No genre puts out more movies every month than the horror genre. Sure, big studio films always take the spotlight, but nearly every Tuesday of the year finds a handful of straight-to-video horror movies hitting store shelves. For any other month, sorting through the myriad of lesser profile releases to find the diamonds in the rough isn't too daunting of a task. When it comes to October releases, however, the sheer volume of new titles can be overwhelming.
With Halloween looming on the horizon, the tenth month of the year naturally finds every film fan with horror movies on the brain. So instead of leaving you to sift through this month's DVDs and Blu-rays, of which there are some 82 odd new releases, we've done the leg work to bring you the highlights. And, yes, you read that figure correctly: there are over 82 horror films new to DVD and Blu-ray this month.
'A Nightmare on Elm Street' (2010) [Amazon]- Reaction to the latest in Platinum Dunes' attempts to plunder '80s horror icons for 20th Century box office gold was pretty muted. Some, myself included, responded to its considerably darker tones favorably, but the growing chorus upon release was that it was a completely pointless remake that offered no improvements over the original film. Still, if you missed it in theaters but were still curious to see what Jackie Earle Haley brings to the Freddy Kruger table, now is as good a time as any.
'Splice' [Amazon]- Vincenzo Natali's ('Cube') new film, 'Splice,' failed to impress at the box office earlier this summer, but that's really no surprise considering how (intentionally) odd the film is. Trailers made it out to be a paint-by-numbers 'Species' knock-off, but it's a much richer tale of what happens when scientists ignore their own rules. As far as genres go, it's a quarter horror, a quarter sci-fi and half dark comedy; which is a genre blend that not a lot of people are going to embrace. Hopefully it finds its audience at home, however, as such a blend is too unique to fade into obscurity.
'Predators' [Amazon]- The original 'Predator' was part sci-fi horror, part action, but Nimrod Antal's 'Predators' is far more of an action movie than it is anything else. That said, since the Predator is such an icon within the genre community, it's worth mentioning that this fun (if basic) franchise restarter is now out on DVD and Blu-ray.
'S&Man' [Amazon] - JT Petty's fascinating film about the seedy, underground market for homemade horror movies has been sitting on a shelf for several years now, but now it's finally out on DVD and Blu-ray. It's going to be a difficult watch for anyone but hardened horror fans, but if you consider yourself the latter, it's a totally engrossing film.
'Doghouse' [Amazon]- Jake West ('Evil Aliens) has matured quite substantially with 'Doghouse,' his riff on zombie comedies staring the always likable Danny Dyer. That sounds a bit strange considering his film about a group of guys whose drunken weekend is ruined when the female population of the town they're staying at are old turned into blood thirsty zombies is still full of West's politically incorrect sense of humor, but compared to the British director's other films, 'Doghouse' looks like a multi-million dollar film that slipped through Hollywood's cracks. Definitely worth a checkout.
'Coffin Rock' [Amazon] - An Australian thriller that is rather conventional plot wise, but still a tense watch all of the same. It's likely not to be a priority watch for anyone other than those who can't wait to see every genre movie the Ozzies are putting out these days, but if you stumble across it at some point it's a not a bad way to spend an hour and a half.
'Night of the Demons' [Amazon] - Unfortunately there's a bit of a reason that Adam Gierasch's 'Night of the Demons' remake is going straight-to-video. Surprise: it's not very good. At times it's a lot of fun to watch, trouble is that Gierasch doesn't exactly know how to manage his time, so any entertaining momentum is surely squandered in due time. As lackluster as the film is as a whole, however, it's definitely a nice turn for Monica Keena, who kind of faded a way after 'Freddy vs. Jason' but who returns here as an ass-kicking hottie. Unfortunately you have to put up with the likes of a coked out Edward Furlong and a supremely awkward Shannon Elizabeth along the way.
'Mirrors 2' [Amazon] - Not many people were clamoring for a sequel to Alexandre Aja's mediocre 'Mirrors', but that didn't exactly prevent it from taking shape. Nick Stahl takes the lead as the "Crap, the mirrors are haunted!" guy this time around and he's fine in the role given the material at hand. The script is a bit thin (a disappointment considering screenwriter Matt Venne turned 'White Noise 2' in a film that eclipsed the original), but director Victor Garcia does a good job with drawing out the gore, so fans who are in the mood for minimal complexity but some decent kills should come away satisfied.
'Sisters' [Amazon]- Having not seen Douglas Buck's remake of Brian De Palma's 'Sisters,' I can't attest as to how much of a gamble it ultimately is. Between Chloe Sevigny, Stephen Rea and Dallas Roberts, however, it's got a very solid cast. That alone is intriguing enough to check it out.
'Lost Boys: The Thirst' [Amazon]- As with 'Mirrors 2,' 'Lost Boys: The Thirst' is another sequel that fans weren't exactly on bended knee begging for (though Corey Feldman probably was). Reactions to it thus far have been a bitter stronger than they were to 'The Tribe,' but that's not saying a ton. Only die hard fans of the original 'Lost Boys' will likely want to jump all over this one.
'Colin' [Amazon]- 'Colin' is best known as the British zombie movie that caught some attention at Cannes for having been made for a budget under $80. It's certainly not going to wow anyone who likes their undead movies big and brash, but for those who seek some innovation in the genre, it's certainly going to be worth tracking down.
'Altitude' [Amazon]- Lovecraft fans instantly fell in love with the marketing materials for 'Altitude,' which consisted simply of a plane high in a gloomy sky whilst giant tentacles originating from an unseen source reached toward it. Those were all prerelease images, of course. The final film is fairly unanimously disappointing people thanks to an exceptionally hateful cast of characters, but brave souls may still want to take the trip.
'The Exorcist' [Amazon] - William Friedkin's seminal horror film has been at the top of any genre fan's Must Have Blu-ray list ever since the medium was invented. Now it's finally here in one of Warner Bros. great book cases, featuring both the original theatrical cut of the film as well as the special edition.
'Psycho' [Amazon]- Yet another Must Have catalog title that's been begging for a Blu-ray. This set isn't as feature-packed as some of the other catalog titles out this week, but the presentation is pristine.
'Alien Anthology' [Amazon] - I've yet to lay eyes on the set myself, but from all of the reviews that are popping up online, Fox has done as tremendous a job with this newly remastered Blu-ray set of the 'Alien' franchise as they did with the 'Alien Quadrilogy' DVD boxset all those years ago. The image quality is set to be absolutely stunning, with our own Scott Weinbergcommenting that, "You can see details as they approach the planet that quite simply were invisible on other formats."
'Troll 2' [Amazon] - Let's be honest: there's really no reason that 'Troll 2' needs to be on Blu-ray unless it's going to be on a disc overencumbered with special features. Sadly, that is not that disc. However, if you ever wanted to visit Nilbog in HD, your prayers have been answered.
'House' [Amazon] - The fact that the notoriously weird Japanese film 'House' is hitting Blu-ray and DVD as part of the Criterion Collection should be motivation enough for anyone to be curious about this oddity from the '70s. The film itself is something you either love or hate, but it's tough not to admire the quality of Criterion's disc. Not only does the video quality look remarkably well preserved for a cult film, but the special features (which include a brief, but new interview with Ti West professing his love for the film) are as well.
'Maniac' [Amazon] - Few cult film champions do as fine a job honoring their films as Blue Underground, whose latest release is William Lustig's 1980 serial killer flick 'Maniac.' The source material isn't exactly something that's going to make your HDTV weep with joy, so don't expect a revolutionary Blu-ray transfer, but Blue Underground have compensated by offering up oodles of extras.
'Slumber Party Massacre Collection' [Amazon] - Amy Holden Jones' 'Slumber Party Massacre' is a favorite among fans of sleazy '80s slashers, so of course Shout! Factory did right by the series. It may not be on Blu-ray, but this new entry in their Roger Corman Cult Classics label does include all three films as well as a brand new three-part documentary, 'Sleepless Nights.'