Do you have a horror fan in your life and you’re pretty sure they already own Halloween in 4k? Maybe BBP!’s Andy Burns and I can help with that, including some choices that are a little off the beaten path.
Right off the bat, I’m going to start with what could be a controversial recommendation since these are all pre-orders from Severin Films. None of the titles/bundles will reach the giftee until the end of March, but as a die-hard horror fan myself, opening a receipt with a promise of a bunch of cool shit a couple of months away would be totally cool. So, Severin Films has announced the opening of pre-orders for Alex Iglesia’s Perdita Durango and El Dia Del La Bastia, which you can purchase together in a couple of different bundles which include t-shirts and enamel pins. Similarly, they’re releasing the sequel to Werner Herzog’s amazing remake of Nosferatu, called Nosferatu in Venice. Now, as a big fan of Herzog and Kinski, I don’t know how I never heard of this film, but I’m all in (someone on Facebook compared the film to The Howling 2, and honestly that just made me more excited to see it). The film can also be purchased with a t-shirt and enamel pins. All three films have wonderful packaging, slipcovers, and tons of extras. Severin always does a great job.
But maybe you want to actually have a physical gift to give. Arrow Video has just released a box set of Lamberto Bava and Dario Argento’s Demons 1 and 2 in a beautiful limited edition package. Remastered with extras, these two films are insanely fun and meta years before Scream. These are Region B discs, but I keep hearing that Blu-rays aren’t actually region-locked, but you might want to make sure the giftee has a region free player before getting this package. But that’s not all Arrow has coming out, so watch the video below for more ideas.
In addition to new releases though, Arrow released five films from Spanish director Jose Larraz, the first three in a handsome box set that includes Whirlpool, Vampyres, and The Coming of Sin, the next is a weird horror Scooby-Doo like slasher/mystery called Deadly Mansion, and finally, a lost Spanish/American co-production of a VHS era slasher called Edge of the Ax, which, if you grew up in the 80s, you’ll probably recognize the box art even if you’ve never seen the film. These five films are very cool and unjustly obscure and Arrow did an amazing job restoring them and packing them with cool extras.
Scream Factory has some amazing bundles themselves, featuring the remastered and uncut My Bloody Valentine, which comes with a beautiful lithograph and a NECA 8″ retro action figure of the miner. And then there are similar packages for John Carpenter’s They Live, which comes with a NECA figure of Keith David’s character (Editor’s note: this one has been delayed so keep your eyes open) and Prince of Darkness which includes with the soundtrack on vinyl.
Funally, for the David Cronenberg fan in your life, The Criterion Collection just released their special edition of the Canadian maestro’s controversial Crash, the car crash fetish film starring James Spader, based on the JG Ballard (High Rise) novel. Its a bit of divisive movie in Cronenberg’s filmography and certainly upset a few critics along the way. Criterion has released a number of Cronenberg’s films, which I own, and each release is a jewel in my collection. The Criterion collection is generally light on horror, but they do release David Lynch’s work as well as the sweet Showa-era Godzilla box set.
I’m throwing it over to Andy now, who has a few recommendations of his own.
Andy Burns: Thanks Tim! (We have a real game show vibe going at this point).
Tim mentioned the work of John Carpenter above, and if you’re a fan or know one, you MUST look into getting them Assault on the System: The Nonconformist Cinema of John Carpenter. This is by far the most in-depth book looking at the work of the legendary director you will find anywhere. Author Troy Howarth dives deep into Carpenter’s creative journey, giving context, criticism and historical background throughout this massive tome. Any director would want a book on their work that is so respectful and thoughtful – Howarth doesn’t go easy on Carpenter when discussing some of his lesser works, but his approach is never rude or mean-spirited.
The standard edition of Assault on the System: The Nonconformist Cinema of John Carpenter is published by WK Books and is highly recommended for Carpenter and film fans alike.
Another book that I’d recommend for horror fans comes from our friends at DK. John Landis Presents The Library of Horror Haunted Houses: Classic Stories of Doors that Should Never Be Opened is a hardcover compilation that’s, as described, a trip through some classic haunted house stories. Authors featured include Bram Stoker, H. P. Lovecraft, Percival Landon, Edgar Allan Poe and Henry James, to name just a few. This is the sort of book you’ll want to curl up on the couch with, covered in a blanket. Hopefully not alone, because you’re bound to feel some chills as you read through it.
Finally, for films, I’ve got two solid picks to share. The first is Universal and Blumhouse’s The Invisible Man, starring Elizabeth Moss. This was the last film I saw in the theatre before Covid-19 hit us hard, and truthfully, I didn’t love it at the time; certainly not the way so many critics did. My issue was that it wasn’t nearly as horror-centric as I’d hoped for, at least not in the traditional Universal Monsters tradition. However, when I rewatched The Invisible Man on 4K, I had renewed appreciation for everything the film goes for. Moss is an incredible lead presence, and without the weight of expectations, I could enjoy it for the thriller it is, rather than the horror film it isn’t.
Features on The Invisible Man 4K include:
- 4K UHD, Blu-ray and a digital copy of The Invisible Man (2020) (Subject to expiration. Go to NBCUCodes.com for details.)
- Features Dolby Vision and HDR10+ for Brighter, Deeper, More Lifelike Color
- Deleted Scenes
- Moss Manifested
- Director’s Journey with Leigh Whannell
- The Players
- Timeless Terror
- Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Leigh Whannell
Train to Busan Presents Peninsula is the sequel to the outstanding 2016 film Train to Busan that many genre fans first found when it made its way to Netflix a few years ago. With director Yeon Sang-Ho returning, Peninsula picks up four years after zombies decimated South Korea, and is a standalone film with new characters who are sent on a retrieval mission back into the country to face the horde that remains there. While not as highly regarded as the first film, Peninsula still lets fans return to a familiar world and offers up its fair share of action and gore.
The Train to Busan Presents Peninsula Blu-ray/DVD set includes:
- English Language
- Making of feature