A Few Words About A few words about...™ An American Werewolf in London -- in Blu-ray

Robert Harris

Archivist
Reviewer
Joined
Feb 8, 1999
Messages
12,832
Reaction score
16,608
Points
9,110
Real Name
Robert Harris
Update:

A recent comment by HTF member Bruce Kimmel got me thinking about the way that cinema shot on film is evaluated in the realm of home theater.

There is something we reference as "perfection," which is precisely what Mr. Kimmel has referenced in his comments regarding the movement of goalposts.

This has been ongoing, at least in its latest incarnation, since 2007.

The question is, "at what point does a release pass muster," and it's now come down to viewing distances. Most current releases are so good, the quality so high, that it is generally films licensed by the studios to others, that can't always hit the necessary quality points.

Older transfers, not digitally (or physically) cleaned, a lack of stabilization, which in reality makes a release appear less film-like, and more digital, stagnant or magnetic grain...

All of these concepts cause me to backtrack a bit on AWiL, a near-perfect release from Universal, which does not hit actual perfection because of a simple error in compression technology, that seemingly got through QC.

There are numerous ways to look at these situations, and my most recent thinking has been that if a Blu-ray doesn't set off red flags at a normal viewing distance, causing a reviewer to take a closer examination, then all is well.

I'm recanting that thought.

Allowing a product a 5 for image quality, even though a constantly moving target, must remain the current concept of perfection.

It will be noted that the image rating for AWiL has been slightly lowered to take this into account.

Thanks for flying HTF.


John Landis' 1981 American Werewolf in London, is a crowd-pleaser that hasn't had an easy existence on home video.

There always seems to be a problem.

So much so, that when Universal released the new Blu-ray to replace the original, discussions of problems continued.

I've just spent some quality time with the new release, and I'm not seeing it.

This appears to be a clean scan, with good color and densities, along with what appears to be the film's true grain structure.

I'm a happy camper with this one.

Others may not agree.

As to the film, for the uninitiated, (yes, there are always a few out there), the film is a superb horror film, with a decidedly comedic bent. I've always loved the casting of the folks in the Scottish pub in an early scene, and the way the sequence is played.

Of course, our two Americans are warned to stay off the moors, and on the road, and what do they do?


Image - 4.5

Audio - 5

4k Up-rez - 5

Pass / Fail - Pass

Recommended

RAH
 
Last edited:

Charles Smith

Extremely Talented Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2007
Messages
5,725
Reaction score
1,879
Points
9,110
Location
Nor'east
Real Name
Charles Smith
Excellent! -- because it's about time this uninitiated changed his status.

(It's true, we're often walking among all of you...uninitiated and unsuspected, blending right in...)
 
Last edited:

Geoff_D

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jul 18, 2002
Messages
933
Reaction score
35
Points
610
While the detail is sensational the sense of filmic texture looks incredibly weird to my eyes, like someone's gone crazy with the watercolour filter in paintshop, it looks like something shot on digital video and not early '80s 35mm. I genuinely hope this is a one-off from Universal and not a harbinger of a return to the dark days of their badly mangled back catalogue.
 

Mike Wadkins

Supporting Actor
Joined
Feb 22, 2004
Messages
970
Reaction score
4
Points
110
It's the same bad snakewater Universal have been selling since Jaws.
Just like the Thing, as it is a little better than the old disc, does not make it good.
Breakfast Club and Jaws had issues people overlooked as they didn't look like their old discs.
This is the same thing, and a film that deserves better.
Is it better than the Full Moon Edition?
Sure.
But its like picking what STD you want, and with an upmix soundtrack its one that I can do well without.

Sold it after first watch
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Ferdinand Hudson

John Doe

Second Unit
Joined
Aug 16, 2012
Messages
274
Reaction score
222
Points
110
Real Name
aki jebivetar
It's the same bad snakewater Universal have been selling since Jaws.
Just like the Thing, as it is a little better than the old disc, does not make it good.
Breakfast Club and Jaws had issues people overlooked as they didn't look like their old discs.
This is the same thing, and a film that deserves better.
Is it better than the Full Moon Edition?
Sure.
But its like picking what STD you want, and with an upmix soundtrack its one that I can do well without.

Sold it after first watch
Shout's The Thing looks fantastic. Stop trolling and go away.
 

Blu_rayfan66

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Aug 15, 2013
Messages
142
Reaction score
69
Points
10
Location
Dublin, Ireland.
Real Name
Hugh S.
John Landis' 1981 American Werewolf in London, is a crowd-pleaser that hasn't had an easy existence on home video.

There always seems to be a problem.

So much so, that when Universal released the new Blu-ray to replace the original, discussions of problems continued.

I've just spent some quality time with the new release, and I'm not seeing it.

This appears to be a clean scan, with good color and densities, along with what appears to be the film's true grain structure.

I'm a happy camper with this one.

Others may not agree.


As to the film, for the uninitiated, (yes, there are always a few out there), the film is a superb horror film, with a decidedly comedic bent. I've always loved the casting of the folks in the Scottish pub in an early scene, and the way the sequence is played.

Of course, our two Americans are warned to stay off the moors, and on the road, and what do they do?


Image - 5

Audio - 5

4k Up-rez - 5

Pass / Fail - Pass

Recommended

RAH

Great review...but I think the Scottish pub you refer too ('The Slaughtered Lamb' ?) is actually meant to be in Yorkshire, Northern England, judging by the accents and the fact that the two Americans were hiking thru the famous Yorkshire Moors.
 
Last edited:

Lord Dalek

Producer
Joined
Apr 4, 2005
Messages
4,637
Reaction score
1,614
Points
4,110
Age
34
Real Name
Joel Henderson
Lemme guess, "user error based on personal ego and desire to have a ridiculously overcooked quote unquote 'home theater' they can't possibly enjoy any movie whatsoever on because OH NOES THE GRAIN ISN'T AS COURSE AS THE SAHARA!!!" again right?
 

battlebeast

Producer
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Messages
3,081
Reaction score
1,544
Points
4,110
Age
36
Location
Edmonton, Alberta
Website
www.oscarmovs.com
Real Name
Warren
This was the first film to win the Oscar for Best Makeup, and so it will be nice to see the amazing work in high def.
 

Konstantinos

Screenwriter
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
1,891
Reaction score
1,015
Points
1,610
Real Name
Konstantinos
Lemme guess, "user error based on personal ego and desire to have a ridiculously overcooked quote unquote 'home theater' they can't possibly enjoy any movie whatsoever on because OH NOES THE GRAIN ISN'T AS COURSE AS THE SAHARA!!!" again right?
I don't see the reason why people who like their blurays to look filmic with grain should be offended like that.
Each one has his own tastes, and should be respected.
Why this constant battle between the grain and no-grain people?

Also another question:
Why Spartacus was restored if the first no/less grain bluray was the end of all things and the best that film could look?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Will Krupp

Michael Fargo

Auditioning
Joined
Oct 4, 2016
Messages
1
Reaction score
2
Points
0
Age
64
Real Name
Michael Fargo
All of the mention of Grain and Buzzwords like DNR are as outdated as the guys living in Mom and
Dads Basements. A lot of the issues noted were only reproducible on Substandard equipment as
in 8 bit devices and or connections. I took the Blu-ray and saw no issue on a full Deep Color system.
I then took it out to my motorhome which has an older 720p flat panel and crumby Blu-ray player and
saw all of the issue. These days DVNR devices are in the land fill. Grain is processed shot by shot in
very complex out of real time software based systems. Reviewed again and again by re-mastering
pros on equipment worth more than my home. I suggest some upgrades for the folks seeing issues here.

People seeing issues in dark scenes never worked with film. High speed = High Grain Low Speed =
Low Grain. Universal Stayed True to what Film looks like. Keep up the good work.
 

TonyD

Who do we think I am?
Premium
Joined
Dec 1, 1999
Messages
20,334
Reaction score
2,061
Points
9,110
Age
55
Location
Gulf Coast
Website
www.facebook.com
Real Name
Tony D.
Well that seals it for me. was on the fence but now I'll be picking this up.

It's my favorite horror film that is also really funny.
 

Robert Harris

Archivist
Reviewer
Joined
Feb 8, 1999
Messages
12,832
Reaction score
16,608
Points
9,110
Real Name
Robert Harris
Great review...but I think the Scottish pub you refer too ('The Slaughtered Lamb' ?) is actually meant to be in Yorkshire, Northern England, judging by the accents and the fact that the two Americans were hiking thru the famous Yorkshire Moors.
As you're over there, I'll defer, it they still sound like a large group of Harvard grads.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Blu_rayfan66

John Sparks

Producer
Joined
Sep 12, 2001
Messages
3,143
Reaction score
1,797
Points
4,110
Location
Menifee, CA
Real Name
John Sparks
Since it's one of my favorites...I BOUGHT IT AGAIN!!! :blink:
 

Mike Wadkins

Supporting Actor
Joined
Feb 22, 2004
Messages
970
Reaction score
4
Points
110
Shout's The Thing looks fantastic. Stop trolling and go away.
Trolling??? Grow up, it has too much DNR and is too sharpened for my liking, it's my opinion based on my preference and is no less valid than yours.
You like that the ball is still missing, and once again the colours have been changed? You like that detail is missing and is over sharp?
Then be happy with your purchase and be secure enough to not feel you have to justify it on the Internet to validate your spending.
I don't like how it looks in motion, those are my feelings.
Just remember people like Bill Hunt reviewed the first discs well also.
And that I got shouted down on AVS for saying the last Werewolf disc had fake grain.
And yet here we are.
So maybe you should stop trolling by just saying someones viewpoint is incorrect in a driveby shitpost
 

Mike Wadkins

Supporting Actor
Joined
Feb 22, 2004
Messages
970
Reaction score
4
Points
110
All of the mention of Grain and Buzzwords like DNR are as outdated as the guys living in Mom and
Dads Basements. A lot of the issues noted were only reproducible on Substandard equipment as
in 8 bit devices and or connections. I took the Blu-ray and saw no issue on a full Deep Color system.
I then took it out to my motorhome which has an older 720p flat panel and crumby Blu-ray player and
saw all of the issue. These days DVNR devices are in the land fill. Grain is processed shot by shot in
very complex out of real time software based systems. Reviewed again and again by re-mastering
pros on equipment worth more than my home. I suggest some upgrades for the folks seeing issues here.

People seeing issues in dark scenes never worked with film. High speed = High Grain Low Speed =
Low Grain. Universal Stayed True to what Film looks like. Keep up the good work.
Grain was never consistent scene to scene in a film of this budget and age.
Grain management has happened here and it's obvious.
If you like it or not is another thing, but it's not original
 

Robert Harris

Archivist
Reviewer
Joined
Feb 8, 1999
Messages
12,832
Reaction score
16,608
Points
9,110
Real Name
Robert Harris
Grain was never consistent scene to scene in a film of this budget and age.
Grain management has happened here and it's obvious.
If you like it or not is another thing, but it's not original
What you're seeing is neither "grain management" nor DNR.

The selection of compressor, has taken a very slight edge off the grain, making it appear more like a scan of an IP, than an OCN. This gives the grain a slightly more velvety look, a final result preferred by some filmmakers, inclusive of David Lean.

The final result has been viewed, and approved by the filmmaker.

From a normal seating distance, the two should be transparent, hence my rating.

What has been released is the result of a 2016 image harvest, with zero noise reduction.

RAH
 

Billy Batson

Producer
Joined
Feb 19, 2008
Messages
3,496
Reaction score
2,287
Points
4,110
Age
69
Location
London
Real Name
Alan
A lot of people (esp. over at blu-ray.com) think that in a good transfer you should be seeing a lot grain, & anyone who complains about it is a "grain hater". Looked at from a normal viewing distance, I don't think you should be aware of grain (just like you don't see it in a cinema). In a lot of older transfers, the focus knob was wound right up (& I was so guilty of that!), so grain & (mostly) noise was very viewable. What I love about new transfers done properly, is that they're not as noisy or (artificially) sharp or "electric looking" as the older transfers.
 
Last edited:

Robert Crawford

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Dec 9, 1998
Messages
47,676
Reaction score
23,817
Points
9,110
Location
Michigan
Real Name
Robert
Shout's The Thing looks fantastic. Stop trolling and go away.
Let's stop the personal attacks and this warning goes for all posters in this thread.
 

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
343,768
Messages
4,689,406
Members
141,039
Latest member
topreplay