John Carpenter's Vampires French Blu-ray

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John Carpenter's Vampires French Blu-ray

Postby Darrel_Griffin » 17 Feb 2017 13:57

Hi -

Can anyone confirm the cut status of John Carpenter's Vampires French Blu-ray?

The database page says it is the cut version, yet it is pretty much the same runtime as the uncut versions (approx. 108 minutes). I think (although I'm not sure) that the page used to say it was uncut. Perhaps it has been erroneously changed.

I do own a copy, but it is unopened so far. To add to the confusion, the back of the case says the runtime is 102 minutes!

Can anyone help?

Thanks,

Darrel.
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Re: John Carpenter's Vampires French Blu-ray

Postby Samuel_Scott » 17 Feb 2017 14:31

Yes, comes to a total of just several seconds. It is cut as per the link to Movie-Censorship and is confirmed by a couple of people here too - http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php ... t=vampires
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Re: John Carpenter's Vampires French Blu-ray

Postby Darrel_Griffin » 18 Feb 2017 11:33

Thanks very much Samuel.

It looks like this shot substitution was a mistake, unless possibly it was made in order to avoid offence on religious grounds or something like that.

Luckily I have already bought a copy of the new UK Powerhouse release. I'll probably keep the French one anyway for the exclusive extras.

Darrel.
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Re: John Carpenter's Vampires French Blu-ray

Postby Samuel_Scott » 18 Feb 2017 21:52

The Powerhouse release is great and the accompanying John Carpenter interview well worth a watch (though you also need to pick up Ghosts of Mars for the other half of the interview).
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Re: John Carpenter's Vampires French Blu-ray

Postby Darrel_Griffin » 20 Feb 2017 07:16

Thanks.

Yes, I bought Ghosts of Mars at the same time, so I do have both halves of the interview. Not watched them yet though. I've recently noticed that Powerhouse has also released Christine on Blu-ray. I already have the Italian release, but I'll probably get the Powerhouse one soon as well.
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Re: John Carpenter's Vampires French Blu-ray

Postby Oliver_Asmussen » 28 Apr 2017 00:27

Here is a link with photos from the difference between US/UK & France:
http://www.movie-censorship.com/report.php?ID=233868\
It is also worth noting that the french disc has a much more natural colour timing and way more detail as well as no crushed blacks but i am not certain what was shown in the theaters. I saw it when it came out, but can't quite remember... https://www.caps-a-holic.com/c.php?d1=6 ... 907&c=2811

Can anybody tell me if the isolated score on the Powerhouse Blu is in Stereo all the way through?
I have the Twilight Time and only the last track from the End Credits is in Stereo, the rest is in dual mono for some reason and since Powerhouse got the transfer from Twilight Time I am worried that their isolated score is also from them.
Can someone clear this up? I would love to have the score in Stereo.
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Re: John Carpenter's Vampires French Blu-ray

Postby Darrel_Griffin » 28 Apr 2017 01:29

Hi Oliver - thanks for your message.

Regarding the comparison of the look of the 2 Blu-rays (and assuming that you are correct about Powerhouse (PH) using the same master as Twilight Time (TT)), firstly I must admit that I haven't properly watched the French release main feature, only the exclusive extras. Having followed your link to the caps-a-holic website, I agree that the images from the French release look more natural, however I strongly suspect the PH/TT releases are much closer to the original intention. After watching the movie recently, I listened again to the commentary track, and seem to recall that John Carpenter said he chose to give the whole movie a reddish/orange tint, to give it a more 'Western' movie look (the DOP also sometimes used a filter that is tinted across the top during shots with sky, to add to the effect). Based on the images on caps-a-holic, it certainly looks like the French release is brighter in the shadows, so probably has more detail. I can't tell using my cheap laptop screen whether there is similar detail in the PH/TT releases but simply darker, or whether the blacks are actually crushed, but I suspect you are right. My TV doesn't do great blacks either, so I wouldn't trust it to give me an answer. I guess an option would be to watch the French release but adjust the colour levels e.g. turning down the blue, and perhaps also the green a bit, although admittedly it's a bit of a faff, plus it might not work well in all scenes.

As for the PH isolated score, I'm afraid that's bad news. It is an LPCM stereo 48KHz track, but it seems that only the music over the opening Columbia logo and the end theme are in stereo. Doing a dozen or so spot checks in between, I could only find mono music, so I suspect you are also right about PH using the same track as TT. I guess perhaps the only source available was in mono. Otherwise, there really is no excuse for this - surely the music was originally in stereo, and full enjoyment would require it to remain so. On top of that, since it is an uncompressed PCM stereo track on the disc, it takes up just as much space as if it were all in stereo, so it can't be due to lack of space on the disc. Sorry it's not good news, but at least it might save you a wasted purchase!

As an alternative, you could perhaps buy the soundtrack CD. I do not own a copy, but a quick preview on Amazon suggests it is in stereo.
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Re: John Carpenter's Vampires French Blu-ray

Postby Samuel_Scott » 28 Apr 2017 09:41

Oliver_Asmussen wrote:Can anybody tell me if the isolated score on the Powerhouse Blu is in Stereo all the way through?
I have the Twilight Time and only the last track from the End Credits is in Stereo, the rest is in dual mono for some reason and since Powerhouse got the transfer from Twilight Time I am worried that their isolated score is also from them.
Can someone clear this up? I would love to have the score in Stereo.


The booklet states they have licensed the score from TT so I would assume it is identical. I could check over the weekend.
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Re: John Carpenter's Vampires French Blu-ray

Postby Oliver_Asmussen » 28 Apr 2017 23:56

Thanks for the info, Samuel!
That does indeed save me from buying this again.
The soundtrack CD is of course in Stereo, but is missing so much music... That is where Twilight Time's isolated scores are usually a godsend.
As for colour filters, i guess it's just me preferring the natural look in almost all movies and while i agree that it's most likely more accurate on the Twilight Time i wouldn't swear on it, because i don't remember many movies at all, where the blacks in the cinemas were so crushed that all details flat out disappear. The french still uses reddish tint as well, but only in certain scenes. I don't want to get into the immortal colour revision thing which is currently popping up on pretty much all labels from Criterion to Scream to Warner. I guess it is just to promote a "new" transfer for marketing purposes. I just have a hard time to believe that the directors now all come out with the statement, that they were never able to get the colours right for their initial theatrical run and everything always looked wrong and everything blue now has to look green or teal and almost always darker (Aliens teal especially or the Abyss pink hues ). I don't think they were all secretly grinding their teeth about how inappropriate their film looked upon release.
It's also interesting for me to find that on about 95% of all picture comparisons that it is the american discs that are darker and tinted compared to their european counterparts (88 films excluded, they like yellowish tint over everything i've seen so far). Paramount & Universal don't seem to do this in most cases where the film always has the same colours on vhs/ld/dvd/bd. So it's not a resolution and colour density thing either.
Unless there is a feature from the horses mouth, like on the "The reflecting skin" BD where the director talks specifically about another botched release (the german one) and compares it with what it actually DID look like in theaters.
Audio commentaries can indeed be a very good tool to try to figure out what the right look is . Oliver Stone's commentary for Platoon is a good example when he mentions how he loved to get the pink sky in camera while watching the blu-ray with grey skies in that scene while the old crappy dvd has a pink sky and several other examples like that. Obviously those changes were done by taking camera negatives and timing them after the fact as they seem fit at the time with no reference whatsoever.
I didn't want to get into this, so I stop right here. I guess people change their minds, eyesights get worse and memory is unreliable.
So i try to just watch the actual films without thinking every second about correct colour and bad pixels. Maybe I should just stop to try to find the ultimate release of something. It gets pointless at this stage.
Cheers
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Re: John Carpenter's Vampires French Blu-ray

Postby Darrel_Griffin » 29 Apr 2017 08:06

Hi again Oliver.

Yes Samuel is correct about the booklet in the PH release - I hadn't thought to look in there before, but it says "The isolated score track was produced and supplied by Twilight Time/Red Jam LLC." I don't own the TT release myself (I live in the UK, and with TT releases usually being very limited edition, they end up being too expensive for me to buy), and in any event I have no facility for digitally extracting to audio tracks to do a sample-for-sample comparison, but perhaps Samuel does. I can only assume that the TT and PH isolated scores are indeed identical.

I have listened again to the first few minutes of the commentary track, which I believe is the same commentary on all releases that have it. If you watch the movie from 02:46, there is a good sequence of shots demonstrating the colour filter applied across the top portion of the image. At 02:58, John Carpenter says "The director of photography Gary Kibbe is using some heavy duty filters over this particular sequence to give it a kind of a reddish duskish feel, it's actually shot in the dead middle of the day. Now you can see the top of your screen there is reddish." I thought at some point he also said something about giving the movie a 'Western' look, but after a quick check I haven't found it, although at 06:14 he does mention he did lots of quick cuts in a style like Sam Peckinpah, and it's well known that he loves Westerns and has always wanted to direct one. Vampires is about he closest he has come to achieving this. I also own the UK Sony DVD, and this also has a reddish hue to it, which seems similar to the PH Blu-ray. Anyway, while this provides no definite answer to what the overall colour balance should be, we do at least know that the reddish filter effect is meant to be there, as it would have been on the lens of the camera during the filming. Well, unless I am mistaken and the effect was applied during post-production, but either way, since it is not uniform across the whole image but only applied at the top, it is clearly part of the original intention.

This is simply a case where there is no definitive version - the French release arguably does not have the correct colour balance, and has the shot substitution near the end (and annoying though this is, personally I don't think this really spoils the movie), and the TT/PH releases seem to have crushed blacks, so you just have to make your choice about what is more important to you. I own a number of movies where there is a similar tough choice to make. It might be that one version is longer, whereas another has better picture quality. Or a movie is on DVD with the original language soundtrack and English subtitles, and on Blu-ray but only with an English dub soundtrack. So I very much empathise with your frustrations!

I agree with you that most home releases are probably graded without much reference to the artists' original intentions. Occasionally transfers are supervised by the director and/or DOP, so they should be better in theory, although as you said, decades on they might not have good recall of their own original intentions either.

Regarding different re-releases of movies in general, interestingly, in the old 'Guardian' interview split over the PH releases of Vampires and Ghosts of Mars, John Carpenter actually talks about this very topic. He is quite cynical about it - his view is that the studios like to keep re-releasing different versions of the same movie purely to take more money from the wallets of the poor punters. I have to say I largely agree with him: buy a full-screen DVD, then a widescreen DVD, than an anamorphic widescreen DVD, a director's cut version, a special edition with more extra features, then a bare bones Blu-ray, then a Blu-ray with extra features, then a Blu-ray with a new 4K scan... Having said that, although different companies seem to like including exclusive extras to encourage customers to buy THEIR release, I doubt they actually collaborate with each other in a deliberate attempt to get customers to buy EVERY different release. Although I'm sure some conspiracy theorists will disagree with me...

As for the Vampires soundtrack, if there is no product in the world that has the entire music track in stereo, then neither you nor anyone else can buy it. But if the raw materials exist to create a stereo version, well maybe it will be included in a future release, perhaps a 4K version, or 8K version or whatever... and then they can get you to purchase it all over again... ker-CHING!

Sorry I can't be more help, but I hope you can still enjoy the isolated score in glorious mono. And maybe try to look on the bright side - it's better than having no isolated score at all, and at least it's uncompressed, and not in dreaded Dolby Digital!

Hmmm... well I suspect this will be scant comfort to you. What can I say... it's a cruel cruel world!

All the best,
Darrel.
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Re: John Carpenter's Vampires French Blu-ray

Postby Oliver_Asmussen » 29 Apr 2017 22:26

Thanks, Darrell.
Couldn't agree more.
Btw, if you want to extract audio from the DVD's/BD's, Audacity is a fine program and completely for free. You just drag the corresponding video file in it, select the right audio track and can make your perfect own soundtrack album in almost all audio formats. Very useful to get rid of the mute segments or separate the titles.
Cheers
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