Wednesday, October 5, 2011

BLU-RAY BATTLE! Frankenhooker vs. Frankenhooker

The second installment of our BLU-RAY BATTLE series once again pits US genre film distributor SYNAPSE FILMS against their venerable UK counterpart ARROW VIDEO. In question are their region FREE Blu-ray editions of Frank Henenlotter's trash cinema classic FRANKENHOOKER. Let's break 'em down...

VS.

FRANKENOOKER (1990)
DIRECTOR: Frank Henenlotter
CAST: James Lorinz, Joanne Ritchie, Patty Mullen
TAGLINE: Some Assembly Required
SYNOPSIS: Meet Jeffrey Franken. He’s just killed the love of his life and now he’s going to rebuild her... From the body parts of the dead streetwalkers who exploded when he introduced them to a lethal new drug – Supercrack! Little does he know that a good recipe requires the correct ingredients. Jeffrey isn’t putting his life back together; he’s building... a FRANKENHOOKER!

IN THIS CORNER....
FRANKENHOOKER [Arrow Video]

RELEASE DATE: December 5th 2011
REGION CODE: Region FREE
RATING: 18 Certificate
DURATION: 85 mins
AUDIO: TBA
VIDEO: MPEG4 1080p 16:9 Widescreen (1.78:1)

SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphries
- Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
- Exclusive collector’s booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by Calum Waddell
- Brand New High Definition Transfer of the film (1080p)
- UK exclusive audio commentary with director Frank Henenlotter and star James Lorinz
- UK exclusive introduction to the film by actor James Lorinz (1080p)
- Your Date’s on a Plate: The Making of Frankenhooker: UK exclusive 'making of' documentary featuring director Frank Henenlotter, star James Lorinz and special effects artist Gabe Bartalos (1080p)
- A personal UK exclusive tour of the Gabe Bartalos effects lab in Los Angeles, California (1080p)
- A Salad That Was Once Named Elizabeth: Patty Mullen Remembers Frankenhooker (1080p)
- A Stitch In Time: The Make-Up Effects Of Frankenhooker (1080p)
- Turning Tricks: Jennifer Delora Remembers Frankenhooker (1080p)
- Original theatrical trailer (1080p)
- English subtitles for the hard of hearing


AND IN THIS CORNER...

FRANKENHOOKER [Synapse Films]

RELEASE DATE: November 8th 2011
REGION CODE: Region FREE
RATING: Unrated
DURATION: 85 mins
VIDEO: MPEG4 AVC 1080p 16:9 Widescreen (1.78:1)
AUDIO: DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround, DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo

SPECIAL FEATURES:
- Audio Commentary with Director Frank Henenlotter and Make-Up Effects Designer Gabe Bartalos
- A Salad That Was Once Named Elizabeth - Patty Mullen

- A Stitch in Time: The Make-Up Effects Of Frankenhooker
- Turning Tricks: Jennifer Delora Remembers Frankenhooker
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Reversible/Alternate Cover Artwork


SYNAPSE FILMS: Presented in 16:9 widescreen (1.78:1) with DTS-HD MA 5.1, 2.0. Having viewed the screener I can tell you that the transfer s quite good. Special features include a commentary with director Frank Henelotter and make-up effects creator Gabe Bartalos, three very cool featurettes, a trailer and reversible artwork.

ARROW VIDEO: Likewise Arrow's Blu-ray presents the film in 16:9 widescreen (1.78:1) but I've been unable to confirm that the audio option replicates Synapse's DTS-HD options. Arrow offers the very same featurettes plus new UK exclusive features including a 'making of' documentary featuring director Frank Henenlotter, star James Lorinz and special effects artist Gabe Bartalos, an exclusive intro from Lorinz, and a tour of the Gabe Bartalos effects lab in Los Angeles, California plus an audio commentary with director Frank Henenlotter and star James Lorinz. Packaging extras include a reversible sleeve with newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphries, a double-sided fold-out poster and a collector’s booklet featuring writing on the film by Calum Waddell.

VERDICT: It would appear that Arrow Video have won this round 2 of BLU-RAY BATTLE pretty handily. The fact they replicate all the bonus content of the Synapse Blu-ray plus throw in several newly created features a deal breaker. Be aware that both feature exclusive commentaries with director Frank Henelotter who on the Synapse title is joined by star James Lorinz while make-up effects creator Gabe Bartalos appears on the Arrow track. Also note that the Arrow edition has passed the BBFC uncut and the film on either disc are of the same cut. My decision is based on presentation + bonus content and I'll throw out the caveat that the Arrow transfer of the film would really have to right rotten to force a reversal of decision. 
 
Keep in mind that I haven't reviewed either release but will hopefully do so in short order. If having the film in your hand ASAP is important to you know that the Synapse edition streets on Nov. 8th with Arrow's following on Dec. 5.
 
In an alternate reality where film nerds scribble Blu-ray want lists on the back of crisp $100 dollar bills we would want both editions on our shelves, but in the cash-strapped reality of the world market this is my small attempt to help guide fellow genre film fans towards the most complete and proper presentations of our favorite films. So what's it gonna be for you dear reader? Let me know...    
 



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