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Blacula - The Complete Collection [Blu-ray]
(Blacula - William Crain, 1972) (Scream Blacula Scream - Bob Kelljan, 1973)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: American International Pictures (AIP)
Video: Eureka Classics
Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:33:10.251 / 1:36:07.762
Disc Size: 49,441,380,090 bytes
Blacula Size: 22,204,904,832 bytes
Scream Blacula, Scream Size: 23,682,878,400 bytes
Video Bitrate: 28.00 Mbps / 29.03 Mbps
Chapters: 16 / 16
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: October 27th, 2011
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
English (SDH), none
• Trailers for both films (1:53 + 1:58)
• Kim Newman on Blacula (24:19)
A 32-page booklet with new writing by Josiah Howard, reprints of original Blacula ephemera and rare archival imagery
DVDs of both films
Description: Urban action and fatal attraction give rise to
a groove from beyond the grave in this funkadelic,
fangadelic Soul Cinema sensation! The eternally cool William
Marshall puts a fresh spin on the age-old legend of the
vampire, condemned to wander the earth with an insatiable
lust for blood. Featuring Blacula and Scream,
Advertised as the 100th production of American International studios, Blacula stars actor/singer William Marshall in the title role. An 18th century African prince, Blacula is transmogrified into a vampire while visiting Transylvania. Two centuries later, he rises from his coffin to wreak havoc in the Watts district of Los Angeles. Blacula's particular target is Tina (Vonetta McGee), whom he thinks is the reincarnation of his long-ago lady love. Thalmus Rasulala assumes the "Van Helsing" role as the vampire hunter who can't convince the authorities to cooperate. Yes, that is the same William Marshall who later played "The King of Cartoons" on TV's Pee-wee's Playhouse. A sequel, Scream, Blacula, Scream!, appeared not long after.
Scream Blacula Scream:
The director, Bob Kelljan, has at least the shadow of an
idea—that the vampire's curse really is a curse, all pain and no
pleasure, and is as miserable for the vampire as for his victim. In
William Marshall (Mamuwalde) and Pam Grier (Lisa) he has two good
performers—powerful, ironic, potentially rather complicated. But he
hasn't enough for them to do. It is as if the movie had completed
filming without their ever having developed the shooting script.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The Complete Blacula Collection includes two films, Blacula and Scream Blacula Scream, sharing one dual-layered Bu-ray from the Eureka Classics label in the UK. The image quality shows a fine layer of grain and detail frequently exceeded my expectations. The bitrates are fairly high for the 2 X 1.5 hour features and the visuals are neither glossy nor pristinely crisp but shows some occasional depth and I would guess the 1.85:1 aspect ratio 1080P transfer is a strong replication of the theatrical appearance some 40+years hence looking pleasingly clean without digital manipulations and only minor noise/thickness in the darker scenes. I suspect that this Blu-ray transfer makes these films look about as good as they can for your home theater viewing pleasure.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Scream Blacula Scream
Both transfers utilize a linear PCM stereo track which sounds solid with some impressive depth and higher end in the musical numbers. From All Music: "One of the most intriguing developments of '90s retro pop culture was the renewed appreciation of '70s funk, particularly as derived from the numerous "blaxploitation" films of the period. One of the most notorious of those films, BLACULA was the tale of a black vampire who terrorized his victims to an outrageously funky score. This reissue of the 1972 film's soundtrack, composed and conducted by Gene Page, makes a case for itself as one of the great neglected pieces of funk history. Certainly Page's mix of funky instrumentals, complete with wah-wah guitar and horn stabs, and soulful vocal tunes, was inspired by its more mainstream contemporaries, but it bears a decidedly unique character. You don't have to be a kitsch hound to fall prey to BLACULA's seductive charms." There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Digitally, we get a wonderful, 25-minute, discussion by Kim Newman on both the films and the Blaxploitation in general. I really enjoyed learning more about the genre - its roots, actors, evolution and specifics about the Blacula productions. There are also trailers for both films but the dual-layered package has 2 DVDs (both films - separate transfers) and a 32-page booklet with new writing by Josiah Howard, reprints of original Blacula ephemera and rare archival imagery.
September 14th, 2014
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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