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5 Years and 5 Favorites from Scream Factory

It was recently brought to my attention thanks to the fantastic new podcast, Pure Cinema, that we are coming up on the 5th Anniversary of Scream Factory! It seems like just yesterday the “horror arm” of parent label, Shout! Factory, launched to provide us horror fiends with hours of wicked behind-the-scenes goodies and glorious transfers. It was May 31st, 2017 that the company announced their first slate of releases: Halloween 2, Halloween 3: Season of the Witch, Terror Train, They Live, The Funhouse, Deadly Blessing, The Island, and Phantasm II! That’s insane starting lineup, and the fact is Scream hasn’t slowed down since. From the Wiki page:

Scream Factory is a subsidiary of Shout! Factory. The label releases a number of genre films, mostly horror and science fiction, with dedicated cult followings, many of which having never been available on Blu-ray prior. Certain titles are released in a “Collector’s Edition” with new and archival bonus content, a collectible slipcover featuring newly rendered retro-style artwork, and a reversible artwork wrap with a film’s original theatrical or home video key art.

Those original pieces of art are one of the biggest highlights for many a collector. Of course, there have been some to raise the occasional controversy across the internet over certain covers. The definitive edition of Bob Clark’s seminal proto-slasher classic, Black Christmas, was met with cries of outrage when artist Joel Robinson dared depict Billy on the cover. Billy or not, it’s a glorious piece of art that I wear proudly on a shirt I picked up from Robinson at Days of the Dead in Atlanta recently. It’s that level of care and detail, all the way to the films’ packaging that takes us back to days of roaming through VHS boxes at the video store. This is just another reason Scream Factory has made such a huge impact in such a short period of time.

As part of the aforementioned Pure Cinema podcast, the hosts, Elric Kane and Brian Saur, listed off their “5 because” releases from the company and requested listeners to do the same. Well, I felt this would be an easy task – I was wrong.  Their catalog is so vast, and even movies that might not be the greatest feature amazing extras that make them well worth a purchase anyway. For my selections I’ve decided to limit myself to one pick per year, ranging from 2012 – 2016 releases, thus the films aren’t ranked in any particular order.


1. ‘Terror Train’ (1980)

Scream Factory Release Date: Oct. 16th, 2012

I understand that Terror Train isn’t regarded as a classic by most. As well, it’s certainly not beloved as some of the other movies from Scream’s inaugural lineup, but dammit if I don’t absolutely love it. Terror Train has always been one of my favorite “one offs” from the American slasher cycle. The plot is terribly basic: prank gone wrong, prankee possibly returning to seek bloody revenge, drunken kids trapped in singular location – slasher hyjinx undoubtedly ensue. What’s so great about Terror Train is it’s incredibly efficient in its simplicity, all leading to a final third “final girl” chase that’s one of the best. The blu isn’t loaded to the brim as some future releases would prove to be, but there’s still a lot to love. From the eerie new cover artwork, the informative interviews, and spanking new sound mix, Scream’s Terror Train disc is the perfect amuse bouche for the greatness to come.

Honorable Mentions: They Live, The Funhouse


2. ‘The Fog’ (1980)

Scream Factory Release Date: July 30th, 2013

Scream jumped from a total of 8 titles in their inaugural year to cranking out a whopping 36 in 2013. The vast number of releases made this a particularly difficult year to select a favorite from. I’ve chosen The Fog for a couple of obvious reasons. Simply put, it’s one of Carpenter’s best films outside of Halloween, and the royal treatment slathered all over this disc is apparent from frame one of the glorious transfer to the well stocked special features. We even get an interview with none other than Jamie Lee Curtis who is notoriously absent on most releases from her Scream Queen heyday. Looking at you, Terror Train.

Scream Factory’s own, Jeff Nelson, even stated on Pure Cinema that “If I had to be on a desert island with one [of our releases] it would be The Fog.” You should need no further endorsement than that to run out and add this to your collection, if you haven’t already.

Honorable Mentions: Prince of Darkness, Lifeforce, Night of the Comet


3. ‘Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut’ (1990)

Scream Factory Release Date: October 28th, 2014

Let’s get this out of the way right now, it’s almost unfair that I can only select one entry from 2014. Yeah, I know. I made the rules myself, but I’m sticking to em’. In 2014, Scream somehow pulled off the unthinkable. They wrangled together two other companies in order to release Halloween: The Complete Collection. No one ever thought they’d be able to maneuver through all the rights issues to get each film in the series out in one slick box-set. Even better, the often bootlegged Halloween 6: Producer’s Cut was finally presented completely remastered in HD. It was a Michael Myers fan’s wet dream. Yet, despite all of that horror movie alchemy, Scream Factory managed an even bigger coup in 2014.

Clive Barker’s Nightbreed was notorious for the studio meddling that led to various cuts and re-edits on the road to the film’s original theatrical release. That excised footage was thought long lost by careless studio execs but had been uncovered in rough VHS workprints. This footage gave birth to Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut, an overly long edit of Clive Barker’s butchered film that threw in every last frame unearthed from the 1984 production. Scream Factory soon stepped up, promising to clean the VHS footage as best as possible so that fans could finally see a version much closer to Barker’s original vision. That wasn’t enough for the fine folks at Scream Factory, however. They went one step further to find the original excised film elements from Nightbreed. With that, they hired an editor and based off meticulous notes from Clive Barker, we were gifted Nightbreed: The Director’s Cut.

The theatrical cut was something that always left me wanting as a kid. I enjoyed it. The monster designs and practical effects were splendid, but the story always felt muddled to me…even as a 13 year old kid watching the VHS alone in my bedroom. Something was off, and this new director’s cut went above and beyond to bring new life to Barker’s maligned masterpiece. Viewing this cut for the first time, I was swept away by the emotion and the fantasy on display. It’s a beautiful film, and we should be so thankful for Scream Factory giving it the presentation it so justly deserves. While the films on this list aren’t ranked in any specific order, this would easily land at number one if they were. This is seriously the prized gem of my bluray collection.

Honorable Mentions: Lord of Illusions, Night of the Demons, Monkey Shines


4. ‘Ghosthouse’ (1988)/’Witchery’ (1988) Double Feature

Scream Factory Release Date: June 30th, 2015

Okay, this certainly isn’t the most illustrious disc from Scream Factory. Not by a longshot. But, what I love about the company is along with all the more prestigious horror releases they manage to unearth the occasional oddball flick.  Some of these movies, in all honesty, really have no right looking this good. Yes, the dics are barebones minus theatrical trailers, but no one thought they would ever make the leap to high def to begin with.

Ghosthouse and Witchery, both bottom barrel Italian imports, were also known as La Casa 3 and 4, respectively (considered as unofficial “sequels” to The Evil Dead). While Witchery has the mozzarella cheese factor of both David Hasselhoff AND Linda Blair, Ghosthouse is an underrated effort from low-tier Italian schlockmeister, Joe D’Amato. It features a genuinely creepy opening and plays fast and loose with logic, latex, and karo syrup. This double feature is a must own for fans of 80’s fare that falls a bit more on the sillier side of things.

Honorable Mentions: Dog Soldiers, The People Under the Stairs, Demon Knight


5. ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2’ (1986)

Scream Factory Release Date: April 19th, 2016

This was another tough choice. Two of my favorite horror films of all time got top notch treatment from Scream Factory last year, Black Christmas and TCM 2. Of course, there’s also “never thought we’d see the day” The Exorcist 3: Director’s Cut, although it was pieced together with the only available elements. Unfortunately, those elements are equal to those found in the original Nightbreed: Cabal Cut. While, Black Christmas is a true-to-original-presentation transfer that has gorgeous, vibrant pops of color, it suffers from heavy amounts of grain (again that is true to what the film would’ve looked like upon it’s first run). Because of that, however, TCM 2 just edges out the competition.

I already owned the Special Edition DVD release of Hooper’s whacked out sequel and didn’t immediately see the need to upgrade as that set was fully loaded. Thankfully, I received the blu as a Christmas present. I took it over to a friend’s place with an 80″ projection screen and popped the disc in. We were both blown away as the the film literally looked like it was made two years ago, not 30 years ago. The transfer is immaculate and there’s a whole meat locker full of extras. The feature length documentary ported over from the “Gruesome Edition” really does take you inside the insane workings of the cast and crew. Scream even dug up 30 minutes of deleted clips from the doc for an even further dive into production hell. It was a close call, but this package certainly comes out on top swinging a chainsaw victorious.

Honorable Mentions: Black Christmas, The Exorcist 3, The Thing, Bubba Ho-Tep


Before we wrap this up, I did want to point out Scream Factory’s first original production, Fender Bender. I finally caught it this past week streaming on Shudder. While my expectations were very low based off the footage I’d seen in trailers, I was pleasantly surprised by what a hell of a fun ride it was. Mark Pavia pulls off a super slick production on what must have been a tight budget. It’s a straightforward slasher scenario with teens making the WORST decisions and getting sliced and diced by a leather clad psycho. For a modern flick it still fits right at home in the Scream Factory brand. Here’s hoping that Fender Bender isn’t the last original piece.

There you have it, gang. Writing this article has brought to my attention the numerous blurays that I need to be throwing in my Amazon cart. Starting a Go Fund Me for my home video collection would be in poor taste, huh? What are some of your favorite Scream Factory releases, or what do you wish they would release?



COMMENTS

32 Comments
  • Ocelot006 .

    Scream Factory spends every damn day on Facebook reminding me it’s been five years. Although we have to wait till September till it’s actually five years.

  • Creepshow

    The whole time reading this, I had Bubba Ho-Tep in my mind. Thankfully, it got an honorable mention.

    On a side note: Yo Zach, what do you personally stream Shudder through? It seems like no matter how people are streaming it, they still have the freezing problem. It ticked me off the other night while watching Lake Mungo, and I missed an important scene near the end. With all the people bitching about the hiccups and freezing, I’m surprised Shudder hasn’t fixed these issues yet. I love their library, but they have to get their shit straight.

    • I have my PC hooked up to my TV and stream from there. I see people mention the freezing errors all the time but have only had it happen to me once, thankfully.

      And yes, I love Ho-Tep but Black christmas and TCM2 edge it out a bit.

      • Creepshow

        I stream it through Chromecast, and use my phone as the controller through the app. It makes rewinding and fast forwarding a bitch. To un-freeze a movie, you have to just go a “tick” past the scene. But I end up going forward too far ahead, and then go too far back to get where I was. It’s a sick twisted game.

        • That’s sounds pretty horrible. Try hooking your laptop to the TV if you’ve got one. That might work out better.

          • Creepshow

            I’ll give it a go, and see if it helps. Thanks bud.

      • Creepshow

        I started watching the Black Christmas remake the other day, and goddamn I don’t know if I even want to finish it. I’m afraid that if I continue to roll my eyes too much, they’ll stay in the back of my head. It’s pretty fucking bad.

        • Yeah…I’ve watched it several times and never can get into it, but I have some friends who think it’s dumb fun. I’d love to see a director’s cut of what it looked like before Harvey scissorhands got ahold of it. Now that would be a great box set from Scream Factory, a collection of Dinension films director’s cuts. Lol

        • Eastman420

          Ending is absolutely ridiculous, takes a meaningless horrible remake and turns it into a joke.

          • Creepshow

            As soon as the backstory started with the prison bullshit, I already knew it was gonna be hot trash.

          • Creepshow

            Finished watching it. It’s insulting garbage.

  • Modok

    Dourif was great, but I must admit I really liked Jason Miller’s part in the movie (even though the studio forced it on Blatty).

  • Coty Reynolds

    I just want Dead Alive, Suspiria, and Shivers. It’d be great if they also released Club Dread after Paxton’s passing.

    • Suspiria is on its way later this year from Synapse! They’ve been working on it for years, so it should be an amazing disc.

      • Coty Reynolds

        Yeah they keep promising but they still don’t have a clue about the release date. Nothing against Synapse, but I much prefer Arrow, Scream Factory, and Vinegar Syndrome. I would prefer one of those got their hands on it, but I’ll definitely check it out whenever that happens.

  • Man, I would love to see Scream get ahold of Shadowzone. Such a fun flick, but I think it’s a part of the Full Moon library now. Every now and then Full Moon will do decent blus of their catalog title. Hopefully Shadowzone will get the treatment one day.

  • Stefan Heikel

    I would love for them to release a director’s cut edition of Cursed. Seriously, if they could do it for Nightbreed, Exorcist 3, and Halloween 6 I don’t see why they can’t for that. I gotta say I was bummed that they didn’t do it with Death Becomes Her (I believe that was the last chance to ever see the original ending/Tracy Ullman’s character).

    I was so happy they released You’ll Like My Mother, and underrated gem that was filmed in my hometown of Duluth, Minnesota starring Patty Duke. I had never gotten a release since VHS and was long since out of print.

    • Hack Snyder

      A Cursed director’s cut would be great but I don’t think it’ll happen any decade soon. Miramax own it and they’ve only worked with Scream Factory once. Plus Wes Craven is dead and who knows if he told anyone what his director’s cut of the movie would be.

      • Stefan Heikel

        I’m sure Kevin Williamson could provide valuable input.

    • Jeff Arnette

      Omg I used to feel as if I was the only person who wants this uncut on bluray with all the extra scenes included. This and scream directors cut would be amazing. I’d pay to help fund this thing. Maybe that’s what we need to get it made.

  • PsychoMantis18

    TCM2’s best release still on Arrow though.

    But yar – thanks Scream Factory – you rock!

  • lonestarr357

    Sweet Jesus, that artwork is amazing.

  • Meisha’s Taint

    Fuck Scream Factory they put money into child rapists hands

    I will never give a dime to Scream Factory for supporting Victor Salva. FUCK YOU

    • Carlton Fisher

      Have you abandoned Criterion for releasing Rosemary’s Baby and other Polanski films as well?

      • Meisha’s Taint

        Have you decided supporting child rapists is OK now because some other guy, somewhere raped a child and they still sell his films?

        Your logic is fucking terrifying. Using your logic you could do anything because some one somewhere else has done it too right????

        An child actor in a horror movie was raped multiple times and it’s totally cool to put him back in the same position to do it again and totally OK to give him money cuz Polanski is a creep.too??? I’m a real horror fan I care about the actors who make my favorite films and them getting raped is NOT OK.

        ME, MY FAMILY, AND MY FRIENDS WILL NEVER SUPPORT SCREAM FACTORY BECAUSE THEY SUPPORT CHILD RAPE.
        HE IS GOING TO DO IT AGAIN AND IT’S THANKS TO YOU SICK FUCKS WHO CARE MORE ABOUT $ THAN WHATS RIGHT OR WRONG.

        • Carlton Fisher

          You’re not doing yourself any favors here. My point was about the crazy level of vitriol that gets directed toward Salva, who actually went to prison and served time, while we still nominate Polanski–who fled the country and has never returned in order to avoid any punishment–for Oscars and rave about the beauty of his work. I still suspect the main issue for the people who hate Salva’s behavior so much has to do with it being same-sex in nature rather than opposite sex.

          But hay, you can feel free to boycott and stick to your convictions. While you’re at it, you’re going to need to boycott MGM (who distributed Jeepers Creepers) and Disney (who distributed Powder), and every movie theater that ever played any of those films, as well as any movie wit any actor, producer, or crew member that helped in the making of those films, because they all also helped “put money in the pocket of a child rapist.”

          • Meisha’s Taint

            “I still suspect the main issue for the people who hate Salva’s behavior so much has to do with it being same-sex in nature rather than opposite sex”

            You think we don’t like him because he is gay?????

            WE DON”T LIKE HIM BECAUSE HE RAPED A CHILD MULTIPLE TIMES, FILMED IT, SMILED DURING HIS MUG SHOT AND DID A VERY SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME LESS THAN WHAT SOME PEOPLE GET FOR SELLING LOOSIES.

            Get your fuckin shit straight

          • Carlton Fisher

            My statement was an attempt to understand the difference in the vitriol directed toward Salva and and Polanski. Polanski did NO time. NONE. Not a day. And yet no one is boycotting the Oscars when his films are released. The differences between the two are one year in age (Polanski’s victim was one year older), the sex of the victims, and that Polanski’s victim was drunk and drugged. Unless you think getting a child drunk and drugging them actually makes the situation better, or there’s some HUGE difference in that one year in age, then the main difference I can detect is the same-sex component.

            And I get really, really, really fucking sick of people who are up in arms insisting that anyone who disagrees with them champions child rape. You put three different posts in a row bringing up Salva in an article that didn’t even mention him. If you’re REALLY concerned about child rape, then you should be out campaigning for harsher sentences and child advocacy programs. Instead, you’re on an internet site bitching about a distributor who put out Blu Rays of two films by one director whose crimes you find inexcusable, while you seem to brush off the same indiscretions committed by other, more renowned directors who receive far more financial support and acclaim from Hollywood and various corporations. Your hypocrisy is showing.

  • I saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 when I was younger and I enjoyed more than the first film.

  • Meisha’s Taint

    SCREAM FACTORY SUPPORTS CHILD RAPE. STAY AWAY

  • Meisha’s Taint

    I love horror movies. SO I NEVER SUPPORT SCREAM FACTORY

    • Orwellianson

      Why are you here then, troll? Gtfo.

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This Week in Horror - August 7, 2017

The hard copy of Friday the 13th: The Game is coming, Sarah Paulson joins M. Night Shyamalan's Glass, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark gets a re-release with the original art.

Posted by Bloody Disgusting on Monday, August 7, 2017
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