Sights, Sounds & Insights
COLLECTION (Deluxe Edition)
By Scott Michael Bosco
It has come to my attention that this release hasn’t really gotten the deserved attention it deserves. I wasn’t going to do a review on it since I am associated with it via 3 audio commentaries (Omen I, II & III). However, since what I’ve read and seen (on Youtube) I feel that the consumer who may be interested, but have held off, should be made aware of points that none so far have really touch upon.
It’s unfortunate that the internet has allowed people of low credence and background to shine and give out unstructured opinions on various products and such; and in the end offer poor – in this case reviews.
So, I would like point out what has been missing from these hacks who called themselves “reviewers” - as service to those to worked on this release, and should have their efforts known.
First I feel the need to point out the newly produced video interviews done by Shout Factory are wonderfully well done. The persons on camera answers unheard questions and give excellent answers on varied subjects. The information given delves into casting, production, production crew, special effects, writing, changes in directors, story concepts, changes in filming, acting, and concepts dropped. Information is heard that has never before been released making these interviews a coo. With so many of the original stars now deceased it wonderful that Shout has gotten the survivors for prosperity. A name behind the scene to mention is Cliff Macmillian who produced these segments - thank you!
In doing these segments SHOUT has taken up the slack of 20TH CENTURY-FOX who through lack of interest has lost cast and crew members without documentation of their efforts on these films - much as with the original PLANET OF THE APES releases.
INTERVIEWS with Author David Seltzer, Actress Holly Palance.
DAMIEN OMEN II
INTERVIEW with Actress Lee Grant, Robert Foxworth and Elizabeth Shepherd
THE FINAL CONFLICT
INTERIEWS with Director Graham Baker, Writer Andrew Birkin and Assistant Jeanne Ferber.
OMEN IV THE AWAKENING
INTERVIEW with Writer Brian Taggert
The first film, THE OMEN is presented from a newly done 4k transfer. Now on a certain site forum there seems to be some confusion over this. A new 4k master was struck. What is presented in this box set is a new 1080p master from that 4k one. Although not UHD 4k, it yields improvement from the 4k source and is very apparent. This puts this release up there with others SHOUT FACTORY has released, LIFEFORCE and JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING. In the end there is improved image quality, with more precise colors, contrast and sharpness.
One thing that hasn’t bee address by any other writer is the sound. Both THE OMEN and DAMIEN soundtracks have been tweaked and offer improved separation in the front Left and Right channels. Both of these films were originally released in MONO. However I knew a person at FOX that informed me that DAMIEN was mixed with 4track stereo soundtrack, but it was never released that way. He also told me it had been lost in the years.
Both THE OMEN and DAMIEN have been remixed in the past into stereo by a company, CHASE SURROUND. The OMEN was first re-mixed years ago for a BETA HI-FI release. That mix was updated for DVD and Blu-ray release.
The soundtrack heard on the SHOUT RELEASE features more definable stereo separation with sound effects, and a little less surround. DAMIEN too has been touched and secures a more definable separation amongst the frontal soundstage, and with a little more separation in the surround, at times. On the down side, the sound for DAMIEN is a bit thin and somewhat hollow at times.
THE FINAL CONFLICT was the only film of the series release theatrically in DOLBY STEREO (L, C, R with MONO Surround). Offered on the disc are two mixes, one in 2.0 Dolby Surround, and a 5.1 mix. The latter contains more bass but has a slight distortion. The mix for the film was never dynamic, but then again has never sounded as it did in premier theaters, as in NYC. When saw the film theatrically it had an incredible presence, especially during the “Second Coming” sequence where the surround speakers exploded to life in a spectacular way. If you listen to my audio commentary for the film I talk about a difference in the mixing between the 2.0 and 5.1, and how it is especially heard on one scene in the film – due to a change in the script.
Packaging wise this box set is a massive improvement over the past FOX release. The Box slip-case is a heavy weight cardboard, with a eye catching new artwork. (I personally would have had a total recreation of Yigael’s Wall, as seen briefly in DAMIEN.)
It’s interesting to note that the special bonus features decrease as the sequels and remake go on. I for one very much like THE FINAL CONFLICT.
New to this box set is the blu-ray release of OMEN IV THE AWAKENING. Interesting at times, a sequel that stupidly tries to continue the series, and ignores OMEN III’s Second Coming ending everything. It’s poorly conceived but does have moments, and damn good final surprise. Because it ran as a TV film domestically this is the first time it is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.
I won’t even waste time on the OMEN remake, a horrible, and laughable attempt in striking gold for a second time devoid of anything, visual, music or story worth complementing
Yes, it’s a shame all the films weren’t re-mastered in 4k, yes, is a shame none were released in UHD. But, until that day should come – SHOUT FACTORY has done an excellent job in gathering this unique set of films.
Well worth the purchase.