View Full Version : Best of the Best In Laser Disks

12-20-2001, 11:27 PM
Yes, I want to know what you collectors out there consider to be the greatest titles on the format. I'm new to LD's and just recently picked up The Fog, Escape From New York, Halloween CAV Criterion Edition and Dawn of the Dead CAV Box Set. Those titles are a big part of why I wanted to get a player and now that I have em' I want to get some ideas for future investments.

12-21-2001, 03:05 AM
Howling S.E. is loaded. From what I've heard, a lot of the stuff still won't be on the upcoming S.E. dvd.
Leatherface TCM3 is sweet too. Un-cut, 2 commentary tracks, deleted scenes, alt. ending.
Nightmare on Elm Street S.E. has tons of stuff not on the dvd or the boxset disc. 30 minutes of Deleted Scenes, storyboards, letters of rejection from movie studios, test screen results, test Freddy voices and more I can't remember (maybe the script and some "making of")

For some non horror titles I've found;
Sid and Nancy Criterion has more stuff than the dvd, esp. photos and articles on the real Sid and the Sex Pistols U.S. tour.
Boyz in tha Hood Cri. has commentary, deleted scenes and screen tests.
Menace II Society Cri. has 2 comm. (one from each Hughes bro.), & deleted scenes.
Spinal Tap Cri. has all the dvd stuff, 2 different comm. than MGM dvd, and some diff. deleted scenes than MGM. Plus it's afforable. Same with The Killer.
Scream is un-cut with more gore than all the dvds, and the same commentary. These are cheap on ebay.

12-21-2001, 04:37 AM
Hey thanks. I found A NIghtmare On Elm Street, Sid and Nancy and Menace II Society particuarly interesting as I did not know they had the exclusive features you mentioned. I find it unfortunate however, that Criterion split the Hughes brothers up onto two seperate commentary tracks. I've known about The Howling but did NOT know that the SE DVD would STILL be lacking in features. I suppose I'll pick that up too, eventualy. As for TCM3, well I have to admit I've never been a big fan, though those are very cool extras. I'm afraid to mention Scream on this forum, but I did like the original and an un-cut presentation would be pretty cool.

12-21-2001, 06:58 PM
The original TCM is a kick ass disc, with all the extras the dvd has, but a better film & sound transfer. The Night of the Living Dead Collector's Edition has the same transfer & extras as the DVD, but a lot more supplements (original script, interviews, a massive still gallery,etc..). Also, if you're a Star Wars fan, I'd recommend picking up the 3 original films (not the special editions, but the ones that came out before). They're THX certified, WS, and don't have the bs with Gredo shooting first, or Han walking on Jabba's tail. The other discs everyone else mentioned are great as well.

12-21-2001, 07:43 PM
I'll also mention that the Indiana Jones movies look and sound fantastic on LD. Not Dolby Digital, not even THX, but just as good as a non-anamorphic DVD.

Not often cited as a must-own laserdisc is Dazed and Confused. The DVD of that movie is a plain Dolby 2.0, but the laserdisc is full Pro-Logic Surround. If you like the 70s music in that movie, pick up the LD

The Seven box set from Criterion has different supplements.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest came in a special "coffee table" edition, which is a full color 100+ page coffee table book, with the LD encased on the front and back covers.

I like that special edition of The Howling as well. Even if all the supplements make it to DVD (doubtful), it's still a beautiful package.

I prefer the THX sound on the Criterion Silence of the Lambs LD
to the DVD. That includes the Criterion DVD AND the recent special edition.

There's a sweet (but hard-to-find) Special Edition of the orginal version of The Thing...look for it

Some say that the Japanese disc of Evil Dead still has the best transfer. It's not hard to find at all...

12-21-2001, 07:52 PM
Originally posted by Paff

There's a sweet (but hard-to-find) Special Edition of the orginal version of The Thing...look for it

Whoa, what company released the original "The Thing" on LD? I would love to have this disc.

12-22-2001, 07:01 AM
Hey, that's some really good feedback. Firstly though, why am I always hearing abut LD's having superior sound over DVDs? What's the deal with that?

Then jscott is saying TCM has better looking picture then the DVD. I own that disk, the DVD that is, and it looks mighty fine. I am having trouble believing that the LD can look any better. I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers here, I mean I have heard this mentioned before, it's just hard for ME to except.

The Star Wars and Indiana Jones sets I've been looking into as I've never seen them WS. Well I did see the SE of Star Wars in the theaters, but that's another thing all together.

Also, I've heard alot about The Howling before and you guys seem to confirm it's a great LD and one to most certainatly own.

I think you own the Japanese LD of The Evil Dead Paff, so do YOU think it has the best transfer?

The Silence of the Lambs brings me back to my first question about the sound. Is there an immense difference in sound, one that truly merits yet another purchase? I own the Criterion DVD and havn't bothered with the new release yet, though I hear it has a much better transfer. It seems you must choose between sound and picture on alot of these titles.

Last, but far from least, comes Howard Hawks classic, The Thing. I didn't even know this one was on LD. I KNOW you own this one so I'll ask: How's it look and what's it got on it?

12-22-2001, 09:13 AM
OK, I've tipped back a few pints of amber, hope this all comes out coherent...

1. Why does Texas Chainsaw Massacre look better on LD? According to Don May himself, after they remastered the negative, they found lines in the picture, a result of splicing tape glue seeping onto the reels. They digitally removed those lines. The DVD was struck from the remastered negative, but WITHOUT the digital line removal.

2. LD sounds better because it's uncompressed and uncompromised. Pro-Logic on LD is beautiful, it sucks on DVD. DVD also has to have the ability to downconvert Dolby Digital for those who don't have the capability. LD has Pro-Logic and Dolby Digital on SEPARATE tracks, thus the DD on LD does not have to be able to down convert

* - that has not been proven, that's my theory. But I will say that a Pro Logic LD sounds way better than a 2.0 DVD

3. About Evil Dead...I haven't done a comparison of all the transfers, so I don't really know. I'm just passing on info. The Japanese LD does look pretty damn good though, doesn't it?

4. Silence of the Lambs CC brings us back to the Pro-Logic/2.0 argument. The LD is THX Pro-Logic, the DVD is 2.0. The new DVD is 5.1, but I compared directly. The LD is a LOT warmer, and uses much more surround. But yes, you do choose between sound and picture. I find DVD has better picture, LD has better sound.

5. Indiana Jones movies rock on LD

6. The Thing (From Another World) is on a sweet Image LD. Full list of extras:

Theatrical Trailer
Posters and Lobby Cards
Pressbook Materials
Complete text of John Campbell's originsl short story "Who Goes There?"
Gatefold Essay on the making of the film

More cool LDs:

12 Monkeys Box Set
Jaws Box Set
The Haunting (63)
Heavenly Creatures
The Funhouse (has the trailer)

12-22-2001, 09:40 PM
Well, yeah, it came out coherent to me. Your whole theory as to why a LD sounds better makes alot of sense, and I can see The Texas Chainsaw Massacre looking better on the LD now that you've given me the facts.

Still, how many times am I going to buy The Evil Dead?

Then theres The Silence of the Lambs. Better sound on the CC LD,
better picture on the new Special Edition DVD. Too bad I own the CC DVD... what looks to be the absolute worst of the three.

Yeah, I'm sure the Indiana Jones movies DO rock on LD, but then anythings better then my worn out VHS copies.

The Thing From Another World sounds to be be one of the best you bruoght up. It's really a fovorite of mine and I've mostly been happy with all my Image DVDs. I also glad to hear it has the original short story, as I've never found it to read before. Heavenly Creatures and The Haunting sound like good picks, however I own The Jaws DVD and Twelve Monkeys. Bet the sounds better though, right?

Oh yeah Paff, I know you own the Phantasm sequels. Are these by chance presented in there original theatrical aspect ratios?

12-22-2001, 09:57 PM
Originally posted by Egg_Shen

Oh yeah Paff, I know you own the Phantasm sequels. Are these by chance presented in there original theatrical aspect ratios?

I'll answer for Paff. Phantasm II & III are both presented full frame. Now whether they are REALLY full frame, or pan & scan, is something I can't determine.

AND, IMO, wait for A.B. to release their special edition of The Evil Dead on DVD, so you can get Within the Woods. No matter what release you buy of The Evil Dead, it is a 16MM film, so it's never gonna look perfect.

12-23-2001, 03:06 AM
Yeah, the Phantasm sequels are 4:3.
II isn't too good, but III looks pretty nice. Of course, either is still preferable to VHS

As far as 12 Monkeys and Jaws, it's not sound as much as the extras. Both are Signature Collections by Universal, and since they've made DVD Special Editions of both of these movies that feature less stuff than the LD, it's highly doubtful that all of the Frighteners extras will make it to DVD.

Here's what's on 12 Monkeys:
Commentary by Terry Gilliam and Charles Rosen
The Hamster Factor - an original documentary
Production Photographs
Original Advertising, marketing, and publicity materials
Theatrical Trailers

12-23-2001, 06:50 AM
It's always in the extras... or sound. Well that does sound cool, though I wish I could get a better version of Phantasm II.

Speaking of sound, I got my copy of the Jaws DVD without the dts track. I've been wondering how that sounds. Getting back on topic though, I think they cut like an hour off the The Making of Jaws, so it comes as no surprise that they did smething like that with 12 Monkeys. Heck, most DVD collectors don't know enough about LD releases to realize what thier missing anyway.

Heres some other titles I thought I might run by you guys:

Last House On the Left
Near Dark
Pulp Fiction(Criterion)

12-23-2001, 10:38 PM
Last House on the Left

basically just a port of the Vestron Video tape. I had it, then sold it. About all you can say is it's more durable than the VHS. Quality is the same.

Near Dark

Another VHS-style transfer. There's a DVD coming, I'm waiting for that

Pulp Fiction (Criterion)

Despite it's hefty price tag, it's a pretty lame box set. It's a CAV transfer...so expect a lot of disc flips and changes. No commentary. Just the deleted scenes that appeared on the VHS, and a Charlie Rose interview. Since the standard Pulp Fiction release is a THX transfer, that's all you really need. I'm the world's biggest Pulp Fiction fan, and I have no interest in the Criterion version.

Carrie (Criterion)

Here, the biggest extra is a commentary by film historian Laurent Bouzereau. At first, that didn't interest me, but after seeing the extras he produced for Dressed to Kill and Carrie DVDs, I might wanna check this disc out someday.

None of these discs are must-haves, if that's what you're asking.

12-24-2001, 12:40 AM

I just got the Scream D.C. laser. The extra gore is cool, but not that much (it says 20 seconds on the cover, feels like less) and the pic. is nowhere near as good as the dvd. That may be due to my player, which is ghetto by all means. I'll porbably get a decent player when this one dies, but didn't think laser would have so much to offer when I did get it.
It does kinda suck they split the Hughes for the Menace comms., but one talks about the technical stuff while the other talks more about the story and funner making of stuff. Plus it has a few more seconds of blood/bullet hits that had to be trimmed. The running time listed is like 8 minutes shorter than what the dvd case lists. I don't know if the dvd is a misprint, but I didn't notice anything missing. I have never seen the dvd though, just VHS back in tha day.

Does "John Carpenters The Thing" have anything on the laserdisc that's not on the dvd? If so I'll have to get that.

12-24-2001, 06:58 AM

I'm not your BB-Movie Showcase by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't think the LD of Carpenter's the Thing is superior to the DVD. I own the latter and am happy with it, though an anamorphic transfer would be nice. I don't know about the Scream disk. I mean the movies OK, but not one of my favorites. I can vaguely remember Craven expressing his disgust for the MPAA over some cuts they wanted in the opening. Nothing too graphic, right?


I won Carrie a few days back and it should be here in a week or more, so I'll tell you what I think. Oh, and I just had the pleasure of reading your review for The Beast Within. I can't say I've ever heard of that movie but I've got to side on your opinion of 80's Horror trailers, they were scary as Hell. Don't know if they would have the same effect now as they did then, but to a young fan in the late 80's they made quite the impression.

12-24-2001, 07:47 AM
Full list of extras on John Carpenter's The Thing:

Commentary with Carpenter and Russell
80-minute documentary
Theatrical Trailer
Behind the scenes photographs
Storyboards and conceptual art
Annotated Production archive

12-25-2001, 08:22 PM
Thanks paff, sounds just like the dvd to me, even the running time on the doc.
There is a nice scene of Drew's boyfriends guts spilling out that had to be cut near the beginning of Scream. I think that's what Wes was pissed about most. Plus you can see more of Drew's corpse.
There is also a quick 1 or 2 second shot of Rose McGowen's head getting crushed in the garage door that's pretty cool.

12-25-2001, 11:04 PM
Hmmm... that's interesting. I wonder why this is ONLY on Laserdisc. Too bad the Craven/Williamson commentary wasn't on this version.

Paff, I thought the Last House On The Left LD had footage cut from other versions. Is this information incorrect?

12-25-2001, 11:41 PM
Man forget the Laserdisc, I just read that Craven and Cunningham
just recently recorded a commentary track for the Special Edition uncut DVD due out next year. I had forgotten about this one.

12-26-2001, 06:40 PM
Oh yeah, the comm. track on the Scream laserdisc was used on the dvd versions (and the vhs w/comm. too) even though the comm was recorded watching the un-cut film, then put to a cut version on dvd! I thought Wes was high when I first listened to the comm. on the dvd and he was talking about stuff that wasn't there!
FUCK Disney! (even though they DID the laser too, again making no sense)
Looking forwarc to that Last House dvd. I'm about to sell my import dvd. MGM is doing some good work with their dvds recently, so I won't be screaming fuck them anymore, but FUCK Disney!

12-27-2001, 12:08 AM
Yeah man, F Disney. Actually the only problem I've had from them was their release of eXistenZ. I got the Canadian DVD though, so no worries :) .

12-27-2001, 03:34 AM
Every time I look at my "Prophecy" dvd and see "special features-chapter search, ultra stereo" it makes me wanna kill some Mouse.

12-28-2001, 10:04 PM
I don't have anything to back any of this up, no specs or anything, but I will say:

I like Creepshow better on LD (the image and sound on DVD wasn't how I remembered my LD looking. Wish I never sold it)

JAWS - though the DVD I have now is better than my previous LD, they did not include this one trailer which I thought was COMPLETELY wicked. I wish I kept my LD just for that trailer cuz it was sooo cool. Not sure if its on the box set.

I also like my THING on DVD better.

The box sets to LD's are WAAAAYYY superior to DVD's box sets. Totally had the collector in mind. There's a lot of "FUCK DISNEY" comments here, but some of their LD box sets are SUPERB. Fantasia has outstanding booklets and litho prints. SNOW White, damn, I can't say enough on all the COOL limited edition lito prints, books, etc... that come with that.

And the ORIGINAL STAR WARS TRILOGY box set has a ton of cool trailers I don't 'think' are on any other versions. And a nice HARD BACK book pretty much kissing Lucas' ass.

QUESTION - when they transfer some of these LD commentary tracks to their DVDs... do they edit some of the commentary. Because the commentary in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN specifically mentions you are watching the LASER DISC and even mentions the cool fold out. Is that also in the DVD????

BTW, I think Robert Rodriguez does some of the best commentary. Fun to listen and interesting and insightful!!!!

12-28-2001, 10:47 PM
Originally posted by MISFITZ
QUESTION - when they transfer some of these LD commentary tracks to their DVDs... do they edit some of the commentary. Because the commentary in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN specifically mentions you are watching the LASER DISC and even mentions the cool fold out. Is that also in the DVD????

Dunno about From Dusk Till Dawn, but on the Maniac commentary they often refer to the "laserdisc", so that's an unedited track. I believe they also mention "laserdisc" in the Phantasm commentary...and there's always the classic line from the Chasing Amy commentary...

12-29-2001, 01:22 AM
I've never seen the From Dusk Till Dawn laserdisc, but the line about laserdisc commentary is on the dvd.
I'm 99% sure that Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Evil Dead 2 both mentioned they were for the laserdisc.

While we're on the subject, I listened to the comm. on the Wishmaster dvd (can't remember if they took it straight from the laser) and it seems to repeat itself near the middle of the movie, as if it's poorly edited.
Anyone have the laserdisc?
Does it also do this? Is the dvd cut? As far as I know, they're both rated R, and I couldn't find any info on cuts on imdb.com.