By Anthony Crabtree, Guest Blogger
5. “The Blood Trilogy” – Herschell Gordon Lewis is a force to be reckoned with in the horror world, and this release from Something Weird Video proves it. Featuring “Blood Feast,” “Two Thousand Maniacs,” and “Color Me Blood Red,” these films are bizarre and violent and should certainly be a treat for horror fans who have not been exposed to this master of the genre. One issue with this release that could be a problem for some fans is that the films are now presented in a 1.77:1 aspect ratio, whereas before they were always presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. From everything I have been hearing, the 1.77:1 transfers are closer to how they were supposed to be shown theatrically. It loses no points from me for that.
4. “Halloween II” – The first three Halloween films are all exceptional for different reasons. The original “Halloween” is an immortal classic in the horror genre. “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” is an underrated gem that, were it not for the Halloween name attached to it, would probably have more respect as its own film. “Halloween II” falls somewhere in between these two, a solid sequel that respects the original story and does it justice. You can never go wrong with watching these three back to back this Halloween. Again, as with “The Blood Trilogy,” there is a slight problem with this Blu-ray release. They have cut out a part before the credits that states “Moustapha Akkad Presents.” While I think this is a terrible mistake, the Blu-ray also features the film “Terror in the Aisles,” in HD and the overall presentation of “Halloween II” is fantastic. To me, the good outweighs the bad with this release.
3. “The Frighteners” – Before Peter Jackson was famous for creating the film versions of “The Lord of the Rings,” he made horror/comedies like “Bad Taste and Dead Alive.” “The Frighteners,” was the last of these type of films from the director and it doesn’t seem likely that he will return to this genre anytime soon. The new Blu-ray release, dubbed the “15th Anniversary Edition,” features the theatrical cut as well as the director’s cut, both of which were previously only available on DVD and HD-DVD (RIP).
2. “Zombie” – While each film on the list, and its respective new release, has value and merit, these last rise two above any of them. All are fine titles on this list, but these releases comes from director Lucio Fulci, whose films I absolutely love. Courtesy of Blue Underground, this Blu-ray release of “Zombie,” is the first time it has been available on the format and what a way to start out. It comes in a two disc set and has a bunch of features that my Anchor Bay DVD (that’s right, I never upgraded my original DVD to one of the new ones) did not have. The film itself includes one of my favorite scenes from any of Fulci’s films: The splinter in the eye. It is also notable for the shark dancing with the zombie…or fighting with the zombie. Whichever way you want to look at it. “Zombie” is a gory, violent film and is a fun time to watch.
1. “House by the Cemetery” – “Zombie,” while a fun film, cannot hold a candle to one of my favorite films by Lucio Fulci. It’s not “The Beyond” or “New York Ripper,” but “House by the Cemetery” is right up there with those two. “House by the Cemetery,” again recently released on Blu-ray from Blue Underground, is one of my absolute favorites by the master. Simply mentioning that this film has a character named Dr. Freudstein and great amounts of gore should sell anyone on this film. Not to mention one of the most annoying, but in that sense one of the best, characters in a Lucio Fulci film: A boy named Bob Boyle. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, buy the Blu-ray and watch the film.