On Friday, I received a couple of packages from DVD Pacific, containing the first two instalments of Masters of Horror: Season 1 on Blu-ray. Volume 1 contains John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns, Stuart Gordon’s Dreams in the Witch-House and William Malone’s The Fair-Haired Child, while Volume 2 contains Dario Argento’s Jenifer, Lucky McKee’s Sick Girl and John Landis’ Deer Woman. Hmm, something slightly wrong about the first Argento title I own in HD is comfortably the worst thing to which his name has ever been attached (then again, I haven’t seen all of the pre-Bird with the Crystal Plumage westerns that he wrote, so there could be some clunkers among them as well). Still, we all have to start somewhere, and I wanted to pick these discs up, given that Argento’s shameful contributions are the only episodes I have seen of either season of Masters of Horror. I just hope some of the other filmmakers were able to bring a little more of themselves to the table.
As for the treatment of the episodes on Blu-ray, you may already be aware that, barring the audio commentaries for each episode, all of the extras from the standard definition releases have been dumped. Classy, Anchor Bay, real classy. Anyone would think you didn’t care about what you were putting out. Oh, wait a minute - judging by Halloween, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead and Evil Dead II, that much is pretty clear.
Anyway, unlike most Blu-ray and HD DVD releases, these discs are encoded at 1080i rather than 1080p. The reason for this seems to be that the closing credits for each episode scroll at 60 Hz, necessitating the episodes themselves to be stored as such. Personally, I’m glad Anchor Bay didn’t try to deinterlace them themselves, as such results are rarely pretty. As for the image quality, it’s reasonably good. All the episodes have a similar soft, rather diffuse look, but I suspect it may turn out that they look as good as the source materials allow.
I’ve also received a check disc for Tartan’s upcoming UK Blu-ray release of Oldboy. The image quality is… eh, passable. I’ve seen worse, but I’ve seen a lot better. Looks rather murky and edge enhanced. I’ve been tasked with reviewing the technical components of the disc for DVD Times - we already have plenty reviews of the film itself, so there’s no need to repeat what others have already said.
See you at the movies!