Funeral Home / Cries in the Night 1980

Funeral Home (Special Edition Blu-Ray Review)

During the boom of Horror’s popularity during the 1980s many films were made, released, but over time, have drifted into obscurity. A sad but true reality, some were better left forgotten, while others actually had more going for them beyond a short shelf life. Falling into this category of more obscure titles with more substance than you might think is 1980’s Cries in the Night.

Now, you might say – I have never heard of Cries in the Night, or ever remember seeing it displayed at a local Video Store back in the day. If you are thinking this, you are probably right, because Cries in the Night was actually released under the title Funeral Home domestically in the USA in the summer of 1982. The name most commonly associated with the film, it was in fact shown theatrically in various places in North America through 1982, before premiering in Los Angeles in January of 1983.

Funeral Home / Cries in the Night 1980
Funeral Home (1980)/ Scream Factory (2024)

Not treated kindly at the time by critics, Funeral Home actually featured a solid team behind it of young and more experienced actors/actresses, as well as crew members. To start with, it was directed and produced by William Fruet; who actually won Best Picture at the Canadian Film Awards for his 1972 debut feature Wedding in White. Fruet’s name has also been associated with other recognizable Horror projects; including 1976’s Death Weekend, 1986’s Killer Party, but also with the 1990’s Goosebumps television series. Joining Fruet was Cinematographer Mark Irwin (who would go on to big films such as 1996’s Scream and 1998’s There’s Something About Mary), plus a cast that featured talented, diverse Actress Kay Hawtrey as leading character Maude Chalmers, ‘80s Horror cinema favorite Lesleh Donaldson (who would go on to memorable roles in such films as 1981’s Happy Birthday to Me and 1983’s Curtains) as her granddaughter Heather, and Alf Humphreys (who would star in such films as 1981’s My Bloody Valentine and 1982’s First Blood) as curious police officer Howard, among others.

Together they create a mood in Funeral Home that is a bit of a slow burn, but darkly atmospheric. Important to point out, at the time of release many labeled Funeral Home a Slasher, but the thing is it had little to no slicing and dicing or graphic content involved. This within itself may have suffocated broader success of the film during initial release because audiences were misled as to what exactly they were getting into. However, in spite of these factors, for a relatively low budget Horror film Funeral Home did rake in over $1,300,000 in total.

From here the film was released to VHS in 1982, 1983, and again in 1986 as one of those eye-catching big box packs that we all love so much. Then it made the jump to DVD a few times in the mid-2000s, but it did so from an extremely low-quality VHS transfer. In truth, each of these DVD’s imagery is so dark and grainy, it makes the film challenging to follow. A bit of a bummer, those looking for an explanation as to why each DVD failed to deliver, it is allegedly because the master tape used for the transfers was an old, worn Paragon Video VHS copy from 1983.

Now with nearly 2 decades gone by without another decent DVD nor Blu-ray release of Funeral Home, you would think the probability of it happening were slim to none. Not uncommon to see, there are many films from the ‘80s era which have only had poor quality transfers shifted to digital formats, let alone have some of them ever made the jump from VHS at all. However, all hope is not lost, because Scream Factory has resurrected Funeral Home for a special edition Blu-ray release. Coming to the pleasant surprise of a select group of viewers, the new release truly has plenty to offer.

Funeral Home / Cries in the Night 1980
Funeral Home (1980) / Scream Factory (2024)

Released on February 6th, this special edition Blu-ray print of Funeral Home presents the film in high-definition for the first time ever, and let us just say, the difference is significant. As mentioned, merely unwatchable on DVD, Scream Factory’s transfer is substantially brighter and sharper; making Funeral Home much more accessible to stick with until the end. This clarification also does not sacrifice any of the darker elements of the film, because the unsettling mood is still present… but this time you can actually see what is going on!

Complimenting this restoration of Funeral Home, you also get a slew of new bonus special features put together specifically for this release. These include plenty of insightful interviews with cast and crew, plus footage of original filming locations. Bringing it all together, the Blu-ray has a nice slipcase with original feature art, along with a reversible cover art with the Funeral Home poster on one side, and original Cries in the Night on the other.

When it is all said and done Scream Factory’s special edition Blu-ray release of Funeral Home is the best offering of the film ever. With little competition in its path, for the first time ever you can enjoy the film in a digital format; because prior to this the best way to view it would have probably been with an older, more pristine VHS tape. Bringing back to the original point about Funeral Home; which is that this film may not be among the top Horror films made during the ‘80s, but it is also not one of the worst either, and it certainly worth more attention. That is why Cryptic Rock praises the new life brought to this lost ‘80s flick, giving the new Blu-ray 5 out of 5 stars. 

Funeral Home / Cries in the Night 1980
Funeral Home (1980) / Scream Factory (2024)

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