Update #4, Every Secret Thing's Extra Secret Upgrade

Every Secret Thing has finally arrived on DVD. After having one of those experimental deals where it was available for streaming at the same time it played in theaters, Amy Berg's film adaptation of the award winning novel by Laura Lippman has now hit the home video market via Anchor Bay's brand new DVD. And blu-ray, of course, right? Nope, just DVD. Hmm. Well alright, let's put a pin in that and focus on what we've actually got here.

Update 8/10/15 - 8/20/19: Here's one I bet you guys weren't expecting to see return for Update Week! It was a real bummer when this movie turned out to be DVD only, but in 2018, one country heard us... Italy! Can't say I expected that either, but let's not question a good thing. Every Secret Thing is in HD and it's... English friendly enough.  I'll explain.
This film appeared on my radar early, when one of my favorite filmmakers - Nicole Holofcener (Lovely and Amazing, Enough Said) - mentioned in an interview that one of her upcoming projects was going to be something different, an adaptation of this dark crime novel. First time producer but long time, Oscar winning actress Frances McDormand had acquired the rights, and wanted Holofcener after Nicole had directed her in Friends With Money. Holofcener didn't wind up directing the film - that went to documentary filmmaker Amy Berg, who'd made a film I was very impressed with: Deliver Us From Evil, and one I was disappointed by: West Of Memphis. She's done a couple other documentary films, too, but they all seem to be in various states of unavailability (...at least as of 2015. In 2016, her documentary Janis: Little Girl Blue has been probably her biggest success yet, and is readily available all over). So, anyway, that was a pretty interesting choice, Holofcener still had full screenplay credit, and I was interested in what McDormand would choose to produce, so I've been eagerly awaiting this one.
And I'm not at all disappointed. It's technically a mystery, and it will genuinely have you guessing right up until the last minute as surprising but very fitting things are revealed. But it's more of a quiet drama that just happens to circle around a few characters who were involved in a crime. We find our two leads, Dakota Fanning and Danielle Macdonald, who's particularly good, as two young women who've just returned home after being released from juvenile for a crime they committed against a baby when they were young children. Yeah, this film's pretty heavy. Anyway, their new lives seem to be dysfunctional enough - and they've grown completely distant from each other - before it turns out a very similar crime has just happened again, and naturally they're the two biggest suspects. Diane Lane hits it out of the park as Macdonald's mother, and rapper Common, formerly Common Sense, is surprisingly effective, too, as the baby's father. Some impressive child actors, too. Only Elizabeth Banks, as one of the two police detectives on the case, feels awkward and miscast. She actually gives a pretty respectable performance, but she just doesn't fit into the otherwise very natural, real environment, but rather like a very television CSI/ NCIS/ SVU idea of a cop. Everything else, however, is natural, touching, smartly written and completely pulls you in.
So, I was pretty surprised to see this not get the standard DVD and blu-ray double release. When I first saw it was DVD only in the US, my first thought was to hit up the foreign Amazon sites and see what was coming from Artificial Eye or Studio Canal or anybody, but... nothing (at the time). I guess it has to do with the early streaming release, DVD labels figure it devalued the film's home video rights, which I can see. A lot of people might've just bought it on ITunes rather than waiting for a DVD or blu that hadn't even been announced as coming yet. And Anchor Bay's sole DVD is pretty featureless and selling for only $7.88, brand new, on Amazon. The whole thing's just weird.  In 2018, though, one of those foreign Amazons finally paid off.  Specifically, Amazon.it, as it's now on blu over there from Koch Media!
2015 US Anchor Bay DVD top; 2018 IT Koch BD bottom.
Just having a DVD was disappointing. The slightly letterboxed 1.85:1 (more like 1.83, really) transfer is fine, of course. As a brand new film, I'm sure the filmmakers just handed AB a finished digital transfer ready to be slapped onto a disc. But not having a blu-ray option is a real bummer, especially considering its already been available online in HD all this time. Like I wrote about That Guy Dick Miller, casual viewers who just catch this streaming on Netflix or where ever get to see it in full quality, but serious fans who pay for the collector's edition are left to watch this all compressed? Boo.

So thank goodness for the Italians.  The slightly off aspect ratio is corrected to a proper 1.85:1.  The framing hasn't changed; turns out the DVD was slightly squished.  So that's fixed.  Otherwise, of course, it's the same master, but this is now a true HD image with an obvious boost in clarity.  The DVD had a frustrating softness and unfortunate artifacting, which is nicely smartened up on this 1080p dual-layered BD.

Both discs feature the original 5.1 English audio, which is now in lossless DTS-HD on the blu.  The blu-ray also features a 5.1 Italian dub and optional (removable) Italian subs, which the DVD naturally eschewed.  The DVD did have optional English (and Spanish) subtitles, though, which we lose.  But as long as you're not hearing impaired, the Italian BD is English friendly enough.
The only area we didn't see a gain in is the special features, and the DVD's already pretty dry. It comes in a nice slip cover and even has an insert, which is admittedly just advertising the book, but at least it hides the cut out of the "eco friendly" case with relevant artwork. But beyond that and a couple "bonus" trailers that autoplay on start, there's actually one very worthwhile extra. A seven+ minute collection of deleted scenes. These are actually pretty great, two or three in particular really add a dark but resonating shade to the lead character, and it's a real shame they were cut from the film. For pacing? The film actually flows very breezily and could definitely have stood to take on a couple extra minute of footage as good as this. I won't give the details away, though I suspect fans of the novel are already familiar with them and were missing them on screen... fans of this film should definitely seek these scenes out.
That's it, though. Not even the film's actual trailer. The "Deleted Scenes" option looks very lonely and isolated sitting alone in a vast emptiness of negative space of the "Special Features" sub-menu. I suspect whoever designed the menus anticipated a lot more things going into that space when he submitted it to his employers. Yeah. It's alright, guy, we all did.

And Koch?  Well, we finally got that trailer, though it's only got the Italian audio.  And the deleted scenes?  Gone.  We've actually regressed in this department, the one real disappointing aspect of this blu.
At the end of the day, the blu is really the only way to go.  And the ideal situation is to cop both.  I know it seems crazy to buy a second disc just for seven minutes worth of extra content, but considering just how cheap the DVD is (as of this writing, it's down to $2 something used on Amazon), it's not much of a hit to take.  Then you can just take the DVD out and slip it in the blu-ray case alongside the BD.  Because I'll be very surprised if we ever get anymore of a proper special edition than this.  But hey, start with the blu and see how compelled you are to add on.  It's a good little film, though.

Update #3, The Latest and Greatest Night Of the Creeps

Night Of the Creeps came out right on the cusp of me getting a blu-ray player. So it's one of those last titles I bought the DVD of instead, and then quietly regretted it for years. I'd keep looking up online blu-ray prices online every so often, hoping it would suddenly go on sale for some bargain basement price... Who wants to double-dip on a DVD they just bought new for a simultaneous release with no new features or anything? But it was also annoying being stuck with the standard def version of a favorite horror film I'd grown up on since I was a kid. Well, finally, Umbrella Entertainment has come along with a brand new blu-ray edition, which isn't all that far beyond the Sony's 2009 blu-ray. But it is an improvement, the best edition yet, and that was enough for me to shake loose the old DVD.

Update 5/1/16 - 8/19/19: Another new edition??  Yes, Scream Factory has picked up Night Of the Creeps so they could release it this summer with a giant action figure or whatever.  Or you can also just buy their new 2-disc set by itself... but would you want to?  It's Update Week, so there's literally no better time to find out!
Night Of the Creeps is pure crazy, 80's fun. Slugs from outer space turn a bunch of college students into homicidal zombies. It's full of fun set pieces and shifting tones, but it never loses sight of its characters, or stepping too far into the comedy that it stops being effective as a horror film. Tom Atkins steals the show as a Mike Hammer-esque detective who's finally gone off the deep end, but the three young leads, including European Vacation's Jason Lively, are all charming and well-rounded enough to carry the heart of the picture. Round that off with a great supporting cast, including Dick Miller and David Paymer, a catchy soundtrack, clever script and the special effects work of KNB, and you've got yourself a genuinely great movie.
It's a delicate balancing act that takes some serious talent to pull off, but first time director Fred Dekker rises to the challenge. He went on to create another masterful blend of humor, heart and horror with Monster Squad, but that one's a little too kiddie for me. It's like a well made Disney film; I can appreciate how well made it is on all these different levels, and even laugh at some of the jokes; but give me something a little edgier and more adult. Except this time, he already had given it to me in Night Of the Creeps. Unfortunately his third film, Robocop 3, was a colossal misfire and he hasn't directed since, which is a real shame, because the world could've used a string of similar, smart and atmospheric cult films over the past two decades.  Though he's recently started making a bit of a comeback working with Shane Black, co-writing a TV movie called Edge and the latest Predator sequel/ reboot, The Predator.  Maybe it'll lead to something.
Night Of the Creeps took forever to come out on DVD; especially for such a beloved cult title. This was one of those titles where the laserdisc kept going for good money, because it was still the best release there was, well into the 2000s. I remember being really excited to find a bootleg of a high quality TV rip that also included the original ending, which was different than the one that had played on cable and VHS for all these years. So when the special edition DVD/ blu-ray was finally announced for 2009, with a heap of extras and the original ending restored, I was through the moon. And even more so when it turned out to be the official debut of Dekker's Director's Cut, with the original ending (and that's the only difference, by the way, between it and the regular theatrical cut). So I've got that DVD for us today. Then even better, I've got Umbrella's 2016 region B blu-ray special edition (which is also of the Director's Cut), with a little something extra over the US Sony blu.  Still not enough?  Okay, how about Scream Factory's latest 2019 2-disc BD set?  It's two discs because they include the director's cut and the theatrical cut, which includes the other ending most of us grew up on.
1) 2009 Sony DVD; 2) 2009 Sony BD; 3) 2016 Umbrella BD;
4) 2019 Scream Factory theatrical BD; 5) 2019 Scream Factory director's BD.
So we see that these subsequent Umbrella and Scream Factory blu-rays are essentially the same as the Sony.  Same framing (slightly matted to 1.85:1), same colors... same original master. And that's alright, because Sony made a pretty high quality release the first go around, so we weren't exactly gasping for an improvement.  Of course, they both trump the DVD, as there's naturally a compression difference. Look at the close-ups: that's a pretty strong HD boost from DVD to BD. Look how much better defined the image on either blu is. Not just the girl's face, but the hand and bottle in the lower left. Detail is much clearer and more accurate here, with visible film grain as opposed to the digital mushiness on the DVD. But from there on, it's almost exactly the same across the line, with only slight variance in encoded pixelation.  There's a bit more of a shift on Scream Factory than there was between Sony and Umbrella, but it's hard to declare one objectively better or worse than the others, and it's the kind of distinction you'll only see in zoomed-in screenshots anyway.

A more important distinction comes in the audio department, however.  Sony's DVD, Sony's BD and Umbrellas BD, all feature a remixed 5.1 track, with the latter two in lossless DTS-HD.  Scream Factory has the same track, too, but they're also the first to restore the original stereo track, also in DTS-HD.  So that's pretty sweet.  All four discs also have optional English subtitles.
It's time to talk extras! Sony's release (both their DVD and blu have all the same bonus content) is pretty packed. There are two audio commentaries, one by Fred Dekker and one by the four lead actors, the latter of which is fun but pretty light on content. Every time Steve Marshall starts to an anecdote or bit of information, the rest of the cast interrupts him to keep laughing and kidding around. Then there's a great hour-long documentary, which is broken up into five sections and winds up interviewing pretty much everybody involved including Dekker, producer Charles Gordon, stars Jason Lively, Jill Whitlow, Tom Atkins & Steve Marshall, editor Michael Knue, effects artists Howard Berger, Robert Kurtzman & David Miller, and composer Barry De Vorzon. Then there's a featurette just dedicated to talking with Tom Atkins about his entire filmography, film by film. Then there are several deleted scenes used in the extended television version, plus the alternate ending most of us were familiar with before the director's cut. Plus there's a subtitle trivia track and the original theatrical trailer.
A shot from Dekker's incomplete film, Baton.
All of that, right down to the trivia track, has been carried over to the Umbrella release. All it's missing are a couple of autoplay bonus trailers and an annoying commercial for blu-rays. But it has one really nice new addition. It's a 32 minute HD featurette called Creator Of the Creeps, and it's primarily a sit-down interview with Dekker. This was made more recently than the other extras, but yes, he does cover a lot of the same ground he does on his commentary and in the documentary. But he has some new stuff, too, including his script for House. And one of the best parts is that, in both his previous commentary and interview on the doc, he talks about how a lot of the ideas and a couple of the lead characters for Night came from an independent science fiction film he started shooting but never finished called Baton. He only shot about five minutes of it, he says, but we get to see some of it for the first time here in this feature. So it's a little redundant, but still a pretty great new feature, and it's exclusive to this release. Umbrella's blu also has reversible cover art, with the original art shown above and this crazy original piece [right] on the reverse. Both of Sony's covers suck, so Umbrella gets an extra point there, too.
Horror's Hallowed Ground rocks!
But there's a new contender in town.  Scream Factory has everything from the Sony release, except technically for bonus trailers and the alternate ending, because of course, they have the entire second disc with that ending attached to their theatrical cut.  Then, they've also come up with a whole bunch of new stuff.  Mostly what they've added is a series of upbeat HD on-camera interviews, with Jason Lively, Alan Kayser who played The Bradster, Ken Heron who played the 50's kid who becomes the first zombie, Vic Polizos who played the coroner, Killer Klowns' star Suzanne Snyder, who played a bit part as a sorority sister, and editor Michael Knue.  They're all tightly edited and include many people left out of the documentary, so these are very rewarding additions.  Then there's a brand new episode of Horror's Hallowed Grounds, where they revisit almost all of the film locations, with Dekker and Lively showing up to add some additional backstory.  This version also includes reversible artwork and a slipcover that finally uses the classic cover art.  Kudos to Scream for not sticking us with more cheap comic book art.  If you look at all the covers up top of this page, you can watch the artwork slowly evolve from terrible to excellent.

Oh, and of course, you could've sprung for the deluxe limited edition version with the 8" action figure, plus a (rolled, not folded) poster and second slip cover.  About the only thing it doesn't have is Umbrella's still-exclusive Creator Of the Creeps.
So yeah, we can't say Night Of the Creeps isn't well represented on blu.  I didn't recommend replacing your Sony blu for the Umbrella just for their one featurette ...though if you didn't already have the Sony, it did make Umbrella the preferable choice.  But now that Scream Factory's here, you might want to replace your Sony this time.  Having the option to watch either ending actually attached to the film is nice, the original stereo mix is great for purists, and the new extras are substantial and compelling.  It's definitely the new, definitive release for anyone looking to pick this film up for the first time.

Update #2, Vestron's Injection Of Fresh Nano-Plasmic Energy Into Beyond Re-Animator

Well, I've done the first two Re-Animator films, I might as well finish up the trilogy with 2003's Beyond Re-Animator. Especially since there's an interesting story in its DVD releases, what with the US edition, as the title says, being cut. And, on top of that, the UK disc from Arrow has a completely alternate set of extras. Oh, and the transfers are different as well. Really, the two releases are world apart, so I think it's definitely worth taking a look at them now.

Update 9/23/15 - 8/18/19: Deep diving into the pros and cons of two different DVD editions doesn't seem so important now that there's a blu-ray on the scene, does it?  That's why Update Week is here!  And, actually, one of those DVDs might still have something unique going for it...
Admittedly, Beyond Re-Animator is the weakest link. The original's a classic, so the sequel was bound to be a step down; but it was still pretty great film. This one's another step down from there. But it's once again produced and directed by Brian Yuzna, with great effects by Screaming Mad George. And most importantly, Jeffrey Combs is back again as Herbert West. It's a bit more of a B-movie than the other two, with more juvenile humor and less intelligence. We've got a new young guy to take the place of Bruce Abbot and a leading lady who I think is dubbed for most of her performance, which throws her acting pretty well off. This was filmed in Spain, like all of Yuzna's work from this period, but they actually get some pretty high production values out of their prison location and manage to drum up some strong local supporting cast members. There's not much Lovecraft left in the story, and there's a bunch of added nonsense about capturing peoples' souls in little blue tubes that adds nothing; but if you stop comparing it to the first two films and just look at it as a stand-alone film in its own right, it's still a good time. A great lead character, wild effects, creative set pieces... I would not have been mad at all to see more Re-Animator films along these lines. But it does help if you see the uncut version, as opposed to what was released in the USA.
I don't want to oversell the uncut version, mind you.  The differences boil down to seconds, not minutes, of screentime. But they're minimizing the most extreme moments of the most wild and over-the-top parts, which since this film doesn't have the quality of writing as the previous entries, this film is really hinging on. It reduces the intensity of one of the most violent, impactful scenes towards the climax and cuts out one of SMG's fun exploding guts shots earlier on. It also trims bits from a couple of the other cool effects sequences, like an exploding eyeball. Really, who wants to see a movie like this, but then be protected from the full exploding eyeball effect? Who is the R-rated cut for?

So, while on paper the differences look pretty minimal, it really is a more enjoyable film uncut. The improved highlights go some way towards make up for the film's other weaknesses, rounding up to a slightly better film overall.
So Beyond Re-Animator was a new release film when its DVD came out in 2003. And since it didn't exactly get a full theatrical run (although it did have a cable TV premiere on the Sci-Fi Channel), most of us were seeing it for the first time on Lions Gate's 2003 special edition DVD. I don't think most of us realized it was cut at the time. But in the UK, this film was reissued by Arrow as part of a 2011 Brian Yuzna collection, which gave it a different transfer, new extras, and yes, a complete version of the film with the censored bits included. But then the blu-ray age rolled in, and it was time for a blu-ray, which came in the form of an addition to Lions Gate's Vestron line.  HD, uncut, and all new extras?  Sounds promising!
1) 2003 LG US DVD; 2) 2011 Arrow UK DVD; 3) 2018 LG US BD.
So the aspect ratios are slightly different... the UK version is a bit pillarboxed to 1.76:1, while the US DVD and Blu-ray are both full 16x9 at 1.78:1.  What this really means to the viewer is the fact that the UK transfer has more picture information on all four sides.  So it's not just the little sliver along the top and bottom from the aspect ratio change, the Lions Gate releases are also a little zoomed in, losing even more picture. The US and UK colors are a smidge different, too.  Apart from that, though, the transfers are pretty identical, and are most likely taken from the same root master.  The two Lions Gates definitely are.  But, of course, being in HD makes a difference, especially when the DVDs have a lot of smudgy compression noise that the BD gets to clear away.  A new scan would unquestionably help; grain is soft.  But this is definitely the cleanest and sharpest its ever looked.

Both DVDs offer the same 2.0 and 5.1 audio tracks, although the UK disc also has a Spanish dub, whereas the US DVD has Spanish subtitles instead. Vestron, meanwhile, dumps the 2.0 (why?) but bumps the 5.1 up to lossless DTS-HD.  Also, both US discs include English subs, but Arrow does not.
Despite being cut, Lions Gate was pretty did a pretty good job with their extras package. It wasn't quite the fully loaded special edition you expect for the bigger titles, but it's pretty solid. Firstly, and primarily, is an audio commentary by Brian Yuzna. Yuzna's always a good commentator, even by himself he maintains a good balance between informative and entertaining, and doesn't drift off into dead air like so many directors tend to do. Then there's a good little making of featurette that runs just over 17 minutes with a lot of on-set interviews with Yuzna and pretty much the entire cast. There's also some cool behind-the-scenes footage of everything from pre-production to shooting George's Mad effects. Those are the main things, but there's also a goofy but amusing music video for a dance track called "Move Your Dead Bones," and the trailer is hidden as an easter egg.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ocean, Arrow has the audio commentary, too. And yes, I checked both; it's the same commentary. The trailer's also on there, but disappointingly, they don't have the featurette. That making of, in one form or another (some just play the interviews as separate little pieces) is on pretty much every Beyond Re-Animator DVD around the world apart from this one. But, on the other hand, only the Arrow DVD has this really sweet, almost hour long feature where Yuzna looks back at the whole Re-Animator trilogy. There's also a 12 page booklet with notes by Calum Waddell and a poster, plus the Arrow cover has reversible artwork, which I strongly prefer.

And Vestron?  They've got the best package of all, with everything from the US DVD (yes, even the music video), plus all new on-camera interviews with Jeffrey Combs, Brian Yuzna and Lovecraft expert ST Joshi, who adds some particularly fresh insight.  And they've got an isolated score track + audio interview with the composer Xavier Capellas, two stills galleries including some wild production illustrations and the international trailer (in addition to the domestic theatrical trailer that was on the other discs).  Vestron's release also comes in their usual, slick slipcover.  It does not, however, have Yuzna's Re-Animator retrospective interview from the Arrow disc.
I have to say, I'm really surprised nobody anywhere has released this film on blu yet.  Huzzah!  It's here.  It may not be an ideal 4k showcase, but it's at least a passable entry for the modern age.  And thank goodness it's uncut.  Plus it's got a sweet collection of special features.  You could hang onto the Arrow disc for that retrospective, but between the commentary, featurette and new on-camera interview, you can't really say Vestron doesn't deliver enough of Yuzna's perspective. In fact, it starts to get repetitive.  So I would say Vestron's release, while it could be more impressive, is easily the definitive go-to release for Beyond Re-Animator, and is a more than satisfying package considering it's a second-tier film at best.  Like, if another label's going to come in with a new 4k scan, great, but I could think of a ton of films I'd rather they direct those resources towards first.  I wasn't happy with just the DVDs, but now I am.

Update Week Begins and Competition Has Heated Up For Zombi 3

Here's a release that just kept getting better and better: 88 Film's brand new blu-ray of Lucio Fulci's (maybe) Zombi 3. When they first announced it, it was pretty light on extras, but I was still interested in upgrading it to HD, especially since what had long been best release of this film, the Shriek Show DVD, only had the opening sequence via a composite from some old Japanese laserdisc source and looked like crud. But when pre-orders went up, it was announced that 88's elements didn't include that prologue, and they'd have to use the same low quality footage for that scene. That was pretty disappointing, but to try and make up for it, they added that anyone ordering this direct from their site would get an exclusive slipcover and a bonus disc of Paura: Lucio Fulci Remembered Vol. 1. Right on. But then the release date got pushed back, because... 35mm footage of the opening sequence was found at the eleventh hour! Oh hey, and guess what? This release turns out to have more last minute extras than they'd announced, turning this into a pretty fleshed out special edition.

Update 12/13/15 - 8/17/19: Let Update Week begin!  I've got a bunch of long-awaited updates to some popular, and even requested titles dying for me to do and share the research on 'em.  So for an entire week+'s worth of posts, it's going to be big updates to older comparisons.  By "important," I mean newer, dueling BDs (I've added a couple older DVDs to past posts, too, like A Room With a View and Big Business, but I don't bump those lesser updates to the top of the site) like this one.  A post comparing the brand new 88 Films BD of Zombi 3 to the old DVD was exciting news at the time; but it hardly feels relevant in 2019 without talking about Severin's more recent US release.  Now, everyone looking into Zombi 3 pretty much just wants to know, between the two blus, which has the better transfer and special features.  So strap in for a bunch of updates!
I put "maybe" after Fulci's name, because it comes towards the end of his career, and poor health forced him to leave the project before it was complete.  And so it's always been a mystery just how much of the film did he actually complete, vs how much was ghost directed by Bruno Mattei and/ or Claudio Fragasso. Regardless of who's responsible for how much, though, it's definitely a lesser Fulci horror film that does feel closer to some of Mattei and Fragasso's goofier zombie flicks than Fulci's. It's got plenty of zombie action, guts, explosions, helicopters, undead birds and flying heads, though, so as long as you're up for a campier experience, and are prepared for this to not be up to the same level of quality as Zombie, you're still in for a good time here.
So Zombi 3 more or less debuted on DVD in 2002 from Shriek Show... There had been a lower quality Japanese DVD and a "Red Edition" from Laser Paradise with no English language options the year before in 2001. And there have been plenty of international DVD releases since - some cut, some uncut - but none of which improved on the Shriek Show disc. It took until 2015 when 88 Films gave Zombi 3 its blu-ray debut. And in 2018, Severin brought it to the US.  But it's not just a quick port; it has a distinctly different transfer and set of extras.  So it's time to see how they stack up.
1) 2003 Shriek Show DVD; 2) 2015 88 Films BD; 3) 2018 Severin BD.
Well, the HD prologue is much better than the DVD - so happy to see this! Shriek Show's footage looks even worse in motion, with it's weird digital noise moving all over the image. They sort of got away with it at the time, since the opening sequence is shot so dark and mono-chromatically, but anyone trying to watch it in HD would've cried.  With 88's blu it looks much cleaner and clearer.  But thanks to Severin, I now see that calling this sequence mono-chromatic may've been a mistake.  Their new transfer really brings colors to life.  We see the bright red contrasting with the heavy green, and even the natural flesh tones of the doctors despite their unnaturally lighting.

The framing is also different.  The DVD is at about 1.77:1, but 88 opens it up to an unusual 1.67:1.  Severin then mounts it back down to a more traditional 1.78:1.  This mostly results with 88 showing a sliver more vertically and Severin showing having more along the sides.  But let's take a look at a couple more screenshots.
1) 2003 Shriek Show DVD; 2) 2015 88 Films BD; 3) 2018 Severin BD.
First of all, again, either HD transfer really blows away the SD!  I was expecting a big improvement on the opening scene, which was rumored to have been ported from a Japanese laserdisc, but not so much everywhere else.  Part of it seems to be that SS maybe took other scenes from the same lower quality source as the opening? Because the quality seems to dip in and out (notice how much worse this shot of the girls at the bed looks than the shot of the soldier escaping the zombies on the stairway), while of course remaining constant on the BDs. Another part of it is definitely that Shriek Show's disc is interlaced, in every scene, which you can see in the top set of shots above, and that of course the blus fix right up as well. But even comparing Shriek Show's best frames, 88 still has a much more attractive, detailed image.
2015 88 Films BD left; 2018 Severin BD right.
And Severin?  Well, they certainly smarten up the colors, don't they?  You can make out more in their shadows, too.  That alone would make this the most pleasing edition for any layman.  Their grain looks a tad sharper, too.  Still, though it seems like they're using the same master scan.  I suspect 88 added a very gentle layer of DNR on top of the grain, which Severin didn't.  Overall, either edition is a massive leap from the DVD, but I'd say Severin has taken the advantage of letting 88 go first to quietly improve on their BD as well.
1) 2003 Shriek Show DVD; 2) 2015 88 Films BD; 3) 2018 Severin BD.
Oh, and the aspect ratios, right.  Yeah, it's not just the opening sequence, all three films stay the same throughout.  Shriek Show's is anamorphic and almost exactly 16x9, but it's actually slightly window-boxed, at least on top, left and right sides to 1.77:1.  And 88 says it's 1.85 on the back of their case, but it's really slightly pillar-boxed to 1.67:1, which ultimately gives us a little more on the top and bottom, and a little less on the sides compared to Shriek Show.  Severin, then, takes us back to a classic 1.78:1, with no windowboxing, revealing slightly more along the sides and slightly less vertically, compared to 88.  Compared to Shriek Show, it's interesting... sometimes they're a little more zoomed in and sometimes they're a little more zoomed out.  Again, this could be due to Shriek Show having made their transfer from more than one source.

All three discs only include the English mono track, though the LPCM on 88's disc and DTS-HD on Severin's both sound fuller than Shriek Show's DVD.  Only Severin also includes optional English subtitle options.
So, now let's talk extras. We knew 88 was going to have an on-camera interview with co-star Ottaviano Dell'Acqua and a Q&A with Catriona MacColl... which is a little odd, since she wasn't in this film. The Q&A is a solid half hour long and moderated by Callum Waddell. She at least talks about Fulci. I guess 88 had it and realized they weren't going to be releasing any of MacColl's films anytime soon, so they slapped it on here. Okay.

And of course there's Paura. I've already reviewed that on its own separate disc, so go ahead and follow this link to read all about it, see screenshots etc. I can tell you now, the version with Zombi 3 is exactly the same disc, same menus, with the easter egg in the same location. All they've updated is the outer label on the actual physical disc, to make it match with the rest of 88's Italian Collection line-up. It's included inside the Zombi 3 case, as a 2-disc set.

And now let's talk about the pleasant surprises - more extras that turned out to be on this disc! There's an all new interview with Claudio Fragasso, and an audio-only interview with star Beatrice Rice. 88 has also included the alternate, Italian language opening and closing credits. And besides the aforementioned slipcover, this release has reversible cover art and an insert card with alternate Zombi 3 artwork.
Not that Shriek Show came up short in extras, especially if you made sure to get the second issue. Yeah, this is a unique thing that takes a little explaining. See, Shriek Show, like some other labels I'm sure we can all name, had a little trouble meeting their release dates. So they'd announce something, it wouldn't come out, then they'd announce a new date, and so on. Zombi 3 had been pushed back a couple times and fans were getting frustrated. Shriek Show said they were still waiting on the commentary, but they would release this without it just to get it out there. That's the 2002 disc. Then a few months later, the disc with the commentary would start being sold in an identical case. To tell the difference, you have to look for the sticker that I show above.

And it was worth putting in the effort to sort it out, because the commentary, by Rice and Deran Serafian is quite good. They're both funny, being silly, while still being informative and answering a lot of the questions fans have long had about this movie. It reminds me a lot of the commentary MaColl and David Warbeck did for The Beyond. The second edition also included a video introduction by the pair, and a rarely mentioned on camera interview with makeup effects artist Franco Di Girolamo. Add to that all the interviews the 2002 disc already had: Bruno Mattei, Claudio Fragasso, Ottaviano Dell`Acqua and Massimo Vanni (they're interviewed together) and Marina Loi, plus a photo gallery, theatrical trailer and some bonus trailers, and you've got a loaded special edition that was well worth adding to your collection whether you've got 88's blu or not.
And Severin?  This is interesting.  First of all, they... mostly carry over everything from the Shriek Show disc.  They do lose the video introduction by the audio commentators, and they lose the on-camera interview with Claudio Fragasso.  But don't let that disappoint you, because they replace it with their own, new on-camera interview with Fragasso and his wife/ co-writer Rossella Drudi.  And they thankfully have the audio commentary and all of Shriek Show's other video interviews, including Franco Di Girolamo.  But they're all a bit shorter, because they edit out the interviewers asking them questions, and just leave in the answers.  I don't know if this was an editorial or licensing fee-based decision, but nine times out of ten, I'd say it's an improvement that tightens up the pacing, but every once in a while it can be confusing not hearing what the person is responding to.

Anyway, that's basically it for Severin; they have their re-vamped Shriek Show package.  The first 3000 copies also include a soundtrack CD.  But they don't have any of 88's extras.
Pushed to pick a winner, I'd say Severin has both the superior transfer and the more rewarding special features package.  Plus it's the only one with subtitles.  But 88's still got some nice, unique extras going for it, especially if you don't already own Paura on DVD.  Both interview Fragasso and Dell`Acqua (and the inclusion of that MacColl chat is just silly), but 88 is the only one that talks to Beatrice Rice.  So if you're a big enough fan, this might be one those cases where it's getting both blu-rays to combine into a super special edition.