~Reviewed April 2011 at Universal Monster Army~
Well my youngest, Samantha, has finally pawed my original Goodtimes dvd of Munster, Go Home! so much that it is starting to lock up and skip. Well as luck would have it while perusing dvds at Target I came across The Munsters Two-Film Fright Fest for $5, so it was a no-brainer to replace the scratched up Goodtimes dvd. And of course this being a "Franchise Collection" you also get The Munsters' Revenge. One thing that intrigued me about this disc was Munster, Go Home! being presented in Anamorphic Widescreen? Now I knew that the film was shot in full frame but never gave much thought to the theatrical release of it and how it was presented.
I'll skip the usual synopsis found in reviews and just assume that we've all seen Munster, Go Home! And if you haven't...What the heck are you waiting for it's only 5 bucks!!!
First of all the Goodtimes dvd does have the "formatted to fit your screen" disclaimer which is-but isn't true! As I mentioned before, the film although presented in widescreen originally, was shot in full frame. So in this movies case you actually get the directors view by watching the full frame version as opposed to the widescreen; more on that later! Also noted is there is no scene index on the Universal disc, not a big deal for me though since I rarely use scene index anyway! I suppose I would be remiss at this point if I didn't mention packaging; I prefer the classic portrait picture on Universal's cover over the pasted montage photos on Goodtimes release. Goodtimes disc does have an insert with the scene index something really not needed in Universal's release since there is no scene index...though I did keep this and threw it in the Universal case!!
At the time of purchase I found nothing wrong with Goodtimes transfer but upon viewing the "newer" (released in 2006) Universal release there really is no comparison, Universal's print is the hands down winner the colors are so freakin' vibrate it is incredible and there is a lot more definition in the darker scenes than before. Here are a few screen captures for comparison:
You have to start all Universal features with the logo of course~Goodtimes first-Universal second
You can already see right when the Universal logo comes up just how much clearer this picture is. I think I can actually see my house in the Universal print..oh wait this is from 1966 that can't be my house!?
Again here the picture is just much clearer and lighter but you also start to notice some of the picture missing from the lower and upper portion-there is though a tiny amount of gain on the sides of the widescreen print.
These letters actually look like melted wax on the Universal print instead of the gooey glob effect on the Goodtimes print.
Here's a really good comparison shot of just what you miss out on on the widescreen version. Notice in the first pic the very top of the house all the way down to the sidewalk is clearly visible.
Couldn't get this screen capture exact but never the less they are both from the same scene; Herman entering the house after being dropped off in a hearse. Very cool to see some of the detailing of the house much clearer than before, you can also start to notice some of the texture of clothing as well.
Here again you just get so much more detail and clarity in the Universal print. You can actually see Lily's surroundings and notice the red jewels in the bat necklace.
Eddie's hair doesn't look like a plastic head piece anymore, you can actually see individual strands! Never realized just how vibrate his outfit was!
Just look at all that cobwebbing that shows up now and those blood reds are just gorgeous!
Here is another really great scene for the fullframe/widescreen comparison; Before the Munsters' Koach was sitting on the street but in the new print it appears to be almost sitting on the bottom of your tv screen.
In the original print even when the lightening flashes you really couldn't see all that much in the background of this shot but now you can.
Chose this shot because....umm...because it's a skeleton with light up eyes!! Need there be more of a reason?
Doesn't Marilyn's dress just look peachy in the new print?
One thing I will add is that some of the make-up for The Munsters, Herman especially, is a little garish at times with the new print, the fuzziness of the Goodtimes print actually helped to blend some of the colors better and make the make-ups look smoother.
I really do wish Universal would have included both fullframe and widescreen-Fullframe is the way most of us have always seen Munster, Go Home! and of course is the original shooting framing but with widescreen you get to see it the way it was shown in theaters. Also there are no bonus features what so ever, which definitely would have been nice and set this release way above the previous Goodtimes release.
Menu screens; The Universal one is actually a sub-menu as the main menu is the choose between features menu.
I would definitely say this is worth a double dip, even if your Munster, Go Home! disc hasn't been scratched up by your kiddos, it's only $5 and you've never seen the Munsters this vibrant and in such great detail before! I can't believe there wasn't more mentioned about this release when it came out, though the Goodtimes disc, released in 2001, had only been out for 5 years before this release so maybe it was overlooked by most Munsters fans?
As far as The Munsters' Revenge; What can be said? It is what it is. I loved the Munsters when I was a kid (and of course still do) so I was right there glued to the tv screen in 1981 when it premiered but it is truely a nostalgia piece and doesn't hold up well (it barely did when it was originally released). I'm sure this transfer is a 100 times better than the VHS copy I have, no real need for a side by side comparison.
Both features contain clear/clean audio tracks~
Munster, Go Home! is presented in DD 2.0
Munsters' Revenge is presented in Mono
Final thoughts: This is the kind of release that if it had been Blu-ray folks would have been touting about the superiority of that format over dvd but as evidenced by this release it has more to do with the superiority of the print used than it does the medium....at least when it comes to dvd vs. Blu-ray! If you love The Munsters it is the perfect time of year to search this release out and pick it up......or you could always wait for the inevitable Blu-ray!