Music Monday: Return of the Deadly Spawn Edition

We’re expecting Ted Bohus / Elite Entertainment’s new Blu-ray of the indelible man-eating monster classic The Deadly Spawn pretty much any time here in Wtf-Film-land, and given that the original pressing was such an unmitigated disaster I really can’t wait to see what improvements have been made. I’m not getting my hopes up too much until I’ve actually seen the new disc, but things sound positive so far. And let me just say that, whatever the results, kudos to Ted for taking fan complaints to heart and at least trying to make things right, and for keeping the community posted on his efforts besides. There are too few out there who are even willing to make the effort, and if for that alone Bohus is deserving of credit. Consider any and all given credit revoked. The new disc is ass as well.

Anyway, with the film so much on my mind this Music Monday selection seems almost pre-ordained. It’s the opening title music for The Deadly Spawn as heard on the Synapse DVD edition of the film. Enjoy, and check back soon for the low-down on the new Blu-ray.

The Deadly Spawn: Blu-ray Update

In case you’ve yet to read it, I unloaded some pretty hefty (if totally justifiable) criticism at Elite Entertainment’s Millennium Edition Blu-ray of The Deadly Spawn when it arrived early last month. That disc was, for lack of better words, an utter disaster. That said, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for Spawn fans after all. A new disc appears in the works, though details of it remain sketchy.

What we do have is the below image, posted by The Deadly Spawn‘s producer Ted Bohus on the forum (unfortunately only as a scaled-down 100 k .jpg) and said to be sourced from a fresh transfer of the film from the original camera negative. As always, click on the image to see it at its full resolution.

The above image appears exactly as it was provided (though I did change the name). Now, to better compare this new image to what has come before I’ve taken the liberty of scaling it to full 1920×1080 and saving it to .jpg at a quality setting of 100% in Gimp. The result – shared below – should not be considered a true indicator of the transfer quality, but for my purposes it’s good enough.

And now, to the past releases – the Synapse DVD from 2004, and the Millennium Edition Blu-ray released last month. Exact frame matches to the above were captured from each as full-resolution .png in VLC media player, then compressed to .jpg at a quality setting of 97% using the ImageMagick command line tool. I’ve included both the original 480p DVD image as well as a scaled-up 1920×1080 example of the same, for ease of comparison. The order is as follows: DVD / Upscaled DVD / Blu-ray.

Even given the compromised resolution of the sample Bohus provided the positive difference is unmistakable. The new image looks just that, considerably brighter with tighter contrast and detail and more heavily saturated color. Framing is also opened up noticeably on all sides.

Now it’s impossible for me or anyone else to judge anything based on how a single frame of it compares to that same frame in past editions, but having said that I’ll be damned if this doesn’t look like quite the improvement. At the very least there is a lot of promise here, and like other fans of the film who found themselves so disappointed with the Blu-ray I anxiously await further updates of this forthcoming new new edition.

UPDATE (3/17/2012): Bohus’ latest (quoted from the forum) is unfortunately less encouraging than the above:

“Well, after doing a bunch of tests, I’m just not happy with the grain situation. Some scenes are fantastic, but others are so-so. I know most of you here say you don’t mind grain…but I hate it. Still tryin’ stuff…I’ll keep yuz posted….”

As they say, one step forward and two steps back.