This is NOT a movie(s) review. This is about the FILM CHEST restored version, their intent, and some FYI.
Well it ain't Gone With The Wind, or Casablanca, etc.
But, it's ROGER FREAKING CORMAN! 2009 Academy Award winner.
It's Boris Karloff!
It's Francis Ford Coppola.
It's Jaaaaaaaaaak Nicholson.
It's sinister B Movie macabre, with a heavenly touch!
Who under God's green earth likes this stuff? Possibly you, if you're reading this review. Let's skip the plots of these classic horror flicks and assume you may have a secret indulgence for the yesteryear drive-in cinematic horror genre.
I know you're tired of viewing these little gems on late night reruns, or poor quality DVDs (i.e; Alpha Video) with the discoloration, streaking, swipes, lines, grainy textures, formatted for 1.33:1 (old TV sets aspect ratio) atrocious sound cutting in and out, etc. Most likely you've had to suffer and watch one of these ghoulish indulgences by way of what I call, a pump and dump dub. Many production facilities and distributors of reissued vintage flicks released on DVD / Blu-Ray don't care or have the technology to attempt a "restoration". They take any source tape or film they can get their hands on, doop (duplicate) it, dub (transfer) to DVD or even blu-ray, and dump it on the market. Cha-ching...with very little investment. However, this is the FILM CHEST restored version and I could not be more impressed.
The #1 thing in any film restoration job is the source film / tape. When many of these drive-in flicks came out, they weren't thinking we gotta preserve this stuff because there's going to be a huge cult following 40 years down the road. They played these films (in limited numbers release) over and over again. Then the films got sent to the lower tier theater or drive-in and got played again, and again. Imagine what those films ended up like at the end of the run. Those films were the films, and in many cases the ONLY films. After their theatrical run dried up, many of these titles eventually made it into late night television syndication. They were transferred to tape with whatever source material they had, scratches, dust, sliced and diced, scotch taped and all. Then bundled together with limited broadcast rights sold to primarily independent TV stations that desperately needed product for late night (This is way before infomercials). Those syndicators never spend a cent on restoration before they went to tape. Their idea of prep before dubbing was maybe an air hose blowing off dust before transfer. Imagine how challenging it must be to track down a somewhat decent copy to even consider as a master. In some cases, all that remains may be a tape but no known film copy. Or a bad film copy. Maybe a compromised 16 mm print. FILM CHEST seems to track down the very best source material out there.
The thing to know for people like you and me who dig this stuff, FILM CHEST is no pump & dump. They care about the end result and produce a product that fans will not only appreciate but be proud to show for a movie night with a group of friends. I don't know all the technical aspects FILM CHEST incorporates to produce an excellent product, but they do have an impressive film restoration demo video on their web site. It's also included on this DVD. Certainly FILM CHEST couldn't stay in business thinking these flicks are Ben-Hur, but their restorations are impressive and the price point at retail is really what it's all about. Who's going to pay $39.00 bucks for a restored Dementia 13?
This trio of morbidly delectable cinematic excessiveness is presented to you in glorious 16 x 9 aspect ratio. Yep. Widescreen. Oh...you've only seen A Bucket Of Blood in 4 x 5? You don't have a clue what you're missing! The restoration is by far the best ever. Crisp, clear, sharp hues, etc. The sound has been mastered in 5.1 surround sound. I love that! The restoration actually came from 35 mm prints.
You gotta have this in your library. Just to see Karloff on film as if it was shot yesterday is more than worth it. Don't doubt because it's not on blu-ray. You won't even miss it. Then publish a little email flyer pronouncing you're having a rEtRo "Drive-In Movie Night" at your your place. Invite some friends over, pop the popcorn, grill some hot dogs, have a pickled egg eating contest, stock up on Jujubes and Goobers candy, throw a 126 pack of beer in the fridge. Get an old suit and bow tie from the thrift store. Don't forget the flashlight. Do some trivia before the flick. Sit everybody as close to the screen as possible. Turn down the lights. It's MOVIE TIME! It'll be a smash!