Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Mystery > Suspense > Murder > Crime > Psychology > Detective > Serial Killer > Robots > Literatur > Murder On The Orient Express 4K (2017 remake/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Night Of The Living Dead (1968 restored/Romero/Criterion Blu-ray set)/White Zombie (1933/Roan restoration/MVD Visual/VCI

Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection (1942 - 1976/[MGM/Paramount/Warner]/Universal Blu-ray w/TV DVD Box Set)/Class Of 99 (1990)/Gothic (1986/both Lionsgate/Vestron Blu-rays)/Murder On The Orient Express 4K (2017 remake/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Night Of The Living Dead (1968 restored/Romero/Criterion Blu-ray set)/White Zombie (1933/Roan restoration/MVD Visual/VCI Blu-ray)

4K Ultra HD Picture: A- Picture: B/B+/B+/B/B+/B Sound: B-/B+/B+/B+ & B/B-/B Extras: B-/B/B/B-/B+/C+ Films: B+/C+/B/B-/B+/B

Up next are a huge set of thrillers, many of which are classics and a few, some of the greatest films ever made...

Alfred Hitchcock: The Ultimate Collection (1942 - 1976) is the reissue of the same 15-film Blu-ray set Universal issued before (a Limited Edition) it dubbed 'The Masterpiece Collection' but in addition to the excellent 50-page illustrated booklet that is well illustrated and has some great notes, there is a double DVD set of episodes of the hit TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. It just does not fit as easily into the new box set up.

Either way, the 15 films are all pretty much hits, classic or minor classics, but even the ones that might not work as well as the others are still form the vision of one of the most well-known and successful filmmakers of all time. Eleven of them are the first time we've covered them on the site and have linked to the few we covered before.

Saboteur (1942) was part of a cycle of anti-Axis thrillers Hitchcock made in the face of the evils of WWII and was made for Universal outright at the time as a factory is attacked and an innocent man (Robert Cummings) is accused of the crime, but it is a frame-up and he goes on the run in an attempt to get the real culprits before the next terrorist attack occurs. Cutting edge in its time as a spy genre piece, Pricilla Lane, Norman Lloyd and Otto Kruger also star in this hit that still holds its own with some memorable moments while being its own time capsule.

Shadow Of A Doubt (1943) is even creepier as a happy suburban family is visited by an old family friend named Charlie (Joseph Cotten) who turns out to be a serial killer of old widows for their money and the pleasure of their deaths, visiting to avoid authorities in pursuit, but his niece (Teresa Wright) is slowly on to him, but can a young lady in early 1940s conformist America have any chance of stopping him? Another big hit and gem made at Universal, it is one of Hitchcock's great early Hollywood productions.

Rope (1948, originally made at Warner Bros.) was an experimental thriller by Hitchcock that has turned out to be way ahead of its time. With the dawn of HD video, there has been a cycle of raving about making a narrative film in one non-stop continuous take, but Hitchcock did it in 10-minute units (hidden by cuts in all-black moments of the film) and not allow it to be a gimmick like most of the HD variant have been. Based on a stage play and the Leopold & Loeb murder case (like the later films Cosmopolitan and Swoon), the duo (John Dahl & Farley Grainger) have hidden the dead body in a chest in their living room, but their teacher (James Stewart) suspects their odd, disturbing theories about killing and murder might be in practice and he starts to wonder when a fellow student goes missing.

Another triumph for Hitchcock and company, it turns out to be one of his most important films and thrillers now more than ever.

The Trouble With Harry (1955, in VistaVision for Paramount) is a coy comedy about the idea the the dead title character cannot seem to find a place to rest in peace, Hitchcock gambles using the larger film frame of VistaVision will bring out more comedy in the grim, darkly humorous situations throughout and leans on a great cast that includes Shirley MacLaine, John Forsythe, Edmund Gwenn and others to bring that point home. Not a big hit in its time, it has its moments, then was later ripped off for the notoriously awful Weekend At Bernie's films that show this film was not just an exploitive joke.

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956, in VistaVision for Paramount) is a grand remake of the earlier 1934 British Hitchcock hit with James Stewart and Doris Day visiting the Middle East, only to witness a murder, get caught up in a deadly spy game and when he gets a secret message from the dying spy, they have their son kidnapped by the killers! A huge hit, Day's song in the film landed up being a hit classic that won an Academy Award and it remains one of the Master of Suspense's greatest films, though I still very much like the original. A great use of the large frame format, which Hitchcock was used to by now with these films and To Catch A Thief (not in the set, but reviewed elsewhere on this site).

He would use the format for Vertigo and North By Northwest before the studios abandoned it for being too expensive, but it was a great run of large frame filmmaking for him (though he made the black and white gem The Wrong Man at Warner Bros. in 1955, just out on Blu-ray and also reviewed elsewhere on this site), which are among the films in this set we already covered at these links...

North by Northwest (1959, in VistaVision for MGM)


Rear Window (1954)/Vertigo (1958)/Psycho (1960, all at Paramount)


The Birds (1962) would mark Hitchcock's return to Universal, where he would spend the rest of his career, including with his wildly successful hit TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents. This would be the first of two films he would make with Tippi Hendren, later revealed to be a toxic relationship as he tried to use her as a substitute for Grace Kelly. The film is about the sudden invasion of the title creatures, in massive numbers, attacking a town for no good reason all of the sudden as Hitchcock wanted to add to his European thriller approach he had used in his last two films. It became the originator of the natural disaster films of the 1970s and is only scored by sound effects. Another hit, it was not as strong as his last few films, but still a classic. Helping this are co-stars Rod Taylor, Suzanne Pleshette and Jessica Tandy.

Marnie (1964) is the first of two films that show Hitchcock still trying to work in the Studio System and Star System tradition, but starting to run into trouble where he starts to lose some control of his powers and ability to be cutting edge. With its superior use of color, Hendren is a disturbed young lady (the title character) who is obsessed with stealing money, using multiple identities and finds the running around doing this may end with a business man (Sean Connery, who was three James Bond films in when this film arrived) who is not the sucker her previous victims were. The film is criticized for some dated visual effects, being too in studio and a few other moments that seem off, but I did not buy the psychological explanations given and abandoning the European approach Hitchcock used in his last few films hurts some interesting work here.

Torn Curtain (1966) was the first of two Hitchcock spy films trying to play against the spy mania action the Bond films had created, but instead of the cold realistic route of The Ipcress File (1965), he tried this Cold War thriller about a scientist with a valuable secret bringing Paul Newman and Julie Andrews together, the film has all kinds of odd chemistry and some great moments, but it also has a run-on problem and its romantic moments do not work as well as the likes of a Charade (1963) or older Hitchcock films, but we do get some brutal action moments that make it worth a good look just the same.

Topaz (1969) has John Forsythe back, but this time as a CIA agent looking for more weapons in Cuba, teaming up with a French agent and also trying to identify the spy of the title. With the most European cast ever in a Hitchcock film and often using a documentary style, we're suddenly talking French New Wave films or the likes of The Battle Of Algiers or Z (both reviewed elsewhere on this site with a cast including Karin Dor (You Only Live Twice), Michel Piccoli, Philippe Noriet, Michel Subor, Frederick Stafford, Dany Robin and John Vernon that landed up having three endings made for it. Not always successful, Hitchcock dared to go out of his comfort zone on this one and that makes it a one-of-a-kind film worth seeing and considering where he was trying to go here.

Frenzy (1972) is the last great Hitchcock film, a great return to form and return to his home of London, England for the first time in decades as a necktie strangler (the great Barry Foster) is on the loose and Jon Finch becomes the innocent man accused of being him. His best work since Psycho, the title wants to evoke that classic and it lives up to much of it as this film is as dark and gritty as anything Hitchcock ever made (especially after being denied the chance to do another even more graphic thriller a few years before that never got made). Alec McGowen is great as the investigating detective, with great support from Anna Massey, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Billie Whitelaw, Bernard Cribbins, Vivian Merchant and the London itself it a film that should have been a much bigger hit than it was. It is unapologetically British and one of my favorites of his, it might just be one of the most underrated Hitchcock films ever made.

Finally we have Family Plot (1976), Hitchcock's final film and one some felt was not finished properly or with his full hand in final cut. A phony psychic and her dumb male friend get involved with a couple whose diamond business lends an opportunity for a big heist in what is easily the most Americanized of Hitchcock films. Meant as a comedy as well as a thriller, the film bounces back and forth, but seems like films we've seen before from a chase sequence, to twists that had been in a few recent films (one comes from the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever) and a cast including Karen Black, Bruce Dern, William Devane and Barbara Harris, all of whom became acting icons of the decade by then. It has some good moments, but ultimately does not add up very well and ends on a note that is not very Hitchcockian and counter to his filmmaking history. Still, you should see it once just to catch what does work.

Extras include Original Theatrical Trailers for each respective film and at least one Making Of featurette for each film. The four previously reviewed films repeat all of their extras, except Vertigo the Blu-ray is missing one of its two audio commentaries from the DVD for some reason. Hope that is corrected for the 4K edition.

Almost all have Production Photograph sections, Saboteur adds separate Storyboard and Sketches, Doubt adds Production Drawings, Birds adds a Deleted Scene, Original Ending, Storyboard Sequence, Hedren's Screen Tests, excerpts on the film from the landmark interview book Hitchcock/Truffaut, a second Making Of featurette sand two pieces from the 100 Years Of Universal series, Torn offers scenes originally scored by Bernard Hermann whose music was dumped by Hitchcock for the film ending their relationship, Topaz has Storyboards and its Alternate Endings and Family Plot also adds Storyboards.

Either Blu-ray box set is worth your time and will stand as the best set of these films until the 4K editions get made. All 15 are must-see films for all serious film fans and highly recommended.

One of the best ideas in recent home video history, the Vestron Collector's Series, returns with two fantastic new releases - The Class of 1999 (1990) and Gothic (1986). Last year had some great releases on Vestron's brand (not all that we covered) but some are elsewhere on this site including:

The Lair of the White Room / Parents


Chopping Mall


Blood Diner


Waxwork 1 and 2


Return of the Living Dead 3


and finally

C.H.U.D 2: Bud the Chud


Now for the latest entries...

The Class of 1999: The Ultimate Teaching Machine... Out of Control

While a little dated in terms of costumes and hairstyles, The Class of 1999 was no doubt an influence on films such as The Faculty and inspired by the likes of Warriors, Mad Max, Terminator and Dead End Drive-In. The basic concept is that the world has become a sort of free for all for youth gang violence and the education system has had to tighten up its reigns a bit.. by creating humanoid looking teacher androids. Thanks to a brilliant scheme by Principal Miles Langford (McDowell), these Robotic Teachers have no problem getting these drug induced brats in line, no matter what it takes!

Class features genre favorite actors such as Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange), Pam Grier (Jackie Brown), and with direction by Mark L. Lester (Schwarzenegger's Commando and Stephen King's Firestarter). The film also features Stacy Keach, Bradley Gregg, Traci Lind, and Patrick Kilpatrick to name a few others.

Class has some pretty funny moments such as one when a Robotic teacher spanks a few misbehaving punks in front of a classroom full of kids by putting him across his lap. The film makes good use of its use of practical effects with some great looking makeup and creepy eye contacts for the teachers that make them appear less human. Pam Grier is pretty great as a robot teacher too as she strips her emotions and has some great moments in the film of 'classroom discipline' where she kicks butt and puts a few in line. She disappears for a good portion of the film but pops up in the final act just in time to reveal her robotic innards. When the tide turns and the Robot Teachers start killing the students in the second act, the film gets more and more Terminator-like - especially the scenes in the final act. It's all good fun, though, with some inventive practical makeup and special effects.

Special Features include...

Audio Commentary by Producer/Director Mark L. Lester

School Safety - interviews with Director and Producer Mark L. Lester and Co-Producer Eugene Mazzola.

New Rules - an interview with screenwriter C. Courtney Joyner.

Cyber Teachers from Hell - interviews with Special Effects Creators Eric Allard and Rick Stratton.

Future of Discipline - interview with Director of Photography Mark Irwin

Theatrical Trailer

TV Spots

Still Gallery

Video Promo


The sexy Victorian set horror/thriller Gothic tells the story of Mary Shelley's conception of the horror classic Frankenstein. Set against a beautiful (gothic) backdrop of a old style mansion (known as the Vilia Diodati in Switzerland) with lights practically coming from candlelight or fireplaces, the film is beautifully shot with sharp direction by Ken Russell (Altered States, Tommy) and a screenplay by Stephen Volk (Ghostwatch). The film's cast is interesting as well with stars Gabriel Byrne, Julian Sands, Natasha Richardson, Myriam Cyr, and Timothy Spall (Harry Potter).

Through her half-sister Claire Clairmont (Cyr), Mary Godwin (Richardson) and her future husband Percy Shelley (Sands) come to know Lord Byron (Byrne) a bit too intimately that originally hoped. During the summer of 1816, Lord Byron invites them to stay for a while at his Villa Diodati in Switzerland wherein they meet Byron's physician friend Dr John Polidori (Spall) is waiting. On June 16th, during a storm, the five of them amuse themselves by telling ghost stories and revealing their own deep dark secrets including Mary's miscarriage and the desire to raise her child from the dead (which led to the eventual creation of the story of the Frankenstein monster). Byron was a major historical figure in that time as well (and played creepily by Byrne) and helped give birth to the classic Dracula as well.

Special Features...

Audio Commentary with Lisi Russell and Film Historian Matthew Melia

Isolated Score Selections and Audio Interview with Composer Thomas Dolby

"The Soul of Shelley" featurette with Actor Julian Sands

"Fear Itself" featurette with Screenwriter Stephen Volk

"One Rainy Night" featurette with Director of Photography Mike Southon

Theatrical Trailer

TV Spot

and a Still Gallery

Agatha Christie was not known as The Queen of Crime for nothing and so many of her books are classics that it is easy to forget how impressive the best selling female writer of all time's output is. Though many great films and even TV programs and radio dramas resulted from her work, she was very picky about allowing too many adaptions and that is likely why so many are so good. When it was announced, especially after a few TV versions were produced (at least three that I can think of), that Murder On The Orient Express would be remade for the big screen, there was initial shock as the 1974 Sidney Lumet film was such a critical and commercial success, it was a classic of the genre, of Christie adaptations and another gem out of the American New Wave of filmmaking of the time with only minor issues.

Then, it was added that it would be a 70mm big screen production with Kenneth Branagh with its own impressive all-star cast. Despite minor issues, its turned out to be a worthy remake, surprise hit, a rare hit with mature adult audiences and with Branagh as Hercule Poirot, a new movie series and one of the few ever in any large frame format. Murder On The Orient Express 4K (2017) has the eccentric Belgian detective with his 'little gray cells' and wits taking a ride on the title luxury vehicle known for transporting spies and who knows what else.

Poirot takes the famed train when a body with multiple stab wounds turns up and the various clues do not add up in the way that usually helps the famed detective. After slowly meeting the various passengers, things get even more complicated and could he be in any jeopardy, or would that only expose the killer(s)? Hard to believe such a killing could take place on such a beautiful vehicle amid such wealth, but it has and Poirot needs to solve the case before the train arrives to his destination.

The cast this time includes Daisy Ridley, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judy Dench, Penelope Cruz, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom, Jr., Willem Dafoe, Adam Garcia, Olivia Coleman and of course, Derek Jacobi. Some have said the cast was 'wasted' for some reason, but instead, Branagh is being very coy and maybe even ironic in having all this star power almost overwhelmed by both the mystery and the other major character in the film, the train!

Note how he has it filmed in ways you normally would not see in such a film. He wants to deliver a new approach to the space where the murder happens, seeing the train as more than just the 'good ship' it can be and trying to break the cliche of films on trains (so many of which are actually good) while pushing the extremely high fidelity of the 70mm format. Also knowing so many version and rip-offs of the novel had been made before, he was determined to play against that and succeeds more than many seem to realize.

If anything, you can see the film in the big screen narrative tradition of films like Tati's Playtime (a gran 1967 comedy, but its there), some of Kubrick's work, Hitchcock's VistaVision films (most of which are reviewed above) and his 3D version of Dial 'M' For Murder (1954). Branagh, his Director of Photography Haris Zambarloukos and other creative collaborators apparently understand this use of underused cinematic space and it is one of the main reasons it was a surprise hit.

With this new Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray set from Fox, you can see and hear everything with the clarity, fidelity and sense of place intended and it is no surprise a sequel looks like its one the way. That is great news for all serious film fans, big screen filmmaking fans and mystery fans. Though I still lean towards the Lumet film, Branagh's Orient Express is the other great version of the book to date and worth going out of your way for.

For more on the original hit 1974 film, try this link to the U.S. DVD version...


You can read more about its soundtrack here...


And you can read our coverage of the follow-up, also a remake, Death On The Nile 4K here...


Extras include Agatha Christie: An Intimate Portrait, Let's Talk About Hercule Poirot, Unusual Suspects (Part One, Two and Three), The Art of Murder, All Aboard: Filming Murder on the Orient Express, Music of Murder, feature length 'Director' audio commentary track by Kenneth Branagh and Michael Green, Theatrical Trailers, Gallery and Deleted Scenes (with and without Commentary by Branagh & Green) including...

Alternate Opening

Newsreel (Extended)


Hotel Check-In

Arasta Bazaar (Extended)

Train Montage


Poirot Bedtime Rituals (with two alternates)

Pierre Michel Interview


and Dreamscape

Trying to have a great edition of George Romero's original Night Of The Living Dead (1968) has been a quest on home video for decades, starting with the popular Elite Entertainment edition with all of its extras that eventually was issued on DVD...


After a DVD-only release by (the now defunct) Weinstein Company, some half decent but basic import Blu-ray edition surfaced from the U.K....


and Australia with a few more extras...


There were even a few more Blu-rays among the many copies in the film's 'public domain' period, but none were spectacular and with the Weinstein version a bit off, could or would a newer restoration ever surface? This new Criterion Blu-ray set is just that, bringing the film back to what it should have always looked like, even for a low budget film. Now one of the most successful low budget films ever made, nice to finally see it get its due.

The result is that you see things you never noticed or saw as clearly before, no matter how many times you've seen the film. It suddenly does not seem like a distant piece or even nostalgia as a worn print can play like, but the warmth of the film black and it richness means the darkness and horror are more brutally stark and disturbing than they have been in decades. Anything predictable or very familiar to fans will suddenly be more vivid as if listening to a hit record transferred from its original master tapes for the first time in a generation or two.

This is now the only way to really see Night Of The Living Dead properly and I strongly recommend that this be the only version anyone bothers with from now on. The classic finally gets the respect it needed the most.

The info-laden poster foldout with tech specs on the film includes an essay by critic Stuart Klawans, while the Blu-rays add the new 4K digital restoration, supervised by director George A. Romero, co-screenwriter John A. Russo, sound engineer Gary R. Streiner, and producer Russell W. Streiner, New restoration of the monaural soundtrack, supervised by Romero and Gary R. Streiner, and presented uncompressed on the Blu-ray, Night of Anubis, a never-before-presented work-print edit of the film, New program featuring filmmakers Frank Darabont, Guillermo del Toro, and Robert Rodriguez, never-before-seen 16 mm dailies reel, New piece featuring Russo about the commercial and industrial-film production company where key Night of the Living Dead filmmakers got their start, Two audio commentaries from 1994, featuring Romero, Russo, producer Karl Hardman, & actor Judith O'Dea, et al, archival interviews with Romero and actors Duane Jones and Judith Ridley, New programs about the editing, the score, and directing ghouls, New interviews with Gary R. Streiner and Russel W. Streiner, a trailer, radio spots, and TV spots.

One of Bela Lugosi's most memorable films and a huge inspiration on many horror filmmakers working today, Director Victor Halperin's White Zombie (1932) is the big landmark before Romero's classic in adding zombies to the horror genre permanently. Made just after Universal's 1931 Dracula, the role that made Bela famous, and with incredible makeup by Universal horror makeup man Jack Pierce. However, this isn't the horror classic's first release on the Blu-ray format as it was also put out by Kino in a comparable edition somewhat recently. This new version from VCI, the Cary Roan Special Signature Edition, is surprisingly clear but still an imperfect presentation of the timeless gothic classic.

White Zombie also stars Madge Bellamy, Joseph Cawthorn, Robert Frazer, and John Harron.

A young couple Madeline Short Parker (Bellamy) and soon to be husband Neil Parker (Harron) travel to New York in hopes of tying the knot. Meeting up with their friend Beaumont (Frazer), who secretly has feelings for Madeleine, he convinces them to get married in his mansion. Wanting her to love him instead, Beaumont decides to call upon a bizarre Warlock (Lugosi) to give him a drug to make her into an obedient zombie and under his control. What Beaumont doesn't know is that the Warlock has his an army of voodoo zombies... and his own intentions with Madeline.

Special Features include...

An impressive feature-length audio commentary track by author/scholar Gary Don Rhodes

White Zombie Theatrical Reissue Trailer

Dracula 1931 Trailer in HD

Photo and Poster Gallery

Needless to say the film is a must-see.

Now for playback performance. Even with the use of black and white footage I did not think worked, or digital visual effects that has fidelity issues despite their consistent style, the 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Orient Express (here in 2.20 X 1, though listed as 2.39 X 1 on the packaging) is stunning when it is in its mostly full color 70mm presentation. Using Kodak's great Vision 3 65mm color negative film stocks, this can go a few rounds with just about any disc on the market today, especially 4K titles and that reputation in the making will ensure the film's superior reputation and get more people to seek out Branagh's underrated 70mm Hamlet (also reviewed on this site on Blu-ray, due for a 4K release of its own) proving the actor/director is a master of the large-frame format. The 1080p Blu-ray is also pretty decent and watchable, but lacks the color range, stability, detail and depth of the 4K version.

For the Hitchcock box, we are dealing with 15 films, the 1.78 X 1 1080p digital High Definition image on Northwest is the only one we covered before and it looks as good as ever, still impressive and holding its own in this box set. That leaves two frames for the rest of the films.

Saboteur and Shadow Of A Doubt in black & white and Rope in real Technicolor are presented in 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image presentations and they look pretty good throughout with minimal, expected grain and Rope seems color-accurate for the most part. I wound not have minded having the black and white Psycho presented that way, especially since it has some framing issues where we are losing sides of the picture in an odd way (hopefully to be corrected when the 4K version rolls around), but it is here in a 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer like the rest of the films (save Northwest), but they are all films originally issued in 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints and both Rope and Vertigo benefit from remarkable restorations that rightly got theatrical re-releases.

Save Family Plot, which may have received such a release overseas, all those Technicolor films were released as such in the U.S. and that includes reduction prints off of VistaVision 8-perf negatives for Harry, Vertigo, Northwest and Man Who Knew To Much. Despite minor flaws, these look about as good as I've ever seen them, though 4K editions down the line should deliver even more stunning images.

The presentation of Class of 1999 here is pretty impressive for 1080p Blu-ray with crisp colors and no signs of age on the print save a few nicks and marks on rare occasion. Presented in its original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and an English, lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 (48kHz, 24-bit) track, the home video presentation here is up to standards. There's no doubt that this is the best that this film has ever looked.

Gothic is presented in 1080p high definition with its original 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Monaural track that puts the Thomas Dolby (yes, the pop star) score front and center. The film is nicely designed with loud sound effects and details that bring out the period setting.

Despite the flaws on the previous Blu-ray edition of Living Dead, I liked them and found them the most watchable versions of the film I had seen ever, but the newly restored 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer in a new 4K master barely shows the age of the materials used, is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film and has a remarkable grey scale that will be the biggest surprise to fans used to versions that are just not that good looking. They also make all previous Blu-rays obsolete, coming form the original 35mm camera materials.

Besides the black and white film stock used at the time when most films were being shot in color, the lab work was by a local Pittsburgh lab called WRS (you'll see them in the credits) when they were in their older facilities in the Oakland neighborhood (then with plenty of families, now a big campus spot) before they moved across the river to the South Side of town. They closed a while ago, but by using that lab, the film achieved a look that no other feature film ever had or will have again. The work by Criterion and The Film Foundation has saved the film at long last.

As for sound, two of the films here have D-BOX LFE deep bass motion tracks if you're lucky enough to have that in your home theater system: Murder On The Orient Express and The Birds!

Orient Express offers a fine Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for older systems) sound mix on the 4K edition and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix on the regular Blu-ray, offering interesting multi-channel sound in all cases that adds to the narrative. However, most of the Hitchcock titles offer only DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mixes including The Birds, so the D-BOX addition is an interesting option, but its there for those interested.

Hitchcock was not a fan of stereo or multi-channel sound, so much so that his VistaVision films are among the few in that format NOT to feature the pseudo-stereo of Perspecta Sound, so it is amusing that Vertigo and North By Northwest offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes, but the former is limited and latter shows off the music's stereophonic properties to fine effect.

The PCM 2.0 Mono on Living Dead is another remarkable monophonic restoration track from The Film Foundation that manages to balance dialogue and music extraordinarily well (as they did on Brando's One-Eyed Jacks, reviewed on Criterion Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) and the sound on the film needed worked on at least as badly as the image. Here, hiss, pops, clicks and flaws are virtually eliminated from the many previous editions that were at least a few generations down. Even audiophiles will be surprised.

Finally, presented in 1080p high definition black and white with a 1.33:1 (original ratio - 1.37:1) full frame aspect ratio and an English LPCM 2.0 track, both of which are of a high standard, the main imperfection in the White Zombie transfer is a slight flicker that happens from time to time and a bit too much grain and film noise in some places. I've seen the film in worse shape before, especially on DVD, and would still recommend this version, however, we can hope that a 4K upgrade might be in the works soon if the film materials would allow it.

- Nicholas Sheffo & James Lockhart (Vestrons, White Zombie)



 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com