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Big Hammer Horror BR News! - Page 2

post #31 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rathbone View Post

Screencaps of Quatermass and the Pit:

http://www.imagebanana.com/album/qs911b64/

Received my copy yesterday. Yes, locked to Region B, but well worth buying if you have a multiregion player. There is a nasty shot here and there, but overall, this disc is fabulous. Obviously a labor of love/pet project for somebody, because of the dozens of Hammer horror/sci-fi movies in my collection, not one of them gives a clue this disc would look this good.
post #32 of 72
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giles37 View Post

Turner Classic Movies is showing these features next Monday (Halloween) - wonder if these have received new hidef transfers (I know that 'Dracula Prince of Darkness' has)

HAMMER HORROR
7:15 AM - The Reptile (1966) 90 min
8:45 AM - The Gorgon (1964) 83 min
10:15 AM - Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1966) 90 min
12:00 PM - Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1969) 92 min
1:45 PM - The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958) 90 min
3:15 PM - Frankenstein Created Woman (1966) 92 min
5:00 PM - The Mummy (1959) 88 min
6:30 PM - The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb (1964) 80 min

'Dracula AD 1972' is hidef on Netflix Instant view

The Gorgon is also showing in HiDef on the SonyHD channel and I was very impressed with the HD transfer. IMO even disregarding the fact it was in HD, it looks significantly better than the already excellent transfer done for the DVD set.
post #33 of 72
post #34 of 72
Thread Starter 
Twins Of Evil Blu-ray(and dvd combo pack) set for July 10th release.

One of my favorite 70's Hammer horror films, features one of Peter Cushing's best performances (shaded by the real-life death of his wife).

Bonus Features:

- "THE FLESH AND THE FURY: X-POSING TWINS OF EVIL" (84 mins.) - An all-new, feature-length documentary exploring Hammer's infamous 'Karnstein' trilogy from the origin of Carmilla, to the making of TWINS OF EVIL! Featuring exclusive interviews with director John Hough, star Damien Thomas, cult film director Joe Dante, Video Watchdog editor Tim Lucas, and more!
- "The Props That Hammer Built" Featurette
- Motion Still Gallery (Blu-ray Exclusive)
- Deleted Scene (Blu-ray Exclusive)
- Original Theatrical Trailer & TV Spots (Blu-ray Exclusive)
- Isolated Music & Effects Track (Blu-ray Exclusive)
post #35 of 72
Thread Starter 
Per Amazon.UK, street date for Brides of Dracula is 6/24 and Evil of Frankenstein is due on 7/22. Both are "double play" dvd and Blu-ray combo sets released by Final Cut Entertainment. Any bonus content is unknown.

As Final Cut released the excellent uncut US print of Curse Of The Werewolf on dvd a couple years ago in the UK and appears to be the UK licensor for the early 60's Hammer Films that were released by Universal on the 2 dvd set, it's not unreasonable to expect Phantom of the Opera, Kiss Of The Vampire and of course COTW to get similar treatment before the end of 2013.
post #36 of 72
The American distributor has already lost out on money. I've broken down and bought a region-free player, mostly for the Hammer Blu-rays. There is no possible way with the decline of retail media that a movie like Brides of Dracula is ever going to get a Region A release.
post #37 of 72
Any chance "Horror of Dracula" will get a Region A release in hd? I don't want to get a region free player just for a few movies although this one is one of my all time favs.
post #38 of 72
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RalphoR View Post

Any chance "Horror of Dracula" will get a Region A release in hd? I don't want to get a region free player just for a few movies although this one is one of my all time favs.

Who knows. It's entirely up to Warner Bros and they seem pretty sluggish with many of their deeper catalog/licensed releases these days.

Frankly, I would highly recommend picking up a all-region blu-ray player at this point. It doesn't have to be a modded Oppo or other high end high priced player to do the job. There's just so many desirable cult genre films such as the number of Hammer films that have been released on Blu-ray the past few years only in Europe and the UK that it's rather pointless waiting for them to (hopefully) come out in North America.
post #39 of 72
Thread Starter 
Some likely unfortunate news regarding at least the upcoming "Brides Of Dracula" UK Blu-ray release. Apparently, the beautifully restored print done by Universal US in the late 90's which showed up on the "Hammer Horror Series" US dvd set was lost in the fire at Universal a few years ago and the source print to be used for the upcoming UK Blu-ray release is the significantly inferior one that was shown starting a couple years ago on the Turner Classics channel. Not only is the "new" transfer darker and less color saturated, it's also badly mis-framed at about 2:1 cutting off significant top and bottom frame info.

It's unknown if the fire resulted in the loss of other Universal/Hammer restored prints that were also featured on the old dvd set.

Here's relevant threads on other forums about this:

http://thelatarniaforums.yuku.com/topic/9240/BRIDES-OF-DRACULA-framing-on-TMC#.UZbw90pdB8G

http://monsterkidclassichorrorforum.yuku.com/topic/49721/Brides-Dracula-Evil-Frankenstein-UK-BlurayDVDs-Summer#.UZbw40pdB8G
post #40 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by RalphoR View Post

Any chance "Horror of Dracula" will get a Region A release in hd? I don't want to get a region free player just for a few movies although this one is one of my all time favs.

There is the Vampire Lovers, which had more nudity then I was expecting. Detail wise it was quite good but brightened, the night shots often looked like daytime (some being day for night shots probably did not help). The story had little internal logic, why does one vampire need to have a shroud and the other does not?
post #41 of 72
Thread Starter 
"Dracula, Prince Of Darkness" has been announced as Millennium Media's first Hammer Blu-ray release as a stand-alone "Collector's Edition" title for 9/3/13. Based on their currently available dvd release, I'd guess this will be the same transfer as the UK Blu-ray/DVD combo that got mixed reviews. No word on extras if any.
post #42 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Partyslammer View Post

"Dracula, Prince Of Darkness" has been announced as Millennium Media's first Hammer Blu-ray release as a stand-alone "Collector's Edition" title for 9/3/13. Based on their currently available dvd release, I'd guess this will be the same transfer as the UK Blu-ray/DVD combo that got mixed reviews. No word on extras if any.
Their announcement gave me just enough time to cancel my order for the UK Blu-ray. I presume the discs will be largely identical in A/V quality.
post #43 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Partyslammer View Post

"Dracula, Prince Of Darkness" has been announced as Millennium Media's first Hammer Blu-ray release as a stand-alone "Collector's Edition" title for 9/3/13. Based on their currently available dvd release, I'd guess this will be the same transfer as the UK Blu-ray/DVD combo that got mixed reviews. No word on extras if any.

That's great news! I don't own any Millenium Media BDs so I hope it's decent.
post #44 of 72
The Vampire Lovers BD looks fine, discounting the somewhat rough condition of the film elements used for the transfer in some scenes. One scene had more of a magenta push than I would have liked, but overall I didn't mind the color timing. The transfer at least looks to have been recently made, it's not a 10-year-old telecine dump.
post #45 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Partyslammer View Post

"Dracula, Prince Of Darkness" has been announced as Millennium Media's first Hammer Blu-ray release as a stand-alone "Collector's Edition" title for 9/3/13. Based on their currently available dvd release, I'd guess this will be the same transfer as the UK Blu-ray/DVD combo that got mixed reviews. No word on extras if any.

The oldest content on BD MM has released was the Invisible Man 1975 TV show which was 4:3 SD stretched to fill widescreen, my expectations have been greatly lowered.
post #46 of 72
Region A 'Hands of the Ripper':

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film4/blu-ray_reviews_59/hands_of_the_ripper_blu-ray.htm

The images have nice detail and film-like look to them but the flesh tones seem boosted even getting close to posterized.
post #47 of 72
More 'Hands of the Ripper':

http://www.rockshockpop.com/forums/content.php?3091-Hands-Of-The-Ripper

Overall nice, in a few shots detail seems on the weak side perhaps but I do think it will affect enjoyment.
post #48 of 72
It's not the best transfer on a Hammer BD by any stretch, but Hands of the Ripper turned out fine for the most part. It was an interesting watch since it was one of the last, original Hammer films I had never seen before the Synapse disc. The concept for the movie probably could have been refined a little, slashers have come a long way since 1971 in terms of visual language.

The main feature runs 85 minutes and is presented in its proper theatrical aspect ratio of 1.66:1. Compression is handled by an AVC video encode which frequently tops 30 Mbps on the BD-50 disc. The compression is nearly flawless and only the faintest appearance of artifacts can be seen in scenes with the heaviest grain.

The overall transfer is perfectly adequate given the age and condition of the film elements. Synapse did not spend a fortune restoring the film but found a serviceable master that looks fairly recent in vintage. I doubt the transfer has been taken from the 35mm negative, secondary film elements look like a much stronger possibility. Actual damage to the film print is very rare, there is little actual dirt or debris in it to mar the picture. There is no indication any filtering has been applied, the lack of stellar resolution can be attributed to the soft and diffuse cinematography. Hands of the Ripper is one of the softer Hammer films I've seen, the lighting adds a healthy glow to the actresses but softens their appearances as much as possible.

Given some of the radical changes to color timing in other recent BDs from Hammer's deep catalog, Synapse has left the color grading largely alone. If anything, the average level of color saturation might be slightly dull and washed out. Floating black levels pose a small hindrance in a couple of scenes, as shadow detail is practically crushed. The BD's new transfer is largely film-like without paying much heed to recent color grading trends. It is a modest improvement over a DVD presentation, but does show clear improvements in overall clarity and replication of the original film grain densities.
post #49 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuther View Post

Region A 'Hands of the Ripper':

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film4/blu-ray_reviews_59/hands_of_the_ripper_blu-ray.htm

The images have nice detail and film-like look to them but the flesh tones seem boosted even getting close to posterized.
Those images seem to have boosted magenta to them, which is not really there on a calibrated display. Don't pay much attention to DVDBeaver's screen caps, they are notoriously inaccurate for judging much beyond a few limited areas.
post #50 of 72
Thread Starter 
Finally got around to watching the newly released Blu-ray this week. The only previous home video release I have that I can compare this to is the region 2 Carlton dvd that came in the 3 title "Classic Horror Collection" box set that I got years ago. The transfer on the old dvd was good but a bit dark and a bit washed out in places. The new Synapse dvd/blu-ray transfer is a significant step up although it's still not quite perfect. It basically looks like a typical 35mm presentation from a decent but not pristine print. Grain on some of the darker night time (or day for night) shots is a little harsh and can almost be mistaken for digital noise. Overall, colors are more saturated (not overly so) and detail is better, even doing a dvd to dvd comparison, much less the obvious improvement in the HD presentation on Blu-ray. Unlike complaints regarding the Synapes "Vampire Circus" or "Twins of Evil" releases, there doesn't seem to be much black crush or significant changes in the color timing (at least compared to the Carlton dvd) on this release. Some may question whether this new transfer is a bit too bright but it looks fine to my eyes. And as Phantom Stranger mentions above, the screen caps on dvd beavers site exaggerated the magenta.

I haven't waded through all the extras yet but I do appreciate that Synapse provided an isolated music and effects audio track on the blu-ray. You also get a reversible graphics sleeve to display two different original movie poster covers to suit your liking.

The movie itself is far from one of my favorite Hammer films. It has some very good ideas scattered throughout, but it doesn't really engage me as a viewer for more than a few key set pieces throughout (the door knob and sword scene still makes me wince). Aside from the bloody gore, it has a very 70's British tv level feel to it. Recommended for Hammer or cult horror movie fans only.
post #51 of 72
It is one of the duller Hammer films, since slasher films have come so far in evolution since its debut. It needed more supernatural elements to spice things up.
post #52 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post

It is one of the duller Hammer films, since slasher films have come so far in evolution since its debut. It needed more supernatural elements to spice things up.

It's not like the best Hammer stuff is being released for Region A.
post #53 of 72
Thread Starter 
The Terrence Fisher directed, Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee starred "The Mummy" gets a "double play" (blu-ray + dvd) release via Lionsgate in the UK region B locked discs on Oct 14th.

Special Features:

Original UK theatrical aspect ratio: 1.66:1 (the film has never before been released at this aspect ratio)
Alternate aspect ratio: 1.37:1
Unwrapping The Mummy – New 25 min. HD documentary about the film's creation and history
Hammer's Rep Company – New 20 min. HD documentary about Hammer's informal repertory company of actors
Audio Commentary – New expert commentary from Marcus Hearn & Jonathan Rigby
Stolen Face – bonus feature (Terence Fisher's 1952 crime drama, 72 mins.)
The House Of Horror: Memories Of Bray – Hammer's all-new 5-part documentary (50 mins. total) which will premiere on Hammer's YouTube channel before the Double Play release
Hammer Stars: Peter Cushing – The World Of Hammer episode
Original industry promo reel restored to HD (6 min).
HD Archive: Stills Gallery

Every home video release of the movie has looked pretty rough, like a blown up 16mm library print with lots of edge enhancement.. Very curious if Lionsgate/Hammer have found better source for this release than anything seen before. No word if the "tongue removal" scene will finally be presented complete as there are stills out there showing the two slaves looking at the chunk of flesh after cutting it out of Lee's mouth.

In other news, it appears "Frankenstein Created Woman" is dead in the water and has been pulled from pre-order sites, a restored uncut version of "Frankenstein and The Monster From Hell" should of had a release date by now so who knows what's up with that one and Captain Kronos isn't even being mentioned as a future release anymore so it looks very much like Brides of Dracula, Evil Of Frankenstein and The Mummy are it for the rest of 2012. And if what I've heard about Brides of Dracula is true, a lot of fans are going to be disappointed in the print quality and framing of this release.
post #54 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post

Those images seem to have boosted magenta to them, which is not really there on a calibrated display. Don't pay much attention to DVDBeaver's screen caps, they are notoriously inaccurate for judging much beyond a few limited areas.

Nope, wrong again. This other site shows the exact same color grading in the same scenes:

http://images4.static-bluray.com/reviews/8510_11_1080p.jpg
http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film4/blu-ray_reviews_59/hands_of_the_ripper_blu-ray_/large/large_hands_of_the_ripper_blu-ray_01.jpg

http://images4.static-bluray.com/reviews/8510_16_1080p.jpg
http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film4/blu-ray_reviews_59/hands_of_the_ripper_blu-ray_/large/large_hands_of_the_ripper_blu-ray_08.jpg

http://images4.static-bluray.com/reviews/8510_3_1080p.jpg
http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film4/blu-ray_reviews_59/hands_of_the_ripper_blu-ray_/large/large_hands_of_the_ripper_blu-ray_13.jpg

Not surprising really, anyone thinking color calibration affects grabbing from disc does not know how the process works.
post #55 of 72
Thread Starter 
Got my Evil of Frankenstein and Brides of Dracula UK (region B locked) releases via Amazon UK here in the US today and skimmed through both sets and did a bit of back and forth comparisons with the older US released Universal "Hammer Horror Series" dvd collection that contained very good restorations of both films along with several other Hammer classics.

As it's been mentioned, the UK Blu-ray/dvd release of Brides suffers from incorrect, tighter vertical framing and a significantly rougher looking source print than what was used for the old US dvd releases.

I will say watching the two sources play versus looking at still photo frame caps, the new Blu-ray isn't quite as bad as at least I was expecting. The Blu-ray picture quality actually looks a tad brighter than the older dvd and the color looks like it's been digitally boosted to give the film a more saturated look however this really brings out some rough looking grain in the image. I guess one can be happy the film wasn't DNR'd to death but the downside is this just looks like a dupey print that someone jacked up the gamma. It's certainly not as harsh as the "Curse Of Frankenstein" UK blu-ray but it's not close to "Quatermass and The Pit" solid source print and film-like transfer either.

The tighter vertical cropping isn't as bad as I thought, it basically gives a sliver more image info on the left and right side but takes off significant image from the bottom of the frame. The information seen at the top of the frame is about the same as the older US dvd. On my 65" Plasma via a Denon 3910 dvd player upscaling tp 1080p through HDMI, I frankly think the old dvd is overall marginally better looking.

Evil of Frankenstein on the other hand looks pretty much like the exact same source print was used as what the old US dvd was sourced from. Framing looks identical, colors are a tiny bit more saturated without any detriment to the picture and overall detail is noticeably better. A small but welcome step up from the US dvd and factoring in the few bonus features, worth the upgrade if you're a fan of this film.
post #56 of 72
Dracula - Prince of Darkness:

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film4/blu-ray_reviews_59/dracula_prince_of_darkness_blu-ray.htm

Some are not going to like me saying this but while the images look good with the except the flesh tones are really boosted, Lee has a pasty white look to him and he is not alone, in some caps his face looks like it's self illuminated. And no I do not think beaver is to blame.
post #57 of 72
Thread Starter 
OK, I have both releases from the UK and US and did some side by side comparisons tonight.

I've owned numerous versions of this film from bootleg PAL converted vhs tapes to the Anchor Bay laserdisc and dvd, to several UK and European dvd releases (incliding the rare German Anolis dvd) and recently, the UK Studio Canal Blu-ray/dvd combo. Either UK or new US Blu-ray release is a very good visual presentation of this technically long-neglected film.

First off, they are the same source print, same color timing, same framing. There's even the same Studio Canal intro before the men! There's a noticeable speck of dirt in the lower left off center edge of the frame during the scene in which Barbara Shelley's character Helen is about to "kiss" her brother just before Dracula shows up on the balcony. It's on both blu-ray (and dvd) transfers along with several other noticeable scratches and other very minor blems in the source print. It should be noted that the pre-credits sequence featuring Lee and Cushing is the fixed non-DNR'd versionon the Millenium release present also on the reissued UK Blu-ray.

There is a very small difference in the black levels between the two releases, the UK Studio Canal release is a fraction lighter with a bit more natural grain. The US Millenium release has a bit of black crush and a tiny bit more color saturation and a bit smoother looking picture but nothing to indicate excessive DNR. Strictly from a visual standpoint, the differences between the two releases are really insignificant.

The audio is noticeably more robust on the UK release. I'm sure the US lossy audio track plays a big part in that.

From a packaging standpoint, I prefer the US release with a nice touch of including a small envelope of color lobby card-esque prints. Too bad you have to tear open the envelope to get to them. The slipcase graphics are a bit nicer on the US release too.

The extras appear to be identical between the two releases as well with one key exception - it appears the 8mm behind the scenes footage shot by Francis Matthews' brother is not included on the US release.

Overall, it's a decent first effort for Millenium's Hammer Blu-ray US licenses. Granted it's basically a straight port of the UK release with a smidgen of contrast boosting and different chapter marks, and I will say a near $20 price point is a bit high, but it's a perfectly acceptable alternative for Hammer fans in the US without a all-region Blu-ray player.
post #58 of 72
Thread Starter 
Got my region B UK "double play'" (aka BR + 2 DVDs) release of "The Mummy" today and skimmed through the Blu-ray. Overall, my quick opinion is this transfer is the biggest upgrade from any previous home video release of the Hammer 50's color horror classics (Frankenstein, Dracula, Mummy). No color tampering like the Dracula Blu-ray and a far better source print used than Curse Of Frankenstein. My only nitpick is it looks a bit dark but the colors are wonderfully saturated with good fleshtones, picture quality is sharp and film-like and the framing is correct. There's two different framed versions, one in the correct 1.66:1 aspect and the other in old school full frame 1.37:1 (I didn't check out that version yet). There's a ton of bonus features, some in Standard Def only, such as an old episode of "The World Of Hammer" about Peter Cushing narrated by Oliver Reed and oddly, an early 50's B/W Hammer flick "Stolen Face" which was one of director Terence Fisher's first films for Hammer.

I should add there's no previously unseen "lost" scenes, like Lee's tongue displayed by the slaves on tongs after it's cut out like some old stills show.

Overall, my initial impression is this release does great justice to this film.
post #59 of 72
I've got SC's The Brides of Dracula from the UK and plan to check out it very soon. It's not a Hammer but I also picked up Corruption, starring Peter Cushing. We shall see how well these discs look.
post #60 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Partyslammer View Post

Got my Evil of Frankenstein and Brides of Dracula UK (region B locked) releases via Amazon UK here in the US today and skimmed through both sets and did a bit of back and forth comparisons with the older US released Universal "Hammer Horror Series" dvd collection that contained very good restorations of both films along with several other Hammer classics.

As it's been mentioned, the UK Blu-ray/dvd release of Brides suffers from incorrect, tighter vertical framing and a significantly rougher looking source print than what was used for the old US dvd releases.

I will say watching the two sources play versus looking at still photo frame caps, the new Blu-ray isn't quite as bad as at least I was expecting. The Blu-ray picture quality actually looks a tad brighter than the older dvd and the color looks like it's been digitally boosted to give the film a more saturated look however this really brings out some rough looking grain in the image. I guess one can be happy the film wasn't DNR'd to death but the downside is this just looks like a dupey print that someone jacked up the gamma. It's certainly not as harsh as the "Curse Of Frankenstein" UK blu-ray but it's not close to "Quatermass and The Pit" solid source print and film-like transfer either.

The tighter vertical cropping isn't as bad as I thought, it basically gives a sliver more image info on the left and right side but takes off significant image from the bottom of the frame. The information seen at the top of the frame is about the same as the older US dvd. On my 65" Plasma via a Denon 3910 dvd player upscaling tp 1080p through HDMI, I frankly think the old dvd is overall marginally better looking.
Correcting one thing, The Brides of Dracula BD released by Final Cut Entertainment in the UK has not been region-locked. It plays fine on my Region A players.

I was mildly disappointed with the picture quality and agree with your conclusions on the source elements for its film transfer. There is no way it has been taken from the camera negative. The cropping is a problem but as you said, one that can be overlooked most of the time. The overall effect on composition and framing were not that severe. The print is bad enough in stretches that the BD looks only mildly better than DVD in certain shots. I would say the color boosting primarily lies in a strong magenta push.

It's not unwatchable but certainly one of the poorer film transfers for the Hammer films seen yet on Blu-ray.
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