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The Brides of Dracula [Blu-ray]
(Terence Fisher, 1960)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Hammer Film Productions
Video: Final Cut Entertainment / Universal (part of the Hammer Horror 8 Film Collection Blu-ray set)
Region: FREE (both) (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:25:30.792/ 1:25:32.961
Disc Size: 30,673,429,002 bytes/ 48,199,150,004 bytes (shares with Curse of the Werewolf)
Feature Size: 21,699,790,848 bytes / 23,044,300,800 bytes
Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps / 31.99 Mbps
Chapters: 12 / 18
Case: Standard Blu-ray case/ Custom Digibook inside cardboard slipcase
Release date: August 26th, 2013 / September 13th, 2016
Aspect ratio: 2.0:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2040 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2040 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), Spanish, French, None
•The Making of The Brides of Dracula narrated by Edward de Souza and featuring interviews with Yvonne Monlaur, Jimmy Sangster, Hugh Harlow, Pauline Harlow, Don Mingaye, Margaret Robinson and Tony Hinds (31:07 in 1080P)
• The Brides of Dracula Stills Gallery (2:23 in 1080P)
• The Brides of Dracula Theatrical Trailer (1:01 in 720P / 4:3)
DVD of the Feature included
Description: Classic horror starring Peter Cushing. A young teacher on her way to a position in Transylvania helps a young man escape the shackles his mother has put on him. In doing so she innocently unleashes the horrors of the undead once again on the populace, including those at her school for ladies. Luckily for some, Dr Van Helsing (Cushing) is already on his way.
Hammer Films and director Terence Fisher followed the excellent Horror of Dracula with this well-made, richly-colored sequel which suffers only from the conspicuous lack of Dracula himself -- since Horror's Christopher Lee had declined participation in further Dracula sequels for the time being. In his stead, we have young, blond Baron Meinster (David Peel) providing the requisite vampiric threat. Though imprisoned in the family estate by his mother, Meinster is released from his silver chains by an unsuspecting French teacher (Yvonne Monlaur), through which he gains access to a veritable smorgasbord of nubile wenches at a girls' school. Fortunately, master vampire killer Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) is on the case. Besides featuring some of the best acting, photography and period detail of the Hammer Dracula series, this is also one of the first to delve into the more sexual aspects of vampirism, with implicit suggestions of incest, sadomasochism and homosexuality.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
"Count Dracula, monarch of all vampires, is dead." So begins The Brides of Dracula, with a stentorian bit of narration that sets the stage for an un-Dracula film while at the same time evoking the immortal opening lines ("Marley was dead: to begin with") of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Before audiences can process the implications of this disclaimer, Terence Fisher slashes the frame with the image of a hackney being driven pell-mell through the mossy, mist-choked Transylvanian countryside. In the driver's seat, Hammer trouper Michael Ripper ignores the entreaties of the sole passenger (Yvonne Monlaur) to slow down as he steers the coach into the main square of a somber Carpathian village. Stranded by her driver in the hamlet's discomfiting inn, our heroine laments that she will arrive too late to accept a coveted teaching position at a girls' academy in nearby Badstein but is rescued through the intervention of a local aristocrat (Martita Hunt), who takes the girl under her wing with the expected disastrous results. As if ripping a page or two from Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) while anticipating Roger Corman's The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), The Brides of Dracula has the wizened and witchy Baroness Meinster bringing the girl into her home not for care and comfort but as food for her ravening monster of a son, whom she keeps shackled and safe from the world in the depths of their ancestral manse.Excerpt from TMN located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
On Amazon it is stated that 'Universal has remastered this to the correct 2:1 LB of the original US release.' for this Final Cut Entertainment Blu-ray out of the UK. Appealingly, it is region FREE. It is dual-layered with a high bitrate for the 1.5 hour feature. The opening visuals can look a bit crushed but it settles in to be quite consistent after that. There is extensive grain textures. We've compared to the Universal SD transfer from their Hammer Horror package (reviewed HERE). It looks significantly crisper and shows more information on the side edges but, of course, loses on top and bottom for the aspect ratio change from 1.66 to 2.0:1. Aside from reds (blood etc.) colors are not particularly rich and flesh tones gain warmth (as compared to the DVD.) I noted no noise in the darker sequences although the grain can be so thick it can strongly resemble compression artifacts (some have commented that they feel it, actually, IS compression artifacts). The 1080P supports acceptable contrast adding occasional minor depth. I don't see excessive manipulation although there may be some as the image can look frail at times. It's quite clean showcasing some impressive detail and there are no unforgivable flaws, IMO, with the rendering. This Blu-ray gave me an enjoyable presentation - far more film-like than my 2005 DVD. This image is imperfect but the best we are likely to get. Those who project may see the, perceived, artifacts more prominently.
Brian says (on FB): "Looks to me like like the grain suggests it's from a multigen source...internegative perhaps, or possibly separation masters. I believe this was released in dye transfer Technicolor."
The initial complaints of this 2016 Hammer Horror 8-Film
set is that
The Phantom Of The Opera,
The Brides Of Dracula,
The Curse Of The Werewolf,
Night Creatures (aka Captain Clegg)
are all presented at the aspect ratio of 2.0:1, when they
should be, as they were theatrically, in 1.66:1 to 1.85:1
(depending on the film). This boxset is presented as
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
More Blu-ray Captures
Audio is transferred via a linear PCM 2.0 channel at 2304 kbps and it sounds clean and consistent. Malcolm Williamson (The Horror of Frankenstein) did the score and its lavish orchestral flourishes benefit from the lossless rendering. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE - playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Universal use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 2040 kbps and I couldn't note much difference from the linear PCM of the Final cut unless that it may be slightly deeper. There are optional English (see sample), Spanish or French subtitles offered and the Blu-ray disc is Region FREE.
Final Cut include a solid 30-minute featurette entitled "The Making of The Brides of Dracula". It is narrated by Edward de Souza and features interviews with Yvonne Monlaur, Jimmy Sangster, Hugh Harlow, Pauline Harlow, Don Mingaye, Margaret Robinson and Tony Hinds. It's very informative hearing the memories of the writer, crew and cast, as well as Christopher Lee did not reprise the title role. It is transferred in 1080P. There is also an HD The Brides of Dracula Stills Gallery and a theatrical trailer. There is also a DVD of the feature included.
No extras that I have found on the Universal Blu-ray Boxset.
Final Cut - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray
The AR complaints are disappointing in that both are 2.0:1 (no other option) - that, and the lack of extras indicate the little concern Universal has for fans of these Hammer gems. The Final Cut's supplements are appreciated and it is region FREE. But, on the other hand, the price of the Universal Box is excellent at about $7.50 per film at the writing of this review. It's hard to say no to this Blu-ray set as there is still immense value here. Stay tuned for further comparisons...
February 17th, 2014
September 23rd, 2016
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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