I think that The original film was most certainly "eye candy"
Have you seen it before the BD?
It's one of the most colorful and over the top looking films made at the time. Read any of the reviews at the time. It was called, "operatic", "theatrical" and was criticized by some for being TOO much so and that it wasn't "scary".
Just look back in this thread at the old captures.
edited for correction.
Also Xylon, an interesting thing, the film footage from the docs. that we think (in our opinions) looks better is from a DIFFERENT, earlier HD transfer, (been confirmed) A way to see this is the burned in subtitles for when Dracula is drinking the "blood" from the cross in the prologue, meaning it was a from an actual filmprint. The BD version uses player generated subs for this scene.
So it's not just a case of, "they adjusted the footage for the docs. to blend more readily gamma-wise, yada, yada.."
It shows that there was an earlier MUCH BETTER LOOKING HD transfer of the film! (just in our opinions)
Too bad we didn't get THAT version as the main "feature" on the BD.
The one that I and many others saw in HD on cable the year before the BD came out that pretty much looked just like the DVD, (and LD, and VHS...) color and brightness-wise but with higher res. (Once again, been confirmed that the film footage in the docs. was from an EARLIER HD transfer and since the SB dvd didn't derive from an HD transfer, that means they did it afterwards, perhaps years afterwards, but I guess that one was "incorrect" also. Amazing how many seperate transfers were wrong before. The VHS, WS VHS, LD, DVD, PAL DVD, (which was a different transfer yet the color and brightness look virtually IDENTICAL,)http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCompare2/dracula.htm
then the HD transfer that wound up on cable and the footage from the docs. was derived from. ALL these versions, done by many different people at many different times for different formats were all wrong, yet all pretty much looked the same, just like the photos from the film in the "official" Bram Stoker's Dracula screenplay book.
But the new one is correct, we're told.
And just because the studio says something it's always the truth? Like there was no EE on SW: The phantom Menace according to Lucasfilm...http://www.videophile.info/Review/TPM/TPM_01.htm
Here's a review that pretty much nails exactly what we're saying...http://www.dvdreview.com/reviews/pages/2692.shtml
"Bram Stoker's Dracula" is definitely a tough nut to bust when it comes to capturing all the details and delicate shades of the movie. Coppola's production is rich and colorful, reveling in shades of blood-red and night-blue, while often shifting the tonality of the entire image from warm earth tones to more frivolously saturated stylized shots, all the way to cool blues.
In high definition you would expect all these fine hues and tinges to be perfectly reproduced and I am sure they would if it weren't for one major flaw in the transfer. It is too dark. I have seen this film countless times in theaters and vividly remember the tones, the contrast and image information evident in the prints I saw so I was kind of disappointed to see that this transfer blocks most of it out, simply by washing up everything in an overly black presentation. Where once was image detail is now nothing left but murky shadows, where once was rich color, in many instances now we have a toneless shade. Where once was definition and finely tuned contrast, we now have an expressionistic look of a lithography..."
and this is all one has to really show, DVD on top, BD on bottom.
Where'd that nifty optical effect go...?
(Thanks to Xylon for grabs...)