SUSPIRIA re-mix missing sound effects and dialogue. Other problems too.

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Matt_Stevens, Oct 1, 2001.

  1. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    I spent one hour last night going through the first 15 minutes of the film, comparing the LD to the DVD and I found some striking differences.
    The DVD is recorded with the soundtrack slightly louder than the LD. I'd say about 2 to 3 db. I found this while matching dialogue, not sound effects or music, which I will explain below. (If my terminology is incorrect in regards to sound levels, forgive, as I am a layman)
    The laserdisc includes the original 4 track soundmix. In this mix, the music is very loud. "Scary" loud. Rarely do the sound effects overpower the music. This was intentional.
    The DVD's "remastered" soundtrack has the music volume lowered, with the sound effects volume raised. This is a big problem in two scenes that I saw. When Jessica is first being driven to the school in the rain and then when the first murder is committed, the music on the DVD is so much lower than the original soundtrack, that I had to push my system up a full 10db to match the LD. But then the dialogue and sound effects were much too loud and hurt my ears.
    This is a serious mistake and looks to have been intentional with this mix (supervised by William Lustig). The Goblin soundtrack has always been louder than the sound effects track. Argento did this on purpose to set a mood and it worked. I say "worked" because the murders are not as scary as before on this DVD. There is a clear difference between the music on the DVD and the LD. The DVD might use the surrounds more, but the music on the LD sounded fuller, had more bass and was much louder and therefore, far more effective.
    This brings us to another problem: Missing music. Right before the first murder, when the two girls are talking in the room after the window burst open from the wind, there is a piece of music missing from the DVD that I believe is referred to as "Whispers and sighs." It's a strange, eery piece, is quite loud on the Laserdisc (and any other previous version) and is completely missing from the Anchor Bay DVD.
    Now this was just from going through the first 15 minutes of the film. When I first watched this DVD I did notice some sounds, like a scream or a dog barking, were much too low. It seems that the volume levels have all been changed.
    There are reports of missing dialogue all throughout the film and I don't doubt it, as I don't remember hearing the lines mentioned when I watched this DVD a week ago. I don't know this film as well as say SUPERMAN or HIGHLANDER, so I was unable to detect the problems right away. Only after comparing the two could I say, Yes, Anchor Bay screwed up again.
    Studios can remix these films to their heart's content for all I care, as long as they include the original soundtrack! SUSPIRIA had a 4 track sound mix, one of the greatest ever created and has long been championed by fans of the film. The laserdisc was a long time showoff piece for what surround sound can do for a film at home. NOT including it makes absolutely no sense at all.
    The DVD includes a 2 channel DOWN-MIX from the 5.1 remix, which is an absolute disgrace, as there is no reason why that 2 channel mix could not have been the ORIGINAL! At the moment I am truly upset at myself for not noticing these problems before the Anchor Bay chat, because I and others would have been all over them for this.
    And to anyone who says this doesn't matter, that's a load of garbage. How many other films out there will suffer the same fate? Are you aware of the fact that some studios actually throw out the original soundtracks once a remix has been created? That means original works are altered for all time and that is not acceptable.
    I don't care how good this mix sounds. It would have been BETTER had pieces of music not been left out, dialogue not been left out and the volume of the music left alone. It also would have been a proper representation of the original mix.
    I am asking that people write or email Anchor Bay, asking them to re-release the film, by itself, at a later date, with the original 4 channel soundtrack. JUST the 4 channel track and maybe the DTS mix, so that people can compare. No other soundtracks would be required. This is the right thing to do. Anchor Bay should actually recall the entire run, but we all know there is no way in hell they would eat the hundreds of thousand of dollars this would cost them, as it IS their fault. But doing the film PROPERLY would go a long ways towards making up for their mistake.
    [email protected]
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    [Edited last by Matt_Stevens on October 01, 2001 at 08:15 AM]
     
  2. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    UPDATE: Here is the portion of a Mondo-Digital review about the soundtrack. www.mondo-digital.com/suspiria.html
    It's quite detailed and proves my point (there are spoilers):
     
  3. Sean Patrick

    Sean Patrick Supporting Actor

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    absolutely horrible. I thought something sounded "wrong" and far less effective with this 5.1 mix, little did I know that they messed with it THAT much.
    they should really REALLY go back and at least add the 4.0 mix, not to mention the 2-channel stereo mix.
    ugh. my SUSPIRIA special edition seems much less special to me now.
    [Edited last by Sean Patrick on October 01, 2001 at 05:07 PM]
     
  4. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    Yup. A 4.0 mix can sound sensational. There are numerous DVD's released over the last year that feature 4.0 mixes that shocked everybody who listened to them.
    All Anchor Bay had to do was release the DVD with the ORIGINAL surround sound track, instead of a downmixed 2.0 from the altered 5.1. This was a no brainer and I and many others wrote, faxed and emailed Anchor Bay PLEADING with them to include the original. They ignored us.
    Just like they ognored hundreds of warnings about the A BETTER TOMORROW situation, where we told them to be careful about Media Asia and the soundtracks. They didn't listen and they got bit in the ass.
    Anchor Bay has had some major screwups over the last year: MANHUNTER, A BETTER TOMORROW, OPERA and now SUSPIRIA. They never fixed MANHUNTER, A BETTER TOMORROW was partially fixed (the reissue has some dropouts) and with SUSPIRIA, you just know they will ignore us. It would be far to expensive for them to recall and remaster it.
    Our only hope is a special release down the road that has two soundtrack: The ORIGINAL 4.0 and a DTS or DD5.1 to appease the newbies.
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  5. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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    This is one area where Anchor bay continues to frustrate me. They seldom include original audio mixes. But usually use a 2.0 down mix of a new 5.1 track(or now 6.1).
    It's too bad because the transfer of SUSPIRIA is fantastic. It does not have that slightly squished down look of the Image/Magnum laserdisc (But the new dvd does lose a hair of visual information on the right side of the screen that can be seen on the LD.
    The sound on the Laserdisc is just flat out more brutally powerful in it's presentation of the nerve jangling Goblin score. The dvd is rather subdued in this respect.
    I still have not yet had a chance to just sit down and watch the dvd from beginning to end and I am now afraid of what I may find [​IMG]
     
  6. Bjorn Thoresen

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    I was pretty disappointed to pop the DVD in the player and observe all the above discrepancies -- none of the online previews had mentioned them, and I didn't see any threads about them either. I wouldn't have sold my laserdisc back if I had known.
    Here's a few other points of interest:
    -- The Italian language track does include the thunder crashes that are omitted from the English tracks, although it also misses the music cues. It's really odd to watch the scene without it, because there are lighting effects that previously were synchronized with the crashes.
    -- The mono, R-rated print of the film shown years ago at the American Cinematheque in LA was also missing the "Whispers and Sighs" cues in the scenes with Pat in the bathroom and Sara in the attic. I don't think that it was missing the other sound effects, but I can't say this for sure. The missing "Whispers and Sighs" was really obvious to me, especially in the attic scene where it is synchronized with a lighting effect.
    Has Anchor Bay made any comment about these discrepancies? They are definitely enough for me to find the release disappointing, and far from being definitive. I would have preferred to stick with my laserdisc, despite the substantial improvements in the image transfer. The DVD should really be re-mastered, in my opinion.
    Is there a petition I can sign?
     
  7. Mark_TS

    Mark_TS Screenwriter

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    Thanks, Matt for the detective work. I just got the disc, and I love it, but dont know the film well enough to say anything about the mix. But it brings to mind another AB 'error': The mix in their QUATERMASS AND THE PIT sounded wrong to me, (the sound of the revitalized, reawakened buried spaceship as it comes alive) and it just DIDNT pack the same sense of awe and horror that the 35mm print I saw many times did...
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  8. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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    Ugh. I watched the film from beginning to end last night and the sound was awful. There are countless scenes in which the music should be overpowering and on this mix it is almost inaudible it is so low [​IMG] Why? Why in Christ hell would Anchor Bay do this?
    I have watched the Laserdisc over 75 times and that sound mix had balls! This thing is pathetic [​IMG]
    I did find that listening to the 2.0 downmix to be a little more bearable (Must be something to do with the pro-logic decoding) But it still sucked.
    Sorry Anchor Bay but you folks really screwed the pooch hardcore on this one [​IMG]
    Oh well, I still have the LD and I am obsessed enough to go through the trouble of synchronizing the LD's audio with the dvds video [​IMG]
     
  9. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    I want to create a petition to send to Anchor Bay asking two things:
    #1. All future DVD releases MUST include the original soundtrack at a high bitrate (384 minimum).
    #2. A re-release of a movie only SUSPIRIA for 2002 that includes only the original 4.0 soundtrack, or the original 4.0 and the DTS 6.1.
    Neither request is crazy, out of line, or impossible to carry out. Both requests are reasonable.
    I would hope that the people here who love film would support such a petition, as it is to our benefit and the benefit of the films.
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  10. Bob_L

    Bob_L Supporting Actor

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    Fortunately, I kept my laserdisc version of Suspiria -- in fact, as time -- and more DVD "special" editions -- goes on, I'm finding more and more reasons to keep my old LD's. (original Star Wars, Lawrence of Arabia, It's A Mad(x4) World, etc.)
    When the original LD came out, I had one of Bob Carver's Sonic Holography ambience recovery decoders attached to my two-channel system. Those tracks on Suspiria just stretched out and FILLED the room. Terrifying. And the spatial pans on the dialogue also seemed to have more subtlety than in this new digital surround mix.
    Whoever is producing these things for Anchor Bay -- is it Bill Lustig? -- apparently needs to have an audio consultant. They seem to get it right fairly consistently with the image and blow it significantly on the audio.
     
  11. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    How do we know Dario Argento isn't behind the new mix and changes? I seriously doubt he would let the disc go out like that without his approval. This isn't saying the original sound mix shouldn't be on the mix (it clearly should) but perhaps Argento had a creative change of heart when supervising the new version. If you were the director, would you sign off when the video transfer was completed, and leave someone else to take the reins on the intricately mixed soundtrack?
    Dario Argento and Bill Lustig are good personal friends (Argento says this on the Deep Red documentary, and I hardly think it was scripted), so I doubt he would release the film in any version that had less than Argento's total approval.
    Everyone threw a fit when Manhunter was released, but, as you yourself reported Matt, Michael Mann was behind the removal and insertion of various scenes.
    Anchor Bay don't exactly have a habit of changing stuff to their heart's content, especially not their most requested title ever.
     
  12. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    Well on, I had written a very detailed reply that took about 20 minutes, but just as I was to hit Send, my computer crashed and I lost it all, so this is going to be far less detailed since I am to pissed off at my computer to do this again AND out of time. [​IMG]
    quote: How do we know Dario Argento isn't behind the new mix and changes? I seriously doubt he would let the disc go out like that without his approval. If you were the director, would you sign off when the video transfer was completed, and leave someone else to take the reins on the intricately mixed soundtrack?[/quote]
    That's exactly what he did. He's allowed Bill Lustig to do the remixes since Tenebrae and Phenomena, which were done with Cary Roan. I talked with Cary about this and Argento simply doesn't want to sit through his older films. He finds it painful to do. If Argento had not done the commentary for TENEBRAE, the remixed soundtrack would have some pop song over the end credits because Lustig thought it belonged there, when in fact, it was only used by the American studio for the cut version UNSANE.
    Despite all that, Argento still doesn't get involved in the soundtrack. He only approves the transfer. And he refuses to do any more commentaries.
     
  13. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Ohhh...my last glimmer of hope has gone. [​IMG]
    I've never seen the film before, so the soundtrack changes won't really affect me, but it's a shame I couldn't experience it as Argento originally intended.
     
  14. Christina_DQ

    Christina_DQ Stunt Coordinator

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    I think i may give this another watch or at least check out a few scenes to see if i notice the differences mentioned.
    I've only seen the movie 2 times before...first the uncut horribly P&S'd Magnum VHS a few years ago & the new AB release.
    I thought the transfer/sound & picture where amazing & REALLY loud that my Mom was telling me to turn the tv down,yet everytime i turned it down just a tiny notch,it was still loud & freaky.
    So i thought the soundtrack was pretty good,though since it's not the original mix & i really wish studio's would keep the orginal track always instead of remixing it into various soundfields..because i did notice that the 5.1 & 2.0 tracks didn't sound that much different as they usualy do when the original mix is included.
    btw-do the other Argento movies that have 2.0 mix's are they the original or a downsized/converted mix of the 5.1?
     
  15. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    They are just downmixes. None of the Argento DVD's with 5.1 sound include the original soundtracks.
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  16. Samuel Des

    Samuel Des Supporting Actor

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    Wow. I didn't know! But to tell you the truth, I have only seen this on VHS and on the Anchor Bay DVD. And without the benefit of hearing the original... well, I can say that I very much enjoy this Anchor Bay DVD.
    I also didn't realize that Manhunter was altered in the way mentioned above. If there is a petition going around, I would be happy to contribute Matt!
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  17. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

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    I saw Suspiria when it first opened in London when it was presented in Quintaphonic sound (or something similar). The overpowering surround music made the film absolutely terrifying! I haven't got the DVD but I'm sorry to learn that that effect has now been nullified.
     
  18. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    Doug, there is plenty of surround sound. Tons of it. But the music volume has been substantially lowered in favor of louder sound effects. The results is a film that doesn't have the same punch, no matter how sonically superior the remix is. It's just not the same and that's a shame because they could have easily included the original soundtrack instead of the included 2.0 downmix from the 5.1 remix. [​IMG]
    I loved the DEEP RED remix. It's a shame Anchor Bay had to go all crazy on us with Suspiria.
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  19. Christina_DQ

    Christina_DQ Stunt Coordinator

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    btw Matt....since you have the LD.
    Can you tell if the opening murder scene on both LD & dvd are exact & uncut or was the AB release cut/missing a few seconds?
    Someone mentioned in a thread before i bought the dvd that when the camera pans down the girls body hanging...it seemed cut since it only showed her feet on down + the music cue seemed abrupt like it was in the middle of the cue. he mentioned that he could've swore the camera pan was longer & started from her face on down. I seem to remember it being that way also,though it has been along time since i saw the Magnum release(so i could be wrong) & also imdb.com mentions that cut as well being on the Japanese & other releases. I know they're not always reliable,but can you see for sure?
    I'm just curious to find out,it's only a few seconds(if true),but it would be great if they would get it right!
     
  20. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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