Thursday, December 10

Wolfman's Got Silver Halide Crystal Nards!

I don't have the disc yet myself, but judging by the screenshots on's review, The Monster Squad looks absolutely stellar on the format. The 1080p presentation even looks to best Sony's Night of the Creeps Blu-ray. I was especially interested in how Lionsgate would handle this high def release since their their otherwise long-deservingly fantastic 2-Disc DVD edition has a lackluster interlaced transfer (example here). This lack of progressive flagging drops the DVD's resolution by roughly 30% and it's always strange to see major studios produce comprehensive special editions only to bumble an important aspect of the feature's picture quality. Though it should go without saying the standard 480i definition presentation is still clearly superior to any prior home video release.

On the other hand, the Blu-ray's picture quality is clearly superior to the two-year-old DVD. Black levels might be a touch elevated, but the layer of natural grain that was entirely absent in the standard def picture looks completely untouched and well defined. What's even more impressive is that the grain is tight even in the darker shots where just a little noise reduction would have quickly erased that fine detail. Based on those shots, this is easily one of the best looking '80s productions I've seen on Blu-ray thus far and that's something to celebrate (and grab as soon as possible).

The reviewer refers to an odd anomaly of "...sections or bands of blurring across the top or bottom of the picture." This is actually an issue with the anamorphic 2.35:1 Panavision shooting method. I'm no expert, but supposedly this particular method in that era was very difficult to keep in perfect focus and often certain shots exhibit slight blur around the frame's edges. If you have a keen eye, this can also be seen repeatedly in John Carpenter's films since he favors the same process.

Who would have ever thought? The Monster Squad languished on a painfully cropped full screen VHS for years until an extremely expensive and desired widescreen laserdisc arrived in Japan. Then suddenly Lionsgate dropped a dense special edition on DVD and now just a short time later we have a high def presentation that will be tough to beat for quite sometime. See? Technology can be the horrorhound's best friend! Best of all, this Blu-ray can be found for just a few bucks over a Hamilton.


Unknown said...

one word "A-W-E-S-O-M-E"

KFelon said...

Cool I'll have to grab this one.

PS If you have not had time to stop by, Ed has decided to close Film-Talk and has shut down the forums. If you want to save anything you've posted you should go get it before the forums are gone. It's a damn shame all the remodeling has been taking place this year as it kind of killed going there for me, and all the recent sub-forum merging got completely out of hand. RIP Film-Talk you dare tread upon the staircase?

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