Summer is here, and for most people, that means taking vacations, having fun in the sun, and firing up the old barbecue. For horror fans, however, summer has been a time of huge releases, and so I’ve braved many a sweltering afternoon indoors with a Blu-Ray loaded down with special features, soaking up the sun from the comfort of my couch while the A/C keeps me cool.
Summer 2016 is no different from last year and the year before that; there are a number of great horror releases coming our way – both shortly and in the later months of summer. The list below is by no means a compendium of new horror releases, nor is it ranked in a way that denotes a release is better or worse than another. It simply proposes the best-looking releases coming this summer season, ones that you definitely need to have on your shelves.
Sorceress (Synapse Films; June 14)
Synapse Films’ release of Sorceress is a director-approved uncensored 2k transfer of Jim Wynorski’s film. I have it right now for review, and it absolutely looks like a fantastic release – special features include audio commentary from Wynorski and an additional track from Wynorski and Tom Savini, along with the addition of many scenes cut from the original release. This is the first time this uncensored version has been released, and if you know Wynorski films, you know that they’re filled with nudity aplenty.
Jeepers Creepers (Scream Factory; June 14)
Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition releases of Jeepers Creepers and Jeepers Creepers 2 spawned a lot of discussion and outrage based on Victor Salva’s history of sexual abuse and pedophilia. I encourage everyone to research the situation and use their own moral compass to guide whether they want to support the films, and whether they can disassociate the film from the artist.
With that said, the physical release of Jeepers Creepers is getting the full package, featuring two discs, a new 2K scan of the film, and multiple interviews with cast and crew. Yes, Victor Salva will be present – with both an audio commentary and interviews. I’m not here to tell you how to feel – just know that this thing is loaded down with extras if you are interested in owning the film.
Jeepers Creepers 2 (Scream Factory; June 14)
Likewise, Jeepers Creepers 2 is getting very similar treatment. This is also a two-disc set, including a number of interviews with cast – Ray Wise, Thom Gossom Jr., and Josh Hammond – as well as older interviews with composers, editors, and more. Hours of extra content adds quite a bit to this release, and those looking to own Jeepers Creepers will definitely want to pick these two up together.
Order from Scream Factory or Amazon.
Return of the Killer Tomatoes (Arrow Video; June 28)
Arrow Video always does an excellent job with their releases, but rarely do they pick up anything as fun and crazy as Return of the Killer Tomatoes. This is a two-disc combo pack like most of Arrow’s other releases, with a new HD 1080p presentation, audio commentary from director John De Bello, and Arrow’s trademark collector’s booklet featuring an essay by James Oliver. If you’ve been wanting to catch up on the exploits of those Killer Tomatoes, look no further than this release coming in late June.
Blood and Black Lace (Arrow Video; July 5)
Mario Bava’s influential giallo is coming to Blu-Ray from Arrow Video in a fantastic two-disc special edition. If you really want to splurge, there’s a steelbook version of the release which is limited!
Either way, though, you’re getting a great transfer of this classic film – a new 2K restoration, new audio commentary from Mario Bava himself, a documentary, and even a visual essay. Plus, there’s a pull-out booklet featuring an essay by Howard Hughes. Go for the steelbook, though – it’s relatively cheap compared to the normal 2-disc edition.
A Cat in the Brain (Grindhouse Releasing; July 12)
Grindhouse Releasing always throws everything and the kitchen sink at their Blu-Ray releases, and their latest huge package – A Cat in the Brain, the 1990 giallo from Lucio Fulci – is getting a three-disc release. This includes 2 Blu-Rays, one with a hi-def digital restoration of the director’s cut and the other with tons of special features, along with a CD of the soundtrack by Fabio Frizzi.
If that’s not enough, it also comes with a glow-in-the-dark slipcover and a mini-portrait of Fulci for the first 3000 orders. Liner notes are included to seal the deal! It’s a massive release, one that you’d be insane in the membrane not to pick up.
Carnival of Souls (Criterion Collection; July 12)
Criterion are releasing a new 4K restoration of Carnival of Souls on Blu-Ray for the Criterion Collection, and if you’ve picked up any of their releases thus far, you know they do a damn fine job on the transfer process. This highly influential classic horror film is also getting new interviews, outtakes, deleted scenes, a full documentary called The Movie That Wouldn’t Die!, and an insert essay. Tons of special features make this one a disc to look for, especially because of the film’s reputation.
Just Desserts: The Making of Creepshow (Synapse Films; July 12)
I love Creepshow, so I definitely want to check out a documentary on the making of the film. Synapse Films has got you covered – they’re releasing Just Desserts: The Making of Creepshow on Blu-Ray, a full-length documentary including behind-the-scenes footage, photographs, and interviews with cast and crew.
This special edition release also gets audio commentary, more interviews, a Horror’s Hallowed Grounds episode, and even more on-set footage. If you’re a Creepshow fan, this is the best package for information – and it’s getting a nice Blu-Ray treatment.
The Return of the Living Dead (Scream Factory; July 19)
Tarman. Linnea Quigley. Clu Gulager. You can’t go wrong with The Return of the Living Dead, and Scream Factory is bringing it to Blu-Ray with a two-disc collector’s edition package with all new artwork! Included in this package is a new 2K scan of the film along with audio commentary tracks from the cast and one from writer Gary Smart. However, in total there are four different audio commentaries in this release.
The second disc has so many special features that it’s difficult to imagine having time for all of them. A full 120-minute documentary titled More Brains: A Return to the Living Dead is included, plus a new Horror’s Hallowed Grounds, interviews with cast and crew, and more. This is a package so loaded down with goodies that you can’t miss it.
Dr. Butcher MD (Severin Films; July 26)
Severin Films is bringing us the first ever disc release of Dr. Butcher MD (AKA Zombie Holocaust) on Blu-Ray, and the first 5000 orders will receive the two-disc special edition with limited edition barf bag!
Regular orders, though, will still get both discs – the first with Dr. Butcher MD and a bunch of featurettes with interviews with cast and crew, and the second presents the other version of the film, Zombie Holocaust, along with a bunch more featurettes! This is a 2K transfer of Dr. Butcher MD from the original negative, while Zombie Holocaust gets a HD transfer with restored footage. This is an exciting release, and horror fans should be clamoring at finally owning this on Blu-Ray.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Scream Factory; August 2)
Scream Factory are busy this summer with a number of collector’s editions, and their first August release is Invasion of the Body Snatchers – the 1978 version. The film is getting a new 2K scan of the interpositive, with a new audio commentary from author Steve Haberman, interviews with Danny Zeitlin, Art Hindle, Brooke Adams, and W.D. Richter, and older interviews and features that are included from past releases. This is a great-looking release with all new cover artwork, and I’m excited to check out this classic with a new HD release.
Basket Case 2 (Synapse Films; August 9) + Basket Case 3 (Synapse Films; August 9)
Both Basket Case 2 and Basket Case 3 are getting Blu-Ray treatment via Synapse Films! While BC3 isn’t getting nearly as many features, they both receive high definition transfers and reversible cover art! Plus, BC2 has a new interview with star David Enge and a behind-the-scenes featurette on the special effects of the film. Definitely worth a look!
Theatre of Blood (Twilight Time; August 16)
We can’t forget about the fantastic Twilight Time, who release their films in limited editions known to skyrocket in price after they’ve sold out. Theatre of Blood is coming August 16, the first Blu-Ray release for the film in the US. There really isn’t much information out there on the release thus far, but if it’s anything like Twilight Time’s other releases, it’s sure to look great even without a special features listing.
The Bloodstained Butterfly (Arrow Video; August 23)
Continuing Arrow Video’s giallo streak, the company will release Duccio Tessari’s The Bloodstained Butterfly in late August in a two-disc set. The Blu-Ray will contain a 4K transfer of the film, plus a DVD version; it’s also featuring both Italian and English soundtracks, new audio commentary from critics, a new visual essay, and a 36-page booklet featuring essays from James Blackford, Howard Hughes, and Leonard Jacobs!
This lesser-known giallo is getting a wonderful package, and you can pick it up from Amazon.
Psycho IV: The Beginning (Scream Factory; August 23)
Though Scream Factory has not announced the extras for this release yet, it’s still exciting to see Psycho IV: The Beginning getting a nice HD transfer. The only problem is that this is not a collector’s edition release, so most likely the film won’t be getting the massive bonus features that some of Scream Factory’s other releases receive. Nevertheless, it’ll be great to revisit Norman Bates once again.