This Halloween, the seasonal offerings include some big-ticket gift sets, like “Chucky: The Complete Collection,” an anthology of all six films in the “Child’s Play” series (Universal; Blu-ray, $84.98; DVD, $59.88; not rated), and “Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection,” which offers Blu-ray editions of 12 films in that slasher franchise, from the original 1980 “Friday the 13th” directed by Sean S. Cunningham to its 2009 remake-reboot directed by Marcus Nispel – in effect, closing the circle (Warner Home Video; $129.95; R).
Two perennials are back in upgraded editions. “The Exorcist: 40th Anniversary Edition” appears to contain the same fine high-definition – of the 1973 theatrical release and the extended director’s cut of 2000 – that were featured in Warner Bros.’ 2010 Blu-ray release; what’s new is a bonus disc that includes interviews with William Peter Blatty, who wrote the novel and screenplay, and Eugene Gallagher, the priest who told Blatty of the 1949 case from which the story is drawn. A 40-page booklet containing excerpts from “The Friedkin Connection” – the recently published memoir of director William Friedkin – rounds out this package, priced at $49.99.
John Carpenter’s “Halloween,” from 1978, has also seen plenty of video reissues, but the 35th-anniversary Blu-ray from Anchor Bay ($34.99; R) offers a new transfer of Carpenter’s elegant, elemental fable supervised by cinematographer Dean Cundey.
An upgrade also makes a dramatic difference with “Night Tide,” a slow-moving, richly atmospheric supernatural tale from 1961, closer in spirit to M.R. James than EC Comics, that was the first feature-length narrative directed by the avant-garde filmmaker Curtis Harrington. The film has been reissued by Kino (Blu-ray; $29.95; DVD, $24.95; not rated) in a high-definition transfer taken from a print restored by the Academy Film Archive. A young Dennis Hopper plays a sailor on shore leave who falls under the spell of a mysterious woman (Linda Lawson) posing in a mermaid costume for tourists at the Santa Monica Pier.
That 1960 film, along with three others in the Poe series – “The Pit and the Pendulum” (1961), “The Haunted Palace” (1963) and the ambitious, proto-psychedelic “Masque of the Red Death” (1964) – get their own superb Blu-ray upgrade in “The Vincent Price Collection,” a four-disc set from Shout! Factory ($79.97; PG-13 and not rated).
Criterion’s Halloween contribution is “The Uninvited” from 1944, one of the few major-studio, A-level films to take the genre with some sense of seriousness before “The Exorcist” made horror movies respectable again. It, too, has been carefully restored (Blu-ray, $29.95; DVD, $19.95; not rated), bringing the complex optical effects (the work of Gordon Jennings, and as much of a wonder in their time as James Cameron’s digital innovations) back to a level of eerie conviction they have not possessed in decades.
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