Happy Halloween!

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Today is Halloween, the highlight of Jake Esau’s whole year and perhaps the one day on the calendar that classic horror buffs like you and I look relatively cool.

I’ve enjoyed your company this past eight years, gentle reader; and while our journey has had some setbacks and disappointments, I couldn’t have made it this far without you. Looking back I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I hope you’ll continue to walk with me through the flickering landscape of late-night television.

I don’t often throw blandishments or endorsements around (I certainly receive no remuneration for doing so), but this seems as good a time as any to recommend a product. If you’re looking to treat a loved one (or yourself) with a Halloween gift, you could do worse than the Universal Classic Monster set on Blu-Ray. Universal has always done an outstanding job marketing and re-releasing its classic horror titles, and this set has 30 films from that storied studio’s golden age. I’m an old-fashioned sort and prefer to have titles in a tangible format. While streaming and digital purchases are tremendously convenient (they’ve made my work on this project much easier) they also leave viewers entirely at the mercy of the supplier. There have been many stories of people who made digital purchases of books, music or films, only to one day discover their “purchase” disappeared because the “rights”  were no longer valid. That’s too ephemeral for me, and whenever possible I like to have solid media that can’t be taken back.

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If you don’t already own these titles, they are a great start to building a classic horror film collection. The set retails on Amazon for $115 — a lot of money, but it works out to just under $4 a title. Even the lowliest programmers in this set are worth that (well, except maybe Invisible Agent) and the best are worth quite a lot more. This is essentially the whole smash of Uni’s Legacy Collection DVD titles upgraded to the Blu-ray format. Universal might be criticized for selling and re-selling its films to you again and again, but there’s always been demand: I’ve purchased many of these titles over the years on VHS and later on DVD; but the Blu-ray may well have the best picture quality that will ever be available for home viewing. It looks like streaming may be the only option for some film titles in the future, and as we all know, waiting for a title to turn up on late-night television just isn’t a thing anymore. Plus ça change, and all that.

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