I’m thrilled to spotlight the first submission by a new contributor to Once Upon a Screen, Rob Medaska. Rob’s posts will be featured in “Medaska’s Mess” and will include reviews and commentaries on his varied classic passions. So, without further ado…I bid him a warm welcome.
Let me introduce myself, my name is Rob Medaska, and I will be posting some reviews and thoughts here on Once Upon a Screen and Aurora’s other pages starting today. I want to say thanks to Aurora for the great opportunity, and say hello to everyone out there.
My background in film is quite long. I have been acting for over 25 years and making TV and films for almost 15. You can look up me on IMDB or Youtube and see some of my work. My contributions to this blog will focus primarily on Horror films and Comedies of the early part of the 20th Century….my favorite time frame…to be featured as part of “Medaska’s Mess.” I begin with my review of the classic Lugosi film White Zombie directed by Victor Halperin, but on Blu-Ray. This movie is so good and memorable that Rob Zombie named his band after it. For me it has long been one of the most underrated films of the time period. It is very atmospheric and captures, very well, the look of horror around that time period, the early 1930’s. However I won’t delve too much into the film, although Bela Lugosi gives a great performance, his psychotic stares into the camera are something to behold. I will instead focus on the quality and presentation of the Blu-ray print itself.
For me the quality of the print of the Kino Lober Classics blu is outstanding. I have read online commentaries where some people say it could be better, but I really can’t see that being the case. Right from the get go the quality and sharpness of the image is something to behold. And all the way up to the ending, it holds up in its presentation. So for that I give it a solid 9 out of 10. The extras on this release are a different story, however. I am spoiled and quite admittedly love getting extras with any Blu-ray I get my hands on. This disc is large enough to hold a treasure trove of good stuff, so I am not sure why they did not include more. For instance, I would have loved to see even a quick documentary on the making of….no matter how short this is something I love. Although, included in the “extras” on this disc is the “raw” film before transfer, which allows for a comparison of the two versions – see for yourself and make a determination. As I said some people think the Blu-ray transfer has an “unreal” effect on the film, but I am fine with it. I’ll take that look any day over the old scratch prints I would see on local cable on PBS.
I am a big fan of Kino Lober and their work because they bring lots of “lost” films out in the open, and for that I and many others are grateful. As far as the sound goes – I would have loved the sound to be mapped 5:1 because it would have increased the eeriness of the film, which is one of its major appeals as an independent production. Also, absent on this release is an “original” trailer, which I would have enjoyed….not a re-release one. This may be something small but I love the VO of the 1930s. The Lugosi interview included is cool, although I had already seen it on TCM. Worthy of note is the fact that at about the same time he shot the interview, Lugosi did a Dracula/Betty Boop spot which I would have liked to see included on the Blu-ray as well.
Overall I would give the Kino White Zombie Blu-Ray 7.5 out of 10 stars.
I will be taking a look at much more Horror and Comedy fare in the upcoming days and months. Thank you for your time and may the last word you read be mine.