This article contains several comparisons which contrast Universal’s 2016 Blu-ray transfer with the new release from Scream Factory. The frames aren’t necessarily exact matches, but should give a solid indication of the visual differences.
Hammer’s 1962 classic Night Creatures, also known as Captain Clegg, gets a spiffy new Scream Factory makeover this week, joining their impressive and ever-growing collection of the famed Studio’s horror output. It’s a terrific film starring Peter Cushing and a young Oliver Reed that mixes swashbuckling, mystery, and spookiness for a really pleasing adventure.
Like several other films which have made the same jump, Night Creatures was previously released on Blu-ray as part of Universal’s Hammer Horror Collection in 2016, which remains in print and is undeniably a terrific, if barebones, value.
For their individual Collector’s Edition re-releases, Scream Factory is pulling out all the stops to make sure there’s new value added for the upgrade: brand new scans, commentaries, featurettes and interviews, and other bonus features.
Out this week, Night Creatures features a brand new 2K scan from the film’s Interpositive along with a slew of extras. The upgrade is pretty evident and consistent throughout: richer colors, enhanced clarity (especially in grain definition), and most surprisingly, a taller capture, which also crops a bit tighter horizontally.
The film’s aspect ratio is presented with a taller crop that both utilizes and displays more onscreen real estate. I’m not an expert on the film’s theatrical exhibition but according to IMDB, its original aspect ratio is 1.85. I’ve analyzed the frames and done the math: the prior disc occupied a frame of 1920×960, or 2.0. Scream Factory’s disc checks in at 1920×1038, or 1.85 (even though their own press materials have it listed as 2.0). So not only does this new “bigger picture” look a lot better, it’s likely closer to the source intent as well.
Any downsides? Not really, but because this new transfer is sourced from a new scan, some of the previous cleanup is undone. For the most part the new transfer looks much cleaner, but there are also some stray scratches and patches that were “buffed out” before that didn’t get retouched (see the “skull” frame, for example, which now exhibits a prominent scratch). Other imperfections were previously simply lost to blurryness but are now more evident with the cleaner scan — in essence, a good thing.
NIGHT CREATURES Collector’s Edition Blu-ray
- NEW 2K scan from the interpositive
- NEW audio commentary with film historian Bruce Hallenbeck
- NEW Pulp Friction — The Cinematic Captain Clegg (22:07) — an interview with author/film historian Kim Newman
- NEW The Hammer Must Fall: Peter Cushing’s Changing Directions (28:09) — an interview with author/film historian Jonathan Rigby
- NEW Brian with Bowie (7:56) — an interview with special effects artist Brian Johnson
- The Making of Captain Clegg (32:02) hosted by author Wayne Kinsey
- The Mossman Legacy: George Mossman’s Carriage Collection (6:55)
- Theatrical Trailer (2:29)
- Still Gallery
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