Essential Upgrades: Fellini Does Horror! Spirits Of the Dead (DVD/ Blu-ray Comparison)

Everybody loves anthology horror films, and most of us can appreciate the works of film's greatest masters.  But how often do we get see the two mashed together into one super film?  Well... I'm not sure it's totally happened here either, but Spirits Of the Dead is still a pretty enjoyable, compelling piece of cinematic art.  Federico Fellini, Louis Malle and Roger Vadim come together to each direct a short Edgar Allen Poe story.  And it was released in the US on DVD by Home Vision Entertainment... but you all should really import.
Roger Vadim, probably the least well known of the three directors, is up first, and his is easily the weakest segment.  It's kind of the gateway you have to pass through to get to the rest of the film.  Vadim is the guy who did Barbarella, and in fact this film was the same year.  It also stars Jane Fonda, alongside brother Peter Fonda, and the whole thing feels like kind of a self-indulgent affair with stars changing from one unconvincing period piece to another seemingly ever minute.  Still, there is Poe at the heart of the thing, and you the dark side of the story comes through.  Jane Fonda is a selfish and debaucherous countess who thinks nothing of misusing the people beneath her until she eventually meets her cousin, Peter, who challenges her for the first time in her life.  So she kills him, steals his prize black horse, and as you can imagine, something ominous and supernatural is sure to follow.  It's not a bad story, but the presentation is such an odd mix of campy and wooden... If you've seen the recent film The Love Witch, this is definitely the type of film it was playing on.
Louis Malle is up next, with a much more respectable looking entry co-starring Brigette Bardot.  A 19th century Italian military officer races in to a confessional to admit to murdering someone who's haunted him his entire life, a sort of evil doppelganger.  This one brings in some serious acting and has a compelling atmosphere, but even if you're not familiar with Poe's writing, it feels like an old story that takes its time going to a very predictable place.  But it definitely sets you up for something more wild and unpredictable, and Fellini does not disappoint with his conclusive segment.  This really feels like a Fellini film, like Roma or Intervista, and you'll spend a good portion of this film wondering what the heck Poe wrote that could somehow connect to what's on screen.  It stars Terrence Stamp as a troubled Hollywood celebrity who's come to Italy seemingly to be celebrated by the entire country's populace.  Eventually we get to the real Poe material and the devil, but even then it feels like the point of the original story has been a little misplaced, an unimportant detail buried somewhere underneath Fellini's wild spectacle.
So Home Vision Entertainment's DVD came out back in 2001, and even for its time it was a mixed bag.  It was anamorphic widescreen and a pretty healthy looking presentation of the uncut version (there have been several trimmed VHS releases in the past).  But on the other hand, it was a French dub with English subtitles, and barebones.  But finally, in 2010, Arrow came to the rescue with a new scan of the original film elements on blu with the original Italian/ English audio track restored, and a few nice little perks to boot.
2001 Home Vision DVD on top; 2010 Arrow blu underneath.
Arrow corrects Home Vision's slightly off framing of 1.75:1 to a more natural 1.85:1, bringing in little slivers of added information around the sides.  More importantly, the color correction dials back its washed hues to reveal the natural colors underneath.  The old DVD wasn't badly compressed for such an old disc, and it wasn't interlaced or anything, but Arrow's blu naturally reveals a much cleaner, robustly detailed picture with sharper details.  Overall, it's just much more pleasant and attractive to look at.

Even more importantly, though, is that sound.  As I said, the old DVD only had a French dub with removable English subtitles.  Well, that French dub is on the Arrow, too, for completists.  But more importantly, the proper track that mixes English and Italian is here.  It's a better track throughout, but it's especially critical in the Fellini segment.  In that film, Stamp's character is out of his element, often being aggressively addressed by complete strangers in a language he doesn't understand.  Some people speak to him in English, others Italian.  But all of that is lost when the whole thing is dubbed into French; you can't tell when people are speaking his language or not.  You lose part of the story and only fully "get it" when you see the film with this track.  Oh, and yes, there are still optional English subtitles on both versions of Arrow's blu, in fact there are two sets, one for each version of the film, both of which were freshly re-translated for their release.
The 2001 DVD was barebones, too, although it did come with an insert with film notes.  And the Arrow doesn't really have any extra extras per se, either, like commentaries or interviews; but it does feature some nice inclusions relating to the presentation of the film.  In 1969, AIP added narration by Vincent Price, where he read some of Poe's "Spirits Of the Dead" poem over the credits, and that narration is available here as an option.  Again, you get the choice of audio and subtitle versions on this release, and they've included the original theatrical trailer.  It also comes with a nice, glossy, thick-spined booklet, which includes all three of Poe's original stories that these segments are based on, plus notes by Tim Lucas and Peter Bondanella.  Like most of Arrow's releases, it comes in one of those windowed slip-boxes, and includes reversible cover art with a crazy Japanese poster on the flip-side.
Admittedly, this film isn't for everyone.  It would fit more at home in the Criterion Collection than the Scream Factory line-up, with an admittedly pretentious bent compared to something like Nightmares.  It's still a fun, anthology horror film, but it's alternatively too campy, dry and then anarchic for more conventional audiences.  It's still pretty great, though.  And by all means, if you are going to get this film, make sure and get the Arrow version, not the old DVD.  And if you already have the old DVD, this is definitely one to replace.  It's even region A/B/C, so my fellow lazy Americans, you have no excuses.  😜

Stay Safe with Criterion (DVD/ Blu-ray Comparison)

Todd Haynes used to be one of my favorite current filmmakers.  And don't get me wrong, I'm still watching everything he does and enjoying his work.  But I don't know if he'll ever again reach the heights of Safe again.  He's certainly had bigger box office since then, and more Academy Award nominations.  And Velvet Goldmine was delightful.  But 1995's Safe is like his perfect moment in art, where his skill as a filmmaker rose up from his rougher earlier work to reach the peak of his screenwriting, which has frankly been feeling a little more conventional these days.
Julianne Moore also serves up one of her greatest performances as Carol, an upscale, 80s, Los Angeles housewife.  She's living the perfect, circumscribed life until she becomes... allergic to it?  She's stricken by a mysterious illness, possibly stemming from household chemicals or pollution, or...?  No one can figure it out and nobody else seems to be affected.  It seems like it might all be psychosomatic until she finds a strange, cult-like community that share the same affliction, but is she ready to to join them, and what would doing that really mean?
Safe is a beautiful looking movie, thanks to some slightly period and carefully controlled photography.  In fact, the whole film is carefully controlled, from its slow but steady pace to Carol's entire environment, where she feels like the only unpredictable element in her entire world.  It's utterly gripping as one woman's identity slowly unravels and then strangely mutates into some sickly but new life.  It's like classic Cronenberg without the overt science fiction.  And there's some ideal supporting cast choices, too, including Jessica Harper, James Le Gros from Phantasm 2, Peter Friedman and The Walking Dead's Xander Berkeley
Safe was originally released on DVD back in 2001 by Columbia Tri-Star, and it was a pretty good, if unspectacular disc for its time.  It was anamorphic widescreen with an audio commentary, so really quite satisfactory, just not the packed special edition you expect for a masterpiece.  But eventually, the universal move to HD gave us a break, and Criterion picked this up for DVD and blu in 2014.  So let's see what they were able to do for this film.  😎
1) 2001 Columbia DVD; 2) 2014 Criterion DVD; 3) 2014 Criterion blu-ray.
Both releases are framed at 1.85:1, but Criterion's new 4k scan of the original camera negative pulls out just slightly to reveal a little more information all around.  Naturally, there's a fresh sharpness to the blu.  Grain is finally clear and the HD draws out some more detail; even Criterion's DVD is clearer than the Columbia Tri-Star effort; but the most noticeable upgrade is definitely the color correction.  The old DVD has a strong red push, and Criterion returns it to a very natural timing.

The case of the 2001 DVD says it's Dolby English audio track is a stereo mix, but that's wrong; it's just a mono track in 2.0 (I've gone in to look at the waves to confirm this).  And the Criterion audio, taken from the original 35mm elements, is also 2.0 original mono, presented in LPCM on the blu.  Both versions also include optional subtitles.
So like I said, the sole extra (apart from the trailer) on the Columbia Tri-Star disc is an audio commentary; but it's quite good, featuring Haynes, producer Christine Vachon and Juliane Moore herself.  Oh, there's also a bonus trailer and an insert.  Criterion thankfully carries over the commentary and trailer, but also adds a few new features.  Haynes and Moore have a substantial, over half an hour on-camera conversation, and Vachon has her own, new on-camera interview.  There's some repetition with the commentary, but also some new things to be gleaned.  The other special feature is the DVD debut of Haynes' first short film, Suicide.  He made this when he was just a young teen, however, so it's interesting for fans, but not a seriously compelling piece like Dottie Gets Spanked.  Hardcore Haynes fans should be excited, but casual viewers can safely give it a miss.  Criterion's release also comes out with an odd fold-out poster/ booklet.  Basically, it unfolds like a big poster, but instead of a big poster image, it just has panels of text notes by Dennis Lim.
So Criterion really nails it here.  I suppose if you're just a mildly a fan, you could hang onto the DVD.  Even sixteen years later, it's still more than serviceable: anamorphic widescreen and has the most important supplement.  It's just a little red and SD.  But for those who care, Criterion's blu pushes this film forward in all the right places.  This is a film that should look great because it has a distinct, cultivated look; and the presentation here is really first class.

You've Got To Respect The Elephant Man (DVD/ Blu-ray Comparison)

The Elephant Man is a rather unusual film for Lynch, in that it's not rather unusual.  Elephant Man's the film he made after spending years trying to find funding for his own, post-Eraserhead script and couldn't get it. So he decided to film somebody else's, more conventional script.  And fortunately for him, it turned out to be a huge success, nominated for like eight Academy Awards, and let him go back to making his own, distinct films.  Oh, and Dune.
The Elephant Man starts out with one surreal, abstract sequence, with literal elephants and super-imposed imagery.  After that, it becomes a very traditional, but excellent, bio-pic.  He went to London and worked with Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft and John Gielgud.  It's beautifully shot by Tales From the Crypt's Freddie Francis and produced by Mel Brooks.  It's very stoic in one sense, but it has a real old Hollywood feel, too.  And not just because it's in black and white.  It's the austere performances, the dark locations, it's inevitable story.  It just feels timeless, important and flawless, almost the exact opposite of Lynch's scrappy, wild excursions of self expression.  It's definitely not for anyone looking for quick, brain candy entertainment; but it's so bleak and honest that it still packs the same punch it did back in 1980.
Paramount gave this film a pretty respectable DVD debut back in 2001, anamorphic widescreen with some nice special features.  Really nothing to complain about.  But when Optimum put it out in the UK in 2008 with all new extras, well, you couldn't call yourself a Lynch fan if you weren't at least tempted to double-dip.  Well, I did.  But surprisingly, we still haven't seen it hit HD here in the states.  But Studio Canal has taken up the reigns and released it on blu in pretty much every other corner of the world.  I wound up going with their Hong Kong disc, which was a mistake as you'll see later.  But their transfer's the same on all the discs, so let's have our comparison.
Paramount DVD first, Optimum DVD second; Studio Canal blu third.
Paramount DVD first, Optimum DVD second; Studio Canal blu third.
Like I said, the even the initial DVD was pretty great.  So until you get up close, all these screenshots look pretty similar.  They're all pretty much identically framed at 2.35:1 and finely detailed.  None of them are interlaced, the colors are truly black & white (none of that weird green and purple haze that infects a lot of cheaper b&w DVDs).  They all seem to be using the same source master, but when you look at the close-up comparison, you can see how the UK DVD does smarten up the image a bit more than the older Paramount disc, which is more compressed with splotchier dark edges.  And then the blu clarifies the finer points even more.  Panning from left to right, it's like the faces are coming into focus.

Like all the Studio Canal blus, we're only given the English in 5.1, which is less than ideal for purists (after all, there's no way the original audio was in 5.1 back in 1980); but it's a pretty straight-forward mix, so it's fine.  And it's a Dolby TrueHD track, so it's uncompressed, and the English and Chinese subtitles are optional/ removable.
So why was the Hong Kong blu a mistake?  It's Region A, so it's nothing to do with that.  The problem is in the special features.  It's barebones, while the SC discs in literally every other country - France, Japan, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia, Australia, Germany, The UK - have a nice special features package.  But not, for some reason, the HK disc.  So don't make my mistake.  If you're going to spring for this blu, pick literally any of the others.

But fortunately, thanks to my old DVDs, I have a nice selection of Elephant Man special features.  The Paramount DVD has a really good, half-hour 'making of' featurette that interviews Brooks, Hurt, and several other key players.  It's pretty straight-forward, but quite good.  Then there's a brief but fascinating look at the special effects of the elephant man himself, which was taken from an actual cast of the original, real elephant man from a British museum.  That's followed by a "narrated photo gallery," where effects artist Christoper Tucker gives us a deeper look at the film's effects work.  Also included is the trailer an a nice insert with some cool artwork.
The UK DVD doesn't have any of that stuff, but what it comes up with is just as good, if not better.  First, there's a very professional, informative featurette about the real historical figure this film biographies.  But even more importantly is a very comprehensive, sit-down interview with David Lynch, the key player missing from the Paramount doc.  It's a really great, informative interview that goes through the whole process.  Finally, they have another, quite good interview with John Hurt; but it is fairly redundant if you've seen the Paramount stuff.  Oh, and the trailer's on here, too.

Now, the Hong Kong blu doesn't have jack, not even the trailer.  And while I don't own any of the other Studio Canal blus, I can tell you what's on them because I research this stuff.  A little too late in my case, but I researched it.  😆  Anyway, they have all of the Optimum extras, plus two additional interviews with Lynch (one of which is quite short).  So if you get one of those, you can forget about the UK DVD.  But the US DVD is worth hanging onto regardless, because all of those features are exclusive [except for the notorious Lime Green box; see the comments!], and feature unique interviews.
So if you're looking for a fun time, The Elephant Man may not be your bag.  Even if you're normally a Lynch fan.  But if you just like high quality films, this is certainly one.  Personally, I'd recommend importing an SC blu and then picking up the Paramount DVD used on the cheap to round it out.  Or you could wait for a US blu.  It really feels like something Criterion should've resolved years ago, and it wouldn't surprise me to see it get announced any day now with a fresh 4k scan and an all new retrospective.  But for now, this is what we've got, and it's actually quite good.

Zeder's Revenge! (DVD/ Blu-ray Comparison)

Image originally released Zeder, a.k.a. Revenge Of the Dead, on DVD in fullscreen as part of their Euroshock Collection way back in 1999.  But in 2002, when 20th Century Fox(!) reissued it in Italy in widescreen with the superior Italian audio track and removable English subs, I was very happy to upgrade.  More recently, when Code Red announced this title, I was excited at the prospect of this film making its HD debut, but only if it was the uncut version (there have been a couple budget releases - this one and this one - from a label called Cydonia missing a decent chunk of footage) with the Italian audio and English subtitles.  Thankfully, they came through.
The first thing you should know about Zeder is that the Revenge Of the Dead box art is very misleading.  If you're expecting anything Hell Of the Living Dead or Nightmare City, forget about it; zombies never crawl out of manhole covers or anything like that.  I mean, there are a couple cool scenes towards the end that you could maybe connect to the cover image at a stretch, but this is really more of a giallo with a supernatural twist than a traditional zombie film.  Gabriele Lavia is a young writer who buys a used typewriter and realizes the old ink ribbon reveals the last things the previous owner wrote with it.  This leads him into a strange conspiracy involving mysterious references to something called a "K Zone" and life after death.  Zeder is a smart, brooding film about secret messages, following clues, hidden passageways and a pool scene surely influenced by Val Lewton's Cat People, all written and directed by Pupi Avati (Story of Boys & Girls, The House With Laughing Windows).
And this is why fans cared so much about getting the original Italian audio with this film.  Yes, like almost all Italian films, it's all dubbed either way; but in Zeder's case, the Italian's a much better performed, naturalistic track.  And that wouldn't be so important for your typical Italian zombie film that's just out to dazzle you with eye candy and gut munching gore.  Heck, sometimes the bad dubbing can even add to the experience of the wilder cases; but here I think it really spoils it.  Here you've got great locations with atmospheric lighting and people that need to involve you in their struggles, not sound like cartoon characters.
All that said, I really appreciate Code Red releasing it with the Revenge Of the Dead artwork.  It's an iconic VHS cover from its day, and I have... fond? memories of renting it and falling asleep to it several times when I was too young to appreciate its craft.  And I like that Code Red's motif is to hold to those old American video days with their covers.  I mean, come on, if they're already released L'ossessa as The Eerie Midnight Horror Show, they've gotta go with "Revenge Of the Dead!"
2002 Italian Fox DVD on top; 2017 American Code Red blu on bottom.
The two discs look pretty similar, apart from the added clarity of Code Red's HD.  It still looks a little soft, which I imagine goes back to the film itself, but it definitely sharpens up the DVD and nicely clarifies all the edges.  The framing tightens in just a smidgen from about 1.82:1 to 1.78.  Despite being anamorphic, Fox's disc has a bit of window-boxing around all four sides that I'm glad the blu dispenses with.  Guys, let's never bring back TV overscan, okay?  Anyway, Code Red's packaging also specifically points out its new, exclusive color correction, and it looks quite good.  But again, it's pretty similar to Fox's DVD, just a bit more subdued, which is appropriate.  Compare the skin-tones in the comparison below to better see where they've improved things.  The "exclusive" presumably refers to a French blu-ray of this title which also just came out, but that one has no English language options, so unless you understand Italian or French, it's pretty academic.

Now, to be clear, Code Red (and the Italian DVD) does offer that inferior English dub in addition to the Italian track, if you want it.  It's nice to have as a curiosity piece if nothing else.  And yes, both releases have English subtitles.  But not everybody's entirely happy with Code Red's subtitles, so let's get into that.
2002 Italian Fox DVD on top; 2017 American Code Red blu on bottom.
There's a couple issues going on with the subtitles.  One is just the look.  Slightly outlined white vs. yellow with black bars behind them.  The first are less distracting, but the second are easier to read, which as a glasses wearer, I appreciate.  Second there are some translation differences, but I don't understand Italian well enough (or at all) to argue which are more accurate.  Code Red's subs match the English dub more closely and are likely what we foreign film fans like to call "dubtitles;" though neither version is too radically different.  And third, I think the most controversially, is the fact that the Code Red subs are captions for the hearing impaired, which means besides transcribing the dialogue, they also include sound effects like "[door opens]."  It isn't too distracting once you get used to it, though.  There isn't a "[tap] [tap] [tap]" for every footstep or anything; it's just the key sounds.  So I get why some people are a little underwhelmed, and I agree the Fox subtitles are preferable.  Like, if Code Red emailed me caps of both and asked which I thought they should go with, I wouldn't have picked the ones they went with.  But it also doesn't bother me, and I certainly wouldn't let it push me into watching the film with the English soundtrack or anything crazy like that.
If all this still has you on the fence about Code Red's blu, here's where they really pull ahead.  The Fox DVD did actually have special features.  Not a lot, but some pretty cool stuff.  Unfortunately, though, none of it had English language options.  So there's a well-edited 15 minute featurette including interviews with Avati, Lavia, producer Antonio Avati and composer Riz Ortolani, plus trailers for Zeder and House With Laughing Windows.  It's always killed me that that featurette doesn't have subtitles.

Code Red doesn't have any of that stuff, but instead come with their own special features package.  First and foremost is a terrific, half-hour interview with Pupi Avati, which you can watch either subtitled or dubbed (the latter created presumably because the subtitles on this extra, for some reason, are super tiny).  There's also a brief, but all new interview with Gabriel Lavia, and a fun Revenge Of the Dead teaser trailer which tries so hard to mislead you into thinking it's a different type of flick that it doesn't even show you any footage from the film.  The blu also includes reversible artwork, which is fitting, as you can go with a Revenge Of the Dead cover or a Zeder cover, though I'm not a big fan of their newly commissioned Zeder art (I never like these comic book-style covers the cult labels insist on going with these days), as well as a slipcover with the new Zeder art.
So look, I've read all the nitpicks, and I even agree with them; but as far as I'm concerned Code Red hit this one out of the park.  It looks great, is uncut with all the important language options and some some great extras... which for the first time ever, we can understand.  And Zeder is a really cool movie, so long as you're prepared for something subtle and calmly paced without a lot of gore or zombie action.

The Total Creepshow Experience (DVD/ Blu-ray Comparison)

Creepshow has always been released barebones in the USA. But in the UK, it had a sweet 2-disc DVD special edition. When it was time for blu-ray, Creepshow stayed barebones in the US, but the UK blu got even more extras! But finally, the director of the Creepshow documentary Just Desserts from the UK releases, Redshirt's Michael Felshner, put together an indiegogo campaign to release just his doc in the USA, even if it had to be by itself, as opposed to paired with Warner Bros' Creepshow discs. Well, that happened, and Synapse picked it up, including a bunch more special features. Just what's carried over from one special edition to another - and what isn't - can be a little confusing, so let's break it all down.

Update 4/10/17: Okay, this has been a pretty definitive post about Creepshow special features. But what about image quality? We gotta get the US blu-ray and have a proper comparison with the Second Sight one in the UK... so here it is!
First of all, Creepshow is a blast. It's one of those movies I loved as a kid and still get just as much out of today. You know, usually movies fall on one side of that line or the other, but this is one of those treats that fills both spaces. It's an anthology film directed by George Romero, written by (and co-starring) Stephen King, based on the old E.C. horror comics of the 1950s. That's already some top of the line talent, bolstered by the fact that they have a respectable (for a horror movie) budget and a big studio behind them. But then add to that the effects-work of Tom Savini and a terrific all-star cast, all delightfully shot and dramatically framed over-the-top, capturing the style of the original comic books perhaps better than any other, with the possible exceptions of much later entries like Sin City or Ang Lee's The Hulk. But unlike The Hulk, this doesn't suck, so it's really the best of both worlds.  ;)
Every story is great. You have a wrap-around segment where a young boy is forbidden to read his trashy comic books by his father, Tom Atkins. But he reads anyway, and each story is is one of our anthology's segments, starting with Father's Day, starring Ed Harris. He marries into a wealthy family who owe all their spoils to their deceased patriarch, but their lack of respect has him not just rolling in his grave, but crawling up out of it. Next, King himself stars as an over-the-top hillbilly hick who thinks his luck has turned when a meteorite lands in his backyard, but we all know things can't go as well as he hopes. Next, Leslie Neilsen exacts some morbidly fatal revenge on his wife and the man she cheats on him with (Ted Danson), but it winds up backfiring on him. And speaking of murderous solutions to marital problems, Hal Holbrook thinks he may have figured out a way to finally rid himself of his delightfully shrewish wife, Adrienne Barbeau, when he finds a mysterious crate in the basement of his university. And finally E.G. Marshall is a rich man who takes germophobia to new extremes in his futuristically designed penthouse apartment, but unfortunately for him, nature always finds a way.
Creepshow was originally released on DVD in 1999. I unfortunately sold it off long ago, so I don't have it for today's comparison, but it at least an anamorphic widescreen presentation. I got rid of it, though, because in 2007 Second Sight put out their loaded 2007 special edition 2-disc DVD set, which I do still have and am including here. Back in the USA, Warner Bros gave this film its HD debut with their 2009 blu-ray, but it was barebones.  Eventually in 2013, Second Sight gave us the best of both worlds: special edition blu-ray. But is it the best? Let's see how the UK DVD and the two blus compare.
2007 Second Sight DVD on top; 2009 Warner Bros blu middle; 2013 Second Sight blu below.
So, by and large, it's the same root transfer on the DVD bumped up to HD on both blus. It's got the same occasional flecks and dirt (look at the white speck at the top left of all three Halbrook shots), roughly the same colors etc. I say roughly, because the DVD's a teensy bit darker, but only so's you'd notice in a direct comparison like this. One more notable difference, however, is the framing. Second Sight matted it to 1.85:1 on the DVD, but Warner Bros left it open to 1.78:1 on the blu-ray, and so did they. Apart from that, though, they're pretty similar. What was a great looking DVD becomes an okay looking blu. It is a bit cleaner and more clear without the DVD compression, but it's still soft and generally feels like the older master that it is. You know Arrow or Scream would give this a smarter 2 or 4k scan nowadays, but since this title's with Warners, I wouldn't expect anything better anytime soon, and what we've got here is respectable, and at least a mild upgrade from the already pretty strong DVD.

The DVD gave us a choice between a 5.1 remix or the original Dolby 2.0 stereo track, plus English subtitles. The Second Sight blu gives us the same audio options, but bumps them up to DTS-HD and LPCM respectively. However, unfortunately, this time around they neglected the subs.  On the other hand, Warner Bros remembered the subtitles (and French ones as well), but left off the 5.1 option, leaving us with just the TrueHD stereo 2.0.  So between the two blus, it's a bit of a trade-off, which is a pity, because Second Sight has set itself up to be an otherwise definitive release, and they already had a subtitle track on their DVD.
And by definitive, I mean look at these special features!  Now, like I said, the US Warner Bros release is barebones except for the trailer and a lame ad for Warner Bros releases in general.  So just forget about that and let's start with the DVD, which provides all the key staples. First, there's a very cool audio commentary by Romero and Savini, who provide a lot of great backstory to this film. But topping that is the feature length documentary Just Desserts, making its debut here. This is a great, very upbeat retrospective which talks to all the key players. It's very well made, in Red Shirt's usual, top notch fashion. And besides those two key features, there's also fifteen minutes of deleted scenes, a featurette compiling almost half an hour of Tom Savini's behind-the-scenes footage, the trailer and a stills gallery. The DVD also came in a cool slip-sleeve box.

Again, the US blu-ray didn't pick up any of that and remained barebones. Well, except for the trailer. But Second Sight's blu-ray carried over everything from their excellent DVD set, right down to the stills gallery, even bumping Just Desserts up to HD. Then, they added an all new audio commentary. This one, isn't really a proper audio commentary, though. It's more a collection of audio interviews that are laid over the film, but not commenting directly on it. They talk to director of photography Michael Gornick, actor John Amplas (the father in Father's Day), property master Bruce Alan Miller, make-up effects assistant Darryl Ferrucci and Bernie Wrightson, the artist who did the poster and the awesome oversized Creepshow comic book that my best friend and I used to borrow from the library like every other week for years.  Plus, they added an additional vintage TV spot.

And then we come to Synapse's brand new blu-ray release of just Just Desserts.
2007 Second Sight DVD on top; 2013 Second Sight blu-ray middle; Synapse's 2016 blu-ray bottom.
So, not much has changed apart from what you'd expect. The DVD looks a little more compressed, naturally, being in standard def. All three are framed at 1.78:1, but the 2013 blu-ray looks a little bit lighter than the other two, and the DVD is a little heavier saturated. I think I like Synapse's middle-of-the-road look the best. But oh no, wait - there is a big difference here: the whole lower third label is missing from the DVD shot! Well, watching the doc through, that label is on the DVD version, too; it just fades out a little earlier. So I guess they did a little tinkering with the edit for the blu-ray reissue? I didn't notice any substantial changes between the two versions, though, but there might be more subtle alterations and flourishes for the particularly curious to discover.
So, you might think getting Just Desserts is great for the Region A locked who've been stuck with entirely featureless Creepshow releases, and it is. But Synapse has packed their release with additional features which might just tempt owners of the Second Sight special editions. First, though, let me cover the other stuff they included from the Second Sight blu, because they did do some of that. You remember that collection of Savini's behind-the-scenes footage I mentioned before? That's been ported over to here, as has the not-quite-an-audio commentary with Gornick, Amplas, Miller, Ferrucci and Wrightson, which now plays as a commentary over the documentary (again, they're not commenting on anything in particular, so it's the same difference). They also carried over the stills gallery.
Scream Greats: Volume One
But Syanpse's blu also has a bunch of new stuff. There's an audio commentary (for the documentary, not Creepshow) by Felsher, an on-camera interview with Michael Gornick (which is actually the same interview heard on that second audio commentary, except slightly re-edited and now we get to see him), extended interview clips from the doc with Romero, Savini and Wrightson (the last of which, like the Gornick interview, is the same as on the audio commentary). There's also a Creepshow episode of Horror's Hallowed Grounds (these are always a blast), and a vintage segment of the Pittsburgh public access show Evening Magazine that interviews Romero and shows some behind-the-scenes footage of the filming of the movie. Finally, but perhaps most excitingly, is Fangoria's old Scream Greats: Volume One documentary that they released on VHS way back in the day, interviewing Tom Savini in his studio. It's presented here, along with its own audio commentary track by Savini. I imagine some fans will find this release worth the purchase price for this alone.

Also, if you supported the indiegogo campaign, you got an exclusive booklet and poster.  Good on ya.
So, no matter what you've already got, I think you're going to want to pick up Synapse's Just Desserts. It helps that it sells for pretty cheap. And if you want the ultimate Creepshow experience, you're going to want that and Second Sight's blu. Because, just to be clear, if you have Just Desserts and a US release of Creepshow, what you're still missing out on are the deleted scenes, the audio commentary with Romero and Savini, and the TV spot. And quality-wise, the blu-rays are deadlocked unless you absolutely require subtitles.  So Just Desserts and Second Sight's blu are the only two releases you need to concern yourself with now; none of the other releases have anything unique. Well, unless you want to go ultra-hardcore, and track down the French or Italian releases, which apparently have an exclusive ten-minute featurette on EC Comics. I actually wouldn't mind seeing that some day, but I'm not entirely sure if it's English-friendly...