Halloween 2021 falls on a Sunday this year, so to celebrate for the older people that stay indoors…we have got movie recommendations. The last few weeks has seen an onslaught of new titles hitting e-tailers and store shelves. So, let’s sort out what’s good from what’s not so good.
The Halloween 2021 winners
Two Evil Eyes (4K UHD) now available from Blue Underground
Two Evil Eyes is a movie I have collected on various formats. Now that Blue Underground has given it a stellar 4K UHD release, I took a bunch of 4K screenshots and then stashed them all for Halloween. For those that aren’t familiar with the anthology, it’s a two film feature directed by Romero and Argento. Both horror masters tackle legendary Edgar Allan Poe tales with modern FX.
Argento’s The Black Cat plays as the better horror tale, but there is plenty to love in Romero’s The Facts In The Case of Mr. Valdemar. The big takeaway from this release is Blue Underground restored it from the original camera negative into 4K 16-Bit. Couple that with all of the special features ported over from the Blu-ray and you’ve got the 4K horror title to beat this spooky season.
Plus, it’s Blue Underground. The A/V Quality is always impeccable and they’ve been loving horror films in HD since before many of you were out of elementary school. Halloween 2021 should be dominated by winners like this disc and more!
The Yokai Monsters Collection arrives from Arrow on October 19th (GET THOSE PRE-ORDERS IN!)
The Yokai Monsters Collection is the other set that really floored me during Halloween 2021. While many have made a big deal out of other releases, I found this one to have caught me by surprise. A few years ago, I had a big scholar of Japanese cinema and folklore try to explain Yokai to me. He used the example of the Slit Faced Woman and I ended up being more confused than ever before.
But, I enjoyed what I was seeing here. Yokai Monsters: 100 Monsters and Yokai Monsters: Along with Ghosts have to be my favorite films. I feel they missed a step or two when it came to the mid 00s Yokai movies. While the makeup and effects were a little more polished, the stories feel a lot flatter.
The Yokai Monsters Collection blows up Halloween 2021 with a hefty collectible booklet, featurettes, trailers and a foldable Yokai Monster guide poster. You also get a commentary and some extra materials to round out the package.
For lovers of World Cinema Horror during Halloween
99.9 is now available from Cult Epics
99.9 is a Spanish supernatural thriller directed by Agusti Villaronga. While I have seen Moon Child, there wasn’t enough there to win me over. However, I dig the hell out of this movie. Playing as some sort of weird mash-up of Flatliners and From Beyond, we get to see some crazy things over the near two hours runtime of the movie.
Halloween 2021 is going to be full of this unsung surprises. That’s why I recommend stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking a chance on something new. The Blu-ray comes with an interview, featurette, isolated score and trailers.
Witching & Bitching is now available from IFC Films
Witching and Bitching is a wonderful new film from Alex de la Iglesia. His The Last Circus was quite a visual treat and Witching & Bitching doesn’t fail to live up to that standard. I appreciate a horror comedy that knows how to use vampires well. I feel like this movie came out way earlier than I expected, but all of the pandemic releasing schedules have been a blur to me. Oh well, still worth picking for Halloween 2021.
The Daimajin Trilogy is now available from Arrow Video
Return of Daimajin is the second film in a series of three movies produced back to back in 1966. While killer golems vs. ancient evils and other forces are typical, I wish there was something more to it. Daimajin is supposed to be a demon summoned to protect a village for the protection. The problem with how Daiei set up these movies is that all three movies are the same damn thing.
Arrow brings the Daimajin Trilogy to Blu-ray with commentaries, featurettes, trailers and the alternate US credits. The A/V Quality is pretty sharp without being super overpowering. I dug how big the box was on this one, but I wish we got more out of it. Honestly, I kinda dig how Severin matches their deep niche titles together.
What I’m saying is great set, but I don’t think Daimajin was strong enough to stand on its own.
For fans that like things more suspenseful and less gory
Breakdown is now available as part of the Paramount Presents Blu-ray line
Breakdown came out in the late 90s and went. Then, around the early 00s…it started developing a fan following. Out of all the movies in the world, I didn’t expect that one. But even its theatrical run experienced an older fanbase keeping it alive in the Top 10 for awhile. In a way, it was The Lincoln Lawyer before that even existed. Or it could just be another example of America’s love affair with Kurt Russell.
Paramount brings Breakdown to Blu-ray in America with a new filmmaker focus. You also get the old commentary and featurettes moved over to the HD generation. You get a great 1080p transfer and back channel heavy Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track. Truly amazing.
For Sci-Fi nerds looking for a thrill at Halloween
The Dark is now available from MVD Rewind
The Dark is a movie that started shooting with Tobe Hooper as the director. Then, it ended with reshoots that tied the movie closer to the success of Alien. If that sounds insane, then it’s got to be a Halloween 2021 entry. I miss the days when films would throw logic out of the window to catch onto whatever is blowing up.
The special features range from a commentary to isolated score to interviews. You get a trailer and a mini poster too. What’s amazing is that this little forgotten movie is finally getting a Blu release. Hell, I forgot Casey Kasem was in this movie until I watched it for this piece.
Here are the final Halloween 2021 recommendations for everyone else.
As we come to a close with our Halloween 2021 coverage, something sticks in my brain. Most of us have our traditional favorites to watch during Halloween. Hell, Halloween Kills is currently blowing up the servers at Peacock with its level of viewership demand. So, let’s take a look at the traditional films we loved to watch.
Friday the 13th – 8 Movie Collection is now available from Paramount
Friday the 13th has had more home video releases than I can count. Hell, I think this is the fourth Blu-ray iteration in the last decade. So, why keep returning to Crystal Lake? Especially during Halloween 2021? The answer is simple. People love slasher movies.
Paramount is re-releasing the 8 movies they own in an affordable and collectible set. There was a time in my life where I’d kill for a release like this. Plus, you get digital copies for those Halloween 2021 viewers on the go. Enjoy it all!
Death Screams, The Stylist and Brotherhood of Satan are now available from Arrow Video
Death Screams just had its Limited Edition go Out of Print. Having not been super familiar with the movie, it took a few viewings before this one stuck with me. Halloween 2021 is the perfect time to find new films to explore your horror interests. What I dug about this one was I could pick up on a lot of sly Eli Roth lifts.
For some reason, I see a lot of his one-off efforts and the feel of such things as Hostel originating in films like Death Screams. This one was shot on the cheap in North Carolina and it sports all of the signs of Southern horror. Local qualifiers, shot on limited locations and it never shies away from a boob shot.
The Brotherhood of Satan was a movie I kept on rotation a few weeks ago. I dig the holy hell out of Drive-In era movies about people being scared of Satan. Even if it’s just a weirdo cult that digs the Dark Lord, it’s just so fascinating. Satanic Panic is a real thing and it leads our fiction and how we handle ourselves down weird paths.
I want to say that Mill Creek released this in a double feature Blu-ray ages ago. Still, I dig getting to see Strother Martin doing Satan’s work in crisp HD. The special features are pretty typical for an Arrow release, but it’s quite packed. I highly recommend checking it out.
Finally, this is about the 10th time I’ve talked about The Stylist on here. We followed it on the film festival trail, the VOD trail and then finally making its Blu-ray bow from Arrow. While we have a sizeable group of people that prefer traditional horror, I’d recommend giving The Stylist a rotational spin on Halloween 2021.
Arrow gives The Stylist a second disc to feature its delightful music. But, the main disc gets a ton of featurettes and related material. Halloween 2021 and beyond has shown that Arrow has spent the year dominating all aspects of horror. I really like what we’re seeing here and it pops in a way that I know you all are going to have a happy Halloween 2021.