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Black Christmas (1974) Blu-ray Disc 11/11/2008


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#1 of 22 Paul Arnette

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Posted August 08 2008 - 03:48 AM

The Original Black Christmas on Blu-ray in November | HDR TheHDRoom

Quote:
Retailers are reporting Koch Releasing has scheduled the original 1974 Black Christmas for a Blu-ray Disc treatment on November 11. Black Christmas is directed by Bob Clark who passed away a little over a year ago. He's otherwise known as the director of classics Porky's and A Christmas Story.

This version is not to be confused with the (inferior) 2006 remake with Lacey Chabert. That version has already been released on HD DVD by Genius Products and is expected to eventually appear on Blu-ray as well.
Black Christmas on Blu-ray carries an SRP of $29.98. Check back regularly for high resolution cover art, disc specs and pre-order information.

I have to admit, I am a bit suprised to see this title announced so soon for Blu-ray Disc. I think seeing how this film turns out on BD should be very interesting. The latest DVD had a ton of grain and not the most exemplary picture quality due to the limitations of the source. Will this new BD be transparent to the source or 'spruced up'. If it is the former, count me in.
Universal Blu-ray Discs I will not be buying while they're offered only as Blu-ray + DVD 'flipper' discs:

The Jackal
, Out of Africa, and Traffic.

#2 of 22 Stephen_J_H

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Posted August 08 2008 - 08:06 AM

I would expect the BD to be grainy. This is a low budget, Canadian-made thriller, and as such I would suggest that there's not going to be any source with significantly less grain. Film has not historically been very well maintained in Canada, so we typically take what we can get.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#3 of 22 MattFini

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Posted August 09 2008 - 03:03 AM

Wow!! This has got to be the most surprising announcement yet.

I think the original Black Christmas is one of the best horror films of the 1970s (and all time--for that matter). I won't hesitate to grab this disc up to see a real chiller in high def.
Universal, please release Streets of Fire on Blu-ray.

#4 of 22 Scott Temple

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Posted October 26 2008 - 02:53 AM

Any reviews yet? With only two weeks to go, I can't believe we haven't heard much of anything on this release.

And even though I have the 2006 remake on HD DVD, I'd like to own it on BD too. I'm surprised Weinstein hasn't announced it yet.
Lacey Chabert is so fetch!
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#5 of 22 MattFini

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Posted October 26 2008 - 10:39 AM

I'm hoping the picture quality on this upcoming BD will be FAR superior to any of the DVD versions ... I've got all three and I've never been fully satisfied with any.
Universal, please release Streets of Fire on Blu-ray.

#6 of 22 Scott Temple

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Posted November 01 2008 - 05:07 PM

Dan posted the cover art for the upcoming Black Christmas BD at BLACK CHRISTMAS ITSMEBILLY.COM

I think it's awesome. A new twist on the classic (and best) 1974 cover. Much, much better than the cover used on the 2006 SE DVD, which at first looked like it was going to be making another appearance with this BD release.

Correction: It looks as though this new cover may be a Canadian exclusive. The Canadian BD is being released on December 2nd and a new DVD is also being released in Canada (apparently with this same new cover) on November 18th. US retailers are still showing a November 11th release date for the BD - probably with the same ugly cover from the 2006 SE DVD.

Quote:
PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 17, 2008


Christmas is coming early this year and it’s murder.

CRiTiCAL MASS Releasing Inc. and
Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada Present

Black Christmas

On DVD November 18, 2008

He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake…


(TORONTO, ON) – Critical Mass Releasing Inc. has engaged Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada, a leader in the horror genre, as its exclusive service agent in Canada to distribute Black Christmas in the Canadian home video market. The DVD will be released November 18, 2008 with the Blu-ray edition to follow December 2.

The college town of Bedford is receiving an unwelcome guest this Christmas. As the residents of sorority house Pi Kappa Sig prepare for the festive season, a
demonic stranger begins to stalk the house. A series of grisly obscene
phone-calls start to plague the residents of the sorority and soon they will each meet their fate at the hands of the psychotic intruder. As the Police try to trace the calls, they discover that nothing is as it seems during this Black Christmas.

Black Christmas (1974) is a chilling and well-crafted slasher film by the late Bob Clark (Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, Deathdream, Christmas Story, Porky’s). This classic horror title is considered by genre connoisseurs to be the greatest horror film to come out of Canada and the movie proved to be a huge influence on the slasher films (such as Halloween) that followed it. Black Christmas stands up as an innovative film today and stars John Saxon, Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, Art Hindle and Andrea Martin.

This release features great new packaging and 2 hours of bonus material:

• Supervised by “Überfan” Dan Duffin, creator of the “ItsMeBilly.com”website.
• Digitally re-mastered anamorphic video & newly created 5.1 Surround soundtrack.
• Two recently uncovered original scenes with an updated vocal track.
• The “12 Days of Black Christmas”, a documentary featuring current interviews
with Art Hindle, Doug McGrath & Lynne Griffin among others.
• Individual interviews with Olivia Hussey, Art Hindle and Margot Kidder.
• Midnight Screening Q&A session with John Saxon, Bob Clark, & Carl Zittrer.
• A set of 4 Black Christmas cards and envelopes.

The release of a Blu-ray edition of Black Christmas will follow on December 2 and contain the same bonus features listed above.

Also on DVD November 18, 2008 for the first time in Canada, Murder By Decree (1979) is a masterful suspense thriller directed by Bob Clark that both fans and critics have called the most exciting and original Sherlock Holmes movie ever made.

In 1888 London, Sherlock Holmes (Christopher Plummer) and Doctor Watson (James Mason) are on the case of the infamous serial murderer Jack the Ripper. The brilliant pair follow a terrifying trail of clues that include a frightened psychic (Donald Sutherland), a suspicious inspector (David Hemmings), an institutionalized woman (Genevieve Bujold) and the prime minister of England (Sir John Gielgud). But even if Holmes and Watson’s remarkable powers of deduction can unmask the maniacal fiend, are they prepared to face the most shocking secret of all?

Bonus features included with this release:

• Audio commentary with Co-Producer/Director Bob Clark
• Theatrical Trailer
• Behind-The-Scenes Still Gallery
• Poster and Still Gallery
• Talent Bios
• DVD-ROM: Original Screenplay

About CRiTiCAL MASS Releasing Inc.
CRiTiCAL MASS Entertainment (CME) ( HYPERLINK "http://www.cmass.ca" http://www.cmass.ca) was founded in 1998 and is comprised of CRiTiCAL MASS Releasing Inc., CRiTiCAL MASS Productions and CRiTiCAL MASS Multimedia. Together they create a strong entity in the international entertainment industry. CME founder William Alexander has worked for over 20 years in entertainment sales and distribution.

About Anchor Bay Entertainment
Anchor Bay Entertainment is the home entertainment division of Starz Media, LLC. It includes the Anchor Bay Films and Manga Entertainment brands. It distributes feature films, children’s entertainment, fitness, TV series, documentaries, anime and other filmed entertainment on DVD and Blu-ray formats. Headquartered in Burbank, CA, Anchor Bay Entertainment has offices in Troy, MI, as well as Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia. Starz Media ( HYPERLINK "http://www.starzmedia.com/" o "http://www.starzmedia.com/" www.starzmedia.com) is a controlled subsidiary of Liberty Media Corporation attributed to the Liberty Capital Group.


Posted Image
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#7 of 22 Paul Arnette

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Posted November 02 2008 - 01:53 AM

I've got this pre-ordered through DVD Planet, and I am still greatly looking forward to it cover art be damned. Though I do agree, the cover art above is a lot better than the previous art.
Universal Blu-ray Discs I will not be buying while they're offered only as Blu-ray + DVD 'flipper' discs:

The Jackal
, Out of Africa, and Traffic.

#8 of 22 Paul_Scott

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Posted November 02 2008 - 06:20 AM

Amazon list Sommerville as the distributor/studio putting this out in the US, whereas Critical Mass is responsible for the Canadian release. Is CM affiliated with Sommerville or should we expect two entirely different releases from entirely different transfers? I used to own the original full frame release (25th anniversary) which I believe was from CM. The screenshots I've seen from the anamorphic release looked disappointing to me which is why I replaced it on dvd. I thin DVDbeaver has caps and a comparison.I was considering breaking down and getting the new (US) release, but maybe I should wait to see how the Canadian release compares?

#9 of 22 Segarsj

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Posted November 06 2008 - 06:19 AM

Hi guys,

We've got our (HighDefDiscNews.com) review up. Not sure if it's the first, but Justin and I are huge fans of the film.

Pop on over to see what we thought of the release.

Black Christmas [1974] - Blu-ray Disc Review | High Def Disc News

#10 of 22 Segarsj

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Posted November 06 2008 - 06:26 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_Scott
Amazon list Sommerville as the distributor/studio putting this out in the US, whereas Critical Mass is responsible for the Canadian release. Is CM affiliated with Sommerville or should we expect two entirely different releases from entirely different transfers? I used to own the original full frame release (25th anniversary) which I believe was from CM. The screenshots I've seen from the anamorphic release looked disappointing to me which is why I replaced it on dvd. I thin DVDbeaver has caps and a comparison.I was considering breaking down and getting the new (US) release, but maybe I should wait to see how the Canadian release compares?

Paul,

We at HighDefDiscNews have been in contact with one of the guys who oversaw the entire transfer process. Critical Mass funded/supervised the transfer process, and Somerville House is merely the distributor, along with Koch if I'm not mistaken.

Basically, there are a lot of company names being thrown around, but the bottom line is that both the Canadian and US releases will be the same, with the only perceivable difference being the cover art.

Hope this helps shed some light on a rather shady subject! Posted Image

#11 of 22 Stephen_J_H

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Posted November 06 2008 - 06:54 AM

James,
Dan's comments apply not only to Black Christmas, but numerous other Canadian-produced films of the same vintage. Frankly, a distributor is lucky to find a decent print in most circumstances. Some digital futzing probably could have been applied, but given the condition of the materials, detail inevitably would have been lost.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#12 of 22 Paul Arnette

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Posted November 06 2008 - 08:51 AM

DVD Beaver has their review of the BD and a comparison to the previous DVD releases here:

Black Christmas Blu-ray Margot Kidder Olivia Hussey Keir Dullea

My copy shipped from DVD Planet today!
Universal Blu-ray Discs I will not be buying while they're offered only as Blu-ray + DVD 'flipper' discs:

The Jackal
, Out of Africa, and Traffic.

#13 of 22 MattFini

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Posted November 06 2008 - 10:02 AM

The verdict of the two reviews is disappointing.

Saying as I own all three DVD editions (sucker I am) I will likely wait for a price reduction on this one.

A shame too, as I was really hoping for marked improvement.
Universal, please release Streets of Fire on Blu-ray.

#14 of 22 Paul Arnette

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Posted November 07 2008 - 01:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattFini
A shame too, as I was really hoping for marked improvement.

I'm sorry to say that I just don't think that is a reasonable expectation where this film is concerned.
Universal Blu-ray Discs I will not be buying while they're offered only as Blu-ray + DVD 'flipper' discs:

The Jackal
, Out of Africa, and Traffic.

#15 of 22 Vincent_P

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Posted November 08 2008 - 11:32 AM

I can live with grain and dirt, but DVD Beaver mentions that the film on this BD takes up under 12 gigs! I'm thinking this encode was planned for a single-layer HD-DVD release, then after HD-DVD died simply ported for Blu-ray. The grain itself isn't the issue, it's the terrible, obvious digital artifacting that's evident in the DVD Beaver screen caps. Grain is one of the hardest things to encode and demands a hgher bit-rate, and the awful artifacting evident in the DVD Beaver captures bears this out.

Vincent

#16 of 22 Dave Mack

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Posted November 08 2008 - 11:46 AM

I saw this 2 years ago on INHD and it looked terrible. I would've thought they would have done a better job for a disc release but it looks pretty close to what the caps show.

#17 of 22 Kriztoffer Swank

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Posted November 14 2008 - 11:07 PM

On the screencaps I've seen (DVD Beaver, DVD Talk), the grain looks like a digital mess. Lots of blemishes and I think what would be considered macroblocking. (I'm not really familiar with tech jargon.) I assume this is due to the lower bitrate. If they had encoded the video at a higher bitrate, I'm sure it would look just fine. Apart from the grain not being represented properly, I think it looks like a pretty darn good transfer, and to expect any better is kind of silly.

I ordered this from DeepDiscount at 25% off, but then really inspected the caps closely and decided to cancel, but they told me it was too late. Guess I'm stuck with it (since I don't want to spend the few bucks to send it back, ha ha), but hopefully it will end up looking a little better when watching it. Still, maybe Critical Mass of whomever will say, "We were dumb, here's the movie with less compression" (since, really, all that beautiful grain needs a lot of space to flourish), and offer up a replacement program. Wishful thinking?

Maybe with my pitched-in dollars there will be more a chance of a more proper BD edition in the future. According to the maintainer of itsmebilly.com, the 5.1 track uses an earlier mix rather than the final, director-approved one. Not cool.

Edit: Dan Duffin of ItsMeBilly.com assures me on a thread at High-Def Digest that those artifacts are really JPEG artifacts, so here's hoping. If they're really just bad screencaps and those problems aren't apparent in the actual picture, I'll be happy. Again, I really do think it looks like a fitting transfer. He claims, "I've seen the print on the same monitor without any encoding at all - the raw avi capture - pre AVC encode, and it looked no different to the Blu Ray does now." I'm inclined to believe he knows what he's talking about considering his involvement with the project and status as a fan of the film.

#18 of 22 Gordon McMurphy

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Posted November 17 2008 - 07:35 AM

It has always seemed to me that the 35mm film elements used for video editions of this film have been poor. None have looked like prime elements, ie. original negative, dupe neg, interpositive. They all have looked like 4th or 5th generation. And they always appear either too dark or too bright. Something has always been fishy about the transfers of this film - either a high-quality 35mm element or bad telecine is at fault. Or maybe this is as good as the film can look... but I highly doubt it.

#19 of 22 Bleddyn Williams

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Posted November 17 2008 - 09:02 AM

Well, according to Dan, all DVDs to date have come from the same print. Unless the negatives or a superior source appears, that's it for now. I found the Blu-ray to look very similar to the 2006 DVD, but apparently the Blu has undergone numerous nips and tucks on the video since the DVD.

#20 of 22 Paul_Scott

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Posted November 20 2008 - 09:22 PM

Just from flipping thru a few chapters I would say the problems here are ALL source related. This is the exact kind of release that I think of when someone posts about how they can't tolerate standard definition anymore. I've defended plenty of releases that have been slagged here over the years, but lately I'm seeing more and more Bds where I feel like an idiot for choosing 'the highest grade copy available' and paying a premium for it only to realize that a cheaper sd dvd would have easily sufficed. This is easily the weakest HD disc I've ever seen. Doesn't matter that the source is wonky with color breathing/contrast flucuations/heavy grain, etc...a high bit rate dvd would have been able to present a similar unimpressive presentation to what's on display here. The only thing mitigating my disappointment/disdain for this is the fact I was able to sell the first full frame release for $25 a year or so back and this only cost me $15. OTOH, I could have saved an extra $5 if I'd just picked up the 16:9 DVD release. And had I known what this looked liked, that's what I would have done.


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