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Monday, November 4, 2013

Roger Corman’s Horror Classics Vol. 1 DVD Review

Roger-Cormans-Horror-Classics-Vol.-1-DVD-review

Film Chest Media Group recently released a Roger Corman triple feature on DVD, and were kind enough to send me a copy to take a look at. Roger Corman’s Horror Classics Vol. 1 features three of Corman’s better known horror films–The Terror, Dementia 13 and A Bucket of Blood–all of which have received a brand new restoration from the original 35mm prints. The set is presented in widescreen with an aspect ratio of 16×9 and are in 5.1 stereo (except for A Bucket of Blood, which is mono).

All three of these Corman classics are in the public domain and readily available to watch online as well as being included in any number of Mill Creek sets, so it’s not as if getting your dirty paws on these movies is all too difficult. With that being said, the draw of this set is the fact that the films are restored, which might be a huge selling point for some horror fans.

Bucket of Blood Old 9.57

Pop Flix’s release of A Bucket of Blood

Bucket of Blood New

Roger Corman’s Horror Classics Vol. 1 release of A Bucket of Blood

Bucket of Blood Old 28.18

Pop Flix’s release of A Bucket of Blood

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Roger Corman’s Horror Classics Vol. 1 release of A Bucket of Blood

I personally relish the world of uber cheap bulk DVD releases as the price/amount of movies vs. their picture quality tends to lean towards the former end of the scale for me. However, I fully support a nice restoration, and seeing a public domain movie be shown some love is quite the commendable effort in my eyes. Anyone can cash in, but not everyone is willing to put forth the effort to give these films their do justice.

Now, does this translate well with Roger Corman’s Horror Classic’s Vol 1? Well, the answer to that question is mostly. The Terror, A Bucket of Blood and Dementia 13 were indeed given a digital restoration, and while the films might be the best they’ve looked on home video, this collection isn’t quite the best it could be.

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Pop Flix’s release of The Terror

The Terror New

Roger Corman’s Horror Classics Vol. 1 release of The Terror

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Pop Flix’s release of The Terror

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Roger Corman’s Horror Classics Vol. 1 release of The Terror

All three films certainly look much cleaner, clearer and have richer quality to them, and the widescreen presentation certainly makes for a nice improvement over the releases that I have seen (key words being “I have seen”). With that said, I do see signs of DNR (digital noise reduction) work on all three movies, which as seen in the screen grabs strewn throughout this post has negatively affected some of the film’s fine detail.  

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Pop Flix’s release of Dementia 13

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Roger Corman’s Horror Classics Vol. 1 release of Dementia 13

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Pop Flix’s release of Dementia 13

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Roger Corman’s Horror Classics Vol. 1 release of Dementia 13

DNR does drive some videophiles crazy, while others seem to be okay with it. Personally, I’m not a big fan of it, but I can deal with minor DNR, and it certainly isn’t a break for me in terms of this release. All three films featured in Roger Corman’s Horror Classics Vol. 1 do indeed look good, especially when you consider that all three of these movies were made on a very low-budget. Furthermore, I appreciate the fact that Film Chest took the time to show these movies a little love and care, giving them an overall solid release that fans of these films should enjoy.

*All of the comparison screen grabs are taken from my personal copy of Pop Flix’s Roger Corman Drive-In Collection, a set that contains ten films on four discs.

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