Alright kids, I’m really not wasting any more time than I have to on this. The first The Deadly Spawn: Millennium Edition Blu-ray was, to put it bluntly, a heaping pile of shit. Producer Ted Bohus and Elite Entertainment merely upscaled the decade-old Synapse DVD of the film, and badly at that, encrusting the image with so much DVNR that any hint of higher definition was lost in a puddle of soupy pixels.
In reaction to justifiable fan uproar over that dismal failure Ted and Elite have returned to the property, promising a new Blu-ray mastered from a new transfer sourced from the original negative. Thanks to advance shipping by distributor MVD Entertainment this new disc is already available, well ahead of its October 23 release date, and my pre-order has already arrived. So what do I think of it? Let me be as clear as I possibly can be about the quality of this new, remastered, from-the-original-negative Blu-ray of The Deadly Spawn:
IT’S ANOTHER FUCKING UPSCALE OF THE DECADE-OLD SYNAPSE DVD.
This brief comparison really says all there is to say. The REVISED BLU-RAY IMAGE (uncompressed .png even!) appears first, followed by the ORIGINAL BLU-RAY and lastly by a capture from the SYNAPSE DVD, scaled to 1920×1080 resolution in Gimp.
The DVNR that plagued the first disc is indeed gone, and the bitrate has been improved (26.3 Mbps on average versus the original disc’s 13.7 Mbps), but those are the only positives to be found – the new disc copies the DVD to the letter, right down to its windowboxed framing, and despite being technically progressive scan there are even hard-interlaced frames in evidence! Much as I and others may have hoped for better this new disc was never within earshot of a negative, original camera or otherwise. It’s just another fucking upscale and, amusingly, one that still manages to look worse than a proper scale-job on the Synapse DVD should.
Now my only question is where did this image posted by Ted, supposedly sourced from new transfer tests and obviously NOT taken from either this Blu-ray or the Synapse DVD, come from? That image looked pretty good, even though it was compressed all to hell and scaled to a fraction of what should have been its original size. And guess what? It STILL looks better than the Millennium Edition Blu-rays, be they old or new. Ted’s image is included here at both its original size and upscaled to 1920×1080 resolution, followed by the REVISED BLU-RAY IMAGE (again, uncompressed .png).
I tried not to get my hopes up for this new Blu-ray, and managed that pretty well. But even with my expectations checked this is a whopping disappointment, and one that I can’t help but take personally. Ted and Elite have my money, and all I have to show for it is ANOTHER The Deadly Spawn Blu-ray that looks worse than a DVD produced nearly a decade ago. So here are my final words on the subject:
Fuck you Elite Entertainment, and fuck you Ted Bohus.
Enjoy that $20, because it’s the last of my money either of you are ever going to see.
And for those who are still curious, here are a few more grabs from the new Blu-ray. Our standard process applies – captured as full res .png in Totem Movie Player, then compressed to .jpg at a quality setting of 97% using the ImageMagick command line tool.