The Scream Factory DVD label is known and praised for rescuing neglected genre classics and releasing them with flawless hi-def transfers and impeccably curated extras. Yet the label always seems subject to a level of simmering online discontent and grumbling. Why, the layperson may be asking? A section of broke horror fans out there feel like Scream’s prices are too high, and this ignoble tribe are rarely satisfied with keeping their opinions to themselves. It bears repeating that Scream must charge a premium since they don’t own their product and have to pay hefty licensing fees to studios; this in addition to their own production and manufacturing costs for the discs. Think of Scream as a horror wholesaler, the type of business who needs to net a certain margin on every sale just to stay in business.
Now that we’ve settled that irritating non-criticism, let’s talk about my haul from Scream Factory’s Shocktober sale last month (free shipping to Canada!). Yes, there is a tinge of gloating in my voice as I shuffle through my lovely new blu-rays of Joe Dante’s werewolf caper THE HOWLING, Stan Winston and one of his greatest rod-puppet creations in PUMPKINHEAD, Sam Raimi and Liam Neeson’s proto-superhero (and PHANTOM OF THE OPERA riff) DARKMAN, and forgotten aquatic ALIEN rip-off LEVIATHAN. I also nabbed the two-pack of Ted Nicolau’s nutty comedy TERRORVISON and the disappointing zombie flick THE VIDEO DEAD. I picked up THE NEST, a mutant cockroach creeper, on a whim; I’m a bit sorry I did. The big-roach puppet effects are sparse and pretty pathetic when they do appear, especially when held up to the expressive and mobile animatronic demon central to PUMPKINHEAD.
I’m quite pleased with most of my picks, their discount prices, and the free fridge magnets Scream sent along with the bundle. I should mention that I did pay full retail price for the monumental HALLOWEEN fifteen-disc box set that Scream released in conjunction with Anchor Bay. I haven’t cracked this one open yet—waiting until I’m laid up with the flu or something. Fifteen discs is a substantial time investment!