Region 4 Winners and Losers

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Title Best
Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, The=

    The US Region 1 release is from Anchor Bay, and is available in two formats: as a stand-alone disc by itself, or in a two-disc set with Frankenstein Created Woman. The extras are the same in each case. I have the latter of these releases, which I must admit I acquired for the Frankenstein film.

    There are considerable differences in terms of transfer quality between the two releases. Warners have made a new transfer with what appears to be better source material, and their release does not have the level of artefacts of the Region 1, which is not 16x9 enhanced. Not only are there less film artefacts, but the Anchor Bay release has noticeable edge enhancement, which the Region 4 does not have. The colour on the Region 4 release also seems better, with richer hues and more realistic flesh tones. Shadow detail also seems to be marginally better. There are numerous instances of pixelization on the Region 1 disc and more aliasing. The visually quality simply does not compare with the Region 4.

    The Region 1 also has Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio. To my ears, there is little difference between the two audio transfers. I marginally prefer the Region 4 though it has a higher level of hiss than the Region 1.

    In terms of extras, the Region 1 wins easily. Not only is there a theatrical trailer, but also the complete US release The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula. If that is not enough, there is an audio-only extra of the complete soundtrack album, which runs for 45 minutes and features James Bernard's music and what amounts to a audio re-creation of the story. The slick indicates that it is narrated by Peter Cushing, but this is not true. Cushing merely voices Van Helsing, and the narrator is someone else, possibly John Forbes-Robertson. Annoyingly there are no chapter points on this item, and my player would not allow fast forward or reverse. But that's Region 1's problem.

    Overall I would recommend the Region 4 for the vastly improved quality of the transfer, given that the alternate version of the film is terrible. There is also a UK Region 2 release which is identical to the Region 4.