Paramount Scares Collection: Volume I - Remastered Horror Classics in 4K

By Allison Rose     X Formly Known as Twitter
6 Min Read
Paramount Scares Collection: Volume I - Remastered Horror Classics in 4K

Paramount Pictures has been browsing through its vault of classic movies for a few years now.  They offered some remastered films under their Paramount Presents project during Covid and now they are putting together a collection of five films in a box set called Paramount Scares Collection: Volume I.  These select films are presented in 4K and the set comes with a few fun collectibles to enjoy (more on that later).  Four of the films in the set were previously announced - Rosemary's Baby, Crawl, Pet Sematary, and Smile - with a fifth "mystery" film to be revealed on October 24th (note: reviewers were asked to keep the fifth film a surprise but as of this writing it has already been disclosed that the mystery movie is Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street). 

As this is an eclectic array of movies within the realm of the "scary", horror genre, it behooves me to offer a snippet of each film individually with a wrap-up of the set later in this review.
 

Rosemary's Baby

The oldest of the group, Rosemary's Baby premiered in theaters in 1968.  Rosemary (Mia Farrow; The Purple Rose of Cairo) and her husband, Guy (John Cassavetes; Love Streams), move into an apartment in a prestigious building in Manhattan, despite the rumors and the presence of the strange neighbors.  When Rosemary becomes pregnant, the nosy neighbors become even strangers until she discovers they are all part of a satanic coven and her baby is to be a part of their rituals. 

With older films, the 4K transfer comes with some good points and some not-so-terrific ones.  In this case, there is more detail with the video quality but the shading ends up being darker with a brownish hue throughout the film.  The Dolby True HD 2.0 Mono audio is the same track that was on the 2021 Blu-ray release with not much of a noticeable difference.  The lossless mix is great and, while the audio sits mainly in the front channel, the surround sound does help offer atmospheric sounds.
 

Crawl

Fast forward five decades and you end up with our second film in the series, Crawl.  Released in 2019, Crawl, unlike Rosemary's Baby, doesn't have a supernatural/demonic focus.  Instead, it deals with real-life, deadly creatures…alligators.  As a category 5 hurricane begins to hit Florida, Haley (Kaya Scoldelario; Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) goes to their old home in search of her father only to find him injured in the crawl space under the house. As she tries to help him, they discover the flood waters are rising and they need to get out from the crawl space before they drown.  However, blocking their way is a family of alligators.

As a new film, Crawl is better able to utilize the latest technologies so the upgrade to Dolby Vision with a 2160p resolution, looks sharper all around.  From the gators and the water swirling and slowly rising around them, the details are clean and don't look fake at all. Interestingly, the audio didn't get an upgrade to Dolby Atmos but instead is the same DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 from a previous release.  Despite that, the video and audio quality are both very good.
 

Pet Sematary

From the demented mind of Stephen King, Pet Sematary is one of many of his stories that has been turned into fare for visual media, in this case,  the 1989 feature film.  When the Creed family moves from Chicago to rural Maine everything seems fine but when their beloved pet cat is killed, their new neighbor shows the father a pet cemetery deep in the woods.  The neighbor tells him to bury the cat and the next day the cat is revived, but not the same.  When the father tries to use the same method to revive his son and later his wife, the results are disastrous.

The 2160p resolution/Dolby Vision upgrade sourced from the original master offers a more substantial and robust video presentation than the previously released Blu-ray.  The uptick in brightness alone allows more details to be easily seen and adds more depth visually to the film.    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is the same one from the 2013 Blu-ray release and, while it has a lot of depth of sound, it would have been nice to have an upgrade to Dolby Atmos to compliment the bump in video.  Regardless, the stereo tracks can be heard over all the speakers giving the viewer the proper ambient noise.


Smile

Movie number 4 in this collector's set is last year's surprise hit, Smile.  Originally slated for streaming on Paramount+, the film was instead given a theatrical release after the positive response it received in test screenings.  Smile stars Sosie Bacon (13 Reasons Why) as a therapist named Rose who, after witnessing a patient's horrific suicide, starts experiencing what she believes are supernatural events in the form of hallucinations.  Upon researching recent suicides, Rose realizes each person's suicide seems to be linked to someone before them and figures out how to end the "curse".  Unfortunately, her boyfriend finds her just as she sets herself on fire and inadvertently passes the curse on to him.

The most recent film, Smile was filmed with the latest technology making it perfect for Dolby Vision.  Even while the color palette is purposely muted, the picture quality is clean and sharp.  Details are easily seen with the naked eye and subtle shading differences stand out in this advanced format.  Accompanying the excellent video quality is an exceptional Dolby Atmos Audio experience.  Ambient sounds utilize all the surround sound speakers while dialogue and special effects are sharp and crisp.  The soundtrack is full and true and as the action builds the music crescendos signaling what is to come.


Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Mystery Title)

As previously mentioned, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is the "mystery" movie film in this five-film set, and what an odd choice it is.   Originally a stage musical by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler, this Victorian-era tale tells the story of Todd (Johnny Depp; The Pirates of the Caribbean Series) who seeks revenge on the Judge who imprisoned Todd just so he could steal Todd's wife.  Todd finds it easy to kill his customers and, in order to dispose of the bodies, he is aided by Mrs. Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter; Les Misérables), who grinds up the dead clients and bakes them into meat pies.

This is the first time this title is being offered in Dolby Vision 4K and the upgrade is noticeable from the opening credits through the entire movie.  Black tones absorb the light and even the muted color palette seems more vibrant.  This aspect is exceptional and is easily seen in the varying grey tones used throughout the film.  There is a bit of graininess to the picture quality but not too much as to distract the viewer.  I am uncertain why the audio wasn't upgraded to Dolby Atmos, especially when the soundtrack is an integral part of the story.  However, for whatever reason, the audio remains the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless audio and while it is very good, it is just rather curious that Paramount chose not to upgrade it along with the video.


The Collection

The set comes in a glossy box, and besides the five films, there is also a sticker sheet, Fangoria magazine filled with lots of interesting articles, and a collector's pin.  While the magazine is a bonus, and the pin is nice enough, I'm not sure what the thought process was behind the sticker sheet.  Since this is not a collection of children's or animated movies, it seems like an odd choice to add it, but maybe there is a cult-like society of horror fans which we are unaware that like to trade stickers.

I also didn't include any extras in my summaries because there is nothing new added to any of them so if you already own a copy of these movies you have most likely seen the extras before.  See below for a complete list of the extras.

I think it is a terrific idea to put together a set of films with similarities but honestly, I'm not sure what the commonality is between these movies besides the fact that they are all classified as horror.  While Rosemary's Baby, Pet Sematary, and Smile all deal with demonic, supernatural themes, neither Crawl nor Sweeney Todd has any of those elements and the latter is a Broadway Musical, based on a play.  It is hard to imagine anyone wanting to own all of these films and many fans may already own two or three of these movies individually, making it unlikely they would want to shell out over $100 for all five together plus a magazine, pin, and some stickers.


EXTRAS:

Rosemary's Baby

  • Mia and Roman
  • A Retrospective 
  • Trailers 

Pet Sematary 

  • Pet Sematary: Revisitation 
  • Pet Sematary: Fear and Remembrance
  • Still Galleries 
    • Storyboards Introduction
    • Storyboards
    • Behind the Scenes
    • Marketing
  • Audio Commentary
  • Stephen King Territory 
  • The Characters 
  • Filming the Horror

Crawl

  • Alternate Motion Comic Opening
  • Intro to the Alternate Opening
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Beneath Crawl
  • Category 5 Gators: The FVX of Crawl
  • Alligator Attacks

Smile

  • Audio Commentary - Director Parker Finn 
  • Something's Wrong With Rose 
  • Flies On The Wall
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Laura Hasn't Slept 

Sweeney Todd

  • Burton + Depp + Carter = Todd
  • Sweeney Todd is Alive: The Real History of the Demon Barber
  • Musical Mayhem: Sondheim's Sweeney Todd 
  • Sweeney's London 
  • Grand Guignol: A Theatrical Tradition
  • Designs for a Demon Barber
  • A Bloody Business 
  • Moviefone Unscripted 
  • Sweeney Todd Press Conference, November 2007 
  • Razor's Refrain
  • Photo Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer 

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