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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Whisperer in Darkness [Blu-ray]

 

(Sean Branney, 2012)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Fungi

Video: Microcinema

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:43:08.140

Disc Size: 42,590,315,156 bytes

Feature Size: 15,807,761,856 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.01 Mbps

Chapters: 28

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: July 31st, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1919 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1919 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit / DN -4dB)
Commentary:
Dolby Digital Audio English 320 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 320 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

None

 

Extras:

• Commentary by producers David Robertson, Andrew Leman and director Sean Branney

6 Extended Deleted Scenes

• Making of Featurettes (1:48:27)

• Teaser / Two Trailers

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Celebrated author H.P. Lovecraft's classic tale of alien horror bursts onto the screen in the style of the classic horror films of the 1930s. Professor Albert Wilmarth investigates legends of strange creatures in the remote hills of Vermont. His inquiry reveals a terrifying glimpse of the truth that lurks behind the legends. Filmed in the style of the classic 1930s films such as Frankenstein and King Kong, The Whisperer in Darkness is a thrilling adventure of supernatural horror.

 

 

The Film: In 1931 H.P. Lovecraft wrote his classic tale of alien horror, “The Whisperer in Darkness.” Lovecraft is now considered one of America’s foremost writers of horror fiction, standing alongside the likes of Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe. His story, which blends horror and science fiction, relates the adventure of Albert Wilmarth, a folklore professor at Miskatonic University, as he investigates legends of strange creatures rumored to dwell in the most remote mountains of Vermont. Wilmarth’s investigation leads him to a discovery of horrors quite beyond anything he ever imagined, and ends in a desperate attempt to escape the remote New England hills with his life and sanity intact.


The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society adapted Lovecraft’s story as a feature-length motion picture, shooting it in the style of the classic horror films of the early ‘30s such as Dracula, King Kong and Frankenstein. As with their previous silent movie adaptation of Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu, the HPLHS used their Mythoscope™ technique to evoke the look and feel of early cinema. This production shot on location in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts to authentically capture the actual locations depicted in the story. A cast of Los Angeles actors, including Matt Foyer and Barry Lynch, bring the sweeping period tale to dramatic life. The result is a motion picture (a talkie, no less) that expands Lovecraft’s short story into the kind of thrilling cinematic experience that Lovecraft himself might have enjoyed in 1931.

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

The Whisperer in Darkness looks wonderful on dual-layered Blu-ray from Microcinema.  Shot on digital (my assumption) the black and white image shows a fabulous style emulating vintage cinema via Mythoscope. Contrast is crisp and the waxy blurriness of the digi-cam format was far less apparent than I have seen to-date.  With the massive extras rendered in HD the feature file size is on the smallish side but the 1.78:1 rendered 1080P has impressive crispness and depth. The resulting visuals are richly layered. Shadow and light work effectively to produce a pristine presentation. This Blu-ray has an extremely pleasing representation supporting the heavy style with a flawlessly clean image. Superb!

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio comes in the form of a modest DTS-HD Master 5.1 track. It is less dynamic and more authentic 'vintage' film experience being relatively bland but there are some separations. Dialogue is wonderfully crisp, effects minimal with only a modicum of aggressive depth. Sounds clean and great! There are no subtitles but my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

We are supplied with a ton of extras from Microcinema - first-off the commentary track by producers David Robertson, Andrew Leman and director Sean Branney is quite enjoyable. I like these guys and it was superior to your normal dispatch of production details. There are also six extended and deleted scenes but a whopping 1 3/4 hours of 'making of' featurettes including a prominent 45-minute one filled with details. There are a Teaser and two trailers as well.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
This is all very cool. You can tell exactly what the filmmakers were attempting to achieve and I believe they were very highly successful in the art direction and nostalgic aura. The visual style is so rich and appealing. The story may not have quite lived-up to expectations but it seemed faithful to Lovecraft and was easy to immerse yourself into its shadows and mystery. The Blu-ray was very impressive in its a/v and there are plenty of supplements to indulge in. Certainly this is a package we can recommend! 

Gary Tooze

July 31st, 2012


 

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 5000 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.

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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