Director: Dario Argento
Cast: Leigh McCloskey, Irene Miracle, Eleonora Giorgi
Review by Brian M. Sammons
America’s Blue Underground and UK’s Arrow Video have been playing a little game with horror releases. When it comes to bringing classic fright films out on Blu-ray, the two companies have been releasing a number of the same movies within a very short time span. Sometimes Arrow will bring it out first, other times it’s Blue Underground. Now it is not my intention to start comparing both Blu-rays of the same movie produced by these two titans of terror discs, but I thought I’d do that at least once, and that time is now. Besides if you want to know about this movie, a movie you should already know all about if you’re a horrorhead worthy of that illustrious title, you can check out my none-too-old review of it here: Inferno – Blu-ray Review – Arrow
First, let’s talk about the video quality of these two Blu-rays. Both the Blue Underground (BU) and Arrow Video (AV) present crisp, clear, vibrant images, and for an Argento film, that is all important. Dario is a master of light, shadow, and most importantly, color and high def Blu-rays are the only way to watch his movies, but which BD does it better?
Well this is a very close call, as like I said, both look great, but there is a slight difference between the two. The BU release looks a bit more like film while the AV disc is a bit more buffed out. Now it depends upon your personal taste, but I’d rather have the film look over the almost slightly too plastic look that old movies sometimes get when they have been digitally enhanced to the max. So for me, the newer Blu-ray Blue Underground gets the nod, but only by a little bit.
On to the sound. Sure both sound good, but Blue Underground offers English 7.1 dts, English 5.1 surround, English 2.0, and Italian mono. Arrow’s Blu-ray has English 5.1 dts, English stereo, and Italian mono. So for offering more and higher end choices to the consumer, Blue Underground takes this one handily.
Now for something that really has nothing to do with how much you enjoy this movie, but they are things that I do really love; the extras on the disc. BU has three interviews. One with actor Leigh McCloskey at 15 minutes, another with actor Irene Miracle at 14 minutes, and the third is a combo interview with Argento and assistant director Lamberto Bava at 8 minutes. A trailer and a short intro from Argent are also included. Since this isn’t a review of the Arrow Video edition of this movie, I won’t recount all the extras it has. Again, if you’re interested, check out my other review. But I will say that the AV Blu-ray has many more extras that last a lot longer. So for bonus material, sadly this new one from Blue Underground is a little lacking.
Lastly, since we live in the really real world, price is important. The short answer is if you live in the UK you’ll probably want the Arrow Video release, but if you live in North America then Blue Underground will have the disc for you. The BU Blu-ray can be found on Amazon.com for $20.99 and other such sites for about the same price. The AV one is £16.99, which once converted to US bucks is $27.64. Then there is the pricey shipping from Europe and it’s easy to see that Blue Underground wins the price battle.
So what does this all mean? Well both Blu-rays are great, but the new one by Blue Underground is the winner. Better picture (slightly), sound, and price. The only thing about it that could have been better was the number and length of the extras. So if you have yet to get this awesome film on Blu-ray, now you really have no excuse. You can get it March 29th.