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Cropping of original ratio ruins Blu-ray release
on 29 September 2013
Brides of Dracula is among my favourite Hammer films and it also is one of their most beautiful looking, with Terence Fisher at the height of his powers, crafting stylish films on a small budget. Brides of Dracula has a unique fairy tale look with castles bathed in candy colour lighting and I'm certain that this film was the main inspiration of Polanski's stylish Hammer parody Dance of the Vampires/The Fearless Vampire Killers.
I have the R1 Universal DVD as part of the The Hammer Horror Series box set, which boasts a fantastic transfer. Therefore I was looking forward to upgrading this to a Blu-ray, hoping it would yield great results in HD. Unfortunately the PQ of the Blu-ray is a disappointment on almost every front. Sure, it features a little more detail but for some inexplicable reason Final Cut Entertainment decided to reformat the original 1.66:1 ratio to something like 2.10:1 by cutting off a considerable amount of the image at the bottom. This unbalances many of the careful compositions, even cutting off characters chins in closeups. Why they thought that would be a great idea is beyond me because it doesn't make any sense. Adding to that, the print used is considerably more grainy than the one used for the R1 DVD and the colours are far warmer, frequently giving characters a tanned face colour when they looked suitably pale in the DVD.
What a shame as this was one of my most anticipated releases this year.