Scream Factory continues to be a dominant voice in the world of genre Blu-ray labels, and while they avoid obscure titles their strength comes in the beautiful work they do with familiar favorites. Their Collector’s Edition releases in particular bring home horror movies we love with new artwork, new extras, and more. Their latest releases include a fun remake and a modern anthology classic.
Keep reading for a look at the new Blu-rays of House on Haunted Hill and Trick ‘r Treat!
House on Haunted Hill (1999)
Stephen Price (Geoffrey Rush) is a master at providing thrills and chills for his paying customers, but his latest event might just top anything he’s achieved at his amusement parks. It’s his wife Evelyn’s (Famke Janssen) birthday, and since she wants to celebrate it in a supposedly haunted house he rents out the most notorious one available for a night of fun, scares, and terror. A group of strangers arrive (including Taye Diggs, Peter Gallagher, Ali Larter, and more), and while no one knows who invited them that’s soon the least of their worries. Price offers each one million dollars if they can survive the night. Is he playing a game? Or is something more nightmarish about to unfold. (I think we all know the answer to that.)
1959’s House on Haunted Hill is a fun black & white classic from the legendary William Castle, and what William Malone‘s remake lacks in scares it makes up for with thrills, bloodletting, and creepy shenanigans. It’s a fun ride of a haunted house flick with gruesome demises and gore, and it takes the original’s twists and adds a few more for good measure. Most of the effects are practical (hooray!) and fantastic, but the film stumbles slightly with a heavy dose of weak optical fx in the big finale. Still, the good stuff far outweighs the bad making this a solidly entertaining horror movie.
The film was the first release from Dark Castle Entertainment, a production company headed up by the likes of Joel Silver and Robert Zemeckis, and for a short while at the beginning of the millennium they were home to Hollywood’s most purely entertaining theatrical horror releases. It was followed by the massively under-appreciated Thirteen Ghosts (2001) as well as Ghost Ship (2002), Gothika (2003), House of Wax (2005), and more. They lost their way as the years progressed resulting in lesser efforts like The Apparition (2012) and The Factory (2012), but we’ll always have their golden years. Hopefully this marks the start of a relationship between Scream Factory and Warner Bros. meaning more Dark Castle could be heading our way.
Scream Factory’s Blu-ray features a new 2K scan from the original film elements with extras including trailers, galleries (storyboard, visual fx, stills, posters), and the following special features.
- *NEW* An Interview with William Malone [37:30] – Malone talks about seeing William Castle’s original as a boy, his thoughts on blending humor and horror, the various sets used for the film, his initial meeting with Rush, and more.
- *NEW* An Interview with Composer Don Davis [9:40]
- *NEW* An Interview with Visual Effects Supervisor Robert Skotak [18:42]
- Tale of Two Houses [19:14]
- Behind the Visual FX [7:01]
- Deleted scenes [12:04]
Buy House on Haunted Hill on Blu-ray from Amazon.
Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
It’s Halloween night, and in one small Ohio town the festivities are about to get a whole lot spookier. A young virgin (Anna Paquin) meets a bad man en route to a party. Four pre-teen brats try to scare a lonely girl with unanticipated results. A principal (Dylan Baker) dabbles in serial murder. A grumpy old man (Brian Cox) fights against the joys of the holiday with his dying breath. Not everyone will live to see November.
Writer/director Michael Dougherty‘s (Krampus) debut feature is one of the finest horror anthologies out there. It’s a witty, gory, creepy collection of intertwined tales, each bringing their own surprises and fun, and it’s a film that belongs in your annual horror movie marathons. There’s humor throughout, but the focus remains on building atmosphere and creating set-pieces that will stick in your horror-loving memories for a long time to come. No one’s safe including the kids — especially the kids — and it makes for a terrifically creepy romp through one of our favorite holidays.
The film’s come to Blu-ray a few times already, an odd overkill for a movie that couldn’t even get a theatrical release from the grumps at Warner Bros., but while this newest incarnation ports over all the previous extras it also adds nearly an hour of new interviews with Dougherty and others focused on various facets of the film. They’re informative and fun extras, but your mileage may vary as to whether or not they’re worth the double (triple?) dip.
Scream Factory’s mew Blu-ray includes a trailer, galleries (storyboard, stills,comic books), and the following special features.
- *NEW* Tales of Folklore & Fright: Creating Trick ‘r Treat [16:05] – Dougherty talks about the origin of the film with a focus on his short film from NYU that marked Sam’s first appearance.
- *NEW* Tales of Mischief & Mayhem: Filming Trick ‘r Treat [19:46]
- *NEW* Sounds of Shock & Superstition: Scoring Trick ‘r Treat [11:10]
- *NEW* Tales of Dread and Despair: Releasing Trick ‘r Treat [7:23]
- Season’s Greetings [3:54] – Dougherty’s original animated short, available with or without his commentary
- Trick ‘r Treat: The Lore and Legends of Halloween [27:26]
- School Bus FX Comparison [1:13]
- Additional Scenes [17:13] – available with or without Dougherty’s commentary
- Storyboard and conceptual artwork gallery
- Fear.net shorts [12:57]
Buy Trick ‘r Treat on Blu-ray from Amazon.