Putting the new Limited Edition Disc to the test against the old, both from Blue Underground
Blue Underground has been killing it lately with deluxe Limited Edition re-releases of some of their biggest catalogue hits like Zombie, Maniac, The New York Ripper, and Two Evil Eyes, featuring new 4K restorations, CD soundtracks, awesome lenticular slipcovers, and new bonus features on top of the previous (and often already impressive) extras. The newest title to get the deluxe treatment, and the third directed by Lucio Fulci, is 1981’s The House By The Cemetery.
The new presentation features a 4K restoration from the original camera negative, and boy is there a world of difference. Clarity and grain are much improved across the board, sometimes radically so.
The image is also “dimensionally” improved, using the full horizontal space available (versus the slight black pillarboxing of the older transfer) and usually displaying slightly more of the frame, though that varies.
Whereas the technical merits of the new transfer are inarguably superior, the color timing introduces some eye-opening differences that are sure to raise some eyebrows.
The nocturnal opening sequence in particular looks wildly different even from the first shot, with a blue hue. I’ve only ever seen the film on home video, not on film, but I’m assuming this is a revisionistic change rather than a restorative choice — if so, this is a radical difference right out of the gate. It does have a more “moonlit” appearance so I can see why the choice was made.
This opening ends with the title sequence, which is the only part of the new transfer which looks clearly inferior to me — the new color timing trades in a naturalistic title card shot for this tightly cropped version with its crazy electric turqoise sky.
Aside from that outlier opening in which the colors are now cooler/blue-tinted, the rest of the film leans further into green and yellow side of the color spectrum, and for the most part look very good.
Some of the on-screen text has been redone, such as these setting titles. Besides the titles being noticeably sharper, the entire image is vastly clearer. The difference in these shots is remarkable.
Interestingly, this next “Boston” text was left off the new version altogether — perhaps because the location quickly becomes obvious.
Some additional detail views demonstrating the differences.
A smattering of some other random shots…
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House By The Cemetery LE Blu-ray — https://amzn.to/35JMx5f
Except where noted, all 16:9 screen images in this review are direct captures from the disc(s) in question with no editing applied, but may have compression or resizing inherent to file formats and Medium’s image system. All package photography was taken by the reviewer.