Classic movie site with rare images, original ads, and behind-the-scenes photos, with informative and insightful commentary. We like to have fun with movies!
Archive and Links
Search Index Here

Friday, January 18, 2019

Which Is The Digital Way To Go?

Can We Really Recapture Horror Of Dracula?

It is time for me to face up to Horror of Dracula as the dream from youth that cannot be realized again. Several lifelong favorites sit in that drawer. Horror is more acute because again there is effort to render a perfect one, via Warners’ Blu-Ray, and to be expected, fans are taking the knee. They want Horror of Dracula to be the experience it was when all of life was discovery, and Technicolor bled like from neck punctures. HoD is a great movie, but it can take us but so far back in time. I chased the unicorn from beginnings at collecting, this to salve hard truth of not having seen the 1958 chiller in a theatre. There were playdates missed thanks to theatres too far away, a reissue with The Curse of Frankenstein in 1965 that every house but the Liberty ran. Seeing Horror of Dracula for a first time on snowy TV is no fit way to see Horror of Dracula. Detail of this made part of three Greenbriar posts (2011) where I tried getting the monkey off my back, game again afoot what with a latest disc to parse over. When is enough enough?

Science says my eyes aren’t so acute to color values as they were forty-three years ago when I saw Horror of Dracula first in IB Tech. That was a 16mm print vibrant beyond nature or dreams. Quiver I felt on threading it won’t be surpassed by anything now or to come. Mere possession of movies was then nine-tenths of violating copyrights. My Horror of Dracula had been pinched from someplace, but I never asked where. Law abide was among first forfeit by collectors. The hot box my postman brought cost $350. The Blu-Ray is today had for $17.99. No wonder it shrinks by comparison. A thing hard got is always better appreciated. To watch the disc alongside my old print would sober me quick, but who wants rose-tint so cruelly bleached off memories? And so I will tell increasingly few who will listen how much better my long-gone 16mm looked than upstart digital. So little of Tech is left for many, if not most, to believe me.

A British distributor put out Horror of Dracula in 2013, loaded with extras and a cooler palette that I associate more with British Technicolor. Of HoD prints passed through Greenbriar portals (each fully digested), there were two 16’s in IB, and later a “brand new” low-fade liberated from a lab which had a longer staking scene for Lucy Holmwood (Carol Marsh), then 35mm bought out of a pool room from an old man who’d as soon cut you as stick a nickel in a juke box. Latter print was made up for the 1965 reissue that Seven Arts handled, had registration problems, so scratch prevailing myth of theatrical being what Horror of Dracula was/is supposed to look like (who truly knows as to that?). Some write that American prints were more saturated than British ones, which I suspect is true. IB color I’ve seen from UK labs does play cooler, less bloody reds or cobalt blues. Horror of Dracula works either way for me. Heating up hues can mean loss of contrast, plus penalty of softer detail, which I understand happened with parts of the Warner Blu-Ray. Instead of taking the yet again buying plunge, I got out the Brit Blu-Ray, watched again, and found it lovely. Lesson learned? Possibly that fault lies not in Horror of Dracula, dear Brutus, but in myself. Reflection on this makes watching an evermore rich experience I hope to repeat lots before sunlight or stakes or loose crucifixes release my restless soul.


Blogger DBenson said...

For boomers who knew the classics mainly from the tube, the lower the quality, the greater the nostalgia. I love my MPI Sherlock Holmes set, but a brief pre-restoration clip was a powerful blast from the past. Likewise color Loony Tunes and Disney shorts viewed in B&W, and vintage Paramount comedies strained through weak UHF signals.

My amplifier has many functions I still don't understand. One I experimented with is called "Sound Field". One of the options is "Arena", which for me perfectly mimics the ambiance of the college and revival house screenings of my youth.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Chrisk said...

Horror of Dracula is the finest of the lot. Seeing it on the big screen on a cold evening and in an airconditioned cinema, you bet, it was very scary and chilling.

7:38 PM  
Blogger radiotelefonia said...

Earlier in 2018, Fernando Martín Peña showed in his show the sequel, DRACULA: PRINCE OF DARKNESS, which I saw streaming live in YouTube. I don't know if the transfer of the movie was done in Argentina or not, but the visual quality of the film as well it was impressive to see the way they used the color.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Tommie Hicks said...

One of my goals as a 16mm collector was to acquire at least one IB Tech Foghorn Leghorn cartoon. About a decade ago I scored one on ebay. I was a bit disappointed, the cartoon was indeed IB Tech but someone had switched out the intro and replaced it with red Eastman.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

"Horror of Dracula" was the first horror film I saw in a movie theater, on a double-bill with "Brides of Dracula". This was, if I remember correctly, in the spring of 1963. I had been fascinated by horror movies, especially after finding my first issue of "Famous Monsters of Filmland" magazine, but had only seen them in black and white on TV. "Horror..." absolutely blew me away, as did its co-feature, and my fate was sealed. I saw it once or twice again in rerelease. Needless to say my fate was sealed and I became a steadfast horror fan.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Reg Hartt said...

I read you loud and clear. We placed a value on those 16mm prints that people paying only a few dollars today for Blu-rays (and often complaining that they are too expensive) can never know. I got a 16mm print of HORROR OF DRACULA for a friend that was gorgeous. Then I bought one for myself that was supposed to be IB Tech but really was a composite with some IB Tech, some dupe, some I don't know what. Meanwhile my friend found "God" and threw away his film collection.

I bought that Brit Blu-ray of HORROR OF DRACULA with all the bells and whistles. I was tempted to go for the Warner Blu-ray and may still get it despite your piece. What I am pleased with is the deluxe collector's limited edition of CURSE/NIGHT OF THE DEMON (1957). Wow!

I always make my projector darker as it's too bright as it is. That enriches both B&W and color.

For me Dracula will always Be Bela Lugosi. I love the Chris Lee film, though and his performance is great.

Yeah, those fuzzy images from hard to reach TV stations was the way many of us saw these films the first time. Good post.

11:07 PM  
Blogger John McElwee said...

Dan Mercer considers the sharper vision of youth:

There is a lovely metaphor in this play of color and light, as between IB prints prepared for various locales or their digital transcriptions. One seems to see things differently when young, not so much because the retinas of the eyes are fresher as that one’s sensibility is. The interest is more acute, upon first acquaintance, the focus sharper. These things cannot quite be recaptured later on. Something is new only once. Yet the experiences of the boy are the memories of the man. Ever after, the boy walks hand in hand with the man, and what the man sees is a reflection of what he saw. In this, there is something ever changing, ever new.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Barry Rivadue said...

Mercer's words could not be more true. I look back at my childhood, movies or otherwise, as supreme memories because everything seemed fresh and new. I saw MGM's Tom Thumb at a circa 1960 matinee, and to this day its Technicolor green (of all things) still stands out in memory. The longer the distance I am from those years, the more I try to keep the remaining reflection of early observations as retrievable as possible.

4:53 PM  
Blogger brickadoodle said...

Before I ever had the opportunity to watch HORROR OF DRACULA, it had already become one of my favorite movies, though I’d only become acquainted with its vampiric images of bared fangs and makeshift crucifixes through the pages of Famous Monsters and Castle of Frankenstein magazine, yet I relished the idea that one day, one wonderful day, I would finally see Chris Lee in his role as the Count. A few years later, that day came on a Saturday night, on SHOCK THEATER, on WGHP Channel 8, a broadcast being transmitted from High Point, NC, some 80 miles away. My awe of HoH was not tempered by poor reception on a snowy, staticky b&w TV screen, its signal diffused by a steel water tower that loomed in the sky near my house. Despite the monochrome presentation, Lee’s and Cushing’s performance still shined through all the snowflakes and sleet...

12:20 AM  
Blogger MikeD said...

To Barry Rivadue
Any idea what the co-feature was with Tom Thumb? I cannot remember all those years ago what I went to see at the theater and wound up at double features with Tarzan's Greatest Adventure and Edge of Eternity, both of which I had no idea were even playing (who was Tarzan?). I'm thinking that one of those played with Tom Thumb but I have no idea.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Lionel Braithwaite said...

I want to get the British Blu-Ray set now, so great is the description of it.

6:25 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • September 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • May 2010
  • June 2010
  • July 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • December 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011
  • May 2011
  • June 2011
  • July 2011
  • August 2011
  • September 2011
  • October 2011
  • November 2011
  • December 2011
  • January 2012
  • February 2012
  • March 2012
  • April 2012
  • May 2012
  • June 2012
  • July 2012
  • August 2012
  • September 2012
  • October 2012
  • November 2012
  • December 2012
  • January 2013
  • February 2013
  • March 2013
  • April 2013
  • May 2013
  • June 2013
  • July 2013
  • August 2013
  • September 2013
  • October 2013
  • November 2013
  • December 2013
  • January 2014
  • February 2014
  • March 2014
  • April 2014
  • May 2014
  • June 2014
  • July 2014
  • August 2014
  • September 2014
  • October 2014
  • November 2014
  • December 2014
  • January 2015
  • February 2015
  • March 2015
  • April 2015
  • May 2015
  • June 2015
  • July 2015
  • August 2015
  • September 2015
  • October 2015
  • November 2015
  • December 2015
  • January 2016
  • February 2016
  • March 2016
  • April 2016
  • May 2016
  • June 2016
  • July 2016
  • August 2016
  • September 2016
  • October 2016
  • November 2016
  • December 2016
  • January 2017
  • February 2017
  • March 2017
  • April 2017
  • May 2017
  • June 2017
  • July 2017
  • August 2017
  • September 2017
  • October 2017
  • November 2017
  • December 2017
  • January 2018
  • February 2018
  • March 2018
  • April 2018
  • May 2018
  • June 2018
  • July 2018
  • August 2018
  • September 2018
  • October 2018
  • November 2018
  • December 2018
  • January 2019
  • February 2019
  • March 2019
  • April 2019
  • May 2019
  • June 2019
  • July 2019
  • August 2019
  • September 2019
  • October 2019
  • November 2019
  • December 2019
  • January 2020
  • February 2020
  • March 2020
  • April 2020
  • May 2020
  • June 2020
  • July 2020
  • August 2020
  • September 2020
  • October 2020
  • November 2020
  • December 2020
  • January 2021
  • February 2021
  • March 2021
  • April 2021
  • May 2021
  • June 2021
  • July 2021
  • August 2021
  • September 2021
  • October 2021
  • November 2021
  • December 2021
  • January 2022
  • February 2022
  • March 2022
  • April 2022
  • May 2022
  • June 2022
  • July 2022
  • August 2022
  • September 2022
  • October 2022
  • November 2022
  • December 2022
  • January 2023
  • February 2023
  • March 2023
  • April 2023
  • May 2023
  • June 2023
  • July 2023
  • August 2023
  • September 2023
  • October 2023
  • November 2023
  • December 2023
  • January 2024
  • February 2024
  • March 2024
  • April 2024