PoP! Top 6-Pack: Best Horror DVD Collections

The PoP!-Stars narrow it down to the cream-of-the-crop in categories ranging from (but not limited to) Comics, Movies, Toys, and Geek Culture in general. This is the PoP! Top 6-Pack.

With Halloween fast approaching it’s time to dust off all your horror movies. If there are some holes in your collection you might want to consider adding these gems to that unholy pile of DVDS that haunt your living room.

6. Friday the 13th – From Crystal Lake to Manhattan (Ultimate Edition DVD Collection)

15461061bd98fe8d526a40c8bc2e6f75311bc233Jason has a legion of hard core and dedicated fans, and they got an early Christmas present when this box set came out. This set includes all of the Friday films from Part 1 to Jason takes Manhattan.(All the films made by Paramount.)

The special features are varied and plentiful. You get the normal array of trailers, and mini-docs, but they are well done. The pieces on Tom Savini stand out. You can see the passion the special effects pioneer still has for this series. Little tidbits like who was standing in for Betsy Palmer in the effect shot of her death in Part 1, showing you how Kevin Bacon’s death scene was done, or explaining how Jason’s death in Part 4 was created add things for you to watch for in the movies.

5. The Bela Lugosi Collection

For fans of classic horror films, two names straddle the genre like the Colossus: Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. Four of the five films on this disc feature both of the actors in some2851-1 of their best work. While these films aren’t as well known as Dracula or Frankenstein, they stand up to both flicks in quality.

Three of the movies are inspired by Edgar Allen Poe tales. With the exception of Murders in the Rue Morgue, they aren’t very faithful to the Poe stories at all, but rather take inspiration in their titles from those tales.

The standout movie on this disc is The Black Cat. It’s a tale of a war veteran played by Lugosi seeking revenge on Karloff’s architect war criminal. It’s shot beautifully, in a German Noir style. The drama in this movie showcases the talents of both actors to the greatest effect.

The special features on this disc are nonexistent. There are a few trailers, but that would be all. The Bela Lugosi Collection is still worth a rent or a buy, just on the strength on the movies themselves.

4. The Nightmare on Elm Street Collection

nightmare-collection1Freddy is one of the slasher icons that either you love or hate. Some don’t like the humor that became more prevalent in the series as it went along, others just don’t like Freddy himself. I actually enjoy most of the flicks in the series, so I love this set.

All of the original Nightmare films are here. The first film is of course the standout of the set. Having been digitally re-mastered and remixed sound tracks helps all of the films. A nice add on is that 3D glasses were included for Freddy’s Dead, so you can enjoy all of the 3D effects. There is also a whole disc with features, including a fun little game called The Labyrinth. In the game you solve puzzles to get rewarded with more interviews and production photos. It’s a great set for any Freddy fan, and the special features will keep you entertained.

3. The Val Lewton Horror Collectiondvd-vallewton-bonus3

I bought this set for The Body Snatcher and was pleasantly surprised with the other classics in this set. I had never seen Cat People before, and was blown away. I was so surprised that the raw sensuality of the film made past the staid 1950‘s censors.

The special features on this set are some of the best for any classic horror collection. Martin Scorsese produced a lavish documentary on Lewton and his films just for this collection.

There are 2 clunkers on this set though. The Curse of the Cat People and The Ghost Ship can be avoided. With a collection that includes ten movies, and a Scorsese doc on it, I feel that is forgivable.

2. Masters of Horror Season 2

20080902-masters-11The packaging for this DVD set looks great. That is, until you get it home and all the teeth from the skull are all over the box.

Packaging aside this is a great set. The first season of Masters of Horror had some classic episodes, but the subsequent offering bettered it’s predecessor in so many ways. I dare say that this series outperforms any of its ilk. The directors involved are mind boggling. John Carpenter, John Landis, Joe Dante, Dario Argento, and Tobe Hooper all have great episodes in this collection.

The two stand-outs would have to be Family by John Landis, and The Black Cat by Stuart Gordon. In Family we are treated to a suburban horror story with a great twist. It stars George Wendt in a role that you could see as a dark homage to Norm from Cheers. The story is just great fun, and doesn’t end at all how you might think it would.

The Black Cat stars Jeffrey Combs(Weyoun from ST: DS9) as Edgar Allen Poe. It’s a great tale of Poe losing his mind. The way this episode is filmed immerses you in a Gothic tale of one of America’s greatest writers, and doesn’t sugarcoat that writer’s reality as some other projects have.

On this set, watch out for the Washingtonians, Pelts, and We All Scream for Ice Cream as the other stand-outs.

1. The Monster Legacy Gift Set

us-large-legacydetailI love the Universal Monsters. They have invaded our popular culture in everything from cereal to comics. Released to coincide with the release of Van Helsing, this set collects most of the Dracula, Wolf man, and Frankenstein movies.

While Universal has released 75th anniversary editions of it’s classic monster movies, nothing can beat this collection. In the 75th anniversary collections the picture transfer is flawless, these discs have the better audio. When watching some of these classics you find that the audio is usually sub par, and it can really take you out of the movie.

There are Documentaries on each series, Sideshow Collectibles included mini busts of Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolf man, and there are thirteen films in this collection. The real gems in this set, besides the obvious, are The Son of Frankenstein and Werewolf of London. Werewolf of London is a hard to find classic, and Son of Frankenstein is the most underrated Universal movie of all time.

There is also the Spanish language version of Dracula on this set. Unlike most movies of it’s time Dracula was not dubbed into Spanish, there was actually a whole production that ran side by side with the Lugosi version, going so far as to use the same locations, and extras at some points. Most critics actually prefer the Spanish version to the Lugosi film.

If this set only had one of the box sets for these movies it would be great, but including all of them is just insane.

I did not include the Hellraiser box set because it only carries the first two films, and two versions of the first film.(DVD and Blu-Ray) It has some cool packaging and special features but couldn’t crack this list. Halloween has never had a true set either. You can pick up two-packs of the films, but with the death of Mustapha Akkad, and the tangled web of rights with that franchise I doubt we will see a true Halloween Box Set.

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Who ARE these people!?

Nick Brammer is a contributing writer for Panelsonpages.com and sometime co-host for the Panels on pages PoP!Cast. Originally from Bedford MA, Nick now makes his home in sunny Florida.

Comments (6)

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  1. TENIME_art says:

    Jeffrey Combs.

    As Edgar Allen Poe.

    *runs off to Amazon*

  2. Nick Brammer says:

    You can buy that episode as a single. It is so good.

  3. blackhart23 says:

    I actually got the Universal monster sets ages ago, the Philip Glass score for Dracula is amazing. At Best Buy they have these collections of movies that are now public domain, you can get about 50 to 100 movies in a single collection. Some are stinkers but the majority ain’t half bad.

  4. Nick Brammer says:

    Yeah Blackhart23 I’ve checked those out. I find most of them are hit or miss, with a lot of hidden gems.

    with those Universal Legacy sets, they have The Mummy, Invisible Man, and Creature from the Black Lagoon too.

  5. Juan/denim says:

    There is a Puppet Master collectionout there that is pretty awesome as well

  6. blackhart23 says:

    I didn’t know about the mummy one, I’ll have to pick that up.

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