Super mega DVD extravagant announcement extravaganza
There were quite a few exciting announcements on the DVD front during my period in the wilderness, so, to make things simple, I’ve decided to summarise them all in one post. The first of these is Season 5 of Spooks, due for release on September 10th 2007 in the UK from Contender Home Entertainment, presumably to roughly coincide with the launch of Season 6 on BBC1. Personally, I felt that Season 5 was a bit of a step down from Season 4, sacrificing some of its realism in favour of increasingly large-scale and preposterous situations (the opening two-parter featuring a hostile takeover of the British government and an attempt to kidnap the Prime Minister’s son), but it was still hugely enjoyable and remains, for me, one of the best things on TV. As with previous DVD releases, the ten episodes will be spread across five discs, although extras seem to be fairly limited this time round, with only two commentaries, interviews, trailers and a video diary preview for Season 6.
On the Italian front, we now have confirmation of the release date and contents of Starz Home Entertainment’s next Mario Bava box set. Due out on October 23rd, The Mario Bava Collection: Volume 2 will feature new versions of Baron Blood, Lisa and the Devil, Roy Colt and Winchester Jack, Four Times That Night, Bay of Blood and 5 Dolls for an August Moon. This is a definite must-have for me, and includes three titles that I’ve never seen. Speaking of which, I really need to get round to watching Kill, Baby… Kill! and Black Sabbath in Volume 1…
Keeping things Roman, Severin Films have also announced that they intend to bring Lucio Fulci’s little-seen Seven Notes in Black to DVD on October 30th, under the considerably less classy American title of The Psychic. Bonus materials will include “a never-before-published interview with Fulci as well as interviews with cast and crew”. I already own two copies of this title - the (ahem) unauthorised Alfa Digital release, which is in fact a pirate copy of the initial French DVD with an English track attached to it, and the more recent French 2-disc special edition from Neo Publishing. I always felt rather guilty about paying for a bootleg copy that allowed Alfa Digital to take money for other people’s hard work, but I desperately needed a copy in English. Now it looks as if I can finally bin it and pick up this authorised version.
Finally, it looks as if Alex Infascelli’s most recent film, H2Odio (a.k.a. Hate2O), will be coming out on DVD in the US on November 20th. It’s from Tartan Video, so a UK release is also a strong possibility. This is another disc that I’ll definitely be picking up, given how much I enjoyed Infascelli’s 2000 giallo, Almost Blue (his 2004 offering, The Vanity Serum, was less impressive but still interesting).
Oh, and it seems that Dario Argento’s Inferno is finally being released on DVD in Italy, making this only the second DVD release of this film in the world (unless you count that bootleg German DVD with the weird cover art). The artwork chosen for it couldn’t be worse, and no English audio or subtitle options appear to be forthcoming, but I’m somewhat tempted to pick it up, (a) to see what it plays like in Italian and (b) on the off-chance that it has a superior transfer to the Anchor Bay release.
Posted: Thursday, August 09, 2007 at 2:01 PM
| Comments: 5
| Dario Argento
KILL BABY... KILL is perhaps the source for all the J-horror material that has been popped in the last years. I love it and consider it better than BLACK SUNDAY.
BLACK SABBATH is his best work and perhaps the best horror anthology ever filmed.
So yeah, you should watch them. And more Bonds. :D
Posted by: Marcus, August 9, 2007 5:45 PM
Oooh, good news about the Mario Bava Collection: Volume 2. Cool that they've tackled most of the titles that were most in need of decent transfers, I hope they have good materials available.
And I was just wondering the other day why we haven't seen a decent English-friendly release of Seven Notes in Black, since the French one's been out for ages. I don't particularly like the film, but it'll be good to retire the Alfa disc.
Posted by: Philly Q, August 12, 2007 4:35 PM
Re: KILL, BABY... KILL!!!
As I'm lazy, this is a cut and paste from my post over at the Classic Horror Film Boards. It's my attempt to resolve what's going on with that dang KILL transfer, and I'll be interested in whether you find you agree or disagree with my conclusions once you've had a chance to give AB's disc a thorough going over:
"The source is decent, pretty clean with good, but not great color.
The *transfer* is a mess. Way too zealous application of noise reduction filters - it's underdetailed and smeary, with edge enhancement dialed in to offset the lost visual information. It also exhibits intermittent combing, telling me that something's up with it's path from film chain to NTSC.
Here's my best guess:
There's a dupe shot during one of the murders that has been flagged as also appearing on the previous, PAL German DVD from several years back. Apparently this lower-quality shot was specific to that transfer, until it showed up on the AB disc. I've only seen Anchor Bay's release and don't know the film all that well, so I'm only relaying anecdotal information here. The German release was widescreen, but non-anamorphic, whereas AB's seems to use the same transfer elements, only enhanced for 16:9.
My guess is the AB is the same basic, converted transfer, *re-scaled* for 16:9 display, and aggressively worked over digitally to compensate for the blown-up image.
I think it looks pretty poor, myself. It seems most positive reactions have been based off of comparisons with pervious VHS-level transfers, which to me is beside the point. All my problems with this transfer stem from the choices made in encoding."
Posted by: Jeffrey Allen Rydell, August 12, 2007 6:37 PM
Your theory definitely makes a lot of sense. When I first popped in the disc, my immediate reactions was one of “What the hell…?” Given the praise it had received online, I really wasn’t expecting it to look anything like as bad as it does. I’ve taken a look at DVD Beaver’s comparison, and I’d say that the Anchor Bay and Laser Paradise transfers look almost identical: they definitely came from the same source, at any rate. I just wonder if Volume 2 is going to be a similar case of merely recycling older transfers, because the current releases of some of the titles listed for inclusion could do with more than just a pass through an automated spot remover (e.g. Lisa and the Devil).
Posted by: Whiggles
, August 12, 2007 9:29 PM
Man, I sure hope more effort's put into the next batch. Not only is LISA's prior source a dated one which can't be made to look measurably better than it does, but 5 DOLLS is non-anamorphic, and TWITCH desperately needs new audio materials. The sound on TWITCH is so hot that I have made it through the whole film exactly one time - I've stopped watching a half hour in on at least 3 occasions.
Oh, and I'm most assuredly flogging a dead little girl at this point, but it's very frustrating that KILL gets a thumbs-up from those who should know better. This isn't a little freezing grain that can get lost in a small monitor display viewed by an untrained eye. To some extent, I understand that AB may have been bound by what was provided to them by Leone - it's a rare title when it comes to workable elements, and if he chose to recycle, and they had dates to meet...? But, even if that was the case, I'd still have preferred a straight port of the transfer, 4:3 and all. It might at least have had some solidity. This thing looks almost like an AVI of a DVD.
Posted by: Jeffrey Allen Rydell, August 12, 2007 10:42 PM
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