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Home Entertainment Guide: Horror Edition

It's that most wonderful time of the year when people are looking for something scary to watch. With all the choices out there, how do you know where to begin? Companies haven't helped by releasing what feels like more physical horror releases than any October in years. There are classics on 4K for the first time and recent releases up for grabs. And, of course, there are great streaming options too. We're here to guide the way with a special edition of the HEG, highlighting some of the best horror films on each streaming service along with details on more than a dozen new physical releases for your horror-loving dollar. First, ten of the best horror movies on each streaming service (excluding originals):

"Crimson Peak"
"The Girl on the Third Floor"
"The Guest"
"It Comes at Night"
"The Machinist"
"Pan's Labyrinth"
"The Strangers"

"28 Days Later"
"The Brood"
"Carnival of Souls"
"The Empty Man"
"Final Destination"
"The Invisible Man"
"The Shining"

"Big Bad Wolves"
"The Deeper You Dig"
"The Devil's Backbone"
"The Fog"
"Lords of Salem"
"The Wailing"

"Cheap Thrills"
"In the Earth"
"Let the Right One In"
"The Lodge"
"Open Water"
"Saint Maud"
"Theatre of Blood"


"The Children of the Corn" (Arrow)

Everyone talks about "The Shining" and "Carrie" in the legacy of Stephen King cinematic adaptations, but "Children of the Corn" was one of the building blocks as well, and the great folks at Arrow have given it the treatment usually reserved for a widely acknowledged classic. They're simply unmatched when it comes to genre special edition Blu-ray releases, as evidenced by the stunning 4K restoration here that almost makes the 1984 film look new again. There are also detailed commentaries on the making of this tale of normal children turned into ritual murderers along with retrospectives, interviews, and one of my favorite pieces of artwork of the year for any physical release. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
Brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negative by Arrow Films
4K (2160p) UHD Blu-ray presentation in Dolby Vision (HDR10 compatible)
Original Mono and 5.1 Audio Options
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
Audio commentary with horror journalist Justin Beahm and Children of the Corn historian John Sullivan
Audio commentary with director Fritz Kiersch, producer Terrence Kirby and actors John Franklin and Courtney Gains
Harvesting Horror: The Making of Children of the Corn – retrospective piece featuring interviews with director Fritz Kiersch and actors John Franklin and Courtney Gains
It Was the Eighties! – an interview with actress Linda Hamilton
Return to Gatlin – featurette revisiting the film’s original Iowa shooting locations
Stephen King on a Shoestring – an interview with producer Donald Borchers
Welcome to Gatlin: The Sights and Sounds of Children of the Corn – an interview with production designer Craig Stearns and composer Jonathan Elias
Cut from the Cornfield – an interview with the actor who played “The Blue Man” in the fabled excised sequence
Theatrical trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin

"Dementia 13"

Also known as the "The Haunted and the Hunted," this 1963 Roger Corman production wouldn't be getting an impressive restoration on a director's cut release if not for what its director went on to do with his career. Francis Ford Coppola had made two sexploitation films, but this is widely acknowledged as his feature debut. The story goes that Corman was looking for something akin to "Psycho" and let Coppola come up with his own story to direct (although the two reportedly butted heads in post-production with Jack Hill filming additional sequences). The result is a tight, atmospheric piece of gothic horror, the story of a woman who decides to take advantage of her husband's heart attack to claim his inheritance, which he was going to give to someone else. In a fashion clearly inspired by Poe, she comes to regret this decision. It's not a great film, but it's easy to see how Coppola would develop from here with some framing and tension that's uncommon to Corman movies from the era. It's more of an interesting footnote than anything else but one that's definitely worth reading.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Introduction by Francis Ford Coppola
Audio Commentary by Francis Ford Coppola
Prologue (Dementia 13 Test)

"Don't Breathe 2"

The HEG typically concerns itself only with recommendations and highlights but this is a horror edition that's trying to capture all recent genre releases, and this is one of the biggest of 2021. Too bad it's a mess from beginning to end. Some horror movies can't sustain a sequel, and that's the case with the clever "Don't Breathe," Fede Alvarez's story of home invaders who picked the wrong home to invade. The sequel dismantles almost everything that worked about the original (other than Stephen Lang's committed performance), failing to present viewers with anything resembling the same tension or character investment. It's an exercise in ugly horror, filled with inconsistent characters, editing, and plotting. Let's just hope they don't try to make another one. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
Never-Before-Seen Alternate Ending
"Friends & Filmmakers" Featurette
"Bad Man (Slang is Back)" Featurette
"Designing Deception" Featurette
Audio Commentaries With Filmmakers

"Escape Room: Tournament of Champions"

Remember how the "Final Destination" franchise would release a different goofy sequel every year or two? Let's make that happen here. Picking up right after the end of the first movie, this one continues the journey of Taylor Russell's character from the first film, traumatized after her experience there as she's plunged back into another Escape Room nightmare. It could stand to be a little scarier (they always seem to pull to maintain that PG-13 rating) but there's something twisted and clever about these films that works for me. They don't take themselves seriously and they know it's the set pieces that need to work for the entertainment value. And they do. Bring on a third movie!

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Special Features
Go Inside the Minos Escape Rooms
Meet the Players
Director Adam Robitel on Raising the Stakes

"The Forever Purge"

This is unexpected. Everardo Gout's fifth film in this Blumhouse franchise is arguably the best since the 2013 original. After a few lackluster sequels, the creator of the franchise, James DeMonaco, returns to write a movie that feels more current and vital than most modern horror films. It helps that Gout has a definite eye and sense of pacing that horror sequels often lack, and it helps even more to have a whole talented ensemble working on the same page, including Ana de la Reguera, Tenoch Huerta, Josh Lucas, and Will Patton. The script flirts with the idea that we are now in the age of anger in a way that feels relevant to the world today without being didactic. And Gout doesn't skimp on the action either. The final act kind of falls apart but that first hour is as impressive as this series has been in years, maybe ever. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
Alternate storyboard opening
Deleted scenes
Collapsing the System: Behind The Forever Purge
Creeptastic Wardrobe

"Halloween" (4K)

Listen, I know that the "Halloween" movies have been released on Blu-ray and DVD maybe more than any other franchise. It feels like there's a new special edition every single year. There was just a massive box set last year. Why should you buy them again!??! Well, the hook in this year's special editions aren't related to special features or packaging or collectibles but purely transfer-related. The first five films have all been given 4K scans from their original negatives with approval by the people who made them, and, yes, you can tell the difference. I re-watched "Halloween 2" to prepare for "Halloween Kills" (and was glad I did) and the colors are more defined, and the dark, shadowy scenes at Haddonfield Memorial Hospital seem richer. The sound mix is also tighter and more impressive than ever. Do you NEED to get them all again? Probably not. But if you don't have them yet and "Halloween Kills" has gotten you all excited about Michael Myers again, this is the way to go.

Buy it here 

Special Features (all five releases have a ton, here's just the first film):
NEW 2021 4K Scan From The Original Negative, Approved By Cinematographer Dean Cundey
NEW Dolby Atmos Track
Audio Commentary With Co-Writer/Director John Carpenter And Actress Jamie Lee Curtis
Audio Commentary With Director Of Photography Dean Cundey, Editor Tommy Lee Wallace, And Actor Nick Castle
NEW 2021 4K Scan From The Original Negative, Approved By Cinematographer Dean Cundey
NEW Dolby Atmos Track
Audio Commentary With John Carpenter And Jamie Lee Curtis
Audio Commentary With Dean Cundey, Tommy Lee Wallace, And Nick Castle
"The Night She Came Home"
TV Version Footage
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots
Radio Spots
Original Color Timing Presentation
Vintage Interview With Producer Moustapha Akkad
"Halloween: A Cut Above The Rest"
"Halloween Unmasked 2000"
Halloween – The Extended Cut In HD (TV Inserts Are In Standard Definition)
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots
Radio Spots

"The Incredible Shrinking Man"

A movie ahead of its time, this 1957 work is more sci-fi than horror, but it qualifies for a feature like this one. Grant Williams plays Scott, a successful man living a happy life. While on a boat with his wife Louise, he encounters a mysterious fog, and basically starts shrinking. As he gets smaller and smaller, the world around him gets more and more dangerous. A clever little genre film, it feels like director Jack Arnold's movie also has something to say about masculinity that is still relevant today. And the Criterion release is a beauty. You'd never guess the film is 65 years old. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
New audio commentary featuring genre-film historian Tom Weaver and horror-music expert David Schecter
New program on the film’s special effects by effects experts Craig Barron and Ben Burtt
New conversation between filmmaker Joe Dante and comedian and writer Dana Gould
Auteur on the Campus: Jack Arnold at Universal (Director’s Cut) (2021)
Interview from 2016 with Richard Christian Matheson, novelist and screenwriter Richard Matheson’s son
Interview from 1983 with director Jack Arnold
8 mm home-cinema version from 1969
The Lost Music of “The Incredible Shrinking Man”
Trailer and teaser narrated by filmmaker Orson Welles
PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien

"Misery" (4K)

Kino Lorber only relatively recently got into the 4K Blu-ray game but they've been knocking them out of the park. One of the best recent 4K horror releases is their new special edition for one of the most successful Stephen King adaptations of all time, Rob Reiner's 1990 blockbuster, which won an Oscar for star Kathy Bates. The legendary actress plays Annie Wilkes, an obsessive fan who ends up kidnapping her favorite author, played by James Caan. The Kino release includes tons of previously available special features, all supporting a rich, detailed 4K presentation. This is the new way to own a truly great film, a movie that's even better than you remember. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
Audio Commentary by Director Rob Reiner
Audio Commentary by Screenwriter William Goldman
5.1 Surround & 2.0 Lossless Stereo
Optional English Subtitles
Audio Commentary by Director Rob Reiner
Audio Commentary by Screenwriter William Goldman
Misery Loves Company: Featurette (29:52)
Marc Shaiman's Musical Misery Tour: Featurette (14:28)
Diagnosing Annie Wilkes: Featurette (8:47)
Advice for the Stalked: Featurette (4:58)
Profile of a Stalker: Featurette (6:17)
Celebrity Stalkers: Featurette (5:08)
Anti-Stalking Laws: Featurette (2:23)
Season's Greetings Trailer (2:25)
Theatrical Trailer
5.1 Surround & 2.0 Lossless Stereo
Optional English Subtitles
Dual-Layered BD50 Disc
Limited Edition O-Card Slipcase

"The Night House"

David Bruckner's latest is one of my favorite horror films of 2021 and it's already on Blu-ray and available for rent on streaming services. Rebecca Hall is phenomenal as a woman grieving the loss of her husband. What starts as a traditional ghost story gets much darker as she learns that her partner had some pretty dark secrets. Smart and atmospheric, it's a work that really sticks with you. Bruckner understands there's nothing scarier than the idea that we never really knew the person we slept next to every night. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
What Happens at the Lake House – Take a deep dive with director David Bruckner and the cast to unearth the secrets of The Night House. From the design of the mind-bending set, to Rebecca Hall's haunted performance, witness how this chilling mystery was brought to life.


I kinda love how much M. Night Shyamalan has worked through his blockbuster bomb period to make the movies he really wants to make like "The Visit," "Glass," and now "Old." Flaws aside, they really couldn't have been made by anyone else, and there are too few horror auteurs left with that kind of undeniable fingerprint. "Old" is the story of a group of tourists who end up on a remote beach where time flows just a bit differently. I hate the last few minutes of this film and wish it leaned into its body horror concept with more gusto but there are some undeniably fascinating ideas at play here and some really well-directed sequences. Even when he misses the mark, I'm always eager now to see what Shyamalan does next.

Buy it here

Special Features
SHYAMALAN FAMILY BUSINESS – We look at what Night's two daughters, Ishana and Saleka, contributed to the film and how collaborating with family made filming outside Philadelphia still feel like home.
ALL THE BEACH IS A STAGE – Shooting a film in a wide-open space is challenging because angles have to be created, much like theatre. Night explains the significance of his camera movements and the cast discuss the unique experience of filming without coverage.
NIGHTMARES IN PARADISE – When making a film like OLD, finding the right shooting location is everything. Hear the story of why Night took the production to the Dominican Republic and how Mother Nature both challenged and helped the production.
A FAMILY IN THE MOMENT – Gael Garcia Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Thomasin McKenzie and Alex Wolff recount one very special, emotional night of filming that brought them closer than they ever imagined.

"Onibaba" (Criterion)

Kaneto Shindo's 1964 fable feels like a strong influence on the J-horror that people loved in the '90s and '00s. It's a mesmerizing piece of work, a movie that turns susuki grass into something of a character as it sways and moves around the people trapped in this nightmare. Nobuko Otowa and Jitsuko Yoshimura play women who kill soldiers during the 14th century civil war in Japan before a merchant comes between them. When a samurai surfaces with a magical mask, Shindo incorporates a Buddhist parable sometimes called "the mask with flesh attached." That's all you need to know. The Criterion release is light on special features but the HD digital restoration is the real draw here. 

Buy it here 

Special Features
On the Blu-ray: High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack
On the DVD: High-definition digital transfer, with restored image and sound and enhanced for widescreen televisions
Audio commentary from 2001 featuring director Kaneto Shindo and actors Kei Sato and Jitsuko Yoshimura (Blu-ray only)
Interview from 2003 with Shindo
On-location footage shot by Sato
Stills gallery featuring production sketches and promotional art (DVD only)
Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition (DVD only)
PLUS: An essay by film critic Elena Lazic (Blu-ray only), a 2001 director’s statement by Shindo, and a version of the Buddhist fable that inspired the film

"The Silence of the Lambs" (4K)

This is another release in this special edition column that readers probably own (there was a rocking Criterion release not that long ago), but this is the first time that Jonathan Demme's masterpiece has been available in 4K. The thing is that the Criterion release had such a strong transfer that the upgrade here is negligible. As for the movie itself, it gets better every time I see it, so rich in detail and character that it feels fresh with each viewing. It's literally one of my favorite films of all time, and this is a great way to add it to your collection if you haven't already as it has additional special features not included on the Criterion release, including a new commentary (although it's worth noting that it lacks the audio commentary from Demme, Foster, Hopkins, and more that is on the Criterion edition). 

Buy it here 

Special Features
NEW Audio Commentary by critic Tim Lucas
5.1 Surround & 2.0 Lossless Stereo
Optional English Subtitles
NEW Audio Commentary by critic Tim Lucas
Inside the Labyrinth: Documentary (66:28)
Page to Screen: Documentary (41:17)
Understanding the Madness: Featurette (19:35)
Scoring the Silence: Featurette (16:00)
Original 1991 Making-of Featurette (8:07)
Jonathan Demme and Jodie Foster Interviews (52:30)
Deleted Scenes (38:00)
Outtakes (2:00)
Anthony Hopkins Phone Message (:30)
TV Spots
Theatrical Teaser
Hannibal Trailer
Theatrical Trailer

"Universal Classic Monsters"

This is basically a 4K upgrade from Universal of a box set they first released on DVD back in 2015. They've assembled four of their classic monster movies: "Dracula," "Frankenstein," "The Invisible Man" and "The Wolf Man." This is a great starter set for anyone interested in the history of horror as these films defined the genre for years. They may look dated but one can also see their influence everywhere even decades later. It's also cool that Universal includes the Spanish version of "Dracula," which is really a completely different film, shot on the same sets as Tod Browning's production.

Buy it here 

Special Features
Spanish language version of Drácula
The Road to Dracula
The Frankenstein Files: How Hollywood Made a Monster
Karloff: The Gentle Monster
Monster by Moonlight
The Wolf Man: From Ancient Curse to Modern Myth
Now Your See Him: The Invisible Man Revealed

Brian Tallerico

Brian Tallerico is the Managing Editor of, and also covers television, film, Blu-ray, and video games. He is also a writer for Vulture, The Playlist, The New York Times, and GQ, and the President of the Chicago Film Critics Association.

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