October 19, 2023


1967-2022 / 560 min (5 movies)
Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat🙀

This 4K boxed set collects five horror films released by Paramount over the years. Whether or not they’re the five best horror films is obviously subjective, but it’s hard to argue with the selections since all were hugely successful and (mostly) critical hits. Better yet, in addition to great video & audio upgrades (one offered in 4K for the first time), Paramount Scares Volume 1 throws in some of the coolest physical goodies of any release this year.

Kicking things off is the undisputed classic, Rosemary’s Baby. The oldest film in the collection, it remains a powerfully unnerving experience, ranking right up there with The Exorcist and The Omen as one of Hollywood’s definitive “devil” pictures. While never overtly “scary,” it’s the kind of film that lingers with the viewer long after the credits roll. With the possible exception of Chinatown, this is the best film Roman Polanski ever made and worth seeing again and again.

The original Pet Sematary didn’t exactly wow critics back in 1989, but was a huge hit and one of the more faithful Stephen King adaptations at that point, pulling no punches in depicting the physical and emotional brutality of the original novel. With a mean streak a mile wide, it took us to some dark places few major studio horror films dared at the time, which I suspect was a major factor in drawing the ire of many film critics. Aside from a few ‘80s aesthetic trappings, Pet Sematary remains a potent, disturbing viewing experience and has since become a classic among horror fans. 

2019’s Crawl is an inspired choice for inclusion in this set. With an awesomely simple premise (a young woman and her injured father are trapped under a house with a couple of alligators during a hurricane), not only was this a surprise hit, it turned out to be much better than anyone expected. The film is violent, tension-filled and features engaging characters (including the dog!). While Crawl won’t make anyone forget Jaws, it might be one of the best nature-run-amok horror flicks since then.

Though a bit too heavy on jump-scares, 2022’s Smile is a solid horror film built on a creepy premise, that of a malicious entity that transfers from one human host to another by inducing suicide. With unsettling imagery, a consistently dark tone and an excellent performance by Sosie Bacon, the film sort-of drops the ball at the climax, descending into another CGI fest. But until then, this is a gory good time.

Finally, there’s Paramount’s “mystery title,” released on 4K for the first time (and as of this writing, only available here). Personally, I’d have chosen something else, since I don’t really consider it pure horror (at least compared to the other titles). Still, I imagine a lot of other people loving its inclusion, since both the film and its director have a pretty large fanbase. 

Again, every film looks and sounds great in 4K, with Rosemary’s Baby benefiting most from the transfer. With the exception of the mystery title, they’ve all been released on 4K before with the same bonus features. However, what makes this set great are all the extra goodies. In addition to creative new slipcovers, there’s a sheet of stickers, a collectible pin and, best of all, a special 30-page issue of Fangoria magazine created exclusively for this release, with new and archival articles related to each film.

Of course, you’re gonna have some folks grousing over titles that should have been included (What? No Friday the 13th? No Dead Zone? No A Quiet Place?”). But it’s called Volume 1 for a reason, kids, so maybe next time. The diverse films chosen for this collection are a great start, especially if you don’t already have them in 4K, making Paramount Scares Volume 1 one of the best home video releases of the year.


“MYSTERY TITLE” - Fifth 4K UHD title (only available in this set).

DIGITAL COPIES - For each title.

BLU-RAY COPIES - Of Rosemary’s Baby, Pet Sematary and the mystery title.

FANGORIA MAGAZINE - An issue with a new article about Rosemary’s Baby and reprints of the others.


STICKERS - Sheet of stickers related to the films.


FEATURETTES - Rosemary’s Baby - A Retrospective; Mia and Roman. 



FEATURETTES - Pet Sematary - Fear and Rememberance; Pet Sematary - Revisitation; Stephen King Territory; The Characters; Filming the Horror.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By director Mary Lambert.

IMAGES GALLERIES - Storyboards, behind-the-scenes photos and promotional material.


ALTERNATE OPENING - Never actually filmed, this is an animatic with optional intro.

FEATURETTES - Beneath Crawl; Category 5 Gators - The VFX of Crawl; Alligator Attacks.



FEATURETTES - Something Wrong with Rose - Making Smile; Flies on the Wall - Inside the Score.

“LAURA HASN’T SLEPT” - The original short film on which Smile is based.

AUDIO COMMENTARY - By director Parker Finn.

DELETED SCENES - With optional commentary by director Parker Finn.

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