Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Jean Rollin Film Festival at Triskel Christchurch!

***The article I have written mentioned below is now posted at this link for those interested.***

Here's the just released specially-commissioned poster (from artist Mark Kenny), advertising the upcoming Jean Rollin Film Festival at Cork City, Ireland's Triskel Christchurch, and isn't it an absolute beauty? This very special festival takes place the weekend of July 6th and more information can be read about it here. The lucky folks who get to attend will get to see screenings (courtesy of Redemption and Nigel Wingrove) of several of Rollin's greatest films including The Rape of the Vampire, The Nude Vampire, The Shiver of the Vampires, Demoniacs and Fascination! As if seeing those amazing works of art in an old church setting, with a cemetery just outside, wasn't enough the extraordinary Andy Votel will be on hand as well introducing Fascination and providing a DJ set! While I won't be able to attend, I'm very excited for this two-day long event as my good friend, filmmaker Chris O'Neil, helped bring this to life, along with Twisted Celluloid, Plugd Records, The Avant, Redemption Films and Finders Keepers Records. Even though distance doesn't allow me to attend, Chris has graciously allowed me to submit a new essay on Rollin which will appear at their web site sometime next week. I hope everyone in the area will attend and, even if you can't, please visit the above links and let the Triskel Arts Centre know how much we appreciate them celebrating our guy in such a super and stylish way!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Searching for the Perfect Full Circle: A Screenshot Comparison of Richard Loncraine's The Haunting of Julia (1977)

I have never made my love (and near obsession) for Richard Loncraine's stunning 1977 film Full Circle (The Haunting of Julia) a secret. I absolutely adore the film and think it is one of the great overlooked masterpieces of the seventies. In the past I have written on the film, its Colin Towns composed soundtrack (also a work of genius) and shared some lobby cards and now I am happy to present this screenshot comparison from the three different sources I have collected.
Fans of Full Circle know that it has never been that easy of a film to track down and most have probably still only seen it via the Magnum VHS tape that was released in the eighties under the title The Haunting of Julia.
A few years back many of us were excited to find out that Full Circle had finally been released in France on DVD on a disc that featured the first ever widescreen presentation of the film, but our excitement quickly turned to bitter disappointment when we found the disc turned out to feature a transfer even worse than Magnum's full-frame video from almost two-decades before.
With Loncraine's incredible film in some sort of legal limbo, hopes of getting a top-quality remastered edition have seemed more and more futile. Thankfully a beautiful remastered anamorphic HD version has recently appeared on Sony Movie Channel, making it possible for the first-time since its original theatrical release to really watch Full Circle the way it was meant to be seen.
I thought it might be interesting to compare my three versions of Full Circle to show just what a revelation this new Sony Movie Channel print is. While a DVD and Blu-ray still might be years down the road (if we ever indeed are treated to a proper release) fans of Full Circle finally now have a worthy copy of the film available to search down. Here are some screenshots comparing the three versions I now have in my collection. The top is the original full-frame Magnum VHS, the middle is the ugly widescreen French DVD and the bottom is the beautiful uncut Sony Movie Channel version (note that not only is it sharper and more colorful but it also has more side-information than the previous widescreen print). The sound is also greatly improved and Town's stunning score, much of which is still unreleased, has never sounded better.
These screenshots I have captured from each version show that the Sony Movie Channel's new HD print is far and away the best ever available and a major cause for celebration!