Paramount’s Stephen King 5-Movie Collection is now available on Blu-ray, and it contains a pretty great lineup. If you’re a King fan and you don’t already own the original Pet Sematary, its remake, The Stand, Silver Bullet and The Dead Zone on Blu-ray, this is probably the way to do it. The more of those releases you have, the harder it might be to recommend, because this set mostly contains previous Blu-ray transfers without any real updates. Nothing is exclusive to the set other than The Dead Zone. Having said that, for a $30 price tag, this set is basically a no-brainer. It’s a great deal for the price. But let’s just get into it. I think it would probably make the most sense to just go through disc by disc.
I have no complaints about The Stand. I even reviewed that Blu-ray release by itself, and it’s fantastic. The miniseries has never looked better. In fact, it’s insane that a TV production of its era has been restored to the capacity that it has. This release retains all of the special features, including the commentary from King, Garris and other members of the cast and crew, as well as a short making-of featurette. The special features aren’t massive, granted, but the draw of this release of The Stand is definitely the transfer, which is intact here. The only downside I can think of is that, this being such a recent release, a lot of people might already own this one. If you haven’t already picked it up, though, it’s honestly a great bargain to find it included in this collection.
Silver Bullet, on the other hand, is a little less praise worthy, mostly because I cannot recommend this disc over the incredible Scream Factory release. That one had a great transfer, was packed with all the extras you’d expect from that company and you just, in general, really felt the care that went into giving that excellent werewolf feature the release it deserves. This disc, on the other hand, is bare bones. It looks fine, and if you don’t care about the extra features, it’s definitely worth its inclusion in the set. But there is no question which version of Silver Bullet on Blu-ray is better, especially for collectors.
The Dead Zone, like Silver Bullet, is also a bare-bones release, but there’s a bigger problem with that. This is the only stateside Blu-ray release of The Dead Zone, and this is no minor King adaptation. This film is one of the best for both Christopher Walken as an actor and David Cronenberg as a director. It’s one of King’s best stories in general. In addition to that, it’s a movie that’s been rediscovered over the past few years due to its haunting similarities to the current political climate. This release doesn’t feature a commentary, or any kind of making-of feature, and it would have been understandable—though annoying—if this was simply ported over from the previous DVD release, but that had special features that this disc simply doesn’t retain. It’s really unfortunate for one of the best movies, if not the best movie out of the entire set, to be its low point, but that’s what this is.
1989’s Pet Sematary on the other hand, is the high point of the set, for me. This is the recent Blu-ray release, which I had not yet gotten around to picking up, and I was very impressed. There was genuine care put into this disc, even if its release by and large existed to service the remake. Here, there’s a new transfer overseen by Mary Lambert and it looks great. In fact, as someone who actually grew up among the filming locations, seeing them pop off the screen like that made me genuinely homesick, which I think is a huge testament to the quality of the transfer. There’s a new commentary with Mary Lambert as well as an interview, both of which are insightful, though they cover a lot of the same ground and do get a little repetitive, especially if you do what I did and watch the director interview and the commentary back-to-back. There’s also a great new featurette, even if it only exists to promote a different movie, that’s centered around the cast and crew of the remake talking about the impact and their memories of the original film. Honestly, I would love to see more remakes do featurettes like that. Original movies and their remakes always tend to feel like they get pitted against each other, and little featurettes like this, short as they are, do a lot to bridge that gap, I think. In addition to all of that, this disc retains all of the special features from the previous DVD release, which includes a great featurette from 1989 with Stephen King himself walking the viewer through the locations that inspired the novel.
Last, but not least, there’s last year’s Pet Sematary remake. Unsurprisingly, this one boasts the most special features of the bunch. Deleted scenes, an alternate ending that kind of betrays the themes of the story, a great featurette on the characters of Pet Sematary and the story’s lasting legacy, and a whole lot more. The only reason I’m not going through everything is because this is the most recent film included in the set and it’s the same disc that’s already available. I’d be willing to bet that this might be the movie that most people already own, but if you don’t already have it, or have been curious to revisit it or finally check it out, this is probably the way to do it. If you love it, great. And if you don’t love it, well, you picked it up alongside some really strong King adaptations.
That’s the point I keep coming back to. The less of these movies you already own, the better. If you don’t have any of these films on Blu-ray yet, then the Stephen King 5-movie collection is an obvious choice. This is the best way to get them all in one place, no question. The more of them you already own on Blu, the tougher it naturally becomes to recommend, because there’s nothing new here. It makes it a hard set to review because it really depends on one’s own personal mileage with how many of these movies are in your collection. There’s no incentive for double dipping, and the lack of any kind of features on the Dead Zone disc makes for a harder sell than I’d like. But at the end of the day, this is still the best way to get all of these movies in one place, and these are all films that I enjoy. And, again, for the price it’s pretty much a steal. These Stephen King collections have been warm staples of Walmart shelves on DVD for years, and having a set like this on Blu-ray is a great upgrade and would without a doubt make for a fine Halloween season binge. You’re not getting much in this set that isn’t already out there on its own, but this is without a doubt the most cost-effective way to get it all in one place.