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10 Horror Films In Desperate Need Of A Blu Ray

Do you want lost horror movies? Because this is how you get lost horror movies.
Days Home Video
By  · Published on October 23rd, 2018

A few months back I watched a film from 1953 called The Maze. It was directed by William Cameron Menzies, the same man who did Invaders from Mars (1953) and a slew of other highly regarded silent and early sound films. The Blu from Kino Lorber is pristine. I had never seen a black and white film look so good, despite having seen what I thought were perfect prints and scans.

As for the film, a quiet vaguely Lovecraftian tale of longing, loss, and familial curses, I could foresee how it had been lost throughout cinema history. A film could be amazing, yet with a shoddy old print or transfer it becomes impossible to watch. Due to carelessness, we may have lost more masterpieces than we know. And that’s where Blu Ray comes in. Eventually, we’re going to get to the point where we can’t conceivably get better quality than this, right? And if Blu Ray is it, what will happen to the films that don’t make the upgrade? Will it be the same as VHS to DVD, where a library of movies are tethered to one outmoded media and hardware? The following films are in danger of being lost, let’s try to save ‘em.

Keep reading for a look at the 10 horror movies we most want released on Blu-ray as voted on by Chris Coffel, Kieran Fisher, Brad Gullickson, Meg Shields, Rob Hunter, and myself.

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10. Anguish (1987)


Films with a “meta” element can be tough to pull off, and for every slice of brilliance (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, 2005) there’s a messy misfire (Last Action Hero, 1993). One of the more unappreciated examples is Bigas Luna‘s Anguish. There’s an argument to be made that its film within a film within a film structure amounts to nonsense, but what it lacks in vigorous logic it more than makes up for in style, tension, and creativity. Its various threads are captivating and suspenseful in their own way, and in today’s world the movie theater segment carries far more terrifying power than it once did. At its most basic it’s a Psycho (1960) riff about a man and his mother, but it succeeds far better as an eye-opening look at our own obsession with watching.” A new Blu-ray would sharpen the picture even further. – Rob Hunter

9. The Dentist (1996)


Going to the dentist is terrifying in and of itself. A psychotic dentist with a tendency to slaughter his patients with the very same surgical equipment we all fear is even scarier. But that was the genius concept behind Brian Yuzna’s riotous B movie that saw Corbin Bernsen as the eponymous tooth surgeon. The movie spawned a sequel that’s equally as entertaining as the first, and they both deserve all the upgrades. That’s a hint Scream Factory. – Kieran Fisher

8. Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II (1987)


There was nothing quite like going to the video store. Be it Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, or your local mom and pop shop browsing the seemingly endless shelves, staring at the alluring box art, was a film school for my generation. And no box art was more attention-grabbing as Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2. Which is why it’s even more disheartening that it is still orphaned on a barebones DVD. An “in title alone” sequel to Jamie Lee Curtis’ early 80s school slasher, Mary Lou takes on a supernatural twist attempting to capitalize on that either killer of dreams Freddy Krueger. The film is an instant cult classic with its bizarre incestuous plot lines and over the top deaths, but the film deserves to be remembered (and remastered) for its striking visuals, especially one of a swirling blackboard that becomes a swirling void. Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2 is how you do a sequel. – Jacob Trussell

7. April Fool’s Day (1986)


The 80’s were the heyday for the slasher sub-genre. Every major franchise released multiple titles and a bunch of imitators and cheap knockoffs got in on the action. While a majority of these films followed a similar template every now and then one would come along with a fresh new take, as was the case in 1986 with the Fred Walton-directed April Fool’s DayThis is a movie that is conventional until it’s not thanks to a final act that may catch some viewer’s off guard. Whether or not the film’s conclusion is one that works is a worthy debate, however, in a sea of slashers that are largely the same this film’s ending does make it stand out. Plus it features a stellar 80’s cast that includes Deborah Foreman, Griffin O’Neal, and Thomas Wilson. This is all to say that the film’s lack of Blu-ray release is a travesty that needs rectifying. – Chris Coffel

6. The Keep (1983)


Shouldn’t every Michael Mann movie be on blu-ray? The guy is a master stylist, and even his second and possibly weakest effort oozes style and craft. Shot by Alex Thomson (the eye behind Excalibur, Legend, Labyrinth, Leviathan, Alien 3), The Keep is a rich visual feast of inky blacks and mysterious light sources. To forever live in the purgatory of bargain basement standard definition is criminal. Mann tried his best to adapt F. Paul Wilson’s World War II supernatural saga, but as the budget ballooned above him, the studio lost all confidence in recouping their money. An epic 210 minutes was savagely stripped down to a paltry 96. No wonder the final plot is barely coherent. That being said, the film that is currently available is an essential addition to every cineastes library. From The Keep comes Manhunter, Heat, and all the rest. A new Blu-ray could be akin to an exorcism for Mann. Sit him in front of a microphone, and let him unleash a torrent of frustrations over the production. That would provide solid psychotherapy for Mann and quite an education for us. – Brad Gullickson

5. The Haunting of Julia (1977)


That The Haunting of Julia has never been released on DVD is a goddamn tragedy. Almost as much of a tragedy as the cold open of the film, which sees a choking child and a tracheotomy gone wrong. Also known as Full Circle, Julia sees a frazzled Mia Farrow haunted by loss, and possibly something more sinister. A psychological horror in the vein of The Changeling and The Innocents, Julia is eerie slow burn with an effective twist (and a badass soundtrack). Extant digital copies are unlicensed and subject to the ever-horrid pan and scan technique. If The Haunting of Julia isn’t rescued via blu-ray, it is at real risk of falling into obscurity. – Meg Shields

4. Mr. Frost (1990)

Mr Frost

Jeff Goldblum has found a late-career surge with quirky performances in blockbuster movies, and as much as we love them it’s worth remembering that he used to deliver far more varied characters in smaller films. One of the best — and least seen — is this grim psychological thriller that casts Goldblum as a confirmed serial killer who just might be something worse. The film is a twisting mind-game between Frost and those around him including a detective and a psychiatrist (Kathy Baker), and his identity and abilities are constantly in question. It’s a methodically paced thriller with supernatural undertones, and I’d love to see it reach a wider audience… perhaps with a commentary by Goldblum as Frost? – Rob Hunter

3. Ghostwatch (1992)


People love to troll found footage films, and it’s easy to see why. Ridicule is natural when something becomes as popular, and as over saturated, as the format. But what far few remember is how absolutely blood curdling that first found footage film you see can be. Is it real or is it strictly fiction? The format blurs the storytelling lines. But imagine watching something like Ghostwatch before this storytelling device was widely used. Imagine how terrifying a story can become when you earnestly think you’re watching a documentary. And that’s exactly what Ghostwatch did. Originally aired on BBC as a Halloween special with national treasure Michael Parkinson as host, Ghostwatch purports itself as being a real investigation into a haunting of a family. With CC cameras and a live crew capturing the paranormal activity, the creatives blurred the lines even deeper by insinuating that the haunting isn’t just real, but could affect you by merely watching the broadcast. It was so terrifying to UK audiences that it caused mass hysteria, ala Orson Welles War of the Worlds, and resulted in the BBC banning future airings of the special. With an uptick in popularity thanks to the streaming service Shudder, Ghostwatch deserves the Blu ray treatment and a spot in your home library. – Jacob Trussell

2. Martin (1978)


The late great George A. Romero is best remembered for giving new life to the zombie genre. But in an ironic twist, his favourite of his own films is about vampires. Or is it? That’s the ghoulish gambit of 1978’s Martin: is the awkward teen an immortal blood-sucker or just a serial killer in the vein of Richard Chase? A creepy and often tender meditation on alienation, Martin is critically beloved and criminally under-seen. The film’s downbeat tone and more somber sensibility might have something to do with this, but the rights situation (more of a fiscal standoff, really) is the main culprit. Martin is a neglected, socially-relevant masterpiece; a Blu-ray is long overdue. – Meg Shields

1. The Hitcher (1986)


When I discovered that The Hitcher had yet to receive the Blu-ray treatment, I was even more baffled than that day in 2016 where I woke up to find that an actual turd had been elected the President of the United States of America. This movie gave us one of the best horror villains of all time in the form of Rutger Hauer as a murderous hitch-hiker who makes life hell for travelers. Such a simple concept, with such perfect execution (and executions). The movie is so good that Michael Bay even saw enough dollar signs to produce a terrible remake in the 2000’s, which has its own Blu-ray release. – Kieran Fisher

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Jacob Trussell is a writer based in New York City. His editorial work has been featured on the BBC, NPR, Rue Morgue Magazine, Film School Rejects, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the author of 'The Binge Watcher's Guide to The Twilight Zone' (Riverdale Avenue Books). Available to host your next spooky public access show. Find him on Twitter here: @JE_TRUSSELL (He/Him)