Top 10 Blu-Rays Every Horror Fan MUST Own

Our resident Blu-ray reviewer Joshua Dean is back and this time he is featuring the top 10 must haves on Blu-ray that every horror fan MUST own. Enjoy!

Blu-ray has been around for several years now… but it is now that it is finally taking off and becoming mainstream. All of us at Slasher Studios love our horror films very much… and many of us want to own and experience them in the best way possible. Barring theatrical exhibition (and sometimes it’s even better than that), Blu-ray is the ultimate way to experience a film. A picture that replicates the look of an actual physical film print (unless it’s a botched transfer), and often times going beyond that with 4K scans or restorations of the original camera negative (such as Halloween’s new Anniversary Edition, or Jaws), combined with stellar uncompressed audio that matches even what the theater can offer, is what makes Blu-ray such a great format for film buffs such as ourselves. Here I am going to list ten of the best Blu-ray releases the genre has seen, and films no horror fan should be without. The criteria for making this list includes several factors: Picture quality, sound quality, and extras. Extras come last for a reason… The object of Blu-ray is to offer the “perfect movie-viewing experience,” if you will. Extras are nice to have, but if the movie looks bad, why bother?

Since mainstream horror films tend to get the best treatment on Blu-ray (That’s not to say Scream Factory doesn’t do a stellar job with with their more obscure chillers, though!), I’ll mainly be covering those this time… but I shall return with full reviews on the more hidden gems, as well!

(in alphabetical order)

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ALIEN (1979, Ridley Scott) Fox Home Entertainment
Starring Tom Skerritt and Sigourney Weaver.
Presented from an all-new 4K master, Ridley Scott’s 1979 “slasher-in-space” masterpiece delivers on Blu-ray. The picture is stunning, with a fine, but natural film grain providing clarity, enhancing the production design of both the Nostromo itself, and the titular ALIEN that terrorizes first-time horror heroine Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, and a cast of now-legendary actors aboard their isolated ship. While the single-disc original only offers minimal supplements (a pair of commentaries, two different isolated score tracks, and deleted scenes… but also two cuts of the film), the Alien Anthology box set (that can be had cheaply if you catch it on sale, as low as $30!) offers comparable extras for all four films (ALIEN, ALIENS, ALIEN3, ALIEN: RESURRECTION), as well as two packed bonus discs includeing over 12,000 stills combined of photos and artwork, several behind the scenes featurettes, and more.

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THE EVIL DEAD (1981, Sam Raimi) Anchor Bay Entertainment
Starring Bruce Campbell and Ellen Sandweiss.
Despite the widely-available release being short on extras (offering only a commentary) it delivers a stunning presentation- wait… no, two stunning presentations of this classic cheese-fest. Presented in its original 4×3 version as well as an “enhanced widescreen version” (again clipping the top and bottom of the frame, but this time doing a much better job than the many DVD releases), the film looks and sounds much better than ever before. Despite Anchor Bay’s ever-disintegrating reputation for their horror releases, they must be commended for one thing: The horror titles they DO appreciate, they deliver. Great care was put into this amazing (still VERY grainy and VERY ugly to the unexpecting eye) transfer, and it can be had very cheaply. My local Walmart sells it for $10. With it being Halloween season, however, you may well find it cheaper. Also released in a limited editon with a DVD bonus disc of extras.

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THE EXORCIST (1973, William Friedkin) Warner Home Video
Starring Ellen Burstyn and Max Von Sydow.
Called the scariest film of all time, this demonic shocker featuring Linda Blair as the possessed daughter of actress Ellen Burstyn debuted on Blu-ray in 2010, featuring both the original theatrical cut, as well as the 2000 Director’s Cut, in absolutely stunning transfers (each cut got its own unique transfer, and details often differ between the two versions) with superb soundtracks… and a large host of extra features, including more than a couple documentaries and three commentaries (one for the extended cut, two for the original cut). It was offered in a digibook package with shiny metallic artwork and plenty of photos and information that would keep fans pleased. Sadly, it is out of print, but a 40th anniversary edition is due out on October 8th with a host of new supplements and presumably new transfers… though I don’t believe they’d be necessary.

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THE FOG: Collector’s Edition (1979, John Carpenter) Scream Factory
Starring Adrienne Barbeau and Jamie Lee Curtis.
John Carpenter’s post-Halloween ghost story comes with a very spooky-looking transfer (complete with his signature “blue glow”) by cinematographer Dean Cundey and a few new bonuses that are sure to enhance any fan’s enjoyment of the film. First up is a commentary with Adrienne Barbeau, Tom Atkins, and Tommy Lee Wallace, joined by Horror’s Hallowed Grounds’ Sean Clark. This track is very fun, but only mildly informative. Also included is a very candid, and very revealing interview with a decidedly unbashful Jamie Lee Curtis, who admits that she doesn’t much care for the film, and reveals that its production was tainted by the recent split of writer/producer/director team Carpenter and Debra Hill, as well as Hill and Curtis’ dealing with Carpenter’s new lady, Barbeau, being ever-present as the film’s lead. There are several more extras included, most from the prior DVD release from MGM.

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HALLOWEEN: 35th Anniversary Edition (1978, John Carpenter) Anchor Bay Entertainment
Starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Carpenter’s classic suspense thriller arrives in a gorgeous digibook package with several rare photos and lovely new artwork, but the real treat here is the revelatory new video transfer (like The Fog, supervised by Dean Cundey) and immersive 7.1 Dolby TrueHD sound mix. This film truly looks perfect. Supplements are weak for those hoping to learn about the film’s production, but the ones that are included celebrate the film, including a new commentary by Curtis and Carpenter (which, like The Fog’s commentary, is more fun than informative) and a documentary following Jamie Lee Curtis and many of her fans (myself included) to her first (and only) horror convention. The extras are fun, but the real reason to scoop this one up is the new transfer that makes the previous BLu-ray release look flat-out bad.

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JAWS (1975, Steven Spielberg) Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Starring Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw.
Spielberg’s classic beach thriller arrives with a fully restored transfer from the original 35MM film elements, and it looks GREAT. The film definitely shows its age, but it looks amazing. The new 7.1 DTS-HD sound mix is strong, but I personally find the original mono track to be more engaging… especially since the new mix renders a certain word at the end virtually inaudible. A long list of documentaries, featurettes, and deleted scenes accompany the release, as well.

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A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (1984, Wes Craven) Warner Home Video
Starring John Saxon and Ronee Blakley.
1, 2, Freddy’s coming for you! This strong Blu-ray release gives very strong picture and sound quality, though some of the visual effects suffer a bit due to the leap in clarity. The film boasts 7.1 DTS-HD audio and a long list of extras (admittedly all from the infiniFILM DVD edition), including two commentaries, both featuring star Heather Langenkamp and director Craven, but both tracks offering a different experience as each one features different people, such as John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Sara Risher, Robert Shaye, and Jacques Haitkin. Three featurettes and a host of alternate endings also fill the disc, which is also available in a series box set featuring the six surprisingly good sequels (2: FREDDY’S REVENGE, 3: DREAM WARRIORS, 4: THE DREAM MASTER, 5: THE DREAM CHILD, 6: FREDDY’S DEAD – THE FINAL NIGHTMARE, and 7: NEW NIGHTMARE), admittedly with transfers and soundtracks somewhat inferior to the masterful work afforded to the original, as well as a host of extras.

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PSYCHO: 50th Anniversary Edition (1960, Alfred Hitchcock) Universal Studios Home Entertainment (OOP in the US)
Starring Anthony Perkins and Vera Miles.
The shower scene looks absolutely sensational in this restored transfer from the original film materials, as does the rest of the black-and-white mystery-thriller. While you may not expect a black-and-white film to gain much from a high-definition presentation, this disc will prove you dead wrong. The high resolution causes the contrast-based picture to look absolutely stunning. Grain is present, and even heavy at times, but is never intrusive. The strong transfer also serves to show off the beauty of stars Janet Leigh and Vera Miles, as well as the haunting Bates house and motel. Featuring a large selection of archival extras (can you really expect more? This movie is now 53 years old.) and a newly created 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track… but in this case, stick with the (included) mono track… as the creators of the new track tend to get a little free with sound effects and the like.

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ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968, Roman Polanski) The Criterion Collection
Starring Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes.
Polanski’s spooky – and surprisingly comedic – horror masterpiece also featuring Ruth Gordon (in an Oscar-winning performance) is given the deluxe treatment by The Criterion Collection, offering a fully restored digital transfer supervised by Polanski. This movie looks simply stunning. Colors are beautifully reproduced, a visible-but-non-intrusive grain structure is everpresent, and a brand new documentary, featuring Polanski, star Mia Farrow, and producer Robert Evans, accompanies. Also included is a feature-length documentary about composer Krzysztof Komeda and a booklet with plenty of printed goodies.

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THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE: The Ultimate Edition (1974, Tobe Hooper) Dark Sky Films (OOP)
Starring Marilyn Burns and Allen Danziger
One may not think this film would be particularly suited to the Blu-ray format. However, just the opposite is true. While some may think the grainy 16MM nature of the film would hinder its presentation in high definition, it actually enhances it. Transferred directly from the original film materials, the grainy 16MM film looks gorgeous. Yes, it’s still VERY grainy. Yes, details are not what you’d get with, say, Halloween, Jaws, or Alien… or any of the aforementioned releases, actually. What it DOES offer, however, is a truly chilling grindhouse experience. Featuring two commentaries, several featurettes, bloopers, and delted scenes, this sadly-OOP release can still be had relatively cheaply on Amazon.

Tim’s Slasher Tweet Reviews: “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (2003)

Today we bring you a brand new slasher review from our one and only twitter reviewer Tim Schilling. In the first review we bring you today, Tim will be looking at “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” remake. The film received mixed reviews but was a huge commercial success making over $80 million on a $10 million budget. Let’s see nine years later how well this remake holds up to the original classic.

Thoughts before the film:
The original #TexasChainsawMassacre is one of my favorite horror movies. I love the whole series too(3 is the only one I haven’t seen yet).

Thoughts while watching:
0:02 I liked the way they introduced the movie. Very different.
0:07 I want this guy’s van. They’re too freaking cool.
0:16 This old lady ain’t calling the cops.
0:22 That possum had to of been mutant or something.
0:26 This house was definitely a slave house in the past, no question.
0:31 I want pet pigs in my house! Wait I lied.
0:32 No other movie in this series could ever top seeing Leatherface for the first time like they did in the original
0:41 Oh no… Teeth. If I have nightmares about my teeth remember, I will sue.
0:45 Leatherface doesn’t give a crap about the house in every movie. It just gets destroyed all the time.
0:46 The car doesn’t start. Typical.
0:54 There weren’t any bullets in the gun, typical!
1:00 Holy crap, Leatherface is really creepy in this one when he changed faces.
1:01 At least he’s not a screeching transvestite anymore.
1:20 Going to a meat factory in a horror movie is just asking to die.
1:25 Leatherface gets messed up in this movie.
1:28 What’s with people not being able to explain what happened to them? A guy chased me with a chainsaw. Easy.

Final Verdict:
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (remake) wasn’t that bad I don’t think. By the end it got repetitive, but I thought it was a different but good take on the simple story of the original.

To follow Tim on twitter: https://twitter.com/schillingt
To follow Slasher Studios on twitter: https://twitter.com/slasherstudios

Tim’s Slasher Tweet Reviews: “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation” (1994)

I’ve never quite understood the hatred towards “Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.” It’s wonderfully dark, featuring early turns by both Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger, and features a nice amount of bloody goodness. Nonetheless, it has turned into the black sheep of Chainsaw family among most horror fans. Does it deserve another look? Tim Schilling is back with a brand new tweet by tweet review to find out.

Thoughts before the film:
The last time I saw this movie, I got screamed at by my dad to turn it off. I never got to finish it. But remember liking it for some reason…

Thoughts while watching:

0:06 Lol @ Renee Zellweger.
0:09 You get into TWO accidents like 5 minutes from each other and you care about getting a little scar?
0:12 The girl who was driving the car is possible one of the worst actresses I have ever seen.
0:15 Damn rednecks.
0:19 I wonder how many times this flashlight is gonna go out?
0:28 They’re trying to recreate scenes from the original movie… It’s not working.
0:34 Matthew Mcidontknowhowtospellit is actually kinda good in this movie. I never thought I would say that about him.
0:40 Why would you jump on a power line!?
0:46 I wanna go to a drive through pizza place.
0:57 This movie is hardly about Leatherface. He’s just crying in the background 99% of the time.
1:08 Every time I watch a TCM movie I think grandpa is dead and they keep the body. But then he gets up & walks around.
1:14 … random spinoffs to cash in if this movie worked.
1:19 Leatherface is just a screeching transvestite in this movie. It’s kinda hilarious.

Final Verdict:
(I know for a fact that I’m alone on this, but) I’m really not sure why I like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Next Generation. The movie was a good throwback I think to the horror comedies made in the 80’s. It also had decent acting from some of the people. If it wasn’t part of the TCM series I think people would have liked it more.

To follow Tim on twitter: https://twitter.com/schillingt
To follow Slasher Studios on twitter: https://twitter.com/slasherstudios

Tim’s Slasher Tweet Reviews: “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2” (1986)

Our resident Twitter reviewer Tim Schilling is back with another slasher review, this one for the underappreciated sequel “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.” The first one was a huge hit with both horror fans and critics alike receiving rave reviews and huge box office ($30 million on a budget of less than $1 million is pretty damn impressive). Will the dark comedy of the sequel sit well with Tim or will he “buzz” it to shreds?

Thoughts before the film:
I watched The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the first time (don’t judge) a few weeks ago & LOVED it, I hope #TheTexasChainsawMassacre2 holds up!

Thoughts while watching:
0:02 Why did I not know Tom Savini did the makeup for this!? I love him.
0:03 So far, I’m diggin this music. A lot.
0:06 I have a feeling… That these guys are gonna die.
0:10 This bridge is pretty damn long.
0:19 That chili looks terrifying.
0:19 …and there was a tooth in it.
0:24 I’m not sure if the guy selling the chainsaws was scared or getting turned on by the cop…
0:36 This guy in the radio station is seriously freaking me out. Why is he lighting the hanger!?
0:36 Is he one of the brothers from the first movie? I can’t remember.
0:37 Never mind. I always answer my own question.
0:46 Hey stupid bitch, you’ve had like ten minutes to run away now.
0:48 This girl must have watched a lot of horror movies. She knew that if she called the cops, they would do nothing.
1:02 No way is he still alive. He got beat with a hammer, his face ripped off and most of his skin ripped off. Bs.
1:19 How is grandpa still alive!?
1:26 That chicken shit burrito man!
1:29 Why is Bill Moseley so good in this movie?
1:31 No Leatherface. You have a chainsaw in your stomach. You can’t fight anymore.

Overall:
#TexasChainsawMassacre2 had a very different feel from the first one but in this case it worked. It was creepy, funny & I liked the story a lot. I also thought it was shot very well, like the first. I liked the lighting and the sets were really cool.

To follow Tim on twitter: https://twitter.com/schillingt
To follow Slasher Studios on twitter: https://twitter.com/slasherstudios

Tim’s Slasher Tweet Reviews: “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974)

Our resident Twitter reviewer Tim Schilling is back with another bloody good slasher review. This time Tim is taking on the immortal “buzzworthy” slasher classic: “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” Does it still hold a edge 38 years after its original release or is it a classic that has not withstood the test of time? Get out your chainsaws and start hacking as we find out.

Thoughts before the film:
Gonna watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre… yes? The original #TexasChainsawMassacre!

Thoughts while watching:
0:00 Apparently #TheTexasChainsawMassacre is wildly popular cause I’m getting retweeted and favorited like a mofo right now!
0:05 In 2001 Maniacs when Eli Roth’s character throws an armadillo at the car, #TexasChainsawMassacre reference anyone?
0:12 10 minutes in and I think I now know everything I need to know about killing a cow.
0:17 That dude was freaking weird and completely random. What the heck just happened!
0:18 Let’s get sliced open from a random freak and read horoscopes guys.
0:21 The guy who kept on going back to wash their car, way too funny.
0:29 Franklin sounds like Donald Duck.
0:39 I can imagine this movie being terrifying when it first came out.
0:46 Sweet Jesus Leatherface, your screams are freaking me out.
0:50 Sassy Sally.
1:01 Smackin Sassy Sally with a broom.
1:11 Grandpa’ is alive!? Or I don’t even know, what the heck just happened.
1:15 There’s the Psycho reference I’ve been waiting to see all movie.
1:17 Tobe Hooper is a very over dramatic filmmaker, but it works perfectly for this movie.
1:18 Sassy Sally is always jumping through windows like she does it on a daily basis.

Overall:
I honestly did not know that #TheTexasChainsawMassacre was as scary as it was. From the weird&creepy music to the seriously frightening screams of Leatherface,#TexasChainsawMassacre is one of the scariest films Ive seen.

To follow Tim on twitter: https://twitter.com/schillingt
To follow Slasher Studios on twitter: https://twitter.com/slasherstudios