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John Carpenter's Dark Star- Does it Have to be this Bad? (1 Viewer)

Tim_Prasuhn

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Love the movie, but man o man, does it look horrible on VCI's DVD. Smearing, print damage and dust and scratches.....ick, just ick.
I was just wondering if it has to be this bad looking. Are the original elements that messed up? so messed up that no amount of restoration would improve it? Or is it just VCI/Magic Lantern being a cheap bitch?
Inquiring minds want to know...:angry:
 

Damin J Toell

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I was just wondering if it has to be this bad looking. Are the original elements that messed up? so messed up that no amount of restoration would improve it? Or is it just VCI/Magic Lantern being a cheap bitch?
considering that it was a student film put together over the course of a few years, the original elements are likely quite beat up.

DJ
 

JohnJB

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"the original elements are likely quite beat up"

not so, my guess is a film student looks after his beloved film unlike some fat rich turd like Lucas.

UK digital satellite channel Film 4 show this film regularly in 1:85 anamorphic and it loks great no print damage, nothing, so DVD has normal crappy transfer nothing to do with the elements.
 

Tim_Prasuhn

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wheres the Anchor Bay aquisition team when you need them? This would be a great title for them to purchase and release. Just knowing theres a good print out there makes me want to cry.

Lousy cheap VCI. THEY MUST DIE! (or at the very least be made aware that they suck at everything.)
 

Damin J Toell

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not so, my guess is a film student looks after his beloved film unlike some fat rich turd like Lucas.
have you ever attended film school or had friends who did? i saw many student films suffer poor fates over the years. original elements often get jammed up in projectors, mishandled, rushed around to school film festivals, etc. students look after their films, to be sure, but they generally don't have the benefit of funds for making multiple copies in order to keep the originals in pristine shape. Dark Star may or may not suffer from such problems, but it was a distinct possibility. if Film 4 is showing a pristine presentation, then apparently it's a different story.
and i'm unsure where your Lucas comment comes from. do you just like throwing Lucas insults into random conversations? y'know, Lucas was a film student once, too, and his student film probably got more fame than Carpenter's....
DJ
 

TheoGB

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Lousy cheap VCI. THEY MUST DIE! (or at the very least be made aware that they suck at everything.)
Hmm, you obviously haven't seen Spaced series 1 and 2 - pretty much a benchmark for DVDs: Fully 16:9 anamorphic at all times, ubeliveable picture quality on a single DVD-9 with full commentary (that's good) and tonnes of extras...
 

Damin J Toell

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well no, not really, John was awarded an Academy Award for his grad. school project, The Resurrection of Bronco Billy
Carpenter didn't actually receive the Oscar; John Longenecker did. and, it's a bit of semantics, but i'm unsure that fame and receiving the Oscar for best live action short have much to do with one another. a film can win that Oscar and remain fairly unknown while a much more famous film can go unawarded. my intuition tells me that THX 1138: 4EB got more notoriety over the years than either Dark Star or Broncho Billy. fame is a pretty amorphous concept, though, so we could go on forever arguing either way.
but again...why in the world are we discussing Lucas in a thread about the quality of the Dark Star DVD? is there some generalized internet obsession to insult Lucas in every possible conversation?
DJ
 

Kevin M

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Oh Christ, let's not start in with this Lucas shit here..okay?
I have seen a print of Dark Star less than two years ago at a midnight show that was 100% better than the old VHS tape transfer they quickly threw on this DVD. It's a shame.
 

Tim_Prasuhn

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youre right, I haven't seen the Spaced DVDs. I"ll change my statement ot "Sucks at everything of theirs that I have seen" and will check out Spaced when I get the chance/money.
 

Mark Cappelletty

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l agree that Dark Star looks kind of cruddy, but the VCI Mario Bava films I've seen (Blood and Black Lace, The Whip & The Body) look terrific.
 

TheoGB

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Tim, it's quite possibly a regional thing. While VCI haven't always managed to get all the extras for their titles, in the main I've found their discs to be of excellent image quality with a lot of thought put into them.

It's worth noting, however, that I've only ever seen them produce Film Four movies and Channel 4 TV series over here. Your statement's probably true, Stateside...

There is a R2 version of Dark Star so if someone has it I guess you could find out what that print is like...
 

John CW

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The print is exactly the same (from what I remember) except the Region 1 comes with a 5.1 soundtrack instead of 2.0 (will it make that much difference though? :)) and there's the better, shorter version on the Region 1 via (some pretty dodgy) "branching".
The liner notes are a little weird though (paraphrase "Can you spot which actor played nine roles in the film?" or something similar and: "can you spot the scene where one of the actors is high on LSD?") never heard of these bits of trivia before!
I'm sure someone could do a better DVD but I don't expect Bannon and Carpenter to be on the same commentary track: Bannon took the idea for Alien from Dark Star (which he co-wrote with Carpenter) and then Carpenter tried to take the idea back with The Thing!
It'd be great if they assembled the original cast though!
~ John
 

Matt_Marlow

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I have the old VHS letterboxed version of Dark Star as well as the DVD. The transfers look quite a bit different. The main difference is that the DVD version is quite a bit darker, though a lot cleaner than the VHS (of course, my VHS copy may be wearing out since I've had it since about 1983, so a newer VHS copy might look a lot different). Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that I really don't think they used the same transfer for the DVD that they did for the VHS.

I was actually sort of impressed with the 5.1 soundtrack on the DVD in certain parts. A couple of scenes have some pretty deep bass, and the surrounds are used quite a bit in a during a few scenes too. It does sound kind of "gimmicky", but I don't mind that for a film like Dark Star.,
 

Tim_Prasuhn

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Michael Allred:
I'll ask Dan O'Bannon about "Dark Star" the next time we speak.

Thanks man. I'd really appriciate that.
:emoji_thumbsup: :emoji_thumbsup:
 

JohnJB

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Are VCI in the UK the same comapny as VCI in the US?

Although VCI USA did put out the stunning 2:35 anamorphic Bird with Crystal Plumage so that's one star, although I though Blood & Black lace was sub VHS quality, Spaced 1 & 2 from VCI UK are just about the best discs I own on every level and I have T2 & Fight Club in my collection.

Does Geoge really need people standing up for him, also what's this 'if' Film 4's Dark Star quality is good, am I lying?

Re the Oscar comments, this is a valueless (well not comercially but as a guide to something being any good) anyway, look at some of the winners and tell me if you thing Oscar is a sign of quality:

cuba gooding,jnr

julia roberts

nic cage

billy bob thornton

In that company I'm rather proud not to have one!
 

Jon Robertson

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Thanks for that, Keith.
In any case, I'd love to see a new anamorphic transfer with genuine seamless branching (the shorter version is superior), and perhaps separate commentaries by Dan O'Bannon and John Carpenter?
A true midnight cult classic - brilliantly funny, but in quite a sad and isolated way.
VCI have also done the knockout special edition of The City of the Dead (aka Horror Hotel), an unintentionally hilarious B-movie. I bought it as I heard claims it was a lost classic of spine-chilling horror - it was certainly entertaining, but so damned funny!
 

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