Repulsion - No good dvd yet (comparison thread)


Supporting Actor
May 21, 2001
Roman Polanski's Repulsion is a true masterpiece in cinema. Brilliant in everyway I still get nightmares after watching it.
But why is it that we can have almost yearly re-releases of popcorn blockbusters on DVD that will not have any impact on cinema like Repulsion, but masterpieces like this only have bad releases, if any? What about the 2003 Uk DVD release on Anchor Bay you maybe ask?
Yes, that is the best version on DVD today but still suffer a lot from bad mastering and maybe bad master.

Let's compare it to the 1994 Criterion LD

First, the biggest problem is the contrast boosting. I don't understand why Anchor Bay have made this mistake, maybe just to make the movie look "newer".

Here some screenshot (DVD vs LD)

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Right away we see the ugly face of contrast boosting. For example, just look at the house to the right. On the Criterion version, one can clearly see the corner in the middle and what side is in the shadow. On the Anchor Bay DVD, the entire house is just a bright white wall.

More screenshots:

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Just look at the towers and the sky! Or the poster between them, far away. Contrast are boosted and a lot of detail are gone.

Some more images about the same problem.

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Just check the roof of the car.
And there are many other places where one clearly can see the problem with contrast boosting.

The second problem I found is the I think the DVD is too dark. Some screenshots of this problem

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Behind him you can see some kind of fence in the Criterion version but that's just dark on the AB DVD. And still I feel the Criterion has a good black level.

More screenshots

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It's really difficult to know what is right, but I get the feeling when I watch the Anchor Bay DVD that they have boosted the contrast and set a very low brightness to get a more "modern" feel to the movie, with bright contrast and super black level. And even if the boosted contrast and very dark image can look sharper sometime (other times the LD have more detail), it don't feel right to me at all.

Third problem is the soundtrack. The DVD's DD 2.0 is lifeless, compressed and have some distortion at high levels. The PCM mono track on the LD is MUCH better. I would say if the DD 2.0 is a 3 out of 10, the LD get's 6-7/10.

So I'm still waiting for a good DVD, or even better, HD-DVD. And until then, the 12 year old LD is my reference.

***LD chain: Pioneer HLD-X0 to a PDI Deluxe capture Card. Recorded with Dscaler and used Virtualdub to get the screenshots.
DVD chain: Power DVD, with original color profile.
Both LD and DVD screenshots was resized in photoshop.
I also compared them on a 100 inch screen with the Sony VW-100 "Ruby" projector.***

Bruce Morrison

Supporting Actor
May 16, 2001
I still live in hopes that Criterion will get around to doing Repulsion on DVD eventually. While they're at it, they could also do Cul de Sac - in fact a set of the two films together would make a very nice release. (Apart from the problems you've mentioned with the Anchor Bay release, it does of course also suffer from the PAL speedup issue.)


Stunt Coordinator
May 2, 2005
The reluctance or inability of any studio to release a decent version of this acknowledged classic in Region 1 is (along with the similar situation regarding The African Queen ) one of the greatest mysteries in the DVD world.

Both films would be sure sellers as much as any other high profile catalogue title. Quite a headscratcher...

Jefferson Morris

Supporting Actor
Jun 20, 2000
Agreed. I'd snatch up a good disc of this film in a second. I'll never forget seeing it for the first time - I was deathly bored for the first half...then scared to death by the second half. A great example of a filmmaker lulling you into a false sense of security with deliberate pacing.

--Jefferson Morris

Gordon McMurphy

Senior HTF Member
Aug 3, 2002
I believe that Sony Picture Classics will be releasing a DVD in 2007. I'll try and find links. I have that Anchor boxed set, though I had not noticed the blown-out contrast before. But the chroma on the Criterion LD is interfering with contrast, too, but the detail is far better on the LD. Damn!


Senior HTF Member
Sep 2, 2003
Anything is better than the awful Canadian version I have with the pink poster cover. It's by far the ugliest DVD I own.

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