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Witchtrap aka "The Presence" [Blu-ray]
(Kevin Tenney, 1989)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Cinema Plus
Video: Vinegar Syndrome
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 38,867,118,492 bytes
Feature Size: 26,514,195,072 bytes
Video Bitrate: 34.86 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: March 28th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1758 kbps 1.0 / 96 kHz / 1758 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 160 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 160 kbps / DN -4dB
English (SDH), None
• Group commentary track with: Director Kevin Tenney, Producer Dan
Duncan, Cinematographer Tom Jewett and Actor Hal Havins
Second disc DVD
Description: For years, the Lauter House has been plagued by
strange and violent occurrences. Unexplained deaths and
seemingly supernatural activities have scared away all
perspective tenants and buyers, but now its owners have
decided to turn the old mansion into a bed and breakfast.
Follow a team of paranormal experts as they attempt to
remove the demonic forces and cleanse the property of all
evil, through the use of a special device designed to lure
in and trap evil spirits. But as soon as they arrive, the
violence begins again as members of the team begin to meet
increasingly bloody fates...
A man named Devin Lauter inherits a mansion from his long deceased uncle, Avery Lauter. Avery, it seems was a powerful warlock and died brutally in the home. Naturally, he possesses the place and kills erstwhile inhabitants. His nephew, Devin, hires a crack team of paranormal experts and some detectives, for security, to figure the place out. Of course, once they arrive things go horribly wrong…Excerpt from Letterboxd located HERE
Witchtrap begins with a notice that “This Film is Not a Sequel to Witchboard”. It’s from the same director, Kevin S. Tenney, so I can see
where the confusion came from, but I don’t think it was necessary to
have a disclaimer in the beginning of the movie or anything. I don’t
think anyone rented this back in the ‘80s and said, “WAIT! This ISN’T a
sequel to Witchboard!?! I want my money back!” Interestingly enough, Tenney later went on to direct
Witchboard 2. I haven’t seen that film,
but I wonder if it opens up with a disclaimer stating “This Film is Not
a Sequel to Witchtrap”.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Witchtrap comes to Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome described as "Newly scanned and restored in 2k from 35mm Interpositive". The 1080P actually looks pretty good - dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. There still may be a few compression artifacts barely visible in the background of a few shots but they are almost imperceptible and may have more to do with the production's original lighting, I'm guessing. Witchtrap can't look much better for home theater consumption. Colors are true, detail and grain well supported and it looks solid in-motion. There is no reason to find fault in the Blu-ray image which is adeptly transferred from a good source. It may even look better than it did originally.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The film's audio is transferred in an authentic DTS-HD Master 1.0 channel mono track at 1758 kbps (24-bit) adding some depth to the minor effects. The score is composed by the director's brother Dennis Michael Tenney (Witchboard, Night of the Demons, Witchboard 2) and its suits the film well I thought, a shade ham-fisted, but adding atmosphere and suspense. There are optional English subtitles.My Oppo has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Vinegar Syndrome are always generous with supplements and this has a group commentary track with director Kevin Tenney, producer Dan Duncan, cinematographer Tom Jewett and actor Hal Havins (who played 'Elwin' in the film.) There are memories of the shoot, production details and some laughs. There are also four separate video interviews with Tenney, hottie Linnea Quigley, cinematographer Jewett and SFX Supervisor Tassilo Baur running over an hour in total. They are fairly colorful and honest - refreshing to hear their stories/opinions. We get two audio-only interviews with SFX Makeup Artist Judy Yonemoto and music composer Dennis Michael Tenney, an original 4:3 video trailer and some may enjoy a 25-minute short film directed by Kevin Tenney entitled "Book of Joe" which includes an optional 4-minute alternate ending for the curious. There is a production/promotional still gallery and the package features original cover artwork by Corey Wolfe with a reversible sleeve and a second disc DVD is included.
March 15th, 2017
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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