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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Night of the Werewolf / Vengeance of the Zombies [Blu-ray DVD]

(Paul Naschy aka Jacinto Molina, 1980/ 1973)

 

 

Production: Bci / Eclipse

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:32:18.199

Disc Size: 13,808,181,316 bytes

Feature Size: 11,822,217,216 bytes

Video Bitrate: 14.98 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 8th, 2008

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080i / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

 

Audio:

Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English, none


Extras:

• Intros, Trailers, Deleted Scenes, Stills Galleries

Product Description:

Night of the Werewolf (Spanish title: El Retorno Del Hombre Lobo - U.S. title: The Craving) Filmed in the real castles of Spain, Night of the Werewolf is one of Naschy's most impressive films, a sumptuous Gothic feast that pits Naschy's werewolf, Waldemar Daninsky, against the Blood Countess herself, Elizabeth Bathory. Filled with werewolf transformations, seductive vampire women, bloody stakes and piercing silver daggers, the film has garnered praise for its fantastical inventiveness and use of macabre imagery.  

 

The Films:

Night of the Werewolf: Jacinto Molina opted to direct this one himself, as well as the two other Daninsky movies made in the eighties. This means he has more control over the project than ever before, and contrary to what some say, I think he's actually a very good director. Probably the best ever to direct a Daninsky movie, anyway, and obviously he can capture his own artistic vision like nobody else could. This is probably why it feels more conventional and competent than most movies in the series. The sets are great, the special effects are good for it's time and the whole movie has a fantastic atmosphere to it. There is more gratuitous nudity and gore than in most Daninsky movies, and I'm surprised it hasn't been a bigger hit with fans of the genre. There are certainly enough werewolves, witches, vampires, zombies and horrible sacrifices to keep them entertained! Maybe I'm going overboard with the praise, but if you've seen the earlier Daninsky movies, you'll know that in most ways this is pretty damn good comparatively.

Excerpt from Noel's comments on IMdb located HERE

 

The Video: NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

These are two single-layered Blu-ray discs - each with one film and its extras.

 

Along with Sister Street Fighter I + II, we decided to give the BCI/Eclipse Blu-ray effort of Night of the Werewolf / Vengeance of the Zombies a spin. Compared to Sister Street Fighter I + II - it is a notch less in regards to image quality. Since Eric Cotenas has also compared two SD versions of Night of the Werewolf HERE for DVDBeaver (thanks Eric!) you can hopefully see in our screen captures below that the 1080 resolution is marginally superior. Unfortunately both transfers are interlaced (1080i) with small file sizes / bitrates. There is digital noise, especially in darker scenes. The image is soft and a little waxy but, without knowing the original theatrical appearance it makes it hard to comment but this is quite limited and doesn't rise to the level that the Blu-ray format is capable.

 

 

Vengeance of the Zombies looks better. It is displayed at the original aspect ratio of 1.33 matted to 1.78. It is very brighter, clean and detailed with superior colors and minor digital noise. The bitrate is higher but this again is reasonably ineffectual - probably only a small notch better than SD-DVD.

Gary Tooze 

 

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

The Night of the Werewolf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:28:54.612

Disc Size: 15,154,548,048 bytes

Feature Size: 13,458,352,128 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.96 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 8th, 2008

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1:33 matted to 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080i / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 384 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 384 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English, none


Extras:

• Intros, Trailers, Deleted Scenes, Stills Galleries

 

Paul Naschy, legendary Spanish horror star, creates a triple threat in VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES, playing not one, not two but three different characters. In the realm of bad-good films, this film has a lot going for it. Black masses, Indian mystics, grave robbers, voodoo dolls, hordes of unread women and a chicken decapitation that I actually think is real. The film focuses on Krisna (Naschy), an Indian mystic who runs a weekend getaway house where people can come to meditate and clear their minds. Elvire, a devoted follower, visits the house and falls victim to extremely violent nightmares.

Excerpt from Bloody-disgusting located HERE

 

Vengeance of the Zombies (Spanish title: La Rebelion de las Muertas) Vengeance of the Zombies offers a triple threat performance by Naschy as a Hindu mystic, his evil brother and the Devil himself. Zombies, satanic voodoo rituals and gruesome killings combine to make Vengeance of the Zombies a bizarre ride in the best horror tradition, a film that defines the term "euro-cult" as few other films can. Reportedly, practitioners of the black arts have found hidden meanings in the film that transcend the picture's story-telling plotting, making the impact of Vengeance of the Zombies that much more intense--and frightful.

 

Screen Captures

Vengeance of the Zombies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio:

Both discs offer the same audio options - neither lossless; a Castilian Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1,and two English DUBs: a DD 5.1 and an English mono mix. I didn't even test the DUBs and the main track (an obvious bump) sounded acceptable with some minor drifting dialogue but certainly effective enough for viewing the films - although lacking any remarkable range or depth.  Both are supported by acceptable, if not stellar, English subtitles in a reasonably but smallish font (see samples above).

I should note that book-style Menus are very cool but are not available on the fly (no 'Pop-up" menu) as they are with most every other Blu-ray discs - but once you make an option you can 'resume film'.

 

Extras:
There are some supplements, duplicated from the corresponding SDs, although nothing is overly significant. Both start with a kind of silly introduction by Paul Naschy (less than 2 minutes in Spanish with English subs optional). In the 'Special Features' section are trailers, deleted/additional scenes, Stills Galleries (Film and posters/ad) and they both give the opportunity to see the Spanish Credit sequences. So nothing to rave about but the inclusions are appreciated but a commentary (especially on Werewolf...) would have been a stronger bonus.

Menus

Vengeance of the Zombies

BOTTOM LINE: Those with higher expectations are obviously disappointed in the transfers. This was reasonably early in the commercial Blu-ray-transfer days and BCI/Eclipse were taking a shot with what they had.  Fans of Night of the Werewolf might consider this upgrade - or for those invested in Blu-ray that are keen to venture into the genre. I understand Vengeance of the Zombies SD is fairly strong already and the film is a Euro-DUD but still campy in my opinion. Purchasers should be prepared that these look fairly unremarkable. It would be a definite asset if you were keen on the genre/style before indulging. This is the probably the best presentation of both films although certainly not recommended for more than $20.

Gary Tooze

 

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About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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