming Blu-ray horror movie releases. Updates to follow.

August 17, 2010
Dexter: The Complete Fourth Season (Paramount)
Dexter: The Complete Seasons 1 – 4 (Paramount)

August 24, 2010
Death Note Collection (Warner Brothers)
Survival of the Dead: Ultimate Undead Edition (Magnolia)

August 31, 2010
Evil Dead (Starz/Anchor Bay)
The Vampire Diaries: The Complete First Season (Warner Brothers)

September 07, 2010
Hatchet: Unrated Director’s Cut (Starz/Anchor Bay)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Warner Brothers)
Poltergeist (Non-Digibook) (Warner Brothers)
Pulse (Vivendi)
The Skeleton Key (Universal)
Supernatural: The Complete Fifth Season (Warner Brothers)

September 14, 2010
The Amityville Horror (2005) (MGM/UA)
Carrie (1976) (MGM Entertainment)
Feast (Vivendi)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) (MGM/UA)
Jacob’s Ladder (Lionsgate)
Return of the Living Dead (MGM/UA)
Se7en (New Line Cinema)
The Twilight Zone: Season 1 (1959) (Image)

September 28, 2010
Frozen (Starz/Anchor Bay)
The Killer Inside Me (MPI)
Prey (Vivendi)
Suck (Koch)

October 05, 2010
2001 Maniacs (Lionsgate)
30 Days of Night: Dark Days (Sony)
The Blair Witch Project (Lionsgate)
The Exorcist: Extended Director’s Cut (Warner Brothers)
Grindhouse: Special Edition (Vivendi)
Hard Candy (Lionsgate)
High Tension (Lionsgate)
Howling Trilogy – The Marsupials III, The Rebirth V, The Freaks VI (Timeless Media Group)
The Human Centipede (IFC Films)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) (Warner Brothers)
Open Water/Open Water 2: Adrift (Lionsgate)
Peanuts Holiday Collection (Warner Brothers)
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Undead (Indican)
Splice (Warner Brothers)
Troll 2: The 20th Anniversary Nilbog Edition (MGM/UA)
Wolf Creek (Vivendi)

October 12, 2010
The Lost Boys: The Thirst (Warner Brothers)

October 19, 2010
Black Christmas (2006) (Vivendi)
Mirrors 2 (20th Century Fox)
Psycho: 50th Anniversary Edition (Universal)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (35th Anniversary Edition) (20th Century Fox)
Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (FUNimation)

October 26, 2010
Alien Anthology (20th Century Fox)
Altitude (Starz/Anchor Bay)
House (1977) (Criterion)
Maniac (1980) (Blue Underground)

November 02, 2010
V: The Complete First Season (Warner Brothers)

November 09, 2010
Tremors (Universal)

November 16, 2010
Children of the Corn (2009) (Starz/Anchor Bay)
The Twilight Zone: Season 2 (1960) (Image)

December 28, 2010
Surf Nazis Must Die (Troma)