Universal's John Carpenter Titles

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Michael Allred, Aug 8, 2003.

  1. Michael Allred

    Michael Allred Screenwriter

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    I know Universal isn't exactly well known for taking the "internet voice" to heart but just in case a rep should come across this, I wanted to take issue with them concerning their John Carpenter films.

    First, let me say that I think it's great "They Live" and "Prince of Darkness" are being re-released this October. There are many fans who failed to purchase them when Image had the rights a few years ago. However I have to say that I think they've missed a prime opportunity to do something more worthwhile with these titles.

    From the information released, they will be bare bones discs (Ok, they have trailers) with the same ol' sound mixes. Granted they're (thankfully) widescreen, in this day and age of home theater, why not give them a full 5.1 remix? These films are especially atmospheric and a surround mix would benefit them greatly. Also, does anyone know if Universal has created brand new transfers for these films and not just recycle the old Image discs?

    Both "They Live" and "Prince of Darkness" were released in Region 2 that featured commentary tracks, featurettes, etc. Why did Universal opt not to include any of this supplemental material? John Carpenter has a very loyal fanbase and the inclusion of these features would certainly boost sales, especially for those who already own the previously released versions from Image. As it stand right now, the Universal re-issues offer very little incentive to purchase them again. So unless a few details have been left off the announcement for these DVD's, I see no reason to upgrade (er..."equal-grade"? There isn't anything to consider them to be upgrades.)

    When Universal announced these two re-issues, they also mentioned a "John Carpenter Collection" which would package them with "The Thing". Now setting aside that this is excluding the only other Carpenter/Universal film, "Village of the Damned", "The Thing" is simply the same version that's been available for years. Sure, "The Thing" is an outstanding DVD but as virtually everyone knows, it's not anamorphic. Why not create a new anamorphic transfer? Even with all it's bonus features, many fans would gladly re-purchase "The Thing" based on a new transfer alone.

    Finally, "Village of the Damned" has certainly gotten the short end of the stick in regards to lack of any decent critical acclaim, however I need not remind you that "The Thing" was lambasted back in 1982. I don't mean to compare the two but surely, a new edition with the simple added feature of a Carpenter commentary would likely lure fans, who previously did not buy the disc, into a purchase. More often than not, his commentary tracks are fun, insightful and (perhaps) add a a degree of appreciation to a film that many might have previously looked over. Not including it in the "John Carpenter Collection" would seem to be somewhat of an insult I would think. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe this was Christopher Reeve's last film role before his tragic accident.

    I hope that at some point, Universal will re-evaluate their John Carpenter titles and give them their just due.
     
  2. Michael Allred

    Michael Allred Screenwriter

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    If anyone agrees, write Universal a letter and express your thoughts on the matter.

    Universal Studios Home Video
    10 Universal City Plaza
    Universal City, California 91608
     
  3. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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  4. Michael Allred

    Michael Allred Screenwriter

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    Well nobody's saying "don't include the original sound mix", I'm just advocating the inclusion of 5.1.
     
  5. Edward Schatz

    Edward Schatz Second Unit

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    I just want a new edition of The Thing. It REALLY deserves a new, anamorphic transfer that has been cleaned up. The 5.1 mix was pleasing but not blow you away. The original would have sufficed.
     
  6. Nick Sievers

    Nick Sievers Producer

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    I was going to start a thread asking about a re-issue of The Thing. I absolutely love the film but the lack of a non-anamorphic transfer has held me back for years. Is it time to just bite the bullet and buy the current version or could it be in the near future that we see a new anamorphic transfer?
     
  7. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    I would love an anamorphic transfer for The Thing as well. Still, at the price of the current version and the extras it has...I'd buy the current version if I were you.

    BTW, Michael...I agree completely. I'm not against 5.1 remixes, I just like to have both soundtracks available.
     
  8. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    In regard to the commentaries, Universal aren't entitled to them - they would have had to pay for them, and perhaps the price was too high or maybe Momentum just didn't want to license them - what has Universal given them in the past?

    This is why having a multi-region player is imperitive, in my opinion. Lots of Americans on this board buy region 2 DVDs. Look at the upcoming Friday The 13th from Warner International; great region 2 edition with retrospective documentary and Cuningham commentary - you'll never see those on the Paramount region 1 either and I dount that Cunningham will record another commentary for just for Paramount.


    Gordy
     
  9. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

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    I hate to be selfish here, but I already had the Image release of They Live, and am just ticked pink that Serpent and the Rainbow and People Under the Stairs are finally coming out in 16x9 OAR!!!
     
  10. Will K

    Will K Screenwriter

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    Wow, they're not giving us much reason to upgrade from the Image discs. It's no surprise as Universal has continued a downward spiral into mediocrity. Just about every other John Carpenter DVD has a commentary. If they hadn't blown so much production money on four(!) separate discs for 8 Mile and countless editions of the American Pie films, they might have been able to license the tracks from the Region 2 discs. Sheesh. They could afford, however, to pay a graphic artist to alter the title art and font.

    To boot, the lack of even a trailer on Wes Craven's The People Under The Stairs is a Paramount-style irritation.
     
  11. Gregory Pauswinski

    Gregory Pauswinski Supporting Actor

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    I would definitely have purchased the new releases of The Thing and Prince of Darkness if they had included the UK extras (or any significant extras) but as it is I will stick with the Image versions. I have almost bought the UK DVDs a few times, but have not bitten the bullet yet.
     

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