Even if you’ve never seen them, if you’re a horror fan, you’ve likely heard something about both Night of the Demons, as well as Witchboard. Witchboard being the lesser known title. Both film spawned several sequels that ranged from great, to “well, there were boobs.” Both films were brought to us by the same director, which shows in some ways, but not enough to feel derivative. Another thing these films have in common, is that I have only seen them both a couple of times, and all of that was from rental VHS copies. It’s not that I didn’t like them enough to purchase them on DVD when they made the switch, it’s just that when you’re managing such a huge collection, it’s hard to remember every title you’ve ever liked enough to make it your own. Nevertheless, here we are in 2014, and Scream Factor has come to the rescue with a Collector’s edition Blu-ray release of Night of the Demons, and a standard edition Blu-ray release of Witchboard, which happens to have more extras than most standard edition Blu-rays that the company has released.
Witchboard – Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
As I mentioned above, the last time I watched Witchboard, it was on a VHS that I had rented, you know, back when VHS was our only option? It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it to pursue seeing it a second time, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s just that life happened, and it got lost in the shuffle. When I heard that Scream Factory was releasing it to Blu-ray, immediately I became excited to revisit it, and what an experience it was. It had been so long that it was almost like seeing it for the first time, and in beautiful Blu-ray quality, no less. Scream Factory are releasing both this, as well as director Kevin Tenney’s other popular title, Night of the Demons on Blu-ray on the same day. Personally, I think Witchboard is a far superior film. I enjoy them both, for their own reasons though, and while both focus around the concept of possession, they couldn’t be any more different than they are. While Night of the Demons takes the campy party movie approach, Witchboard is a little more subtle, and infinitely more creepy.
There are no problems at all with the DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track, presented in the form of DTS-HD MA 2.0. It lacks the crispness that we’ve come to know and love in this new age of film restoration, especially for the spectacular synth score featured prominently in the film. However, it still sounds great. Sometimes we just have to accept that some films that we love from the past, especially those low budget ones, are not going to have a crazy remixed 7.1 audio track. And, that’s okay. Overall, Scream Factory’s Blu-ray/DVD Combo release of Witchboard is highly recommend to fans of the film, fans of the director, fans that have been collecting all of Scream Factory’s releases thus far, and pretty much anybody out there looking to fill their brains with some solid genre fare that they may or may not have seen in the past. Witchboard still holds up quite well. It may even play well to those damn kids and their music.
Night Of The Demons Collector’s Edition Blu-ray
I am a fan of Night of the Demons. I don’t like it quite as well as Night of the Creeps, but I like it quite a bit. Hell, I even love the Night of the Demons remake, which people tell me I’m crazy for holding such an opinion. But honestly, I don’t know how anyone can be a fan of the original, and not be a fan of the remake, unless it’s just because the fact that a favorite from their childhood being remade feels like an assault on their sense of nostalgia. The only real difference between the two is that the over-the-top silliness has been toned down quite a bit for the remake, which I guess does create a sort of shift in mood. But, we’re not here to have that debate today. Today we’re here to talk about Scream Factory’s phenomenal Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of Kevin S. Tenney’s original, Night of the Demons. Some would call this movie the ultimate Halloween party movie. And, while I find a couple of other movies fit that description a little better for me, I can guarantee a good time will be had, by anyone that has managed to make it up until this point of their lives without having seen Night of the Demons.
Night of the Demons bursts onto Blu-ray in a 1080p AVC encoded full HD transfer in 1.85:1. Most of this film takes place in the dark, so it’s good that the black levels are handled extremely well. In some of these old movies, the darker they are, the more artifacts become visible. This is not the case with Night of the Demons. While it may not carry that heavy grain look we’ve come to expect in releases like that, that’s mostly due to the modest budget of the project, and the lighting that was used while it was being filmed. Overall, the video quality is fantastic. Despite the fact that I gorge myself on Halloween themed films during the month of October, the original Night of the Demons has not made the playlist in previous years, mostly due to the lack of a really solid release for me to consume. That changes in 2014, because now we have a release that’s better than you’ll probably eve see this film, unless you manage to catch a 35mm screening somewhere.
This Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of Night of the Demons features three different audio tracks for you to choose from, not including the commentaries. There is the original track in DTS-HD MA 2.0, a remixed DTS-HD MA 2.0 track, and my personal favorite, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix, which does a better job at showing off the synth-heavy score. As is to be expected with a film of this age/budget, much of the rest of the audio track outside of the score is very center-channel-heavy. But, depending on how you wish to experience the film, you have at least two really solid audio track choices. As far as extras go, this collector’s edition, much like Witchboard, is filled to the brim with some exceptional goodies. Including, but not limited to an all new commentary with director Kevin Tenney, and actors Cathy Podewell, Hal Havins, Billy Gallo, and the FX artist Steve Johnson. All new interviews with cast and crew including Kevin Tenney, Linnea Quigley and others. There is a promo reel, trailers, TV and radio spots, and a massive gallery of stills from the production that most of you probably haven’t seen anywhere else yet. And yes, there’s more than that, even.
Night of the Demons is highly recommended in all regards. It features an impressive video and audio transfer to our beloved Blu-ray format, and more extras than the average person will even be able to navigate through. This is why so many of us love Scream Factory as much as we do. I’ve been accused, due to my reviews, of being nothing more than a Scream Factory fanboy. Fine, maybe I AM a Scream Factory fanboy, but if any of you have actually bothered reading my other reviews of their material, you know for certain that I’m honest, and I call out any problems when they happen to exist. I just also happen to think that Scream Factory is one of the greatest things to happen to the Blu-ray format since its inception. Night of the Demons and Witchboard are no exception to the rule. Both are extremely impressive releases, and any genre fan would be crazy to take a pass on adding these to their home video library.