More skeletons from the DVD closet for Halloween

Fans of horror films have a lot to be excited about as this is shaping up to be one horrific Halloween for new DVD releases. On the heels of yesterday’s news about Rosemary’s Baby (which many of us are drooling over), comes a graveyard full of new release announcements.

From Paramount Studios come two from Stephen King: Pet Sematary (1989), directed by Mary Lambert and starring Denis Crosby, Blaze Berdahl, and the late, great, Fred Gwynn, in which a family moves next door to a pet cemetery that seems to have the power to bring the dead back to life. Things spin wildly out of control when dad can’t handle the tragic loss of a loved one and starts to contemplate the unthinkable.

Dead Zone (1983), directed by David Cronenberg and starring Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen, Colleen Dewhurst, Brooke Adams, and Herbert Lom. Considered one of the best Stephen King film adaptations, the movie is about Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken), who is plunged into a coma for five years after a near-fatal car accident. When he awakens he discovers that his youth, his career and his fiancé have all been lost, but that he has gained psychic powers.

Both discs will feature an anamorphic widescreen transfer in the films“ original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2-channel Surround audio. They are set for release on September 19th, and will each carry a retail price of $29.99.

From the folks at Criterion come several eagerly awaited thrillers: Sisters (1973). An early 70s cult-classic directed by Brian DePalma. Margot Kidder is Danielle, a beautiful model separated from her Siamese twin Dominique. When a hotshot reporter (Jennifer Salt) suspects Dominique of a brutal murder, she becomes dangerously ensnared in their insidious sibling bond. This film put DePalma on the map with his stylish use of split-screen and cross cutting techniques, combined with a thrilling score by Bernard Herrmann.

The disc will contain an anamorphic widescreen transfer in the films” original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and a Dolby Digital Mono soundtrack. “Sisters” will be released on September 19th and will carry a suggested retail price of $29.95.

The Blob: Special Edition (1958). A shapeless lifeform from a fallen meteor is feeding off the unsuspecting inhabitants of a small town. It is up to a teenage couple to warn their neighbors of the danger from outer space. One of the great cult classics, “The Blob” melds “50s schlock sci-fi and teen delinquency pics, and helped launch the career of Steve McQueen.

Criterion gives us a new Widescreen transfer of the film, letterboxed at 1.66:1 and Enhanced for 16X9 TVs. Extras will include 2 Audio Commentaries: one by film historian Bruce Eder; the other by producer, director, and actor Robert (“Tony”) Fields. “The Blob” is scheduled for a September 19th release, and will carry a suggested retail price of $39.95.

Also from Criterion comes Kwaidan (1964), one of the most stylish and beautiful horror films ever made. Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Cannes, “Kwaidan” features four nightmarish tales in which terror thrives and demons lurk. Adapted from traditional Japanese ghost stories, this lavish widescreen production draws extensively on director Masaki Kobayashi’s own training as a student of painting and fine arts.

The disc will feature Anamorphic Widescreen transfer in the films” original aspect ratio of 2.35:1; a Dolby Digital Mono audio; the original Japanese soundtrack with optional English subtitles; and the film’s trailer. The release date is also September 19th, and the disc will retail at $29.95.

So, it looks like Halloween will be full of choice viewing this year. Now, if only someone would release those great Val Lewton RKO films…all right, I know, I’m getting greedy, but we can hope…

Leave a comment