There are only a few days left until everyone dresses up as their favorite ghoul or ghost (and hopefully not something completely inappropriate) to celebrate Halloween on Friday. If you're too old to participate, or you're just not into the whole costume thing, you can easily join the folks that decide to stay in and watch scary movies all night. With that in mind, we decided to put together a list of the very best horror Blu-ray releases of 2014 (so far) so you can find something killer (pun totally intended) to watch. Happy Halloween!
1. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: 40th Anniversary Black Maria Edition (MPI Home Video)
Tobe Hooper's 1975 horror masterpiece, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, broke new ground for American cinema in a number of ways, but it's not just an important film. It's also an absolutely terrifying one. While The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has made its way to DVD and Blu-ray numerous times before, this brand new release from MPI Home Video is the very best edition available. Modeled after the infamous Black Maria semi-trailer truck from the film's conclusion, the packaging is eye-catching and comes packed with tons of goodies. There's a blood-covered Leatherface apron, an exclusive bonus disc, and a mini-poster. The best thing about this set, however, is the amazing job MPI has done in restoring the film. The all-new 4K high-definition scan is stunning. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre has, quite literally, never looked better.
2. Halloween: The Complete Collection (Limited Deluxe Edition) (Scream Factory and Anchor Bay)
Speaking of influential films, John Carpenter's 1978 classic Halloween kickstarted an entire sub-genre of films and its impact is still felt in cinema all over the world to this day. For years, fans of the landmark film (and its sequels) have been screaming to finally get a box set that includes all of the Halloween films, regardless of the studio that holds each films rights. Most people thought that was simply a pipe dream, but a partnership between Shout! Factory's horror label, Scream Factory, and Anchor Bay Entertainment has finally made that dream a reality. Halloween: The Complete Collection (Limited Deluxe Edition) not only includes the fantastic original film, but it also includes every single film in the Halloween series. Some of which even include multiple cuts of the film! This box set is massive, but it is an absolute must-have for any self-respecting horror fan. It is jam-packed with bonus material, looks beautiful, and does not disappoint in any way.
3. Prom Night: Special Edition (Synapse Films)
Jamie Lee Curtis became the quintessential "Scream Queen" with her role in Carpenter's Halloween, but she continued to solidify that title with work in subsequent horror films like 1980's Prom Night. Co-starring Leslie Nielsen (Airplane!, The Naked Gun), the film's plot falls right into line with your typical slasher films, but the performances from the two leads make this a beloved classic amongst the horror crowd. Synapse Films (as they always do) has gone through the painstaking task of making this Blu-ray release one that fans will need in their collections. It features a brand new 2K high-definition transfer, a new surround remix, audio commentary, never-before-seen outtakes from the film, a making-of featurette, and even more bonus material. Highly recommended!
4. Nekromantik (Limited Edition) (Cult Epics)
The 1987 horror film directed by Jörg Buttgereit, Nekromantik is not exactly what you might call a "good" movie, but it is certainly a memorable one that fans have been waiting to pick up on Blu-ray for years. Highly controversial and weirder than most films you've probably ever seen, Nekromantik is one of those movies you'd find buried at the bottom of the horror section of your local video rental store. It's stylized VHS cover art would whisper your pre-pubescent name as you walked by, hoping that you'd sling it under your arm and sneak it home with you for a quick viewing. Well, now you can see the controversial film in a Blu-ray edition that looks better than the film ever deserved. There are two new high-definition viewing options, a never-before-released short film, a making-of documentary, an audio commentary, and more. If you have the stomach for it, this one's worth checking out.
5. The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season (Limited Edition) (Anchor Bay)
AMC's massive hit show The Walking Dead may have slowed down a bit during the second half of its fourth season, but there's no denying that the first half was balls-to-the-wall awesome. That alone should be enough to make you want to pick up The Walking Dead: The Complete Fourth Season (Limited Edition), but add in the amazing collectible packaging and you've got yourself something difficult to pass up. Just as Anchor Bay has with the Blu-ray releases of the first three seasons, this new set's packaging is extremely cool. It features a super creepy zombie, but the best part is the fact that the undead dude's arm actually moves when you slide the Blu-ray box in and out of the packaging. If you're a horror collector, clear off a little space on your shelf for this one.
6. Cannibal Holocaust (Deluxe Edition) (Grindhouse Releasing)
Easily one of the most (if not the most) controversial films of all time, Cannibal Holocaust has been raked over the coals for decades due to its graphic violence, grotesque imagery, and the fact that some legitimate animal cruelty went on during the filming. On the bright side, all those things you've heard about how people were really killed during the film's creation are false. Silver linings, I guess, right? Despite its many flaws, Cannibal Holocaust is an important film in the history of horror cinema and one that deserves to be seen at least once. This new Deluxe Edition Blu-ray is a great way to accomplish that. There are commentary tracks, interviews, a huge booklet with liner notes by horror director Eli Roth, and tons of other extra features that will help place the controversial film into some context for you. Check it out and try not to avert your eyes too much.
7. The Innocents: Criterion Collection (Criterion)
Jack Clayton's 1961 adaptation of the classic Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw is one of the best ghost stories every put to celluloid. The film, titled The Innocents, is an atmospheric slow burn that rightfully holds its place alongside other horror classic ghost tales like Robert Wise's The Haunting (1963). Starring Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave, and Megs Jenkins, The Innocents is gothic horror at its very best. It forgoes gore and violence for atmosphere, spookiness, and psychological terror in a way that is more frightening than most of the horror films you see in theaters today. This one has been available on DVD before, but Criterion's new Blu-ray is easily worth the double-dip if for nothing more than the stunningly beautiful 4K digital restoration. This might just be our favorite single-film Blu-ray of the year.
8. Nightbreed: The Director's Cut (Limited Edition) (Scream Factory)
If you look through this list (and the additional titles we've included at the end), you'll see a lot of Scream Factory titles, but that's for a good reason: Shout! Factory's horror arm is putting out some of the very best horror Blu-rays we've ever seen. Not only are they hitting a few of the more mainstream popular titles, but they're digging deep into the horror vault to come out with gems that fans thought they'd never see. Add to that list Clive Barker's long-rumored, but never-thought-it-would-see-the-light-of-day director's cut of his 1990 film Nightbreed. Barker has been fighting for folks to see his "Cabal Cut" for years and now Shout! Factory has finally made that a reality. We'll leave it up to you to decide if the director's cut improves upon the film's theatrical release, but the fact that it even exists on Blu-ray is basically a miracle. Shout! Factory is also releasing a non-Limited-Edition version of Nightbreed's director's cut, but this is the version you want. Trust me.
9. The Blob (1988) (Limited Edition) (Twilight Time)
Horror purists might prefer the original 1958 version of The Blob, starring Steve McQueen, but we're not really sure why they would. Chuck Russell's 1988 remake is a hell of a lot more fun and action-packed. Co-written by Russell and Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption), the film stars Kevin Dillon, Shawnee Smith, and Donovan Leitch, but it's the goopy pink blob that's the star of the show here. The Blob (1988) has been available on DVD before, but it makes its Blu-ray debut via the fine folks at Twilight Time. The only problem, however, is that their edition (limited to 1,500 copies) sold out fairly quickly, so your best bet in snagging a copy of this modern classic is to head over to eBay and hope you don't have to pay through the nose. Even if you have to pay a little more than you might for most Blu-rays, it's worth it. Good luck!
10. Scanners: Criterion Collection (Criterion)
Digging through master director David Cronenberg's oeuvre is like traipsing through a horror junkie's most vivid and grotesque dreams. From Shivers and The Brood to Videodrome and The Fly, Cronenberg has honed his unique form of "body horror" to perfection and his contributions to the genre we love were cemented long ago. Quite possibly his most mainstream (and accessible) film, 1981's Scanners has languished on an old DVD version from MGM for years, but horror fans knew they were in for a treat when The Criterion Collection announced the title. Featuring a brand-new, restored 2K digital film transfer, supervised by Cronenberg himself, this Blu-ray is a revelation. Also included on the disc is an all-new documentary about the film's special effects (including the infamous exploding head), new interviews, and even Cronenberg's first feature film, Stereo. If you love Cronenberg, this one is a no-brainer.
Also Worth Checking Out
* Sleepaway Camp: Collector's Edition (Scream Factory)
* Grand Piano (Magnolia)
* Curtains (Synapse Films)
* Oculus (Fox Home Entertainment)
* The Legend of Hell House (Scream Factory)
* The Sacrament (Magnolia)
* Toy Story of Terror! (Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment)
* The Toxic Avenger (Troma)
* Motel Hell (Scream Factory)
* Pumpkinhead (Scream Factory)
* Hannibal: Season Two (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
* Leprechaun: The Complete Movie Collection (Lionsgate Home Entertainment)
* The Vincent Price Collection II (Scream Factory)
* The Believers (Twilight Time)
* Squirm: Collector's Edition (Scream Factory)
* Haunter (IFC Films)