This article contains several comparisons which contrast the older Shout! Factory Blu-ray transfer with the new Arrow restoration. The frames aren’t necessarily exact matches, but should give a solid indication of the visual differences.
Just released and already hard to find due to its limited pressing, “Enter the Video Store: Empire of Screams” is a collection of several terrific Empire International Pictures titles. Most have had previous releases on Blu-ray before from Scream Factory, which might have collectors wondering whether to repurchase.
Unlike The Dungeonmaster and Cellar Dweller which were released relatively unadorned in 2015 (as part separate double features), Stuart Gordon’s Dolls got full deluxe “Collector’s Edition” treatment, packed with extras. At the time of its release in 2014, Dolls did not indicate any mention of a new restoration (something Scream Factory typically advertises it its press and ad copy), suggesting that it may have been an older transfer even at the time.
Arrow’s new edition, on the other hand, features a new 2K restoration from the original interpositive.
My observations of the new release:
- A boost in clarity and fineness of grain (very typical for Arrow releases)
- The grain is very prominent – it’s a somewhat noisy looking print.
- Brighter picture reveals a lot more nuanced detail previously obscured in shadows.
- In terms of framing, Arrow’s disc is just a hair tighter and has some slight letterboxing.
- The first half hour or so has a slight horizontal stretch. It’s imperceptible when watching the movie, but is evident in the direct comparisons.
The “slider” images below allow for a quick comparison of the stills from both discs by color, cleanliness, framing, but are downscaled and not representative of the full 1080p resolution. These are only illustrative of differences, and not definitive, especially in terms of resolution and clarity.
For a truer direct comparison, it’s recommended to download the image files and view them at full size on a large monitor with 1080p or higher resolution. You can download all images at full resolution in a single file zipfile below:
I’ve separated the last few shots as they might be considered spoilery in revealing certain moments or plot points. If you haven’t seen the film you might want to stop here.