Poltergeist (1982, Warner Bros., 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray or digital, PG, 104 min.). The 1982 classic horror film, co-written by producer Steven Spielberg and directed by Tobe Hooper (2 “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” films, “Lifeforce”), holds up very well after 40 years and is up there with “The Exorcist” as the best Warner Bros. horror films. Despite having seen the film several times before, its three jump scares still got me, and the Oscar-nominated visual effects by Richard Edlund, Michael Wood and Bruce Nicholson still amaze and delight. This is the film’s debut in the 4K Ultra HD format, with two of the three extras coming from its 2008 Blu-ray Digibook release.

Spielberg (“Jaws,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Jurassic Park,” 4 “Indiana Jones” films), who wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay with Michael Grais and Mark Victor, makes the setting an ordinary suburban tract development in which the look-alike homes are almost touching. The story centers around an ordinary family, with husband Steve Freeling (Craig T. Nelson, TV’s “Coach”), the leading home salesman, his wife Diane (JoBeth Williams, “The Big Chill” and this film’s sequel) and three children, namely Dana, 16 (Dominique Dunne, who was murdered the same year), Robbie, 8 (Oliver Robins of the sequel and “Airplane 2: The Sequel”) and Carol Anne, 5 (Heather O’Rourke of 2 “Poltergeist” sequels and TV’s “Happy Days”).

Steve battles with a neighbor because their remotes operate both TVs, setting up football vs. “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Robbie climbs the tree outside his bedroom window – a really creepy dead-looking tree that appears to have faces on it.

Everything is ordinary until it isn’t. The first sign is Carol Anne talking to the TV when it is just displaying static. Then, Diane notices the kitchen chairs rearranging themselves. Later, a storm brings a tornado, and the tree reaches inside the house to grab Robbie, while Carol Anne is sucked into her closet, not to be seen again.

This drives the Freelings to seek the help of a trio of parapsychologists, led by Dr. Lesh (Beatrice Straight). Lesh then brings in professional exorcist Tangina (Zelda Rubenstein, also of the 2 sequels) to attempt a rescue of Carol Anne.

For those who were not around in the 1980s, the film opens with the “National Anthem” played on the TV because, back when there were only three networks, that was how stations signed off for the night. The previously released special features include a “making-of” that shows some of the stunts being filmed (7:15) and a two-part look at the real world of poltergeists, including “Science of the Spirits” (15:30) and “Communing with the Dead” (15:31). The 4K version includes two improved audio options. The Blu-ray has been remastered as well. Grade: film 5 stars; extras 2.25 stars

Rating guide: 5 stars = classic; 4 stars = excellent; 3 stars = good; 2 stars = fair; dog = skip it

The Lost Boys (1987, Warner Bros., 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray or digital, R, 97 min.). Also making its 4K debut is Joel Schumacher’s cult vampire film, featuring a terrific young cast, It was the first film to feature both Corey Haim and Corey Feldman, who would go on to make eight films together and one TV series. The film also stars Kiefer Sutherland, who would reunite with Schumacher three years later for the recently reviewed “Flatliners,” and Jason Patric, looking like Jim Morrison of The Doors.

In the bonus retrospective (24 min.), Schumacher recalls Patric first turning down the role as he thought it would be a horror exploitation film. “There was absolutely no one with those looks and that talent at 18 right at that moment, absolutely no one,” says Schumacher.

Sutherland plays David, the presumed leader of a gang of tough, out to cause trouble teenage vampires, who include Alex Winter (3 “Bill & Ted” movies and the TV series) as Marko and Billy Wirth (“Boys on the Side”) as Dwayne. There also are two half-vampires – they have not done their first kill – in the pack, played by Chance Michael Corbitt as child Laddie and Jami Gertz (“Twister,” “Sixteen Candles”) as Star, the one who captures Michael’s (Patric) love interest.

Michael and Sam (Haim, 16, dressed as a sort of Duran wannabe) are the sons of Lucy (Dianne Wiest (“Hannah and Her sisters,” “The Birdcage”), who have relocated to beachside Santa Cruz, Calif., to live with Grandpa (Barnard Hughes, “Tron,” “Doc Hollywood”). Sam meets Edgar Frog (Feldman) at the comic bookstore. Edgar and his brother Alan (Jamison Newlander, “Lost Boys: The Thirst”) are self-proclaimed vampire hunters. Completing the major cast is Edward Herrmann (“Annie”) as storekeeper Max, who becomes Lucy’s new dating interest.

The film is loud, with lots of rock music and the noise of the boardwalk amusement park, and the two Coreys’ interactions are very ho-hum for a long time. David uses Star to lure Michael into their ruined hotel HQ and gets him to drink his blood, making Michael a half-vampire that Sam now has to deal with. The film, helped by a big garlic joke and an icky death of a vampire, gets better and has a fun, action ending. Interestingly, like “Poltergeist,” it has a crawling on the ceiling scene.

Other previously released extras include deleted scenes (15:16); looks at Schumacher’s vision (6:58), comedy versus horror (4:44), a different type of vampire (4:23) and the undead creatures of Greg Cannon (14:02); the story of the two Coreys (18:23); and Lou Gramm’s “Lost in the Shadows” music video (4:35). Grade: film 2.5 stars; extras 3 stars

Samson and the 7 Miracles of the World, aka Maciste at the Court of the Great Khan (Italy, 1961, KL Studio Classics, Blu-ray, NR, 98/76 min.). The “Samson” title makes no sense, as barrel-chested Gordon Scott’s character is not named Samson, but in fact is Maciste, and there are no seven miracles or wonders in the film. The second title, a translation of the original Italian is very accurate. The disc contains both the 98-minute international cut and the 76-minute AIP U.S. cut.

The Great Khan (Leonardo Severini) has liberated China from invaders in the 13th century, but then has an assassin – tongueless so he cannot confess – kill the Chinese emperor. (This is the part cut out from the U.S. version.) The film then jumps forward 10 years, when Khan is treating everyone like slaves. Rebels fight back by tossing boulders off a hillside to kill Mongol soldiers.

Back at the court, Khan has the heir, Prince Tai Sung, prisoner, but executes a plan to have him killed and his sister, Princess Lei-ling (Yoko Tani), killed in an attack on the convent where she is staying. Lei-ling manages to escape on her own and Maciste (Scott, six Tarzan films) shows up in time to save the prince. Maciste eventually helps set everything right, even though he is entombed beneath a basement pillar and there is some unexpected destruction at the end. The action is pretty weak.

The sole extra is audio commentary by novelist and critic Tim Lucas for the AIP version. Grade: film 2.5 stars; extra 2 stars

The Mysterious Dr. Fu Manchu/The Return of Dr. Fu Manchu (1929/1930, KL Studio Classics, Blu-ray, NR, 81/73 min.). These two films, starring Warner Oland (16 Charlie Chan films) as Fu, marked the talkie debut of novelist Sax Rohmer’s diabolical doctor. Their timeline is back-to-back, with most characters appearing in both films, except for the eight killed in the first.

“Mysterious” shows how Fu turned from nice guy to avenger after British soldiers accidentally kill his wife and young son during the Boxer Rebellion fighting. Ironically, Fu has just agreed to raise Lia, the daughter of a British combatant, prior to the attack. More than a decade later, Fu is using a hypnotized Lia (Jean Arthur, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”) to help kill three generations of the British officers’ families. His last targets are the Petries, with Dr. Jack (Neil Hamilton, 2 Tarzan films, Commissioner Gordon in TV’s “Batman”), the youngest one, having fallen in love with Lia. Fu’s “worthy” opponent is Scotland Yard Inspector Nayland Smith (O.P. Heggie, “The Count of Monte Cristo”) and the ending takes place at Redmont Grange, high on a seaside cliff.

“Return” opens with Fu climbing from his coffin, as he pretended to die by poisoning, and continuing his plans to kill Dr. Jack, whose marriage to Lia he interrupts. The action takes place at the home of Lady Agatha (Evelyn Hall, “The Devine Lady”), who gets kidnapped by Fu. Both films feature William Austin as comic relief/fussy butler Sylvester.

Both films have audio commentary by novelist and critic Tim Lucas. Grade: both films 3 stars; both extras 2 stars

Tom Von Malder of Owls Head has reviewed music since 1972, just after graduation from Northwest-ern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He has reviewed videos/DVDs since 1988.

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