Terry Jones' Monty Python's Life of Brian

Like many of us, I've been revisiting the work of Python/ director Terry Jones since we lost him last week.  So let's do something in his memory and take a look at one of his most beloved films... one that has an interesting history on home video, but could also really use a shot in the arm in 2020: Monty Python's Life of Brian.
1979's Life of Brian is Monty Python's second film... or third, if you want to count And Now For Something Completely Different, but that's really just a compilation of the best skits from their series for the US market before their TV could be seen in the states.  I've read that Holy Grail is the Pythons' most popular film in America and Brian is in the UK.  For their part, the Pythons themselves seem pretty unified that this is their favorite, in large part because it's the film that has the most to say besides just being silly.
Not that it isn't silly, of course.  The premise is that, a baby was born just across from Jesus Christ, and he keeps getting mistaken for a messiah despite not being one.  The Pythons play almost all the major characters, including Graham Chapman as the titular Brian, Terry Jones as his mum, Michael Palin as Pontius Pilate, Terry Jones as Simon the naked holy man, John Cleese as Reg, leader of The Peoples' Front of Judea and Graham Chapman as Biggus Dickus.  This film has more of a cohesive narrative than the other Python films, although you might say that's immaterial so long as it's packed with great comic moments, which Brian absolutely is.  We get a few animated sequences from Terry Gilliam, though not so many as we'd seen in previous Python efforts, taking more on the role of the physical production and art design.  The locations, shot in Tunisia, where they were able to make use of the sets from 1977's Jesus Of Nazareth, are truly impressive and lend the outrageous comedy a remarkably credible backdrop.  And Eric Idle closes out the whole thing with what became his most famous and popular song, "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life."
Life of Brian debuted on DVD in 1999, with a widescreen but non-anamorphic, barebones DVD from Anchor Bay.  Very shortly afterwards, like just a few months later in 1999, Criterion reissued it as a now anamorphic special edition.  And that was the whole deal until it came time for an HD upgrade.  In 2008, Sony released their Immaculate Edition blu-ray, and that's been the sole go-to release ever since, with the same edition essentially replicated in every region around the world.
1) 1999 AB DVD; 2) 1999 Criterion DVD; 3) 2008 Sony BD.
So yeah, Anchor Bay's DVD is a pale, low res 1.84:1 image floating in a sea of non-anamorphic dead space.  I'm actually surprised it's not interlaced; it almost looks like it should be interlaced.  Criterion's DVD, then, is a still pretty pale, properly anamorphic 1.78:1 (despite claiming 1.85:1 on the case), with just the tiniest slivers of dead space in the overscan area.  You can see it includes more picture around all four sides, but particularly the bottom, no doubt due to its lifted 16x9 mattes.  Sony then mattes their blu back down to 1.85:1, losing a little along the sides with it.  It's also, thankfully, no longer so pale, though it looks like some of that's due to some artificial contrast boosting and a side effect of edge enhancement.  It's certainly the best of the three, but it's also clearly an old master that looks like maybe it was never even made to hold up on blu.  I mean, it's a 2008 blu, so what can you expect?  But even by those standards, it looks like detail is light and they tried to make up for that with some unfortunate tinkering.  It's not terribly terrible, I suppose... the grain is mostly, if gingerly, visible, and the haloing isn't super heavy.  But this is a film ready for a remaster if I've ever seen one.

Audio-wise, both films give us your basic mono track, with only Criterion offering optional subtitles.  Sony brings a whole bunch of language options, including French and Hungarian dubs and English, Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish, Thai (whew!) and Turkish subs.  But they've ditched the original mono track and now only give us 5.1 remixes, in both TrueHD and LPCM.
Anchor Bay just had the trailer, but Criterion packed their edition pretty nicely.   We start out with two audio commentaries, one by Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle, and the other by John Cleese and Michael Palin.  Both provide a good mix of insight and laughs.  Then there's a collection of deleted scenes, one of which solves a small mystery that's always followed the film, and all of which have optional commentary.  And there's an excellent, vintage hour-long documentary, simply called The Pythons.  It's a BBC-made feature ostensibly on the Pythons overall, but it interviews the cast while they're on the set of Brian, so the film winds up being as much about the film as the rest of their career.   They also have the trailer, four radio spots, and an insert with notes by critic George Perry.
The Pythons.
The Pythons is interlaced and pretty fuzzy, presumably just taken from broadcast, which I guess is why Sony dropped it from their Immaculate Edition.  Because they've carried over all of the other Criterion extras.  And to their credit, they've come up with some new goodies as well, the best of which is a new, hour-long retrospective, The Story of Brian.  It's also quite well made, and fairly different from The Pythons.  It's great to have the new one, but I still miss the old one (which, for one major advantage, had access to Graham Chapman).  Some of the other extras are nice to have, but not so exciting.  There's an entire script read-through by the Pythons, which sounds neat, but it's awfully long and essentially all the same material as the film.  To be quite honest, I can't say I listened to the whole thing.  Besides that, they've added a photo gallery and a couple unrelated bonus trailers.
So the new documentary is the best part, but it's not enough to make me not miss the old doc.  For me, at least, it's even worth copping a cheap copy of the old Criterion DVD to supplement the blu, which for all its flaws, is still the best release going.  But twelve years on, it's really time for a new blu, with a remastered transfer, the original mono returned, and all the legacy extras.  And now that peoples' attentions are turned to Jones again, maybe there's a chance?

The Tricky Case Of Cronenberg's Scanners

It's time to look at another classic.  How about David Cronenberg's Scanners?  It's had a troubled history on DVD, thanks primarily to an early botch job from MGM, and has often been one of those titles best imported by those in the know.  But now that The Criterion Collection's taken it over for its HD restoration, is that still the case?  Well, actually...
Scanners has always been the biggest and most well received of Cronenberg's original sci-fi/ horror run until he really cracked the mainstream with The Fly, but it's always had the weakest impact on me.  Compared to the psycho-biological mind fucks of his masterpieces like Shivers, Rabid, The Brood and Videodrome, Scanners feels like a very conventional B-movie thriller.  The kind of thing Michael Caine has made twenty or thirty of, and you could catch them all on cable TV in the 90s.  It's a dry story of industrial espionage between two drug processing corporations with a little bit of very straight-forward ESP thrown in.  I guess, superficially, part of the appeal was just seeing Cronenberg working with slightly higher budgets and production appeal.  This one's got helicopters, exploding gas stations and car chases... you'd never see a bus drive through an operating record store in one of Cronenberg's earlier films.  And certainly, the infamous head explosion scene is one heck of a memorable scene.
But I'd keep returning to this film, only because I'd tell myself there has to be more to it than that.  And to some degree, I'm still puzzling it out, but watching these latest blu-rays has illuminated it for me at least partially.  For one thing, I used to think of star Stephen Lack's performance as very wooden, a shortcoming Scanners has always had to work around.  But now I've come to appreciate it as an asset, a curious but deliberate melancholy kind of state, obviously meant to show the character is almost consistently drugged and/ or dealing with severe internal conflict.  It's such a polar opposite to Michael Ironside's performance, who really knows how to make a low budget role shine, but in a way that's the point.  And the more I think about it, I like that our characters are rather cynically portrayed as unwitting pawns between ConSec and BioCarbon Amalgate.  No matter who double-crosses who, they all live and die under the treads of the great corporate machines.
Scanners III: The Takeover
And if you need a demonstration of how masterfully superior Cronenberg's film is to its direct-to-video thriller peers, just watch any of the Scanners sequels.  They're not terrible, but that only makes it all the more impressive that they're clearly playing on such different levels.  Then throw in Howard Shore's wild score, which swings broadly between dramatically operatic and jazzy sci-fi clanging, plus all of Cronenberg's inspired little touches, like Robert Silverman's artwork or the eye on Ironside's bandage, and you've got a film that doesn't seems like it should be placid on paper, but mysteriously keeps you riveted throughout.  It's a tricky one.
Scanners first came out on DVD in 2001 from MGM.  It was anamorphic widescreen but barebones, and had another problem we'll come to later.  So fans were chomping at the bit by the time Anchor Bay UK came out with their special edition in 2005.  It held us over, anyway, until it was time for a proper blu-ray.  That debuted in Germany from Koch in 2011, but it was barebones and I think most of us were holding out for the 2k restoration, which was released in 2013 by Umbrella in Australia, Subkultur (and later Wicked Vision) in Germany and Second Sight in the UK.  We finally got it here in the US in 2014, courtesy of Criterion, which also included Cronenberg's 1969 short film Stereo as a bonus.
1) 2001 US MGM DVD; 2) 2005 UK AB DVD; 3) 2013 UK SS BD;
4) 2014 US Criterion DVD; 5) 2014 US Criterion BD.
So Criterion and Second Sight's blus are sourced from the same 2k restoration from the 35mm interpositive, but the final results sure aren't the same.  But let's take these in order.  MGM's initial DVD is anamorphic and all around pretty respectable for 2001.  You'll notice it has some odd boxing in the overscan area, matting three of four sides, resulting in a slightly odd 1.87:1 aspect ratio.  Anchor Bay shifted the framing a bit, windowboxing it completely to 1.82:1, but still revealing a bit more vertical information while cropping the right just slightly.  Then the blu-rays open it up slightly to 1.78:1, though again, it's worth noting that they're not identically framed, with the Criterion pointing noticeably lower than Second Sight, which includes more image along the top.

But the framing is just the beginning of Scanners' story.  I have no real preference for the slightly higher or lower framing, but Second Sight pulls ahead in two key areas.  One is more subjective.  This is another case of the ol' Criterion greens, and that sort of works for that first set of shots where they're in the funky train station lights.  But everywhere else, it just looks darker and less natural than the Second Sight timing to my eyes.  Although you could argue that Second Sight's whites are a little too bright.  More objectively, then, is the compression.  Look at Stephen Lack's cheek in the shots directly above.  The grain is and full of macro-blocking and pixelation on the Criterion, while it's all naturally captured and faithful to the source on the Second Sight disc.
So I called the MGM DVD "pretty respectable," but I was talking specifically about the PQ.  In terms of the audio, it's got a big flaw, and a surprising one for a major studio MGM disc: it's out of sync.  It's not way out of sync, but it's bad enough that every layman's gonna notice it.  They also had Spanish and French subs and a French dub, but when the original language track is borked, who cares?  When Anchor Bay came along, it was a very welcome upgrade, just by virtue of fixing the sync.  They also added additional 5.1 remixes and optional English subs, so at the time, it was a pretty sweet deal.

But of course now in the age of HD, we can forget all that and just look at the blus, both of which give us the original track in restored, lossless LPCM.  Second Sight also throws in a 5.1 mix in DTS-HD, and they both include optional English subtitles.
dueling Lack interviews.
Another bummer about the MGM DVD was that it was completely barebones, apart from a fullscreen trailer.  Anchor Bay didn't exactly turn it into a packed special edition, but they did include a brief featurette where critic Alan Jones gives a brief run-through of the story behind Scanners.  Better still, they included the complete David Cronenberg episode of that documentary series, The Directors.  Those have been released on DVD on their own, and often wound up as extras on special editions, but if you didn't already have it, these are nice little retrospectives with a lot of good interview subjects.   They also had the trailer, a photo gallery and bonus trailers for Scanners 2 & 3 and The Brood.

The really good stuff comes, though, when you get to the blu-rays.  Both Second Sight and Criterion have created a proper set of original Scanners special features, and it's all unique stuff.  Second Sight gives us a series of five excellent on-camera interviews with the eccentric Stephen Lack (who also shows us his art), cinematographer Mark Irwin, who's pretty funny, executive producer Pierre David, effects artist Stephan Dupuis and a short but compelling one with co-star Lawrence Dane.  Then Criterion has The Scanners Way, a featurette with special effects artists Dupuis, Chris Walas, Gary Zeller, and a few brief comments by Rick Baker on behalf of Dick Smith.  They also have a Stephen Lack interview which covers a lot of the same ground as Second Sight's, a great interview with Michael Ironside (he was suited for the role because he's had real life experience with psychic powers!), and a vintage television interview with Cronenberg, which is fun but more than a little hammy.  Criterion also has the trailer, 3 Radio Spots, and a fold-out insert with notes by Kim Newman.
One Criterion extra stands out, however: Cronenberg's early short film, Stereo from 1969.  It's an early, experimental work, barely feature-length (63 minutes) and silent, except for post-production narration, so don't get too excited.  But it's still an interesting piece that sees Cronenberg working very creatively with a lot of ideas and themes featured in some of his more mainstream film, including Scanners.  It documents a series of experiments by The Canadian Academy of Erotic Inquiry to put a bunch of telepaths together and see how they evolve.  Or something.  It's a little confusing and undeniably Cronenbergian.  But this isn't Stereo's first time at the rodeo.  Blue Underground released it as a bonus on their Fast Company DVD in 2004 (the limited edition 2-disc version only) and their blu-ray re-release in 2009[left].  Alliance also included it as an extra on their FC DVD in 2005, and most recently Arrow included it as in their 2015 2-disc set of Videodrome.  But there was a reason to be excited about Criterion's inclusion.
1) US 2009 BU BD; 2) US 2014 Criterion DVD; 3) US 2014 Criterion BD.
Criterion's transfer was created from a new 2k scan from a 35mm composite fine-grain element (and for those wondering, yes, Arrow's 2015 BD used Criterion's same restoration).  The result is that even the Criterion DVD is preferable to the Blue Underground blu.  The aspect ratio is almost the same, going from 1.66:1 to 1.67, though the new scan does reveal a bit more around the edges.  The grain is a bit sporadic on Criterion's blu, but it's mostly there, which is plenty more than you can say for Blue Underground's smoothed over, soft transfer.  Pretty sure they've just upscaled their SD transfer, which is better than leaving it in SD like Warner Bros likes to do, but it makes it even easier to notice their haloing and artifacting that surrounds every little detail.  So it really is a much more impressive presentation.  But it's worth noting neither release offers English subtitles - if you need those, you've got to cop Arrow's release.
Both sets of extras are pretty great, and have some good unique stuff.  A lot of it's redundant, too, though - everybody wants to tell the shotgun anecdote, so you're going to hear that over and over until you're sick of it, even on just one disc.  It's up to you if you're a big enough fan to splurge for both copies to have the full set of extras, or if one disc'll do ya.  But if you're just getting one, yeah, I'd recommend the Second Sight.

Depraved: Larry Fessenden Returns To the Frankenstein Legend

Not to be too snarky, but for me, the "IFC Midnight" series is usually the zero interest arm of Scream Factory; but when there's a new Larry Fessenden film, I pay attention.  Depraved is Fessenden's latest film, having run through 2019 in festivals and limited screenings, and finally becoming accessible on home video now with this BD/ DVD combo pack.  But if that felt like an interminable wait, you can imagine what it's been like for Fessenden himself who's been struggling to get his modern Frankenstein story funded and on screen for the last full decade.  If he can persevere through all of that, then the time I spent refreshing Glass Eye Pix's Twitter feed pining for a physical media release date doesn't seem so toughly endured.
I was a little surprised when I first heard of this project - hadn't we already gotten Fessenden's modern Frankenstein story in 1991 with No Telling (The Frankenstein Complex)?  That was already quite excellent itself.  But I guess it didn't quite scratch that itch.  And certainly, as much as they both adhere to the same, rough skeletal structure as Mary Shelley's novel (an obsessive medical scientist manages to bring back the dead through secret, hand-wrought experiments that wind up causing unexpected, tragic and ultimately deadly consequences), they've risen from the slab as distinctly different creatures.  For one thing, No Telling dictates the events from the scientist's perspective, while Depraved (mostly) shows us the world from the monster's point of view.
The result is a more sensitive film.  The creature's story has famously been as heartbreaking as it is scary.  That's pretty much what Frankenstein's best known for.  But this one really leans into the bonds developed between Adam and his maker... heck the centerpiece of Depraved is a five minute tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (which let an indie horror crew shoot all over the place?!) where he's taught the history and nature of humanity.  Relative newcomer Alex Breaux in particular gives an award-worthy performance that perfectly suits the mood piece Fessenden is building around him.  Everything you expect from Fessenden is here, from his masterful use of original music to his eccentric animations.  He possibly gets a little too distracted filling the frame with homages to everything from James Whale's classic to Cronenberg's The Fly, but it's never so much that it detracts from what might sincerely be Fessenden's best film yet.
2020 Scream Factory DVD top; 2020 Scream Factory BD bottom.
Depraved is presented in 2.35:1 on both discs.  This film was shot digitally, so that film grain you see is "fake," an effect added in post.  But we can still use it to observe the difference in resolution between the DVD and blu.  And you can see how it's crisp and clear on the blu, but smudgy and sporadic on the DVD.  More practically, the biggest difference you'll notice is just that the fine details and edges have a softer look.  Of course the colors, brightness levels and everything else are the same, since its the same master just put on two different resolution discs.  Curiously, though, they've included two audio mixes for the film: a 5.1 surround and a 2.0 stereo track (both are DTS-HD on the blu).  I'm not sure what the purpose of the stereo track is since it's not a previous mix, and 5.1s naturally down-mix on stereo TVs, but okay, I'll take it.  Optional English and Spanish subtitles are also included.
One thing you can count on, Fessenden + Scream Factory = a fantastic collection of special features, and this is no exception.  We start out with a director's commentary.  He flies on solo on this one, but he doesn't need any help to fill the entire running time with thoughtful insight and fascinating backstory.  There are a few pauses, but they feel like technical edits rather than lapses, and they never last too long.  Then there's a feature length documentary, which if you've seen past Fessenden special editions, you know take you quite thoroughly through every step of production, from conception to premiere.  These aren't just EPK talking heads and a little B-roll; they're fascinatingly candid watches even if you had no interest in the actual feature film.  In fact, this doc has had some theatrical screenings of its own.  After that, there are featurettes that interview Fessenden (good, but a lot of it's redundant after the doc and commentary), the special effects team, Breaux and other crew members.  They basically just serve as extra little addendums to the main doc, which is all good.  There's also the trailer, and a full-color 8-page booklet of photos.
So this is an easy recommendation.  It's a great film.  If Beneath had you wary of blind-buying a Fessenden film, don't worry, this is a return to his top shelf material.  And Scream Factory has delivered a first class special edition just as deep and rewarding as their previous collaborations.  Ever since the Larry Fessenden Collection in 2015, his work as been ideally preserved on home video, and this additional chapter slides right in perfectly.  I wish this was the case for most other filmmakers, but I'm certainly grateful in this case.

The Latest Chapter of H.P. Lovecraft's Necronomicon

Here's one I've been eagerly anticipating!  Necronomicon is a severely under-appreciated 1993 horror anthology based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, produced and partially directed by Brian Yuzna.  It's struggled long and hard to find its way to us, as you'll see, but Germany's Wicked Vision is finally getting their new 3-disc (blu-ray/ DVD + bonus disc combo pack) edition into fans' hands around the world.  It's a mediabook, which is fitting for a film named after one of the most infamous books of all time.
Yuzna's work seems to be going through a bit of a revival lately, with fresh fans discovering the demented brilliance of films like Society and Return Of the Living Dead 3.  And Necronomicon is one of his absolute best.  The idea here was to create a more international flavor, so this ambitious anthology features a French segment directed by Cristophe Gans (Crying Freeman) and a Japanese segment by Shûsuke Kaneko (the Gamera and Death Note films) in addition to his American one.  These guys add a slightly artier, more stylized feel to Yuzna's fun, gory romp, creating a collaboration somewhat reminiscent of his work with Stuart Gordon.  It's a great blend, especially with the Lovecraft source material as well.  It's got a great little cast, including Richard Lynch, Bruce Payne, David Warner and Return Of the Living Dead's Don Calfa, plus a whole bunch of wild, practical effects.  Jeffrey Combs even appears in the wrap-around (also directed by Yuzna) to play Lovecraft himself, sporting a fake chin that gives him a surprising resemblance to Bruce Campbell.
I remember desperately trying to track down a copy of a crappy, fullscreen DVD of Necronomicon from Brazil.  And then I remember how happy I was when I could give up the search in 2004 because Metropolitan came out with a stunning, widescreen 2-disc special edition in France.  Plenty of much bigger and better known horror films weren't getting releases that nice from major studios in the US.  That DVD was all you needed to know about Necronomicon through the whole SD era.  Then ten years later, Metropolitan turned their one and only DVD release into a one and only blu-ray.  But something's finally come along to dethrone it: the new, 2019 3-disc mediabook release from Wicked-Vision.  First announced back in 2016 for a 2017 release, it's obviously run into a few hurdles along the way, but it's finally here.
One of those hurdles actually came after the film's release, when it turned out the blu-ray had a mastering error.  So everyone who had this pre-ordered got a bum disc.  But full credit to WV, they jumped on it quick and started a replacement program and have already issued corrected versions to stores.  Those who ordered it direct from the label were automatically issued a replacement, and everyone else can fill out a form for a free one here.  If you bought this and aren't sure if you've got the faulty or corrected disc, it's easy to tell the difference, as you can see in the photo above.  That's the original faulty disc on the left with the blue and red tentacles, and the corrected version on the right, with the purple and green. 
1) 2004 French Metropolitan DVD; 2) 2019 German Wicked Vision DVD;
3) 2019 German Wicked Vision BD.
So, we're obviously looking at the same master here; the new release hasn't changed anything in that regard.  Metropolitan and Wicked Vision even share the same wonky pillarboxing that shifts from shot to shot in the overscan area... notice how it's all on the right in the first set of shots, then split thinner onto both sides in the second?  The film is essentially presented as 1.78:1, but usually hovers around 1.76:1.  Otherwise though, for an older master, it holds up on a modern blu fairly well.  Grain is a little patchy and a little digital-looking, the exact sort of thing a 2 or 4k remaster would fix up nicely; but I've seen plenty of newer blus looking worse.  So as long as you're not expecting anything cutting edge, you should be pretty happy.  The two DVDs look nearly identical, though WV's has a ever so slightly more contrast, and the HD blu genuinely does reveal more fine detail that you couldn't make out in SD.

So if they're virtually identical, what makes Wicked Vision's release superior?  Well, to start with, the Metropolitan DVD had forced French subtitles when you played the English audio track (it includes both the original English and a French dub, both in 5.1).  I believe they did fix that on their blu (and bump both tracks up to DTS-HD), but the subs are still forced on many of the special features.  Also, neither Metropolitan disc has English subtitle options.  Wicked Vision, on the other hand, has the same English 5.1 mix, with an German stereo mix instead of the French dub (both in DTS-HD on the blu) and this time, Both German and English subtitles are optional on the film and the extras.   So that already puts it in the lead, but the best is yet to come.
As great as it was to see Necronomicon restored to widescreen, the biggest surprise of Metropolitan's release was that it was packed with extras.  There aren't a lot of fully loaded, completely exclusive special editions in France, but here was one.  For starters, there's a lively audio commentary by Christophe Gans and Brian Yuzna.  Then there's an hour long documentary that's packed with great behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes and some surprisingly funny anecdotes.  That's followed up by five more featurettes, which are basically just like another hour's worth of documentary broken up into smaller bits.  But it does bring in some more people, like composer Joseph LoDuca and the other international producers.  Then there's also a vintage promo featurette, the trailer, two galleries (including one that shows a full set of storyboards for a deleted fourth segment!), and a 12-page booklet (in French).  It also has a pretty sweet easter egg: Gans' student 15-minute student film called The Silver Slime.  It's all style and no substance, and in some ways feels as clunky as you'd expect a student film to be, but it's got a great look and pays homage to Mario Bava.  Metropolitan also added the complete soundtrack as another extra on their BD.
The Silver Slime
And Wicked Vision?  They carry over everything from the French releases, except unfortunately, for that easter egg.  But they make up for it by creating a bunch of new special features.  For starters, we get a brand new, hour long(!) interview with Brian Yuzna.  Actually, that's the least valuable, only because he mostly just repeats what he says in the previous features, often verbatim.  There's also a fun new, on-camera interview with effects artist Steve Johnson, who only worked on one quick effects scene on the film, so he talks about that for three minutes and spends the rest of the time chatting about the nature of physical vs. CGI effects, etc.  The best of the new interviews, then, is screenwriter Brent V. Friedman, who's an important voice who'd been left out of the original French features.  There's a second audio commentary by two German experts, too, but that's the only thing that isn't English friendly on their discs.  They've also added a couple additional trailers, which is nice, a bonus trailer for Highway To Hell (that annoyingly plays on start-up) and their book is 24-pages (in German).  It's also worth noting that Wicked Vision's mediabook comes in three variant covers, each limited to 333 copies.  Mine, shown above, is cover B.  And they're planning to release a standard edition, but that'll be a single disc release, minus most of the extras, including the doc, which was easily the best feature.
So, I do kinda miss The Silver Slime, but overall, Wicked Vision's is a more flush and satisfying edition that's also free of those pesky French subs.  Yeah, it's the same transfer, so if you already have the French blu and aren't fussed about extras (the DVD had forced subs on the film, but the BD only has 'em on some of the special features), it may not be worth double-dipping.  But if you're picking up the film for the first time, the Wicked Vision is the one to get.  It's also region free, which is more than can be said for the B-locked Metropolitan.