While Halloween has been underway since early September for some of us, October is the official start of the spooky season for many. One of the easiest and most fun ways to get into the right frame of mind is by sitting down with a big bowl of candy corn and your favorite adult beverage to enjoy some scary movies and TV shows!
Every Tuesday in October I’ll be running down some of the best spooooky releases coming to home media.
To see what’s coming out this week, read on!
All release info is from the excellent Blu-ray.com.
WolfCop: Wolfpack (2014-2017) – Image Entertainment – Me and the missus made it about fifteen minutes into WolfCop before deciding it wasn’t for us. We haven’t bothered with the sequel and likely won’t, but it certainly warrants a mention that both of them will be available as a set.
The Night Stalker (1972) – Kino Lorber – This is one of Mrs. Troublemaker’s favorite classic franchises. She isn’t big into physical media, but when a box set of the TV series was released a few years ago she had to have it.
For my part I could never get into the show, but the original TV film is great and Darren McGavin is absolutely awesome as Kolchak, the template for many grumpy paranormal investigators to follow.
The Night Strangler (1973) – Kino Lorber – You know, I’m not sure I even saw this one. I don’t think it was included in that box set and I know we’ve never had a copy. For some reason a 144-year old alchemist sounds more interesting to me than a vampire.
Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007) Steelbook – Weinstein Company – Not only have I owned several different versions of this movie, it was one of the first films I watched this year for my annual Halloween horror-thon. I know its divisive and I totally get why, but I dig it even if John Carpenter doesn’t (he doesn’t).
A steelbook isn’t enough to get me to buy it again, especially when the version I own now is the one from Scream Factory’s excellent Halloween box set.
All of The Purge Movies (2013-2018) – Universal Studios – I still haven’t seen any of these.
I avoid politics like the plague and the trailer for the first one put me off so badly I just wrote it off as something that was not for me. As the series has gone on I’ve heard mostly good things about it, and very little about the films being preachy. Apparently they’re just good, twisted fun. Someday I’ll give ‘em a shot, but probably not this year.
For fans, Universal is releasing new 4K editions of each movie alongside the home release of the newest installment – The First Purge. There are also Best Buy Exclusive Steelbooks.
The Shining (1980) Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook – Warner Bros. – I adore this movie without reservation. It’s one that I watch at least annually and I’ve already preordered this steelbook edition.
My Stephen King fandom is up there with GI Joe, Star Wars, and Doctor Who – certainly in my top five. But despite the fact that this is a terrible adaptation of King’s work, it is an absolutely fantastic film. I don’t necessarily worship at the altar of Kubrick, but in this one instance he created something that I find flawless.
Beetlejuice (1988) Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook – Warner Bros. – It hated missing the Beetlejuice panel for the Horror Track at Dragon Con this year. I love everything about this movie. My Papaw took me to see it when it came out and twelve year-old me felt the weirdness that had always isolated me finally connecting with something.
Details aren’t readily available for this release, but I’ll assume it’s the same as the 20th Anniversary Edition, minus the soundtrack sampler.
Tales from the Hood 2 (2018) – Universal Studios – I was ready to poo-poo this one, but then I saw that the creative team from the original is behind it – Spike Lee, Rusty Cundieff, and Darin Scott. This time around Kieth David is in the role of Mr. Simms and all three of those talents have twenty-three years more experience under their belts. I didn’t love the first one, but I’m actually excited for this.
Stephen King’s IT (1990) Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook – Warner Bros. – People rightfully adore Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise the Dancing Clown in this made-for-TV adaptation. I love Harry Anderson and John Ritter, and I think Annette O’Toole does a very good job as Beverly. But even back in the day this adaptation of one of my all-time favorite novels always felt very pedestrian to me. Director Tommy Lee Wallace just didn’t seem to bring the same weirdness and energy to this that he did to Halloween III, which is weird because in hindsight the idea of the guy that made that adapting IT seems like a perfect fit.
I just learned that Emily Perkins – of the excellent Ginger Snaps franchise – played young Beverly in this one. Neat-o.
An American Werewolf in London (1981) Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook – Universal Studios – This is one of those movies that has been imitated – well and poorly – so many times that its specialness gets a little hazy.
It’s well worth revisiting every so often for that reminder of just how tight, creepy, and visually arresting it is. Sure – there are other werewolf movies I prefer, but even after thrity-seven years and countless imitators John Landis’ vision stands out.
Salem’s Lot (1979) Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook – Warner Bros. – Off the top of my head, this Tobe Hooper project is the most successful televised adaptation of Stephen King’s work.
Much like Kubrick’s adaptation, Hooper and screenwriter Paul Monash took some liberties, but it was all to the benefit of the medium. Despite the three hour runtime and my ever-increasing sense of the urgency of life and time, I’ll still sit down with this one every year around October.
Feral (2017) – Shout Factory – I don’t know a thing about this one other than the fact that it stars Scout Taylor-Compton and Lew Temple – Rob Zombie alumni – and is being released by Shot Factory. That’s enough for me to want to see it.
The Devil’s Doorway (2018) – Shout Factory – “In the fall of 1960, Father Thomas Riley and Father John Thornton were sent by the Vatican to investigate a miraculous event in an Irish home for ‘fallen women’, only to uncover something much more horrific.”
I can’t say it sounds worth purchasing sight unseen, but it definitely qualifies for a rental or Netflix viewing.
Blood Fest (2018) – Cinedigm – I watched the trailer for this the other day and while the plot has potential – attendees of a horror festival start dropping like flies – the trailer looked very generic. Like an early aughts horror flick.
It could still be plenty of fun or at least worth 90 minutes of your Halloween spooky time, but the trailer made me less excited for it. Mostly because of the bland mask the killer was wearing.
Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection (1931-1954) Best Buy Exclusive Digibook – Universal Studios – If the thirty film box set that came out a few weeks ago was more than you wanted, this eight-movie set is a must-have for the casual horror fan. It includes the essential basics of the Universal Monsters collection. If you’re even reading this article I promise you’ll never question having it on your shelf.
This Best Buy Exclusive includes a fancy package and lobby cards with artwork by Alex Ross, if you’re into that sort of thing. Personally I’ll be holding out for the Mark Maddox edition.
Corpse Prison (2017) – Sentai Filmworks – Here’s where you learn a bit about my weird taste and standards.
Corpse Prison is an extremely compelling name for a horror flick and twelve bucks is the right price for me to invest in said flick without looking for reviews or even a synopsis. Sometimes it’s fun just to throw in some weird, unfamiliar movie and see what happens.
Be sure to check back next week for more spooky releases!
In the meantime, join the Needless Things Podcast Facebook Group and let us know what you’re watching this Halloween!