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post #91 of 115 Old 12-17-2015, 11:02 PM
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I was fairly impressed by WB's release of Dracula Has Risen From the Grave. Solid detail and definition from a high-quality film scan. Easily recommended as a winner. I now wish Warner controlled more Hammer movies in the States.

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post #92 of 115 Old 12-18-2015, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
I was fairly impressed by WB's release of Dracula Has Risen From the Grave. Solid detail and definition from a high-quality film scan. Easily recommended as a winner. I now wish Warner controlled more Hammer movies in the States.
Hmmm 'high-quality film scan', are you implying something about the Hammer done masters?
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post #93 of 115 Old 12-18-2015, 09:38 PM
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On the whole I've found the Hammer-mastered Blu-rays uneven. Decent work, but nothing I would call spectacular. Frankly, other niche labels with films of the exact same vintage have been producing better results. Some of this is due to mere timing. Film scans struck in the last year or two are really showing off improved resolution and definition when handled properly with best practices.

I've been astonished how much detail some labels have been pulling out lately. Now it does look like Dracula Has Risen From The Grave "only" received a 2K transfer. A 4K scan would likely produce slightly better results but I realize that not every film can receive that treatment at this time. I believe that WB did apply some digital finessing on a very fine level.

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post #94 of 115 Old 12-19-2015, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
On the whole I've found the Hammer-mastered Blu-rays uneven. Decent work, but nothing I would call spectacular. Frankly, other niche labels with films of the exact same vintage have been producing better results. Some of this is due to mere timing. Film scans struck in the last year or two are really showing off improved resolution and definition when handled properly with best practices.

I've been astonished how much detail some labels have been pulling out lately. Now it does look like Dracula Has Risen From The Grave "only" received a 2K transfer. A 4K scan would likely produce slightly better results but I realize that not every film can receive that treatment at this time. I believe that WB did apply some digital finessing on a very fine level.
I think the problem is Hammer did more digital finessing then WB.
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post #95 of 115 Old 12-19-2015, 12:56 PM
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I think the problem is Hammer did more digital finessing then WB.
It looks like WB took more skill and care with their digital finetuning. Which they should have an advantage, WB has vast experience dealing with film stock from that era.

I am not going out of my way to slam the Hammer jobs, which have ranged from acceptable to very good. Overall I've been pleased with Hammer, I merely wish we would get all the Hammer films on Blu-ray.

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post #96 of 115 Old 12-20-2015, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
I am not going out of my way to slam the Hammer jobs, which have ranged from acceptable to very good. Overall I've been pleased with Hammer, I merely wish we would get all the Hammer films on Blu-ray.
All I got to say to that is praising poor efforts does not make them do better next time but criticizing the disappointments more often does although far from always. Praising just the better efforts shows the way to handle old films otherwise they would still be cropping to fill the screen and pan & scan like in the early days of dvd to please the lowest common denominator.

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post #97 of 115 Old 12-20-2015, 12:50 PM
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I watched the Warner Hammer boxset movies projected and was very pleased. They hold up very nicely on a larger screen. The Mummy and Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed probably looked best, but all four movies were done rather well. Looking forward to what they release for Volume 2.
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post #98 of 115 Old 12-20-2015, 05:22 PM
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I watched the Warner Hammer boxset movies projected and was very pleased. They hold up very nicely on a larger screen. The Mummy and Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed probably looked best, but all four movies were done rather well. Looking forward to what they release for Volume 2.
Did WB announce Volume 2 yet?
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post #99 of 115 Old 12-20-2015, 06:12 PM
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post #100 of 115 Old 12-20-2015, 11:14 PM
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I would guess Volume 2 shows up around Halloween if sales were decent for the first volume.
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post #101 of 115 Old 12-21-2015, 06:40 PM
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I would guess Volume 2 shows up around Halloween if sales were decent for the first volume.
That's a long wait...
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post #102 of 115 Old 10-12-2016, 09:43 PM
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Anyone watched either of these new Mill Creek BD releases yet?


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post #103 of 115 Old 10-13-2016, 07:27 PM
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Yes (Mill Creek titles)

Revenge of Frankenstein is not very good, it's the DVD transfer from 15 years ago. Color is off, print has damage, sound a bit crunchy, sharpness variable. A poor effor.

Curse of the Mummy's Tomb looks good, appears to be the 2008 DVD master, color is good, sharpness OK.

Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, same 2008 master as Curse of the Mummy's Tomb. Title sequence looks really poor, rest of it is good.

The Gorgon, also from 2008 master, good color, good sharpness, good print. The best of the 4 titles.

For approx. $4 per movie, though, they are worth picking up as I don't expect we'll see another release here in the states.
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post #104 of 115 Old 10-13-2016, 08:19 PM
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For approx. $4 per movie, though, they are worth picking up as I don't expect we'll see another release here in the states.
Yeah when they are really cheap I guess I will pick them up. I bought Hollow Man double feature BD for $3CAD.
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post #105 of 115 Old 10-13-2016, 11:10 PM
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Yes (Mill Creek titles)

Revenge of Frankenstein is not very good, it's the DVD transfer from 15 years ago. Color is off, print has damage, sound a bit crunchy, sharpness variable. A poor effor.

Curse of the Mummy's Tomb looks good, appears to be the 2008 DVD master, color is good, sharpness OK.

Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll, same 2008 master as Curse of the Mummy's Tomb. Title sequence looks really poor, rest of it is good.

The Gorgon, also from 2008 master, good color, good sharpness, good print. The best of the 4 titles.

For approx. $4 per movie, though, they are worth picking up as I don't expect we'll see another release here in the states.
Many thanks for the review, NJPete.

I bought the Mill Creek DVD with 3 of the above films not too long ago, and the transfers weren't very good,... hence my question. Curse of the Mummy's Tomb was probably the worst of the bunch. But I'd love to see all of these films in HD, even if it's inferior HD.

BR.com mentioned that there were also some compression artifacts visible.

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post #106 of 115 Old 10-13-2016, 11:26 PM
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I picked up this new set today...



Amazon had it marked down. So I got BB to match their price.

This includes the same 8 films that were in the original Universal Hammer Horror Series DVD set, but in HD of course.

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post #107 of 115 Old 10-14-2016, 01:38 PM
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Some fans aren't particularly happy with that Hammer set. Altered aspect ratios and a few inferior transfers from what I hear.

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post #108 of 115 Old 10-15-2016, 06:37 AM
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From what little I have seen of the Universal Hammer Collection pq wise, a few are good, a few are mediocre and one has awful sharping like Universal's first release of American Werewolf in London.
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post #109 of 115 Old 10-15-2016, 06:36 PM
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I took a brief look at a few of the color films in the set, specifically Brides of Dracula, Kiss of the Vampire, and Curse of the Werewolf. And they are a little "warty". I think most of them will still be watchable though with some tweaking to Sharpness, Gamma and so forth. Brides (one of my favorites in the set) has very coarse grain.

Films included in the set:

Brides of Dracula
Curse of the Werewolf (with Oliver Reed)
Evil of Frankenstein
Kiss of the Vampire
Night Creatures (aka Captain Clegg)
Nightmare (B&W)
Paranoiac (B&W)
Phantom of the Opera (with Herbert Lom)

I had the DVD version of this collection as well, and enjoyed many of the films, so that's why I was willing to take a chance on the BDs when the price dropped on Amazon. Pretty sure it'll be a keeper for me. But I am a die-hard Hammer fan.

I have Warner's 4-film set (but haven't opened it yet), Prince of Darkness, and Vampire Lovers on Blu-ray as well for comparison. I don't think the films in this new set will look as good as some of those. But even bad Hammer is still pretty good in my book.

I don't think Chris Lee is in any of these btw, which could be another reason some fans are less interested. There are a couple with Petey Cushing though (Night Creatures and Evil of Frankenstein).


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post #110 of 115 Old 10-15-2016, 10:56 PM
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I took a brief look at a few of the color films in the set, specifically Brides of Dracula, Kiss of the Vampire, and Curse of the Werewolf. And they are a little "warty". I think most of them will still be watchable though with some tweaking to Sharpness, Gamma and so forth. Brides (one of my favorites in the set) has very coarse grain.
Are you telling folks to mess with the sharp and gamma display settings?
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post #111 of 115 Old 10-15-2016, 11:29 PM
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Are you telling folks to mess with the sharp and gamma display settings?
If it makes the material more watchable. I make small adjustments to the Sharpness, Gamma, and Backlight settings on almost everything I watch. And also Brightness when its needed to fix incorrectly encoded black levels.

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post #112 of 115 Old 10-16-2016, 04:56 PM
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^^^What terrible advice.
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post #113 of 115 Old 10-16-2016, 10:43 PM
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^^^What terrible advice.
Feel free to elaborate on that if you wish. I understand where you're coming from though.

Imo such adjustments can help (sometimes immensely), especially with inferior transfers of older and lower-budget films that haven't been mastered so well. In addition to Sharpness, Gamma, Backlight and Black levels, I will also adjust the scaling/ratio of the picture if the video looks stretched, or is window-boxed.

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post #114 of 115 Old 10-17-2016, 12:46 AM
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I took a closer look at The Kiss of the Vampire and The Evil of Frankenstein (from the 8-film collection) today. And these are both fairly workable transfers.

Kiss of the Vampire is on the brighter, contrastier side, but it has pretty good detail and black levels through most of the film. Some of the optically processed shots in the middle of the film don't look as good. And the colors aren't totally natural-looking. But the saturation is good. Reds in particular have nice pop. On a brighter/contrastier transfer like this, I'll generally tend towards darker Backlight settings to keep the image from fatiguing my eyes. And possibly also darker gamma, provided it doesn't crush too much shadow detail, or oversaturate the color.

The Evil of Frankenstein transfer looks pretty good, except that the blacks are slightly elevated (imo). That's easily rectified with a small adjustment to the Brightness/black level control on the display. I might bump up the Sharpness a little as well to possibly bring out a bit more detail from some of the textures. But the level of detail is fairly good without that.

I think Evil of Frankenstein is probably one of the better-looking color transfers in the set. The colors still look pretty natural for the most part, and the contrast is decent (except for the elevated blacks), and there's a nice "patina" to the textures. The sound track is not particularly dynamic though, and somewhat harsh on the ears at times.

It's also one of the better Hammer Frankenstein efforts imo. It has its darkly comic side (like many Hammer films), but the story and the performances are all quite good in this. And the monster's pretty good... sort of throwback to The Thing from Another World. The film is a little hobbled by the weak AQ though. (The DVD was the same btw.)

Coincidentally, the new restored version of American Werewolf in London (also from Universal) appears to have approximately the same elevation in its blacks. Otherwise it looks pretty nice (like Evil of Frankenstein).
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post #115 of 115 Old 11-12-2016, 05:54 PM
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I picked up both of the above used, and pretty much agree with NJPete's assessment.

The Gorgon is the best. And it is a huge improvement over the Mill Creek DVD. Detail, grain color and contrast are all very good, for the most part. Blacks appear a tad elevated at times, and the whites are clipped about as low as I'd go on something like this. A little detail is lost in white shirts and the highlights on people's faces. But it's not bad. And the upside is that the image has lots of depth and contrast, and should look pretty good on both lower-contrast IPS LED displays, and higher contrast plasma, OLED, and VA LEDs.

I lowered the Backlight a bit on my VA LED, because the image was so bright and contrasty. That makes the blacks even deeper though (which is a good thing in my book). And I also darkened both the Brightness/black level and Gamma just a hair, to compensate for the slightly elevated blacks, and extra brightness in the midtones.

The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb is also a pretty substantial upgrade from the DVD. Some evidence of compression is visible, but the detail is much better for the most part. And there is a medium-fine grain to the image, and much less (but still some) ringing. Contrast is on the high side, and the color tends to favor browns and blues. Yellows and golds look a little too orange, I think. But the color palette is still pretty rich and diverse in many scenes. Blacks are a little inconsistent, but slightly elevated for the most part imo. The image quality isn't as good as The Gorgon. But it's better than I expected for a budget release, and certainly the best that I've every seen this film look.

The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll is also a step up from the DVD, both in sound and image. There is fine detail and grain in the image, but it's a little "mushy" for my taste. I did raise Sharpness a bit to compensate, but that enhances some ringing in the image as well. So there are some tradeoffs. The color and contrast are pretty good. This film is loaded with beautifully-dressed, exquisitely lit sets, costumes and art direction. And you definitely get a little better feel for all that "Hammer glamour" in this HD edition (though there is still some room left for improvement, esp. in the detail dept.).

I made only small adjustments to both the Brightness and Gamma to compensate for slightly elevated blacks, and to give the gowns and sets a little more richness and depth. I also made a small adjustment to the aspect ratio to compensate for a little horizontal stretching in the image. The slight mushiness in the detail makes me think that this could've been sourced from an analog tape master. Not sure about that though.

I haven't given Revenge of Frankenstein a very close look yet, but it looks like this was sourced from a rather grungy print, as NJPete said, with some scratches and fair amount of dirt (white specks). And I also noticed some "smeariness" in the detail in the midtones, which could be an artifact of compression.

I'll post more thoughts on all the above after I've watched all four films in their entirety. I'm not displeased with my investment though, so far. A couple of these films appear to be in as good or possibly even better condition than some of the films in the Universal 8-film set.

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