For those who weren't aware, there is a new high definition channel that shows horror movies 24/7 in 1080I, uncut. In NY, and apparently elsewhere, the only way to get it, is through the satellite service VOOM, which offers many channels in HD (39 by next month), including the Monster Channel, and 10 other movie channels. A few nights ago, I spent a long time on the phone talking to a VOOM rep, trying to find out specifics, and from what I was able to understand, on all their HD channels, the programming is in the ratio of 1.78. This is fine on newer programming or movies that were shot in 1.85. But they are doing it on older programming, like a movie made before 1954, or a television program made before the last few years, and therefore cropping off many heads, as well as with 2.35 movies, and cropping the sides about 30%. A few hours ago, I was at the Chiller/Fangoria convention in New Jersey, and lo and behold, there was a representative from the Monster Channel, several, in fact, including the head programmer in charge of decisions as to what airs and how it airs. I asked if they show all their movies, even older ones, in 1.78. He told me they did, and that a real horror fan would not care that it was slightly cropped either way, because the image would be so sharp. He insisted I was not a real horror fan, beacuse I was a "purist" who wanted things the way they were shown in a theater, and that I should stick with DVDs. I pointed out that since very few people had heard of VOOM (and that seems to be the only way to see the Monster Channel at the moment), it was probably a bit foolish to deliberately alienate people, and that there were a lot more, like me, who objected to deliberate and knowing cropping of the image. He said I was the first to make such a complaint and that, really, no one who really likes horror movies (I did not mention any film I was a pro or con on) will care that it's in the wrong ratio. He then said I had no right to complain, because I may have an HDTV, but it's a 4X3 HDTV, and only people with widescreen TV's really understood HD. This is, of course, utter crap, since my resolution goes up just as high as 16X9 TV's, and I have a 16X9 mode. The only difference is how thick the letterboxing is on my TV. Anyway, I asked him, since the VOOM receiver offers squeezing and zooming options for those who want to adjust letterboxing and have the image fill up their screen, why is he not letting the customer make up their mind on how they would like to see the film, and not making the decision for them? Then he claimed that this is the version that the studio was sending him (cropped 35MM film prints? Ha!!!!), that they were then turning into 1080I for broadcast on their HD channel. He insisted that he had personally screened all of the movies, and these 1.78 versions were what he preferred. At that point, I realized that there was nothing I could say to him that would either make sense in his world, nor make him sound any more foolish than he already was. Why tell this story if not much can be done about it, if the guy is this hard headed and believes that no one else will care? Anyone going to Chiller/Fangoria this weekend (for Joe Bob, Ving Rhames, Selma Blair, a Friday the 13th reunion, Bill Lustig, Ron Perlman*, etc.) can go to this booth and express what he seems to believe no one thinks, that horror fans do care about proper OAR presentation, and that chopping off heads is only cool if it's done within the movie, not because some idiot wanted to fill up his 16X9 TV. His booth was in the right corner of the dealer's room (of which there is only one this year). P.S. Fangoria editor and "host" of the Weekend of Horrors, Tony Timpone, sucks more than House of the Dead, and anyone who gets a chance, should kick him in the shins. Although, honestly just from looking at him, you'll want to do that without my suggestion. *Guilermo Del Toro has gastrointestinal problems, and is in the hospital and will not be showing up at the convention.