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Blu-ray Review: Stephen King 5-Movie Collection

September 22, 2020

By John Corrado

Last week, Paramount released a new five film collection of Stephen King adaptations on Blu-ray, right in time for the annual October horror movie marathons leading up to Halloween. Below is a brief rundown of the films included in the five disc set, which span from 1983 to 2019 and are compactly packaged in a single case.

The Dead Zone (1983): A Stephen King adaptation that is directed by David Cronenberg and also stars Christopher Walken? How had I never seen this film before? Walken stars in The Dead Zone as John Smith, a man who ends up in a coma, and wakes up to discover that he has the ability to see future events.

Shot in Ontario, The Dead Zone also marked a turning point in Cronenberg’s career, serving as the Canadian director’s first mainstream film. It was incidentally released the same year as Videodrome. Despite a few pacing challenges at times, this is a solid King adaptation that builds up to something that is satisfying overall, turning into a tense political thriller in the last act. This is notably also the first time that the film is being released on Blu-ray, which alone will make this set worth it for a lot of fans.

The disc includes no bonus features.

The Dead Zone is 103 minutes and rated 14A.

Silver Bullet (1985): Based on King’s 1983 novella Cycle of the Werewolf, and featuring a screenplay that the author wrote himself, Silver Bullet centres around Marty Coslaw (Corey Haim), a paraplegic boy who ends up having to defend his small town from a werewolf, with help from his alcoholic uncle (Gary Busey). While Silver Bullet is not the best King adaptation, it’s also a somewhat underrated one. Sure, the film is pretty cheesy at times and the special effects are somewhat dated, but it’s still a thoroughly enjoyable ’80s creature feature, that is now rightfully seen as a bit of a cult classic. I had admittedly never seen it before, but had a lot of fun watching it for the first time through this set.

The disc includes no bonus features.

Silver Bullet is 94 minutes and rated 18A.

Pet Sematary (1989): The first of the two adaptations of King’s 1983 novel that are included in this set, director Mary Lambert’s original film version of Pet Sematary, for which King himself wrote the screenplay, also remains the superior of the two. It’s an entertaining and at times genuinely unsettling ’80s horror movie, that touches on themes of parental grief and how a family deals with death. Oh, and that ankle slice still makes me cringe. For my full thoughts on the film itself, you can read my review of the 30th anniversary edition that came out last year right here.

The disc here is identical to the 30th anniversary one, and also includes a commentary track featuring Lambert, a selection of two newer featurettes (Pet Sematary: Fear and RemembrancePet Sematary: Revisitation) and three older ones (Stephen King Territory, The Characters, Filming the Horror), as well as a trio of photo galleries with an intro by Lambert.

Pet Sematary (1989) is 102 minutes and rated 18A.

Stephen King’s The Stand (1994): This one isn’t a film, but rather the 1994 miniseries adaptation of King’s mammoth 1978 bestseller, which details the fallout from a deadly plague across an epic six hour running time. With an all-star cast, and a screenplay that was written by King himself, it’s a decent and largely entertaining adaptation, and all four episodes of the series are included on one disc in this set. For my full thoughts on the miniseries, you can read my review of the standalone 25th anniversary edition that came out last year right here.

The disc here is identical to the 25th anniversary one, and also includes a commentary track featuring King and director Mick Garris, as well as a short archival “making of” featurette.

Stephen King’s The Stand is 359 minutes and rated 14A.

Pet Sematary (2019): Both a remake of Lambert’s earlier film and a new adaptation of King’s book, this 2019 version of Pet Sematary is directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer, and stars Jason Clarke and John Lithgow. The plot stays mostly faithful to the original, save for one major twist. It overall serves as an adequate adaptation that is hardly definitive but gets the job done, and is enjoyable enough to watch if you are looking for something slightly creepy late at night. I reviewed the film when it came out last year, and you can read my full thoughts on it right here.

The disc here is identical to the standalone edition put out last year, and also includes an alternate ending, a selection of seven deleted and extended scenes, and the hour-long production documentary Beyond the Deadfall, which is divided into four chapters. Finally, the disc includes a trio of atmospheric sequences (Night Terrors), and a short bonus scene (The Tale of Timmy Baterman).

Pet Sematary (2019) is 100 minutes and rated 14A.

The Stephen King 5-Movie Collection is a Paramount Home Entertainment release.

Street Date: September 15th, 2020

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