Stephen King 5-Movie Collection (Blu-ray Review)
Rated: R/UR/Region A/Widescreen/1080p/Number of Discs 5
Available from Paramount Pictures
The Stand (1994) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Mick Garris
Starring: Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Jamey Sheridan
Rated: UR/Region A/1:33/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Enter a near-future of a horrifically plague-ravaged Earth where a fraction of its population survives, compelling them to choose sides between the overwhelming forces of good and evil, in this critically acclaimed film version of Stephen King’s phenomenal, number-one bestselling novel THE STAND. Millions perish, and as small, isolated frightened bands unite, the answers to their perpetual questions to justify this end of civilization are bared in their dreams — revelations that urge some to embrace a path of virtue and others to gravitate towards a sinister course of darkness. As the opposing forces separate into two camps — one led by the saintly Mother Abigail and the other by demonic Randall Flagg — the noble elements try to shield themselves from their corrupt enemy, whose ruthless potency is increased by their domination of an excavated nuclear warhead.
I remember when this hit the TV back in the day as a miniseries and it seemed like it was a pretty big deal. Which, I’ve learned anything with Stephen King’s name on it tends to be a big deal. Now here it is with a Blu-ray release and everything here on one disc for a five-hour adventure, unlike anything you probably have seen before. The big question here is if what we get here is worth checking it out and devoting over five hours to? I’d say so. The Stand is an interesting situation. It’s a compelling and often spooky story that dives deep into the theory of good and evil. It also leads things to a very cool climax that makes everything you’ve been watching here worth the journey. Stephen King really is a master storyteller and this show stayed about as close to the source as one could. The Stand was a massive book and this is a massive running time if you really think about it, so I’m not shocked that most of it are here. I know it has been about 25 years since the release of this and it holds up pretty well.
Being a miniseries made for TV back in the day, you have to realize that this doesn’t have an all-out bloodbath or anything like this. This one seems to be driving the interest in with the plot and the cast, and it does do that to its credit. Is it dated by today? Yes, it is, but the story is still strong and that keeps it raised above the dated stuff to be as good as it is. If you also had the old school DVD you can rest easy knowing that this is a very solid improvement over what that disc was. You expect that from an HD release, but this one looks awesome and is well worth picking up even if you are holding on hard to the old DVD.
– Audio Commentary
– The Making of Stephen King’s The Stand
Quality of Transfer: 93%
Pet Sematary (1989) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Mary Lambert
Starring: Denise Crosby, Fred Gwynne, Miko Hughes
Rated: R/Region O/1:78/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Dr. Louis Creed, having just moved to Maine with his wife and two children, is heartbroken when he finds that his daughter’s beloved cat has been hit by a truck and killed. Thankfully, a strange, elderly neighbor called Jud knows a secret that may spare the young girl’s tears. He takes the dead cat to an ancient Indian burial ground that lies hidden in the surrounding hilltops; and when he buries the feline there, it comes back to life a few days later. But Louis can’t be trusted with the secret, and, despite strong warnings that something horrible will happen, he uses the power of the burial ground to bring his son back from the dead.
Death is a very creepy subject matter in my book. And everyone has dealt with the loss of a pet, friend, or even a family member. This movie here deals with what someone would do to bring that person or thing back. And just what bad consequences could come from it. Louis Creed, our family man, and doctor that this film mainly features, means well in what he does in this movie. But meaning well doesn’t always work out for the best and in this film the results are terrible. You might think after disaster strikes more than once that our good doctor would have learned. But for your viewing pleasure, you might want to keep in mind that the actions of Creed are those of a guilt-ridden and grieving man. Plus, logic in this film isn’t the point. Among the awesome plot, the film does feature some very good characters. Among those, we have a spirit with good intentions, a very nasty acting undead cat, and a little boy that goes from sweet to creepy about as soon as you could splat someone with a big truck…Yeah, we have those moments in this film too. But then again, this movie packs plenty of cool and skin-crawling moments. And regardless of the age of the person watching, it seems this movie what whatever it takes to make you be entertained and feel uneasy. That’s a GREAT combo!
Give credit to the director, Mary Lambert. Give credit to the writer, Stephen King. Or just the swell thing and divide it out evenly between the two. No matter which way you spread it, this film is awesome from top to bottom and it is the type of stuff we can appreciate and watch over and over again for years to come. It’s hard to find legit horror films, and this one is about as legit as you can get. If you’ve never seen it, you should SEE IT NOW! This is the Blu-ray disc out of the 4K release that came out recently from the best of I can tell. So if you wanted just the Blu-ray out of that release you can get it here with the good stuff that came with it. It only helps sell this collection more in my book.
– Audio Commentary with Director Mary Lambert
– NEW! Pet Sematary: Fear and Remembrance
– NEW! Pet Sematary: Revisitation
– NEW! Galleries with Introduction from Director Mary Lambert
– Stephen King Territory
– The Characters
– Filming the Horror
Quality of Transfer: 96%
Pet Sematary (2019) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Kevin Kolsch, Dennis Widmyer
Starring: Jason Clarke, John Lithgow, Amy Seimetz
Rated: R/Region A/2:39/1080p/Number of Discs 1
After the Creed family relocates from Boston to rural Maine, they soon discover an ancient burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home. When tragedy strikes, the grief-stricken father is driven by the cemetery’s sinister power, setting off a perilous chain of events that unleashes an unfathomable evil with horrific consequences. Some secrets are best left buried in this twisted thriller.
Remakes are a slippery slope at times but we had reason to believe that the remake of Pet Semetary was going to be something else! Now I will say right here and now that I did not hate this movie, but I do believe there were some things they could have done a little different and better. If you loved the original movie then you might have more than a few bones to pick with this one. We have characters that aren’t done as well this time around and we have some twists and turns that might have been used for a major shocker had the trailer not given the plot change away. What we have is a version of Pet Semetary that at times feels like it is just trying to be different for the sake of being different and it doesn’t always work. If we didn’t already have the classic version some of what we see might be hard to swallow but this movie is a movie that is probably going to work best for people who have never seen the original before. If you have, you just can’t stop comparing it.
That being said there is a slight unpredictability to this one. A feeling of you never being too sure as to what they are going to do next is probably what keeps you watching. It might not deliver to the fullest and live up to a hype that was set for it before the release but as a once overwatch I didn’t hate it by any means and I think some of the cast was solid even if some of the plot was not. I can’t bring myself to hate it but I can’t find much besides the plot twists that different from the original to be anything that really sticks out about it. I hear we might be getting a sequel and I am interested in seeing how that turns out. As is, this one is harmless for a once over. Anything else might get some static.
– Alternate Ending
– Deleted and Extended Scenes
– Night Terrors – Family Haunting Visions
– The Tale of Timmy Baterman
– Beyond the Deadfall (Four Part)
QUALITY OF TRANSFER: 97%
Silver Bullet (1985) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Daniel Attias
Starring: Corey Haim, Gary Busey, Megan Follows
Rated: PG-13/Region A/2:35/1080p/Number of Discs 1
In Stephen King’s thrilling adaptation of his novelette, Cycle Of The Werewolf, a peaceful town is suddenly terrorized by a maniacal killer. The townsfolk think a madman is on the loose, but a wheelchair-bound 13-year-old (Corey Haim, The Lost Boys) knows the truth … a werewolf is on the hunt. With the help of his Uncle Red (Gary Busey, Lethal Weapon), young Marty Coslaw sets out to stop the half-man/half-beast before he sinks his teeth into another innocent victim. Now, time is ticking … and the full moon is about to rise.
In the history of films dealing with werewolves, two films seem to always be named as the best. One of those is An American Werewolf in London. The other is this film here written by Stephen King, Silver Bullet. Silver Bullet here was based of a story from King and was directed by a man named, Daniel Attias. It also has such stars in it, such as a very young Corey Haim and a less crazy, Gary Busey. When you add it all up with a very bad wolf, you have the makings of a werewolf movie that I wouldn’t call the best, but it’s still pretty darn fun. Set in the 70s, Silver Bullet is narrated by a character named, Jane. Jane is played by Megan Follows. She goes into telling us all about the events that are about to unfold and how they related to her wheelchair-bound brother, Marty (Haim), and her crazy uncle, Red (Busey). It’s a simple enough lead-in. Of course, with her being the narrator, you don’t really figure the film is smart enough to have a ghost of someone be telling the story, so if Jane will survive the events of the film or not, never does seem to be in question. Which is OK, she’s not that interesting. The stars of the film, besides our werewolf, is Marty and Uncle Red.
And as much as I’m sure everyone loved a young Corey Haim, I personally think we should give the devil his due and let it be known that it’s actually Gary Busey that steals the show. This man plays the best crazy uncle I can recall this side of John Candy and Uncle Buck. I will have to admit, I didn’t care who lived just as long as uncle Red made it. But it’s still a very fun film that packs some tense and fun moments and scenes. The wolf transformation isn’t anything like the one in, An American Werewolf in London, but it’s not bad. We also get a dose of gore in spots as well. Now we do have an issue in the film of our wolf using a bat to kill people more than once. Why does a wolf need a bat?? No wolf worth their grain in salt will need to beat someone to death, they’d simply maul someone to death. That’s the one bad spot on this otherwise very fun and cool film. I will, however, add back some of the points lost by the film for this misstep by the fact that they at least build up some mystery as to who the wolf is. It’s also a little anti-climatic, but besides that, it’s a pretty good time. I will note that this looks like the transfer on the Scream Factory release but without the extras.
QUALITY OF TRANSFER: 85%
The Dead Zone (1983) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: David Cronenberg
Starring: Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt
Rated: R/Region A/1:85/1080p/Number of Discs 1
When Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) awakens from a coma caused by a car accident, he finds that years have passed, and he now has psychic abilities. Heartbroken that his girlfriend (Brooke Adams) has moved on with her life, Johnny also must contend with his unsettling powers, which allow him to see a person’s future with a mere touch. After shaking the hand of aspiring politician Greg Stillson (Martin Sheen), Johnny sees the danger presented by the candidate’s rise and resolves to kill him.
This trip down horror memory lane with Stephen King based films takes us into the world of David Cronenberg and his take on a King subject matter with, The Dead Zone. This is also the first time this movie has been released in the states on Blu-ray and while that means you can stop trying to import the one from Austrailia (It seems like the same transfer) you don’t get any extras. As if this whole set didn’t have enough to watch already? Anyway, we have Christopher Walken in perhaps his most underrated role as he’s goes on a quest that seems very unlikely to everyone around him and it also could come at the price of his life. For my money, this is one of the more creative entries in the entire work of Stephen King.
But if you want tense you get lots of tense stuff happening here. Given the target of our leading man you know it won’t come without some mission impossible type stuff going on and that is just what happens as he tries to carry this hit out. There’s just some cool weirdness to David Cronenberg movies anyway and mixed with a plot this “out there” and creative you just have a great combination that needs much more love than it tends to get when people are talking both Stephen King and David Cronenberg. Kudos to Paramound for dusting this one off but you do sort of wish it had came with more bells and whistles.
QUALITY OF TRANSFER: 90%