Company of Wolves, The: Collector’s Edition (4K UHD Review)

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: Apr 10, 2023
  • Format: 4K Ultra HD
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Company of Wolves, The: Collector’s Edition (4K UHD Review)


Neil Jordan

Release Date(s)

1984 (November 22, 2022)


Palace Pictures/ITC Entertainment (Shout!/Scream Factory)
  • Film/Program Grade: B-
  • Video Grade: A
  • Audio Grade: B+
  • Extras Grade: B

The Company of Wolves (4K UHD)

Buy it Here!


The Company of Wolves is far from being a commercially-viable horror film. Its blend of fantasy, horror, dreams, stories within stories, and imagery without explanation make it more of a compelling art film, emphasis on the “art.” It’s totally non-linear, acting on its own quasi-narrative, exploring the nature of scapegoats and outsiders, and how appealing they may seem to a young woman who, try as she might, doesn’t fit into the world she’s being groomed for. This is especially obvious when a young boy, who’s clearly out of his league, repeatedly attempts to gain her affections with the approval of his father. Meanwhile, she’s too busy finding herself and examining the darkness to care, and finds the bestial more intriguing than the angelic.

The story of The Company of Wolves began life… well, as Little Red Riding Hood. It was later adapted by Angela Carter for her 1979 short story collection The Bloody Chamber, and subsequently as a radio play. Around this time, Neil Jordan, who had only made one feature film up to this point (Angel), became interested in it. He and Carter collaborated on the screenplay and the resulting film was released in parts of the UK and Europe before finally making it to US cinemas until 1985. It wasn’t a smash hit, but it was praised for its imagery and special effects. Its poster also simultaneously spoiled one of the best and most shocking effects in the film, but since the image was also used for its home video release, it made a memorable VHS cover for a young person at a rental store (myself included).

The cast features an unusual mix of actors, including Angela Lansbury as the storytelling grandmother, newcomer Sarah Patterson as her curious granddaughter Rosaleen, David Warner as her concerned father, Brian Glover as the father of Rosaleen’s adamant but failure as a love interest, Neil Jordan regular Stephen Rea as a man consumed by his inner beast, and an uncredited Terence Stamp as the literal devil. George Fenton’s lush electronic score gives the film a further ethereal quality. Although beautiful and fairy tale in its nature, the sticking point for many is its pace, stepping in and out of stories, never quite sure what’s reality and what isn’t. It can be a lot to take in at once, but showstopping performances and special effects get you through it. Although The Company of Wolves was indeed a Palace Pictures production, it has to be one of the most purely artistic films that Cannon Releasing ever decided to slap its name on.

The Company of Wolves was shot by cinematographer Bryan Loftus on 35 mm film using Arriflex 35 III and 35BL III cameras with spherical lenses, and finished photochemically in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Scream Factory debuts the film on Ultra HD with a new 4K scan of the original camera negative, graded for High Dynamic Range (HDR10 and Dolby Vision options are available). As the film has had little to no life in the US on optical disc, this release is a more than welcome addition to any film fan’s library. What’s more, it’s a gorgeous presentation with heavy but tightly-knitted grain and a very high bitrate in the 80 to 90Mbps range, spiking beyond that frequently. Mild scratches and speckling, as well as an occasional bit of faint damage are present, but none of it is intrusive at all. It’s an organic-looking picture, front to back. The palette is awash in bold hues, with particular attention paid to Rosaleen’s red cape, which the HDR grades take full advantage of it. Blacks are also very deep with excellent shadow detail and perfect contrast. In essence, it’s doubtful that the film could look any better on home video.

Audio is included in English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio with optional subtitles in English SDH. The film was released in Dolby Stereo, meaning this is likely a 2 channel fold-down of the original matrix. It’s not an especially wowing experience, but it’s well-balanced with discernible dialogue and plenty of support for George Fenton’s score. A multi-channel remix would certainly benefit some of the more active sequences, but the stereo experience is still a worthy one.

The Company of Wolves on 4K Ultra HD sits in a black amaray case featuring a 1080p Blu-ray containing the same restoration. The reversible insert features the original US theatrical and home video artwork on the reverse, and new artwork by Joel Robinson on front, which is duplicated on the slipcover. The following extras are included on both discs:


  • Audio Commentary with Chris Brown, Kathryn Pogson, Micha Bergese, Edmond Gordon, Dick Budden, and Justin Beahm
  • Audio Commentary with Neil Jordan and Robert Ross


  • Audio Commentary with Chris Brown, Kathryn Pogson, Micha Bergese, Edmond Gordon, Dick Budden, and Justin Beahm
  • Audio Commentary with Neil Jordan and Robert Ross
  • Where Fairy Tales End: Scoring The Company of Wolves (HD – 18:58)
  • Alice in Dreamland: Georgia Slowe on The Company of Wolves (HD – 6:13)
  • Still Gallery (Upscaled SD – 34 in all – 2:50)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD – 1:36)
  • TV Spot (SD – :31)

The first audio commentary was produced by Reverend Entertainment specifically for this release and is moderated by Justin Beahm. It includes producer Chris Brown, actors Kathryn Pogson and Micha Bergese, author Edmond Gordon, and modelmaker Dick Budden. Beahm speaks to each of them individually in separate interviews, which runs the length of the commentary with only a few moments of silence. It’s a valuable track as each participant brings their opinions of and experiences with the film to the fore. Because Anton Furst’s lovely production design is such an important factor and he tragically passed away many years ago, Beahm takes the time to read from a rare interview with him. The second audio commentary was recorded in 2005 for the Granada Ventures DVD release in the UK and features director Neil Jordan, moderated by film historian Robert Ross (who normally covers comedy films, oddly enough). It’s a fun back-and-forth chat between the two as they discuss the influences of the film, its thematics, and all of the work done to create it. Where Fairy Tales End features an audio interview with composer George Fenton who discusses his work for the score at length, as well as facets of his career during that period and beyond. Alice in Dreamland features an interview with actress Georgia Slowe who talks about working on the film, working with animals, being put into a small coffin, praising the special effects, and speaking on the release of the film. The Still Gallery features 34 images of on-set stills and behind-the-scenes photos. Wrapping things up is the theatrical trailer and a TV spot.

The Company of Wolves is an example of a director and his production team unfiltered, with seemingly little to no interference. As such, one must temper their expectations when viewing it. Folks looking for more of what An American Werewolf in London and The Howling had to offer will be disappointed, but those open-minded enough will find an ancient yet classic tale given a new identity. Scream Factory’s UHD presentation, especially for fans of Neil Jordan, is the preferred method of taking it all in. Highly recommended.

- Tim Salmons

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