Death on my mind
Well, I’m back from the research students’ induction meeting - it was essentially just nibbles, drinkies and a blather - and it occurred to me that I hadn’t mentioned either of my recent acquisitions.
On Tuesday, I received my copy of the Blu-ray release of House of 1000 Corpses from DVD Pacific. It features a decent but not outstanding transfer, with a VC-1 encode (intriguing, given that all of Lions Gate’s previous releases have been MPEG2 or AVC). Detail is very good, and the compression is well-handled (the disc is a single layer BD25), but there is noticeable edge enhancement, and the image has been quite severely noise reduced. I haven’t noticed any visible smearing, but the frozen grain in the backgrounds looks decidedly unnatural and unfilmlike, making this transfer a 7/10 for me at best. Oh, and, much to my disappointment, they haven’t maintained the hilarious menus from the DVD release, which featured various members of the Firefly family instructing the viewer on menu choices. Obviously, since this material was shot in standard definition, it would have been somewhat problematic to port over, but it’s too bad the footage couldn’t have been incorporated into a standalone reel, because a lot of it really was very funny. “Pick a feature!!!”
I also picked up a copy of the fifth series of Waking the Dead. I was originally hoping to receive a review copy, but BBC’s home video distribution division, 2 Entertain, seem to be rather inconsistent when it comes to sourcing check discs. With Casualty, I was able to get review copies of Series 1 and 3 but not 2, whereas with Waking the Dead, I got copies of Series 2 and 4 but not 1, 3 or 5. Anyway, I’m quite looking forward to seeing this series again, which aired at around this time two years ago (for some reason, there were no episodes in 2006, with the rather disappointing sixth series airing in early 2007). My memory of it is that it takes a while to find its footing, having to cope with the departure of two key cast members, but eventually turns itself around with some very strong episodes in the second half.
Incidentally, this six-disc set, just released this month, has an RRP of £34.99, but I was able to find it at DVD.co.uk for a mere £17.95 - definitely worth considering if you’re planning on picking up this title.