Stephen King 5-Movie Collection – Blu-ray Review

The Dead Zone

Although The Dead Zone sounds like a scary supernatural thriller, the film is not that at all. As you watch it, you tend to forget that it’s a supernatural thriller. All of that is thanks to the bevy of sympathetic and fleshed out characters. Because of these characters, David Cronenberg grounds the film and makes the supernatural elements more believable. Of course, Cronenberg has made a career out of this style so we can buy into the premise of his outrageous films.

He does get a lot of help from his star, Christopher Walken. Walken provides a hypnotic performance as Johnny Smith — a character that has psychic powers that’s both a gift and a curse. As Smith struggles with his newfound powers, Walken is at his most mesmerizing. The more he uses his powers, the more it weighs down on him. You can see it in the body language of Walken as Smith progresses through the film. It lets the audience in on who Smith is and therefore empathizes with him. 

However, Cronenberg’s film does feel a little disjointed. It feels like two separate episodes of a television series than something cohesive. Not to mention, the tone of the film switches too. The first half sets up the film as a murder mystery. Once Johnny Smith leaves Castle Rock, it becomes a political thriller. Now, The Dead Zone came out in 1983, but Martin Sheen’s character feels eerily similar to a certain 45th President of the United States.

It’s in the second half of The Dead Zone where it showcases its philosophical themes. Johnny proposes this question to his Jewish doctor: “If you could go back in time to Germany, before Hitler came to power, knowing what you know now, would you kill him?” His response is “I’m a man of medicine. I’m expected to save lives and ease suffering. I love people. Therefore, I would have no choice but to kill the son of a bitch.” It’s an interesting quandary that philosophers propose since the days of Socrates in ancient Greece. It’s a plot point that elevates the film over the other two Stephen King films that came out in 1983 (Cujo and Christine).

Movie Rating: 4/5 atoms

Video

The Dead Zone hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The video transfer has a high contrast which gives the image some depth. It also lets the brightness pop off the screen with some stunning whites. However, it also lets the black levels go super dark which leads to a lot of crush in the shadow areas. The Dead Zone doesn’t have a colorful palette, but the colors that do show up are bold. It’s not overly saturated but the color saturation is high here. The details are super clean — something you can see in Johnny’s various sweaters. Unfortunately, there is some blurriness in the picture. It could be due to the source footage or it’s a product of the times, but it is visible — just like the film grain. Overall, this is a decent looking picture.

Video Rating: 4/5 atoms

Audio

The Dead Zone hits Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Even though the audio is listed as a 5.1 audio mix, it doesn’t necessarily sound like a 5.1 audio mix. The mix bases itself off of the theatrical stereo mix which is why the mix sounds so front-loaded. Some atmospheric sound effects appear periodically throughout the film, but it doesn’t envelop you from all sides. It also sounds as if they just copied and pasted the atmospheric track into the surround sound channels which is why it sounds static. In other words, there are no layers to the audio. Nevertheless, the dialogue sounds crisp despite being an older film.

Audio Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

Special Features

The Dead Zone doesn’t have any special features in this release.

Special Features Rating: n/a


Overall, The Dead Zone is one of the better adaptations of a Stephen King novel. David Cronenberg grounds the film with such realism that you can’t help but be sucked into Christopher Walken’s performance. The video looks great despite some issues. Unfortunately, the audio mix sounds static and bland.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

Silver Bullet

Silver Bullet

Daniel Attias’s adaptation of Stephen King’s “Cycle of the Wolf” is not the best King adaptation around, but what Silver Bullet has going for it is heart… Along with a lot of gore and blood. The film goes a multi-faceted approach by making Silver Bullet into a teen adventure, a family drama, and a slasher flick. At times, the film makes this combination work. The family drama element works thanks to the rich and complex characters that populate the small town in this film — a staple of any Stephen King adaptation. 

Yet it’s the addition of the blood and gore that conflicts with the vision of Attias. Attias felt that Silver Bullet worked best as a teenage adventure, but producer Dino de Laurentiis wanted the film to have more gore and horror. This conflict causes a tonal discord between the two. There are moments where it has the feeling of Stand By Me and IT with the way it portrays young adults. However, it starts to feel like a slasher film when it displays the werewolf killings. The blood and over-the-top violence are very reminiscent of popular horror films at the time, such as Friday the 13th or An American Werewolf in London. While it does add horror elements and fun to the film, the film doesn’t mesh well with the teenage adventure tone of the film.

Overall, Silver Bullet is a fun werewolf film that’s a clear product of the 80s. Unfortunately, the film tries hard to cash in on the popular werewolf films of the time. As a result, Silver Bullet doesn’t quite live up to the same horrifying level as the other werewolf films. Instead, the film does provide an entry-level film to the werewolf genre. It’s got a lot of blood and violent scenes, but they’re tame when you compare it to the other films. So if you’re looking for a werewolf film without being scared to death, then Silver Bullet is for you.

Movie Rating: 3/5 atoms

Silver Bullet - Megan Follows, Gary Busey, and Corey Haim

Video

Silver Bullet hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The video has a spectacular contrast where the lights are bright and the shadows are crisp. The shadows are a lighter shade of black, yet the picture is dark enough to where you can’t see what’s happening. The picture also has some bold color saturation which is something you can see in the blood of the werewolf’s victims. The details are incredibly clear as well. The presentation of the textures and the werewolf fur are crisp, but this clarity also highlights the rough special effects of the film. The film grain is fine and consistent throughout. Overall, it’s a beautiful presentation when you consider how old the film is.

Video Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Silver Bullet - Wendy Walker

Audio

Silver Bullet hits Blu-ray with a Mono DTS-HD Master Audio track. Although it’s disappointing to see that the audio mix is still a mono mix, the mix still does its job. Of course, there is no dynamic immersion in this mix, but the atmospherics are still captivating as it adds some layers to the scene. The sound effects are pronounced which is something you can hear with the werewolf attacks and the engine roar of Marty’s wheelchair. Jay Chattaway’s score is defined throughout — from the orchestral moments all the way to the occasional blast of synth. The dialogue is crisp and audible. It may not be an immersive cinematic experience, but this presentation does its job.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Silver Bullet - Everett McGill

Special Features

Silver Bullet doesn’t have any special features in this release.

Special Features Rating: n/a


Overall, Stephen King does his best in adding his own personal touch in his book-to-film adaptation, but Silver Bullet is not the werewolf classic that it so desperately tries to be. Yet it’s the kind of film that’s enjoyable when you share it with a budding cinephile. The video presentation is spectacular, but the audio simply does its job without any sort of wow factor.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

Pet Sematary (1989)

Pet Sematary (1989)

Mary Lambert’s Pet Sematary remains one of the scariest Stephen King adaptations ever. Yes, both adaptations of IT is at the top of the list, but Pet Sematary is still frightening in a multitude of ways. First and foremost, the gory practical effects remain realistic and creepy 31 years later. Yet the film doesn’t exploit the gore as the remake did last year. Lambert’s film doesn’t rely on the gore to scare audiences. Instead, she uses the gore to enhance the scary tone of the film.

One of the most memorable things about the film, though, is the film’s themes about grief and guilt. Pet Sematary is essentially a zombie movie that takes a lot of inspiration from W.W. Jacobs’ short story, “The Monkey’s Paw.” The film examines the pain and grief of one family’s tragic loss. Rachel Creed is trying to move on from this incident, while Louis cannot seem to let it go. His guilt towards letting Gage die leads him on a very dark path, which, in his mind, will finally allow him to heal. Unfortunately, much like in Jacobs’ short story, his inability to cope, and his wish to bring his son back has some dire consequences.

Dale Midkiff rocks as Louis Creed as his downward spiral enhances the creepy atmosphere of the film. As good as Midkiff is, it’s Fred Gwynne that steals the show here. For those familiar with him as the one-and-only Herman Munster, Gwynne shows you a different side to him. His portrayal of Jud adds a ton of life and heart to the film.

Overall, Pet Sematary is a depressing and terrifying film that examines the dark side of coping with death. We take a deep plunge into the psyche of a man wrought with guilt and grief, and we can’t take our eyes off of him. Seeing the film as a six-year-old traumatized me and caused me to hate both graveyards and zombies. Unfortunately for me, the film is still effective in creeping me out to this very day.

Movie Rating: 4/5 atoms

Pet Sematary (1989) - Tony Gwynne and Dale Midkiff

Video

Pet Sematary (1989) hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Thanks to the 4K HDR remaster that Paramount has done, the 1080p transfer has never looked better. The medium-high contrast brings out the best in the picture. Through the contrast, the vibrant brightness brings out the clouds in the beautiful country skies. It also brings out the deep blacks in the shadows of the presentation, which adds to the overall creepiness of the film. The vibrant colors just pop off the screen, something you can see in the skies when the Creeds first move into their new home. As you can expect from the 4K remaster, the image looks particularly crisp while still maintaining the film-like quality of the film grain. Overall, this is a great looking video transfer.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Pet Sematary (1989) - Dale Midkiff and Church the Cat

Audio

Pet Sematary (1989) hits Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. The audio mix offers a wide-open spatial presentation that both immerses and scares. The mix doesn’t feature a lot of dynamic sounds, but the mix does simulate the trucks driving across the soundstage to great effect. It adds some heft to the overall mix. The sound effects are also accurate, which envelops and immerses you in this depressing world that Mary Lambert created. Oh, and of course, it also enhances the scares in the film too. The atmospheric sounds also come through subtly during the more serene moments in the film. Sound such as the airport noise or forest ambiance adds a nice finishing touch to the mix. 

The music, however, can mostly be heard in the front channels. Fortunately, the score and music sound layered, so it doesn’t sound static at all. The dialogue also can be difficult to hear at times. Some of the dialogue is audible, but the quieter moments are hard to hear. Despite all that, the audio mix is still a great mix.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Pet Sematary (1989) - Church the Cat

Special Features

Pet Sematary (1989)‘s Blu-ray disc has the following special features on Blu-ray disc:

  • Commentary by Mary Lambert
  • Pet Seminary: Fear and Remembrance
  • Pet Seminary: Revisitation
  • Galleries
  • Original Special Features
    • Stephen King Territory
    • The Characters
    • Filming the Horror

The audio commentary has director Mary Lambert reminiscing on making the film and her love of Stephen King’s work. She not only talks about the structure of the story and the film, but she also offers a lot of intriguing insights into the filmmaking aspect. It’s a must-listen for fans and cinephiles everywhere. “Fear and Remembrance” has the filmmakers and cast of the 2019 remake talk about their experiences and love towards the original 1989 film. It’s a promotional piece for the 2019 remake, but it’s still interesting to hear everyone’s experience in watching the original. “Revisitation” has director Mary Lambert recalling the story of her time making Pet Sematary. Once again, the featurette is a promotional piece for the 4K remaster of the film. However, hearing Mary Lambert’s various stories about her time on the film reveals how genuine of a person she is. 

The original special features are just that: Legacy special features. The special features from the 2006 release cover a lot of different subjects around the making of the film. Although most people scoff at the idea of legacy bonus features, a majority of them are in-depth and highly informative features. Of course, you’ll have to get past the standard definition look of the feature, but that’s more of a personal choice.

Special Features Rating: 3/5 atoms


Overall, Pet Sematary (1989) is still one of the most terrifying Stephen King adaptations ever made. The fantastic characters, relatable themes, and scary practical effects all add up to a film that’s still scary by modern standards. The video and audio presentations are fantastic, while the latest special features are nothing but promotional tools.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

Pet Sematary (2019)

Paramount has ported over this version from last year’s Blu-ray release. For a full review of the film, please click here.

Pet Sematary - Jason Clarke

Video

Pet Sematary (2019) hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Piggybacking off of the 4K video transfer, the 1080p Blu-ray shares some of the same issues with the 4K release. The picture has a low contrast, which leads to a flat-looking presentation. The lighted areas are vibrant, and the shadows are consistently a deep black. The colors enjoy a natural saturation, except for the color red. The blood in the film has a brilliant red that radiates off the screen. Of course, considering this is from a digital source, the details look pristine and accurate. In other words, the most complex of textures, the video will accurately detail it. Overall, this is a good-looking transfer despite some issues.

Video Rating: 4/5 atoms

John Lithgow and Jeté Laurence

Audio

Paramount has ported over this version from last year’s Blu-ray release. For a full review of the audio, please click here.

Pet Sematary - John Lithgow and Jason Clarke

Special Features

Paramount has ported over this version from last year’s Blu-ray release. For a full review of the special features, please click here.

The Stand

The Stand

At the time, The Stand was an enormous television event. To this day, I still remember all of the advertising done to promote the miniseries. However, the miniseries did not age well at all. The Stand is a product of the times, and that’s not a good thing. Our refined taste in media nowadays has raised our standard in how we view movies and television.

ABC’s version of The Stand plays more like a soap opera Twilight Zone movie than an epic supernatural battle between good and evil. The miniseries during the 90s encourage you to settle down on your couch and take in all of the epicness. However, the miniseries is neither fast-paced nor epic. It plays everything extremely slow. A ton of time is spent in the first two episodes building up the characters so that we spend the final two episodes worrying about their fate.

Stephen King developed the script by cramming the miniseries with a lot of the themes from the novel. Unfortunately, the miniseries suffers a lot from a lot of thematic literalism. Instead of letting the audience figure it out with nuanced visuals, Stephen King and director Mick Garris blatantly tell the audience what to think. Not to mention, the latex masks, makeup, and shoddy CGI adds to an already unconvincing and cheesy series.

Sadly, the hits do continue with this painful-to-watch miniseries. The scale of the miniseries is gigantic, and unfortunately, so are the performances. A lot of the performances by the actors are overdramatic and over-the-top, which leads to a lot of laughable and cringeworthy moments. I’ve seen these actors act well in a variety of things around 1994. However, they seem to be way out of their element in The Stand. It’s just terrible performances all around.

Overall, The Stand is an incredibly dreary adaptation of the Stephen King novel. The dull pace, dreadful performances, and one-dimensional characters ultimately bring down this would-be epic miniseries. The miniseries may have been ideal for the era, but 26-years-later the miniseries should’ve been something that stayed in the 90s.

Miniseries Rating: 1/5 atoms

The Stand - Gary Sinise

Video

The Stand hits Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-AVC with a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Let’s be honest, Stephen King’s The Stand takes a long time to watch it all. So to fit the entire six hours into a single Blu-ray disc, there have some sacrifices made to the video and audio quality of the content. For the most part, the video looks great throughout. The brightness is vibrant without much loss of detail in these light areas. Not to mention, the shadows are a deep black with so many details still visible in these areas. The vividness of the colors also just jumps off the screen. All things you would expect from a Paramount Blu-ray release. However, as crisp as most of the presentation is, there are several scenes where it looks like a standard definition video. There are also some random specks and pops that also appear during the miniseries. Overall, this is a decent video presentation considering the lowered bitrate to cram six hours of content (plus special features) into one Blu-ray disc.

Video Rating: 4/5 atoms

The Stand - Molly Ringwald

Audio

The Stand hits Blu-ray with a Dolby Digital 2.0 track. As good as the video looks, it’s the audio that takes the greatest hit in this release. After all, there’s no way you can fit six hours of content (plus special features), keep the video looking (mostly) pristine, and keep the audio sounding great. It’s an impossible thing to do. That’s why instead of releasing The Stand with a lossless audio track, we get a dull sounding Dolby Digital 2.0 track. As you can imagine with the technical limitations, this is not an immersive or playful mix at all. The static mix also does not have any heft or energy to it. All of the random action sound effects and music sound pitiful throughout. The dialogue is, obviously the primary focus of the audio mix. It sounds audible across both left and right channels and lets the viewer focus squarely at the boring adaptation in front of them. Overall, this is a weak audio mix that’s a byproduct of the technical limitations of a single Blu-ray disc.

Audio Rating: 2/5 atoms

The Stand - Rob Lowe

Special Features

The Stand‘s Blu-ray disc has the following special features on Blu-ray disc:

  • Audio Commentary (featuring Stephen King and director Mick Garris)
  • Making Of

The audio commentary is extremely well-rounded and covers a lot of subjects over its six-hour time span. The audio commentary begins with Stephen King talking about how the novel came to be and some of the story’s themes. Director Mick Garris, of course, talks about the production and some of the filmmaking techniques he uses in the film. Unlike the mini-series itself, the audio commentary is quite fascinating despite its long runtime.

Even at five and a half minutes long, “Making Of” is a surprisingly short featurette that explores the process of bringing King’s novel to the small screen. It covers the story, the cast, shooting locales, King’s involvement with the production, and the final clash between good and evil.

Special Features Rating: 1.5/5 atoms


Overall, The Stand is one of the worst Stephen King adaptations in this 5-movie Blu-ray collection. It’s six boring hours of your time that you’ll never get back. So it’s highly recommended to skip this paltry adaptation and check out the other films in this collection.

Overall Rating: 2/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1613 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.