Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "John Carpenter's Vampires" )

 

directed by John Carpenter
USA 1998

 

Along with the comic-book-based Blade and the television spin-off from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this adaptation of John Steakley's disposable novel Vampires reflects a significant shift of emphasis in the vampire sub-genre. It's comparable to the mutation of the gangster movie whereby the flamboyant hoods of the early 30s were replaced as central figures later in the decade by equally flamboyant G-men, often played by the same actors (Cagney, Robinson). This current cycle similarly recasts the villains themselves as old-fashioned monsters of the night without any redeeming features and concentrates on the vampire slayers, whose inflexible moral superiority is leavened by their striking an assortment of supposedly appealing rebel poses.

In the opening sequence, James Woods' Wild Bunch-style team of vampire slayers surround an isolated farmhouse and, after taking a blessing from their padre, charge in like a combination of a SWAT unit and a lynch mob. Crow's favoured vampire-killing method is to shoot his prey with a crossbow bolt attached to a steel wire which when winched hauls the screaming "goon" into the sunlight like a landed fish. After wiping out this first nest, the team retreat to the Sun-God Motel for a party with gallons of beer and a Peckinpahish gaggle of topless hookers, only to be interrupted by Valek (modelling a black spaghetti-Western duster and a hippie haircut) who turns up to slaughter everyone with his bare hands. Director John Carpenter stages both massacres with a few effective initial strokes lifted from Sergio Leone or Peckinpah but then hurries through the death counts (as he does with other major sequences, including the finale) with elliptical fades that only render the action confusing and minimise their impact.

Excerpt of Sight and Sound review by Kim Newman located HERE

 

Poster

Theatrical Release: April 15, 1998

Reviews                                        More Reviews                                       DVD Reviews

DVD Comparison:

Columbia - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Warner (Edition Collector) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Columbia (Superbit) - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Vincent BOUCHÉ for all the Screen Caps!

(Columbia - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Warner (Edition Collector) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Columbia (Superbit) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)

DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Columbia

Region 1 - NTSC

Warner
Region 2 - PAL
Columbia
Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:47:44 1:43:05 (4% PAL speedup) 1:47:44
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.63 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.53 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.11 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Columbia

 

Bitrate:

 

Warner (Edition Collector)

 

Bitrate:

 

Columbia (Superbit)

 

Audio English DD 2.0 Surround and DD 5.1, French DD 2.0 Surround

English DD 5.1 and DTS 5.1, DUBs: French DD 5.1 and DTS 5.1

English DD 5.1 and DTS 5.1

Subtitles English, French French (FORCED on English soundtracks) English, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Features Release Information:
Studio: Columbia

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary with director John Carpenter
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: October 7, 2003
Amaray with carboard slipcover

Chapters 28
 

Release Information:
Studio: Warner

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Audio commentary with director John Carpenter
• 'The Directors : John Carpenter' documentary (58:35)
• 'Behind The Scenes' featurette (5:53)
• Cast And Crew Filmographies
• Theatrical Trailer
• Bonus Trailer : Ghosts of Mars
• This is a 2-disc set

 

DVD Release Date: October 18, 2001
Amaray with carboard slipcover

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Columbia

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
None

 

DVD Release Date: August 5, 2003
Amaray with carboard slipcover

Chapters 28

 

Comments

Here is another prime example of how different an image can be outside of NTSC North America. The PAL edition looks far more realistic in its color scheme and is also sharper. Of course, I have no idea what this film is supposed to look like. Both the original and SuperBit NTSC versions have a strange green mask over the image  - it even looks bluish at times. The PAL edition is significantly brighter with far more vibrant colors.

Of course, the big avoidance point here is that the PAL edition has non-removable French subtitles when played in the original English track (a copyright issue more than likely). There is also another factor to consider - this is only John Carpenter's Vampires so most people will not care less. I guess I am being harsh, the film did give me a few chuckles. The French edition has a Carpenter commentary and an hour long documentary.

Bottom line is that the NTSC editions have some room for improvement if only in sharpness IF you consider the greenish color scheme to be accurate and director intended.

- Gary W Tooze

JOHN CARPENTER'S VAMPIRES - The U.S. SuperBit edition should be the best one, but I did see this in the theater and both U.S. editions are totally unacceptable. Though Carpenter has not done a truly great film since THEY LIVE back in 1988, why do these U.S. copies have to look so lame? It did not look that bad! Who knows, but the Warner PAL edition is the way it looked in the theater, especially conveying the naturalistic look Carpenter wanted the film to have in reference to those Professional Westerns of the 1960s. Since The Warner PAL version has DTS, it is the obvious winner. As for the SuperBit situation, like Criterion, some live up to their brand name and some do not. VAMPIRES joins CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA and even SPIDERMAN (the DTS and Dolby ruined by having to share space with a commentary track) as SuperBit disappointments. Among the best to date are THE PATRIOT, HOLLOW MAN, the first CHARLIE'S ANGELS and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, so try those instead if you want to see SuperBit titles at their best.

Nicholas Sheffo from FulvueDrive-In.com


Menus

(Columbia - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Warner (Edition Collector) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Columbia (Superbit) - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(Columbia - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Warner (Edition Collector) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Columbia (Superbit) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)
Subtitle sample

 

 


(Columbia - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Warner (Edition Collector) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Columbia (Superbit) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Columbia - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Warner (Edition Collector) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Columbia (Superbit) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Columbia - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Warner (Edition Collector) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Columbia (Superbit) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

 


(Columbia - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. Warner (Edition Collector) - Region 2 - PAL - MIDDLE vs. Columbia (Superbit) - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM)

 

Report Card:

Image:

Warner - PAL

Sound:

Warner - PAL (5.1, DTS and Dubs)

Extras: Warner - PAL
Menu:

Hit Counter
DVD Box Covers

Distribution

Columbia

Region 1 - NTSC

Warner
Region 2 - PAL
Columbia
Region 1 - NTSC

 




 

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

 CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!