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The "Dark Star" DVD restoration petition (1 Viewer)

Michael Allred

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Like many fans (and DVD reviewers), I feel that the current DVD release of John Carpenter's first film "Dark Star" is *extremely* poor and in dire need of restoration.
I've started an online petition at;
http://www.petitiononline.com/DStarDVD/petition.html
in the hopes that, if enough people sign, we can get VCI Home Video to re-issue the DVD with a high quality video/audio presentation along with a few special features such as an audio commentary track (co-star, co-writer Dan O'Bannon has said that he'd love to do one.)
Please take a minute or two and sign the petition and maybe we can get "Dark Star" treated like the classic it is. Thank you.
 

John CW

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Damned straight! A great movie deserves a great DVD! (This one needs seamless branching though, as the shorter version (aka the "Director's Cut") is MUCH better)!

~ John
 

Roderick Gauci

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Mar 3, 2002
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I was recently in contact with Mr. Robert A. Blair, President of VCI Home Video, with regards to defective DVDs I purchased of Mario Bava's BLOOD AND BLACK LACE and John Moxey's THE CITY OF THE DEAD.
The correspondence (between my brother and I on the one part, and Robert Blair, Tim Lucas and Kevin Christopher - the discs' producer - on the other) was quite copious with e-mails being sent back and forth trying to reach an amicable solution. I was finally given the two replacements (and an extra VCI DVD of my own choice - Guy Green's THE MARK - to boot!) for free!
Today I have contacted him again thanking him for his generosity and informing him that I was finally satisfied with both my BLOOD AND BLACK LACE and THE CITY OF THE DEAD DVDs. I thought of mentioning, in passing, this petition requesting a Special Edition DVD re-release of John Carpenter's DARK STAR.
Quote:
"Dear Bob,
We have finally watched the last disc you sent us, the replacement copy of THE CITY OF THE DEAD (in one full 6-hour stretch!), and we are happy to report that it also plays fine on our Pioneer DVD.
We are also glad that HORRORS OF THE BLACK MUSEUM is coming around Halloween. Although we have never watched it, we are aware of its reputation and are confident that you will do it justice on DVD.
By the way, we would like to bring to your attention a petition that is currently going the rounds in several online Forums requesting you to re-release John Carpenter's debut feature, DARK STAR, as a Special Edition DVD (http://www.petitiononline.com/DStarDVD/petition.html). We have duly signed it ourselves and we believe that this great little film deserves such a treatment, and especially now that Special Edition DVDs of Carpenter's ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, HALLOWEEN, THE FOG and ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK have been announced or are already in preparation.
Once again thank you for your personal interest in our case, which went beyond the call of duty and far exceeded our expectations."
Here is his reply with regards to DARK STAR:
"Hello:
I'm so glad to hear that CITY OF THE DEAD played OK. Whew! Hope you enjoyed it.
I was not aware of any petition online regarding DARK STAR, but as a matter of fact, I just received today a hand written letter from someone who knows how to get in touch with Dan O'Bannon and was lobbying us to do a new special edition version. He said O'Bannon would like to see it redone as well and would agree to doing a commentary for us. I know Dan, having personally worked with him on the very first "special edition" VHS version back in the early days of home video. I tried to contact him a couple of years ago before we started to work on our current DVD disc, but I guess he has moved and has a new phone number, because the old phone number didn't work anymore. Anyway, I'm hoping that I will soon be in touch with him again and will be able to do a new digital video transfer with an accompanying commentary and possibly a video interview as well.
This is one of my all-time favorite films and I'd like to see it done right too!"
So, I guess there is some hope for this project after all!!
 

Michael Allred

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Well imagine that, I got an e-mail from VCI's president today.

Well, as with "The Return of the Living Dead", I'll be doing my bit to help give a classic film a deserving DVD. I'll keep ya updated.

I also expect to be in contact with John Carpenter's personal assistant by next week (hopefully) so there's a possibility he could be involved as well.
 

Tim_Prasuhn

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I'm a big fan of Dark Star, own the current DVD, and would upgrade in a jiffy.

My only hope is that the original, longer cut be remastered as well as the Director's Cut. I find it's the version I watch most often, and the version I prefer. Remastering both cuts probably wouldn't be a big hassle anyway, since if they restored the director's cut, then doing the longer cut would only require a remaster of the extra scenes.

I dont want to have to hold on to the current DVD just for the original cut.
 

Matt Rexer

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I just watched the shorter director's cut for the first time yesterday. I think it's much better than the 16-minute-longer theatrical cut, which I find tedious. Admittedly, I'm not much of a fan of the film in the first place...

I can't see them ever putting out just one cut or the other. Hopefully, however, they'll put each version on the new disc separately. The currect VCI disc has the worst seamless branching ever... makes me glad most companies don't use it.
 

Gordon McMurphy

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My understanding of the situation is that O'Bannon and Carpenter... "don't get along", let's put it that way and seeing as they both want to participate in a SE DVD, they may cancel each other out and VCI get NO interviews/commentaries, etc. Also, as Michael Allred states above, locating the original 16mm negative or a quality 16mm print /35mm blow-up is proving tricky, which I can well imagine.
But I love the film - I love just about everything JC has ever done and of all his films, it is the one I know the least about. I'd also like to see Resurrection of Broncho Billy on as an extra on the disc; I believe UCLA own it, but Carpenter has had trouble in the past locating the film.
 

Tim_Prasuhn

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If an agreement cannot be reached between O'Bannon and Carptenter, then.... well... as much as Dan is a cool cool guy, this is really more Carpenter's film, and if I had to choose who would participate in a special edition of Dark Star, it would be John Carpenter.

Maybe they can release a John Carpenter Special Edition and a Dan O'Bannon Special Edition with different extras, so the two don't have to work together on it.
 

Matt Rexer

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as much as Dan is a cool cool guy, this is really more Carpenter's film

You think so? After watching it the other day, I came away thinking it was more DO'B's movie than JC's. This, I say as a huge Carpenter fan... Perhaps this was because Pinback was the main character for much of movie. Plus DO'B's extended beachball alien battle was later reworked into his Alien script. I just sensed DO'B's mark on the film more than JC's.
 

Michael Allred

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If there was ever a film that should've had TWO directors credited, it is "Dark Star." It is "belongs" to both Carpenter and O'Bannon equally. If one had not been involved, the film would not exist. Period.

Having said that, neither has to work with the other for any bonus feature. It can all be edited together at a later point.

Now if VCI can just find a quality print to work with....
 

Kevin M

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I assume the negatives are not useable.....or even in existence anymore?
 

Lyle_JP

Screenwriter
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Oct 5, 2000
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The currect VCI disc has the worst seamless branching ever... makes me glad most companies don't use it.
It's because VCI didn't use seamless branching, they just used branching. There are very few encoding programs out there that can even do seamless branching, and there were probably less back in the day.
As far as I know, only Fox and Artisan have used seamless branching, unless Disney used it for Lion King. For the record, Beauty and the Beast did not use it.
-Lyle J.P.
 

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