October is the month most horror hounds relish, and for this latest edition of Blu-ray Roundup, I've gathered up a moonlit menagerie of bloody-good HD releases to haunt your Halloween. This creepy collection of fright flicks has something for everyone's sweet tooth, from an insane Scarlet Box Limited Edition Hellraiser set and a Bram Stoker's Dracula Signature Series offering to the eerie Japanese horror anthology Kwaidan, a disturbing '70s scream-fest, The Sentinel, Penny Dreadful Season 2, Vincent Price and Christopher Lee's The Oblong Box, an extended director's cut of this year's Poltergeist remake, the debut season of Fear The Walking Dead and more.
Hold out your trick-or-treat bags and let us fill it with this chilling graveyard of ghastly new Blu-ray releases.
HELLRAISER: THE SCARLET BOX LIMITED EDITION TRILOGY
This blood-red boxed masterpiece has such sinful sights to show you! This is the ultimate Hellraiser Blu-ray release by Arrow Video and one I can't wait to get my innocent hands on. Every attention to detail has been covered in this stunning 4-disc beast of a box set, crammed with Cenobites hunting for your soul and enough bonus material and documentaries from all three films to last into oblivion. Here are the highlights:
•Brand new 2K restorations of Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, and Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
•Uncompressed PCM Stereo 2.0 and Lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound for Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II
•Lossless DTS-HD MA 2.0 sound for Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
•Limited Edition bonus disc with fresh Clive Barker interviews and short films
•Exclusive 200-page hardback book with new writing from Clive Barker archivists Phil and Sarah Stokes
•20-page booklet featuring never-before-seen original Hellraiser concept art
•Limited Edition packaging with new artwork from Gilles Vranckx
•Set of 5 exclusive art cards
•Fold-out reversible poster
PENNY DREADFUL - THE COMPLETE SECOND SEASON 2015
Wow, I'm still recovering after the draining dirge of Penny Dreadful's shocking second season. For those of you unaware of Showtime's absorbing horror mashup series, or not caught up with the episodes, I'll dispense with any spoilery details, but suffice it to say you're in for one helluva time! This 3-disc set contains all the blood, guts, fangs and carnal pleasures Olde London has to offer with Ethan, Vanessa, Sir Malcolm and young Victor Frankenstein fending off the forces of darkness. Bonus features are sadly slim but are comprised of the following:
• Video Production Blog
• Reeve Carney Round Table
• History of the Occult
• Character Profile
• Evelyn Poole’s Mansion
• Interview/Behind the Scenes
THE SATAN BUG 1965
This is a seriously scary biological weapon film with a sci-fi edge directed by the great John Sturges (The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape), with a menacing score by Alien's Jerry Goldsmith. It's a highly underrated pandemic thriller, with a solid cast led by George Maharis and Richard Basehart trying to recover lethal vials of the most terrifying bioweapon ever created, called the Satan Bug. Just as topical today as it was 50 years ago, the film has a new release that features a sparkling remastered print with audio commentary by film historian Glenn Erickson and theatrical trailers.
POLTERGEIST - EXTENDED CUT 2015
Evil Dead's Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert produced this remake of the Tobe Hooper classic from 1982, directed by Monster House's Gil Kenan. Though not as memorable as the Spielberg-produced suburban spook show, this version has its supporters, and now it's been given a deluxe extended director's cut with an alternative ending, along with a gallery of still images, director commentary and all theatrical trailers. Fox 2000's alternate version of the theatrical release contains 7-8 minutes of additional footage and a revised edit of the opening sequence. And more clown!
X-FILES THE ORIGINAL SEASONS 1-9 1993-2002
The truth is in this astounding multi-disc mega box set from 20th Century Fox that includes all 203 TV episodes of Chris Carter's seminal sci-fi mystery show that ran from 1993-2002. Not available until Dec. 8, the package offers special features crammed with a mind-boggling number of deleted scenes, extended scenes, commentaries, documentaries on the special effects, profiles on characters, cast photos, behind-the-scenes featurettes and more. With the new X-Files revival show coming to Fox in January of 2016, this could be the ultimate geeky Christmas dream gift of all time.
THE SENTINEL 1977
Remake alert!!! This supernatural horror flick from the '70s used to scare the stuffing out of me as a kid when it was on the Saturday afternoon scary movie lineup on cable. Scream Factory presents director Michael Winner's demonic drama about a fashion model who moves into a Brooklyn apratment building that just so happens to be the actual portal to Hell guarded by a blind monk. The finale with the denizens of Hades spilling out was filmed with actual deformed people and circus freaks with special makeup effects by The Exorcist's Dick Smith. Bonus features include a fresh HD transfer from the film's interpositive, audio commentary with star Cristina Raines, director Michael Winner and novel writer Jeffrey Konvitz, theatrical trailers and stills, and a gallery of production photos, posters and lobby cards.
THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA 1971
Scream Factory delivers this sinister sequel to AIP's iconic Count Yorga, Vampire from 1970, with the blood-sucking Robery Quarry reprising his role as the villainous modern day vampire, this time moving in next door to an orphange! These semi-campy Yorga flicks were bathed in technicolor blood, injected wth a hip '70s horror flair and were best seen late at night at your neighborhood drive-in through a foggy windshield. Bonus features include an audio commentary with film historian Steve Haberman and actor Randy De Luca, TV spots, theatrical trailer, posters, newspaper inserts, magazine cutouts, lobby cards and reviews.
PUPPET MASTER 4 1993
Here's a direct-to-video sequel to the never-ending Puppet Master franchise and directed by Jeff Burr (Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Pumpkinhead II: Blood Wings). Toulon's murderous marionettes, Blade, Pin Head and the other insane puppets are back to help their new boss, Decapitron, battle evil puppet twins called Totems in this fun horror flick with instant nostalgic appeal. This series has gone on far too long, but this third sequel blends enough dark fantasy with some creative kills to make it worth your while. Also contains a Burr audio commentary, a vintage “VideoZone” behind the scenes documentary, trailers, stills and more.
BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA 1992
I just tore open the Amazon box that delivered this beauty to my door and it is awesome! Francis Ford Coppola's lavish take on the Dracula legend takes on heroic proportions, with a killer cast featuring Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins, Richard E. Grant, Winona Ryder, Sadie Frost, Cary Elwes and Keanu Reeves. This limited-edition Supreme Cinema Series release includes an exclusive new intro from director Francis Ford Coppola, all-new clear case packaging, a 24-page book with rare photos, Reflections in Blood: Francis Ford Coppola and Bram Stoker’s Dracula featurette, rare 1993 Commentary with Francis Ford Coppola, Roman Coppola, and Greg Cannom, deleted scenes, trailers and more.
FEAR THE WALKING DEAD - THE FIRST COMPLETE SEASON 2015
Well, you may not get this in time for Halloween, but this slow-starting prequel series to The Walking Dead will be shambling into stores on December 1st in time for the holidays! This 6-episode sister series to AMC's horror sensation may hit its stride during its second season, set for The Walking Dead's mid-season hiatus in 2016. Until then, catch up on the how the zombie outbreak began on the palm-lined boulevards of sunny Los Angeles. Announced extras include the featurettes: A Look At the Series and Inside the Characters of Fear The Walking Dead.
Before there was The Grudge and The Ring, there was this eerie, atmospheric horror anthology from Japan, one of the finest Halloween viewing party selections ever conjured up. This new Criterion Collection release is the full three-hour version never seen in the United States. The allure of this title is the foursome of elegant Japanese ghost stories filmed by director Masaki Kobayashi, with lush, provocative cinematography, surreal sets and a true love of the source material, based on the Japanese folktales of writer Lafcadio Hearn. Special features of this must-have offering include: a new 2K digital restoration of director Masaki Kobayashi’s original cut, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack, new audio commentary by film historian Stephen Prince, an interview with Kobayashi from 1993, conducted by filmmaker Masahiro Shinoda, a new piece about author Lafcadio Hearn, theatrical trailers and a freshly-created English subtitle translation.
THE OBLONG BOX 1969
The stellar pairing of Vincent Price and Christopher Lee make this a no-brainer to buy for classic horror fans. Directed by Gordon Hessler (Scream and Scream Again, Cry of the Banshee), the loose adaptation of the immortal Edgar Allan Poe tale about voodoo, coffins, witchdoctors, grave robbing and revenge is given a sparkling 1080p transfer worthy of its cult status in horror circles. Comes packed with an audio commentary by film hstorian Steve Haberman, Edgar Allan Poe's Annabel Lee from 1969 narrated by Vincent Price, and trailers.
Now put down that fun-size Snickers and let us know which of these Halloween-time Blu-ray treasures you'll be feasting on soon.