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Universal’s House of Horrors: Part 3 of 3


Eventually, all good things must come to an end. This is the third and final part of my exposé into the seedier side of high definition transfers, concentrating on the less than savoury excretions steamrolled by Universal on to HD DVD. (See here and here for the previous instalments.) As I approached the end of the alphabet (I went through the discs alphabetically), I discovered something quite shocking: there are actually a couple of discs in this line-up which look pretty good! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

Lost in Translation
(Universal, USA, VC-1, 14.6 GB)

More indistinct, middle-of-the-road bla that doesn’t make me want to kill myself, but at the same time is the sort of disc I’d immediately hide if someone asked me to show them what the HD formats were capable of.

Lost in Translation Lost in Translation Lost in Translation Lost in Translation Lost in Translation Lost in Translation

Red Dragon
(Universal, USA, VC-1, 19.9 GB)

What happened here? By some bizarre twist of fate, they actually managed to mint a pretty decent-looking copy of this film. The flaws on display here - ringing, mainly - probably came from the optical printing process rather than from any external meddling. I’ve thrown in some extra images this time round because it’s actually reasonably pleasant to look at.

Red reddragon Red reddragon Red reddragon Red reddragon Red reddragon Red reddragon Red reddragon Red reddragon Red reddragon

Seed of Chucky
(Universal, USA, VC-1, 14.5 GB)

“Inconsistent” is the order of the day here. This one alternates between really looking pretty close to excellent and smelling like last week’s milk. Again, I’ve thrown in a few more pictures for this one, so you can get some idea of just how radically different the quality can be from one shot to the next.

Seed of Chucky Seed of Chucky Seed of Chucky Seed of Chucky Seed of Chucky Seed of Chucky Seed of Chucky Seed of Chucky Seed of Chucky

Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at 11:23 AM | Comments: 8
Categories: Cinema | HD DVD | Technology



Don't know if you saw this, but it's a good article.

Posted by: Daniel Sardella, June 26, 2008 4:11 PM


Good article, but rather irritating to read due to the fact that Harris (or his editor) seems to think that every new paragraph needs a new line.






The article contains many excellent points well made, but I worry that its style of delivery will put some people off reading it.

Posted by: Whiggles, June 26, 2008 6:23 PM


Agreed. It's unnecessary.
Maybe he thought it would help people who

don't like

to read





Haha. But I love the Mona Lisa bit at the end.

Posted by: Daniel Sardella, June 26, 2008 6:36 PM


In one of the forums, Robert Harris addressed his style, saying that as its white text on a black background, he finds it easier to read with the spacing.

Posted by: Bleddyn Williams, June 26, 2008 7:13 PM


Wow. I thought Lost in Translation had no actual detail above SD but there it is. Will have to check it now.

The 3rd and final part? Aww. So no mention of truly horrible disc like Spartacus, Big Lebowski, Tremors (DNR hell), Army of Darkness, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, 40 Year Old Vergin (WTF), The Last Starfighter, Liar Liar, Mallrats, Waterworld... Or how about the handful that are supposed to be decent like Dragonheart, Dante's Peak, Streets of Fire, etc. Oh well. Thank you for your work.

Posted by: Kram Sacul, June 27, 2008 9:23 PM


Unfortunately, I don’t actually own any of the titles you’ve listed above, although I did rent one or two of them to check them out. And yes, Spartacus is truly dreadful.

It just occurred to me that I forgot to include the pretty good The Bourne Identity in this feature. I’ll do some pictures of it when I get the chance. :)

Posted by: Whiggles, June 27, 2008 10:24 PM



I'm curious about your "optical printing" comment re: RED DRAGON. What are you referring to here?


Posted by: Vincent Pereira, June 28, 2008 6:31 PM


Vincent: “optical printing” was, I suspect, the wrong phrase to use. What I was really meaning to infer is that Red Dragon comes from a film source rather than a DI, which seems to accentuate (or cause?) haloing. I’m by no means an expert on the technology behind film printing and duplication, but that has certainly been my experience.

Posted by: Whiggles, June 28, 2008 6:34 PM

Comments on this entry and all entries up to and including June 30th 2009 have been closed. The discussion continues on the new Land of Whimsy blog:


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