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 Blu-ray.com 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 Blu-ray.com 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.