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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Lightning Bug [Blu-ray]


(Robert Hall, 2004)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Dry County Films

Video: Image Entertainment



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

Runtime: 1:35:52.663  / Extended: 1:49:36.695

Disc Size: 45,791,456,009 bytes

Feature Size: 22,168,233,984 bytes / Extended Cut: 15,607,799,808 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.12 Mbps / Extended: 13.67 Mbps

Chapters: 18 / 22

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: January 15th, 2013



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3511 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3511 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

Extended Cut:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3528 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3528 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps






• Never-Before-Released Extended Cut (1:49:36.695)
• After Glow: Looking back at Lightning Bug (24:34)

Luceriferin Making-of Featurette (20:47)
Audio Commentaries (2) with the Writer/Director Robert Hall and  2nd with Hall, Producer Lisa Waugh, actors Laura Prepon and Ashley Laurence
Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by Robert Hall (19:07)

Outtakes (4:31)

• Kevin Kinney Music Video (3:50)

• Blu-ray Trailer (2012) (2:36)

• Original Trailer (1:11)

• Photo Gallery





Description: THE MOST FRIGHTENING MONSTERS ARE ALL AROUND US! Bret Harrison (“Grounded for Life”) stars as a frustrated teen who dreams of escaping his miserable life in a small Alabama town for a special effects make-up job in Hollywood, creating grisly monsters. His dream may even be in reach when he’s hired to design the community's annual Halloween spook house and falls in love with a local girl (Laura Prepon, "That ’70s Show”). But there are real monsters in his way, including an abusive stepfather (Kevin Gage, Heat) who terrorizes his mother (Ashley Laurence, Hellraiser), a fanatical religious group who attack his work, and his girlfriend’s own shocking secret that may destroy their happiness together. Based on the inspiring true story of writer/director Robert Hall, award winning special effects makeup designer whose work includes “Teen Wolf,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” and Chromeskull: Laid to Rest 2.



The Film:

Green, a horror movie geek with aspirations of, and a definite talent for becoming a Hollywood special effects make-up artist, sets his sights on escaping a town in which he clearly doesn’t belong. Despite Earl’s brusque and sadistic insults, Green pours his heart and soul into working on Fairfield’s annual Halloween haunted house in order to use his work on it in his portfolio. Even when he meets Angevin Duvet (Laura Prepon), a mysterious beauty with an even more mysterious “acting” background, working the counter at the local video store, her considerable charms inspire more than distract him.

Excerpt from Film Thteat located HERE

Robert Hall's drama Lightning Bug concerns a young man trapped in a small southern town with an abusive stepfather. The young man has developed a remarkable facility at creating make-up effects for horror films, and he hopes these skills will get him out of the town were his work is unappreciated by the religious zealots in the town. However his relationship with a pretty girl who wants to stay right where she is may be the one thing to keep him from following his dream.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

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

Lightning Bug arrives on Blu-ray from Image Entertainment with both the theatrical and 14-minute longer 'Extended Cut' in 1080P.  The image quality is inconsistent on the theatrical looking reasonable most of the time - and detailed in close-up but some sequences are soft, flat and video-like. We have to remember this was a limited production but the cinematography is adept and it runs decent enough in-motion. This is dual-layered but as opposed to seamlessly branching the extended cut - it was transferred separately at a low bitrate and suffers from artefacts. Both are in 1.78:1 and contrast is not at premium levels. Despite too much complaining I think this is a fair representation of the original - and probably not the fault of the feature transfer - the extended cut requires more bitrate juice though.















Audio :

The audio has some impressive moments via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3511 kbps. Jason Hall's score is a bit awkward at times but seems to fit the film, and sounds decent in lossless. There is intensity and deft separations although these are usually isolated to the more aggressive scenes. Depth exists and is exported with zeal. There are no subtitles. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked Blu-ray.


Extras :

Image Ent. includes the advertised 'Never-Before-Released Extended Cut' (discussed above) and plenty of other extras that appear to be duplicates of the Anchor Bay DVD from 2005. It has the same double commentaries from Writer/Director Robert Hall and the 2nd with Hall, Producer Lisa Waugh, actors Laura Prepon and Ashley Laurence, as well as the 20-minute Luceriferin Making-of featurette and the 20-minutes of Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by Hall. Included is a new 25-minute piece entitled After Glow: Looking back at Lightning Bug. There are also the pre-existing 5-minutes of Outtakes, a Kevin Kinney Music Video, the original and a new Blu-ray Trailer, plus a superfluous photo gallery.



Lightning Bug is a decent enough film - a little raw and one dimensional but still with enough touching positives to enjoy upon revisitation. I've always found it entertaining. Image Entertainment has really stacked their Blu-ray package. Those keen on the premise or fans who have seen it before should appreciate the effort put in here. Recommended!

Gary Tooze

January 9th, 2013



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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