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|Category||Horror||Main Menu Audio
Scene Selection Animation and Audio
Howling III Trailer
Pterodactyl Woman From Beverly Hills Trailer
(Not 94 Minutes as per packaging)
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Vertically Stretched||English (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 224 Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Original Aspect Ratio||?1.85:1||
|Subtitles||None||Annoying Product Placement||Yes, mildly|
|Action In or After Credits||No, thankfully|
The film is mostly set in outback Australia, where anthropologists believe werewolves to be in existence. One female werewolf manages to land a job working in films, where she is often heard to state that this is not how werewolves really live. After she sleeps with one of her fellow actors, they go to a party where the constant strobing lights rile her and she runs off into the city streets (which feature a few landmarks I actually recognized). When she is hit by a car, she is taken to a hospital where her marsupial nature is discovered, and all sorts of werewolf mayhem is set off. Before she escapes with the aid of three werewolf nuns, however, we discover that she is pregnant.
Words, and a 3.1 out of ten rating from 123 IMDB users, fail to describe how awful this film really is. It was only through constant stopping and starting that I was able to stick with it to the abysmal end. I would normally use this plot synopsis space to list all the reasons why you shouldn't consider investing in this film, but the old adage that rotten films get the best transfers doesn't apply here. The transfer quality is almost as bad as the film itself.
The sharpness of this transfer is non-existent, and about on par with a VHS cassette that has been sitting on a rental outlet's shelves for at least half of the thirteen years that this film has been around. Low-level noise is all over this transfer to an extent that I have never previously seen on DVD, and I cannot imagine even Dune being significantly worse in this regard. The opening credits were not only plagued by noise, but also by a ghosting artefact that I have only seen before on VHS cassettes from the weekly rental section. The shadow detail is poor, but this appears to be inherent to the film stock with which the feature was shot rather than a transfer problem.
The colour saturation varies up and down throughout the transfer, with every second frame looking considerably more yellow than the one before it. A good example of this is the ballet scene, where the two men in the audience can be seen turning yellow when the transfer is viewed frame by frame. Aside from this artefact, the colour saturation is so dull and washed out that you could be forgiven for thinking you were watching an old slide show. Dot crawl is frequently present around the edges of objects, giving every object in a number of shots a sort of hazy outline that was quite distracting after a while.
MPEG artefacts consisted of minor background macro-blocking and motion compensation, which is really to be expected when you put source material of this quality onto a single-layer DVD. Film-to-video artefacts weren't a problem in this transfer, because the transfer doesn't have the resolution needed for this artefact to become apparent. Film artefacts were scattered throughout the transfer, with numerous black and white marks appearing on the picture at regular intervals. Overall, this is a transfer that makes a mockery of the "Digitally Remastered From Original Negative" claim on the back cover.
The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times, save for moments when the actors are screaming like wild animals, which isn't the fault of the transfer in any case. When these moments occur, some mild distortion becomes apparent in the higher frequencies. Some distortion can also be heard in the sound effects, which are as flat and dull as the score music. There are no problems with audio sync, save for some extremely crappy ADR here and there that mostly consists of screaming and growling, anyway.
The score music in this film is credited to one Allan Zavod, and an irritatingly B-grade effort it is at that. Perhaps the worst aspect of this soundtrack is the presence of didgeridoos, which sound muffled and mildly distorted whenever present, or maybe it's the clichéd note on the strings that sounds whenever we're supposed to be shocked or scared. If you've ever seen the decidedly stupid theatrical trailer for this film, which is also present on this DVD, then you will have a pretty accurate picture of what you can expect.
A 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack this may well be, at least according to the decoder built into my amplifier, but listening to each speaker in my home theatre revealed that more or less the exact same sounds were coming from each channel. There are no split surround, or even split stereo, effects in this soundtrack. The effect is something like having the entire film's soundtrack played at the listener from five different sources at once, giving the whole film a sort of overbearing feel that certainly doesn't help in the immersion factor. When all is said and done, I would have honestly preferred a straight 1.0 mix, since it probably would have been just as effective.
The subwoofer was constantly present in the soundtrack, taking some redirected signal from the front channels, as well as supporting the sounds of explosions and music.
The video quality is inferior to some of the ten-year-old VHS cassettes I've had the pleasure of viewing.
The audio quality is passable, but a straight 1.0 mix could have done the job just as well.
The extras are limited.
© Dean McIntosh
(my bio sucks... read it anyway)
January 30, 2001
|DVD||Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output|
|Display||Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm) in 16:9 and 4:3 modes, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built In (Amplifier)|
|Amplification||Sony STR-DE835, calibrated using the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Yamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NS-C120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer|