One of the best of the many geeky developments of the 2010's has been the ongoing restoration of weird, old horror movies for release on Blu-ray. The glut of restorations has helped reshape the history of cult cinema. There are so many releases each year, in fact, that unless you are the sort of person who repeatedly explains to their wife that "this is a tax write-off, honey, I swear" (just me?), you probably haven't been able to buy them all.
Whether you've got a horror fan in your life or the horror fan in your life is you, it's not easy to know which releases are the most worth the money, especially around the holidays. So consider this a list straight from my personal collection of the 10 best horror movies that got released on Blu-ray this year (that aren't Get Out, because we all trust you to know you should buy the best movie of 2017).
Please, please, please -- use this as a starting point. WAY MORE THAN TEN HORROR MOVIES CAME OUT THIS YEAR. So after you're done with reading this list, recommend some favorites from your own growing collection, too, so everyone can be poor.
Here is our list in no particular order:
The Mummy/Dracula Complete Legacy Collection
SYFY WIRE's parent company, NBC UNIVERSAL, is home to what might be the original shared universe: the Universal Monsters. And, while in 2016, the Frankenstein and Wolf Man Universal movies each saw their own collected releases on Blu-ray, it wasn't until 2017 that we received what I would argue are two superior sets for The Mummy and Dracula.
You've probably seen the original Boris Karloff Mummy and, naturally, Bela Lugosi's iconic Dracula. But there are a lot of other really interesting films in these collections you may be less familiar with. Stuff like 1944's The Mummy's Curse, for example, which featured a lady mummy long before the Dark Universe was very temporarily a thing. There's also Dracula's Daughter which features a hinted lesbian relationship that was very influential on future vampire films. And if you haven't seen the Spanish Dracula, which was filmed on the same set as Lugosi's original, then you haven't lived, friend.
The 1970s were a good time to save money by filming your low-budget film in Canada and also guarantee return on investment by ripping off The Exorcist. At the corner of these two avenues towards moderate horror movie success is the 1977 classic, Cathy's Curse.
If you have never heard of Cathy's Curse, it's probably because, despite being one of the weirder, more entertaining "so bad it's good" movies out there, it has always been borderline unwatchable. But 2017 saw Severin get their grubby mitts on recently discovered film elements and summon the willingness to produce a full restoration for Cathy's Curse, giving fans old and new the chance to actually see it for the first time.
And what a sight to behold. Cathy's Curse is deliciously hammy schlock from start to finish. Evil dolls? Possession? Drunks? Adorable white bunny rabbits running into the street? Cathy's Curse has got it all.
House and House II: Second Story
The House movies are weird, disconnected messes and I love them. They were a staple of basic cable programming for years, but it was only in the year of our lord 2017 that Arrow decided it was time for the world to see what stands as some of the best monster effects of the 1980s.
Here's all you need to know: the first House features Norm from Cheers, and the second House features Cliff from Cheers. Nothing guarantees quality films like America's favorite barflies.
If you don't love the Final Destination franchise, you are missing out. But the idea of weird things happening to someone after the survive a plane crash didn't start with Final D, as those movies were actually influenced by Sole Survivor, a movie most people have never even heard of. There's psychics, there's zombies, there's the thrilling drama of producing a tea commercial. Sole Survivor has everything!
Really, Sole Survivor is very good and if you like the original Final Destination at all, or zombies, or producing tea commercials, you will love it.
The Lure is the one "new" movie to make the list. You may have heard that The Shape of Water is the new hotness of mermaid movies, but can I tempt you away from del Toro for a moment in favor of this Polish horror musical about mermaids who sing and eat people?
Criterion knocked this one out and it's been getting raves ever since. Honestly, it hews very closely to the original Hans Christian Anderson story, but it's still rad and weird and very much worth owning so you can lure (get it?) your friends into watching it and being very confused.
The Devil's Rain
Did you know there was a movie that features Ernest Borgnine, William Shatner, John Travolta, and Tom Skerritt? And had head of the Church of Satan, Anton Levay, involved to consult?
That movie is The Devil's Rain and it is straight up bananas. If you want to see William Shatner get possessed by Ernest Borgnine in weird devil makeup, golly is this ever the movie for you. Come for the Shatnerian delight, stay for the weird melty wax masks.
We love Vinegar Syndrome so much we went for a Mister Roger's Neighborhood tour of their facility . And they've put out so many good releases this year: Psycho Cop Returns, Snapshot, Demon Wind, a movie about cannibalistic cats called The Corpse Grinders -- you know, the classics. But I've got to give it up for their releaser of the true VHS rental classic, Slaughterhouse.
I remember seeing the box art of Buddy with his meat cleaver and his pig tail necklace as a kid and being equally freaked out and intrigued. This is one of those gross slashers I wish got as much love as Halloween or Texas Chain Saw Massacre does. And now that it's got a stellar 2k restoration, it finally can.
Long before Paul W.S. Anderson became the Resident Evil and Alien vs. Predator guy, he directed one of my all-time favorite horror movies in space, Event Horizon. The Event Horizon is a spaceship that travels through a black hole and gets lost in hell. And then Sam Neill and Lawrence Fishburne and Lucius Malfoy and Alfred Pennyworth from Gotham and a bunch of other people get trapped on the ship and shenanigans happen.
Honestly, what I remember most was renting this on VHS when it came out and rewatching the same extreme body horror hell sequence over and over again trying to see every detail. And now that it's finally out on Blu-ray, I can tell you: there's some messed up $#@! in there. Definitely worth owning.
Tales from the Hood
I know I said I wasn't going to include Get Out on this list because I already assume you're smart enough to buy one of the best horror movies to come out in decades, but that doesn't mean I can't include Scream Factory's release of a fantastic '90s horror anthology which also used racism as the root for its horror.
Tales from the Hood is seminal. is all well and good, but it was the Hood what revitalized anthology horror. Each story is scary and funny in its own way. and the overarching narrative weaves everything together in a surprisingly satisfying way.
All that plus David Allan Grier being scary as hell. And this is during his In Living Color, Men on Film, wearing a tiny hat, two snaps up phase, so that's really saying something.
George A. Romero: Between Night and Day
I wouldn't go wild and say that these are Romero's best works, but they do illustrate his evolution as one of the most influential filmmakers of the 20th century and that alone makes this collection well worth it.