Liv Ullmann Directs Ingmar Bergman's Faithless

Faithless is a script Ingmar Bergman wrote late in life, a very introspective, even autobiographical one. And yet he chose not to direct it. Instead he gave it to his longtime lover and star Liv Ullmann, who by that time had already made several films of her own. It was first issued on DVD in the UK by Tartan, and then in the USA by First Look. It's long been stated that while the film is rather long, roughly two and a half hours, that the import DVD features an even longer "international cut" (for example, they list it on the film's dvdcompare page) That's the version I always had, but I recently picked up a copy of the US DVD to see what's so different about the two versions, since I can't find any site anywhere that specifies. And I was rather surprised by what I found.

Update 11/22/15 - 4/27/22:
Throw those DVDs in the garbage!  A far superior new blu-ray has just been released by the BFI.  Bam!
Ullmann cast one of Bergman's best staple actors, Erland Josephson (Scenes From a Marriage, Face To Face, etc) to play the lead, and wow does that pay off. This is a very grounded film of long, steady close-ups and realistic human emotion, and Josephson can bring the power to that like very few actors in film history. He plays Bergman, an isolated film director who lives alone on an island writing scripts about the loves and infidelities of his past, and conjures up his former lover (played by Lena Endre) to retell their entire story from her point of view (though there's a surprising and moving shift in perspective in the third act). What makes it work is that it's very strong emotional subject matter handled very honestly and subtly. It's not melodrama, in fact the first half or so is very slow moving; but by the end: "oof!"
You could certainly accuse Ullmann of imitating Bergman's style here, but that's hardly a bad thing considering how well it works; and it's especially appropriate given that this is not only his writing, but a story seen through the eyes of himself as a filmmaker. Although I also noticed touches that I'm sure Ullmann put in there that Bergman never would have.  In fact, the fact that this story focuses more on the children of the destroyed relationship, something Bergman has often glossed over, lends considerably more dramatic power.  It might be a bold admission, but I consider Faithless, a film not directed by Bergman, to be one of the very top Bergman films.
One of Bergman's many crossed paths with A Dream Play.
Okay, now here's the story with the "international cut:" there's no such thing, at least not on Tartan's DVD. I watched both country's DVDs side by side and there isn't a single deviation or extra scene, shot or trimming. It's 100% the same movie. There are a few factors about the running time that probably added some confusion to the mix. First, naturally, there's the whole PAL/ NTSC business. Also, the US DVD has a couple trailers on it, and they're on the disc as one long video file with the main feature, so the running time on your player is actually adding the time of the movie and the trailers together for one larger sum. There's also different company logos in front of the opening credits and all. So, actually just looking at the movies themselves, the UK disc runs about 148 minutes, and the US is about 154... not 142 like it says on the back of the case. I believe that misprint is entirely at fault for the idea of there being more than one version of the film. Account for PAL speed-up, and they're the same length.
1) 2003 US First Look DVD; 2) 2001 UK Tartan DVD; 3) 2022 UK BFI BD.


And as you can see, the two DVDs have very different looks, as indeed does the new blu. The UK DVD has a very high-contrast (crushed, even) look suggesting it was taken from a film print, whereas the US DVD has a much more natural look, seemingly taken from the negative. That's great for the US disc, but unfortunately, it's full-screen, and not even open matte. It's an old school "chop the sides off" job. The UK disc is slightly pillar-boxed to about 1.74:1, and it's anamorphic, which is a relief. But both discs are a heavy compromise. If only we could've gotten the best of both worlds, we'd have had a pretty nice looking release.

Well, now we have even better than the best of both previous worlds.  We have a properly widescreen 1.85:1 transfer.  And the fresh 2k scan is of the original 35mm negative (and according to the booklet, a bit taken from the 35mm duplicating positive).  There is just so much more detail and clarity, as well as more photo realistic coloring, the screenshots really speak for themselves even if you don't bother to click through to the full resolution versions.  Just look.

All three discs feature the original Swedish stereo mix, but the new lossless version on the BFI blu sounds more robust and authentic.  They've also added a DTS-HD 5.1 mix.  Oh, and also the English subtitles are removable, which is more than can be said for the burnt in ones on the Tartan disc.
The US disc only has a couple of trailers for extras, though at least one of those is the actual Faithless trailer. The UK disc has the trailer and a bunch of bonus ones, too, but it also has the very substantial bonus feature of an on-camera interview with Liv Ullmann. It's pretty in-depth, lasting over 31 minutes.

BFI now, has really turned it into a special edition.  First of all, yes, they have kept the Tartan interview and they still have the trailer, so no ground lost.  They've also added a new, expert audio commentary by critic Adrian Martin, and it's excellent.  No dead space and a lot of information and insight, including some readings from Bergman's autobiography that sync up surprisingly specifically with this film.  Then, there are two more interviews with Ullmann, both are on-stage and last over an hour each.  There is some unfortunate redundancy, and it would have been nice if somebody could've edited these so we wouldn't be hearing the same 5-6 minute anecdotes repeated practically verbatim.  That's downright punishing to sit through.  But you'll be rewarded, because each interview also has a lot of unique content, with fun anecdotes about her career and insight into Faithless.  There are also two stills galleries and a hefty, full-color, 34-page booklet including two essays, a director's statement and interview with Ullmann.
So the international cut seems a myth. I mean, okay, maybe there's another version out there somewhere that runs longer, however beyond early assemblies or workprints, I'd be surprised if that's the case. But despite there only being one cut of the film, the home video releases are quite different. There's no question which is the winner now, though.  BFI's new blu is a beaut that puts the old editions to shame.  Faithless is a masterpiece, and this is a must-own.

Now where's Private Confessions?

Black Roses, Better Than No Blu

There was a cheesy little subgenre of horror in the 80s, presumably based on America's brief period of "Satanic Panic," of heavy metal themed horror films, like Hard Rock Zombies, Trick Or Treat, Rocktober Blood... 1988's Black Roses isn't my favorite of them (that would be Rock 'N' Roll Nightmare!), but it's a fun runner up.  And it's available in HD, but only if you're up for importing.
2007 US Synapse DVD top; 2014 DE NSM BD bottom.
The Black Roses are a hot new band who want to practice performing in a small town for a few nights (that "one night only" tag line is just flat out wrong-o) before embarking on their big tour, especially since everybody in the audience at the last place they played turned into monsters and went on a rampage.  Yes, the uptight school marms seem to be right to suspect this rock and roll band of having a devilish influence on their youth, and it's up to a hip(?) high school teacher to to get to the bottom of why his students behavior is becoming increasingly criminal before it's too late for the whole world.
2007 US Synapse DVD top; 2014 DE NSM BD bottom.
Black Roses is a low budget bit of Canuxploitation with a lot of ambition.  It's full of cheap but thoroughly entertaining set pieces, from dramatic scenes of patricide to seductress ghosts appearing in the night.  Records bubble on the turntable, monsters leap out of your speakers and all the nice girls start teasing up their hair.  It's super cornball melodrama that's at least fifty percent self aware but knows to keep throwing stuff at the screen to keep us entertained.  It helps that the music is really catchy and surprisingly good.  The effects are all over the place, very low budget and rubbery, but often well designed and creative.  Think Rawhead Rex, where he looks great until you realize the expression is fixed and it's essentially a thick rubber mask that barely moves.  And for some reason The Sopranos' Vincent Pastore turns up for a small role with a very out of place Brooklyn accent.
2007 US Synapse DVD top; 2014 DE NSM BD bottom.
So Synapse originally released this on DVD in 2007 as a nice little special edition.  Unfortunately, that's where they left it, never upgrading it to blu-ray.  But in 2014, a little label called NSM Records was there to pick up the slack.  "There" being Germany, where they released the film under the misfitting title Freakshow.  It didn't hang onto all the extras, but it's in HD for the first and still the only time.
2007 US Synapse DVD top; 2014 DE NSM BD bottom.
Both discs are just slightly off of 1.78:1 - Synapse is 1.77 and NSM is 1.79, and their framing is slightly altered, though it's hard to say which is better.  NSM's blu's colors are better separated and its image is brighter/ less saturated, the latter of which, again, may or may not be an improvement, though it still keeps its blacks black.  NSM's blu is unquestionably a sharper, HD image, though.  It's not exactly a cutting edge scan, and the grain sometimes looks like over-sharpened digital noise, but it beats the smoothed out SD image.

Another advantage is that NSM bumps up the original stereo mix to lossless DTS-HD.  Neither disc offers subtitles, so what's usually a small loss with imports like these is just a side-grade, and NSM does add a German dub (also stereo DTS-HD), if anyone's interested in that.
2007 US Synapse DVD top; 2014 DE NSM BD bottom.
Now, Synapse's special edition isn't too packed, but it's star feature is a pretty impressive commentary track with the director, writer and several of its cast members.  It's not perfect - the director keeps putting his kid daughter on the mic, which is equal parts annoying as cute.  Still, it's great to finally hear the story behind this film, and fans should be delighted to get it.  There's also some fun audition footage[right] that shows some other directions they could've gone with their lead villain character, plus there are some extended promos (Essentially two five minute trailers).

Sadly, NSM didn't carry over the commentary or the auditions, leaving it as a fairly barebones release.  They did manage to hang onto the promos, however, and unlike Synapse, they found the actual theatrical trailer.  They also added a gallery of high def stills and a bunch of bonus trailers.  It has reversible artwork with the far more impressive poster art, and the big red ratings logo is a sticker you can peel off the plastic.
2007 US Synapse DVD top; 2014 DE NSM BD bottom.
So, no, it's not a massive upgrade, and even if you do spring for it, you'll want to keep your DVD for the extras.  But it's something, which is more than we've got in the USA.  Maybe it's worth just holding out hope that Synapse will get around to revisiting this title someday, along with Rock 'N' Roll Nightmare, which as another of their DVD-only titles; but in the meantime this is what we've got.

Nigel Kneale's Nineteen Eighty-Four Restored

This is one of those posts I made this site for.  The case has been frustrating sci-fi lovers and DVD collectors for almost fifteen years now.  That's when we were first told about the restoration done on Nigel Kneale's BBC adaptation of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four for a pending release from DD Home Entertainment.  It's a twisting, depressing tale that so far has ended in nothing, but I still remain hopeful, for reasons I'll get into.  This isn't really about the particular stop-gap grey market DVD release I've settled for in the meantime, pictured above, but I'll tell you everything you could want to know about that, too.

Update 1/28/19 - 4/19/22: Ha!  I lived to see it after all.  The BFI has released their restoration as a special edition BD/ DVD combo.
Like all the BBC productions from that time, 1954's Nineteen Eighty-Four - or for convenience's sake, 1984 - aired live.  And thankfully, unlike many of those productions, it was recorded and preserved.  1984 was produced and directed by Rudolph Cartier, the maverick visionary who also made all of Kneale's original Quatermass serials along with other noteworthy works including his lost horror classic The Creature (remade as Hammer's Abominable Snowman, also starring Peter Cushing) and an adaptation of Wuthering Heights.  Unlike such classical adaptations as Wuthering Heights, however, it's worth noting that Orwell's novel was a contemporary work, having been published in 1949.  So this was quite possibly the first time viewers were seeing 1984 on screen, and it was rather controversial at the time, though it's all suggestion and quite tame by today's standards.
While this is far from his first acting gig, this is the film that really put Peter Cushing, who plays the lead character Winston Smith, on the map, because it was this production that led Hammer to pursue him for their movies.  And even having seen subsequent adaptations of 1984, it's hard to imagine anyone performing the role on the level of Cushing.  He shares the screen with some impressive co-stars, too, including Donald Pleasance as his confidant Syme and Andre Morell, who'd go on to play the title role in Kneale and Cartier's Quatermass & the Pit.  With a smart and faithful script and top shelf performances, this still holds up as the definitive Nineteen Eighty-Four to this day.  Though, having re-watched it recently, I have to say I was surprised how closely the 1984 film of 1984 held to Kneale's adaptation.  It's certainly got the showier production values, and William Hurt's a great actor.  But there's something more oppressive about the plain, gray walls of the BBC original.  And anyway, their version of the scene where Winston fixes the sink for the local party children doesn't hold a candle to the wild 1954 production.
So what happened to that restoration?  Listings for the DVD went up on all major retailers' sites in the summer of 2004, soon followed by a very exciting press release.  Like Quatermass & the Pit (again, this was all standard for BBC programs of the time) the live performance made use of 35mm film inserts, and DD's press release described making fresh scans of the original negatives to insert them into the best quality telerecording they could muster, describing the results of their work as, "even better than when it was first transmitted."  I can still vividly remember, and just tracked down, the original MHVF forum post where I read that the release was being delayed, if not out-right cancelled, because Orwell's estate didn't want it conflicting with a concurrent DVD release of the 1984 Hollywood version.

But okay, fine.  A delay is annoying, but if you've ever been excited by an announcement for a Synapse Films release, you've learned to cope with long waits.  Of course, eighteen years is another matter.  But there were more developments in the meantime, stringing the faithful along.  First, in 2007, Koch Vision announced a US release.  That quietly disappeared, too.  Then, in 2014, The BFI announced their own release [scroll down], and again, it was listed on retailers' sites with a new cover (wrongly proclaiming it to be "directed by Nigel Kneale") and everything.  That was pulled, too, apparently for roughly the same reason: the Orwell estate only wants the one version on the market.  I hope it doesn't escape them that they were crushing important art and, in some small way at least, emulating the authority figures George was warning us about in the first place.

So, in the meantime, I got this grey market DVD from A2ZCDS.  I hesitate to call it a bootleg, since it's openly sold through major retailers, and is a legitimately pressed disc with a UPC, etc.  But you know, it's like all of those cheapo releases that put out "public domain" titles where the title isn't really in the public domain, so much as nobody seems to be actively defending it.  And there are a number of such unauthorized releases of the 1954 1984, but I picked this one because it seemed a little more respectable... I knew there'd be no such thing as a high quality release, but I could at least hope for no ugly watermarks or interlacing.  And because, despite saying "1 DVD" clearly on the back of the case, and not mentioning it anywhere at all, this is actually a 2-disc set with the 1956 American adaptation of 1984 included as well.
The 1956 version.
This version of 1984 is okay, but falls short of both the 1954 and 1984 versions.  Kneale himself has been very critical of it, for example here's an interview where he calls it "a horrible bit of work."  It's filmed like a proper movie though, with more detailed sets and varied camera set-ups, as it's not a live production being recorded in studio.  On the other hand, it's a bit clunky and heavy-handed (apparently funded by the CIA for propaganda purposes!), focusing more on the love story, while Edmond O'Brien fails to deliver the relatable power that Cushing or Hurt bring to the role.  It's a novel coincidence that Donald Pleasance turns up in sort of the same role in this version as well; and despite coming up shorter than its competition, it's still worth the watch.

But now let's get back to the version we're genuinely excited about, because the aforementioned meantime has passed.  The BFI has not only announced, but fully gone through with a brand new, attractively restored Blu-ray/ DVD special edition combo pack, and my copy has just landed in America!
1) A2ZCDS 2009 DVD (film); 2) BFI 2022 DVD (film); 3) BFI 2022 BD (film);
4) A2ZCDS 2009 DVD (live); 5) BFI 2022 DVD (live); 6) BFI 2022 BD (live).

So yes, A2ZCDS's image looks lost in a soft, swampy grey mist.  But I was at least happy this edition is free of interlacing and watermarks.  Now, however, I'm delighted to move beyond it.  The 35mm sequences look amazing, as expected, but even the live footage is surprisingly clearer than anything we'd seen before.  The BFI's AR is actually slightly narrower: 1.32:1 as opposed to A2ZCDS's 1.33; but BFI pulls back to reveal more image, especially in the filmed sequences, where the distinction is substantial.  The wax paper look of the old DVD (and every other PD version I've seen online) is gone and forgotten, replaced with a natural, filmic look (as the booklet explains, the live broadcast footage was telerecorded onto 35mm footage back in the 50s).  Despite how much sharper (you can actually read the signs!) the filmed sequence compared above is, the particular outdoor foggy shot I've chosen might obscure just how bold and clear the filmed scenes now are, so here's another screenshot:
Wow, huh?  The only slight drawback, I suppose, is that now the difference between the filmed and live footage is obvious, and you'll be conscious of the change every time it switches between them.  But it's still not too distracting, especially for anyone familiar with British television and used to seeing the image shift in every episode of Fawlty Towers or Upstairs Downstairs.  In the booklet, the BFI mentions that they considered leaving the filmed segments with their dupey degraded look to blend the seams; but they made the right choice, to make this look as clear and impressive as possible.

All of the discs present the original track in mono, of course, but the BFI have cleaned it up, removing the hiss and other flaws that plagued past editions, in LPCM on the blu.  They've also added optional English subtitles, which of course the old A2ZCDS lacked.
Of course there are no special features on the A2ZCDS, though they do slap on two cheesy, animated commercials for their DVD line on each disc.  But the BFI have added a lot, starting with an original warning the BBC aired before the broadcast "suggesting, perhaps, you might not want some members of your family circle to watch this piece."  And I wrote in the first draft in my post, "If BFI's edition ever were to see the light of day, one hopes they might include things like the BBC special from the 1960s that reunited the cast of the original 1984, or the rare 1965 BBC version that actually re-used Kneale's original 1954 script."  Well, that special is here, though not the 1965 version - perhaps they're saving the latter for a separate release.  But the special is a great treasure, giving us interviews with all the major players, none of whom are with us now to make new special features.

So yes, that means all the other new extras are left to experts.  That includes an audio commentary, a featurette, and a filmed lecture about Nigel Kneale.  The best of these is the featurette, where one expert interviews another, settling all the rumors about this production, confirming some and denying others.  Yes, a lot of time is devoted to the show's controversy in all the extras.  The commentary and lecture are also full of great trivia, but they're a bit chatty and repetitive if you choose to watch everything.  The commentary in particular often touches on issues that the featurette answers conclusively, so some of it can feel like a waste of time.  And the lecture is actually a slideshow, but we don't get to see the slides they're talking about, which is annoying.  They also spend about half of the time explaining the plots of Kneale's Quatermass serials and other works at length, which isn't terribly useful if you've ever seen them before.  But again, there is plenty of good, unique info to be found in these, too - including an exciting proposition that one insider feels there's hope we might one day get to see Year Of the Sex Olympics in color!
Also included is an image gallery and a 30-page booklet with notes by Oliver Wake and David Ryan.  In summation, it's all worth digging through for the serious devotees; and as one myself, I'm glad to get it all.  But casual fans will be served just fine watching the one featurette and the original television special.  Certainly everyone, however, will want to check out this excellent adaptation in its first worthy and properly licensed home video edition.

Stuart Gordon's Longer, German Lovecraft Adaptation

This post has been a long time coming.  In 2006, when Masters Of Horror first hit DVD, I was excited to pick out my favorite episodes as individual special edition DVDs.  When they were later upgraded to blu-ray, I held off.  They ditched most of the special features, and people were complaining that they were 1080i instead of 1080p.  And there were foreign releases with similar issues.  Were they interlaced, in the wrong frame-rate, or was this just the inherent to their broadcast television roots?  I wasn't sure.  My DVDs weren't interlaced, reviews for the BDs were all pretty mediocre (I was a little put off that only season 1 made it to the US), and I was never all that impressed with most of the series anyway, so I just decided to steer clear of the whole quagmire.  That is until I discovered that some of the episodes, including my absolute favorite, were longer overseas!
As you can see, my fave is Stuart Gordon's Dreams In the Witch House.  It's a Lovecraft adaptation, co-written by his usual Lovecraft collaborator Dennis Paoli.  And it's really pretty great, even better than some of their features, though it probably helps that I've been able to see it in its fuller, uncut form.  I reckon I'd rank this between From Beyond and Dagon, definitely above Castle Freak.  It helps that they have mostly all practical KNB EffectsDagon's Ezra Godden returns as a Miskatonic student who moves into a cheap boarding house, only to discover that the very specific, weird convergence of angles he's researching because he believes they represent a connecting point between dimensions actually exist in the corner of his room.  And it's this very angle that's allowed a witch to live there for hundreds of years, preying on the local children.  This is a deranged, gruesome little story that adeptly captures Lovecraft special blend of sci-fi and fantasy horror.
So yes, this is a happy reunion: Gordon, Paoli, Lovecraft and Godden.  Even Richard Band is back to provide a suitably orchestrated soundtrack.  Apparently, Jeffrey Combs was set to co-star in this, too, but had to drop out two days before shooting.  It's a shame in the sense that it would've been an even bigger reunion, but the actor they replaced him with is great, more age appropriate, and probably better for the film, overall.  Also back, essentially, is the rat with a human face creature, that Paoli had originally written into The Evil Clergyman segment of Pulse Pounders, which at the time had been thought to be lost to history.
And in Germany, it's longer.  I'm not sure if this was strictly slimmed down for Showtime's air times, but scenes of sex and gore have both been abbreviated, so it might've been outright censorship.  Either way, it's better longer.  Some trims are almost arbitrary, but there's some great dialogue restored in this version, too.  It's not drastically different, but it's superior.  The nightmarish sex scene is even madder now and the ending is even bloodier.  Even the closing credits are more stylish, laid out over a series of images from the film, as opposed to the US cut, which just runs them over plain black.
2006 US Anchor Bay DVD top; 2018 DE Splendid BD bottom.
I'm happy to report, too, that the 1080i does not mean the blu-ray is interlacing.  We remain interlacing free.  We do have PAL speed-up, though, which is why the running times of both cuts are so similar despite one version having all the footage restored.  So take off a point for the speedup, but it's not really noticeable outside of a direct comparison, as opposed to the boost to HD, which is distinctly sharper than the DVD.  Both discs are between 1.77 and 1.78:1, but the DVD has a slight stretch vertically, that the BD fixes, therefore adding a pinch more information along the tops and bottoms.  It's not the greatest PQ either way - the BD is macroblocky and absolutely missing film grain - you'd never know this series was shot on 35mm looking at these discs.  But it's still a genuine step up from SD to HD.

So we've got a better cut of the film now, with better picture.  How else can the blu be preferable?  How about sound?  Yes, the 5.1 audio has been upped to lossless DTS-HD on the blu, now, too.  They've also added a DTS-HD German dub and German subtitles, too.  It does lose the optional English subtitles, though.
A big part of this discussion has to be about extras.  Anchor Bay's DVD had a lot of great stuff.  There's a fun and informative commentary by Gordon and Godden, though to start to run low on stuff to say in the end.  There's also an interview with Gordon which is okay, but repeats most of the stuff from the commentary, so it's fairly skippable.  Unmissable, however, is a new retrospective documentary on Gordon's work, featuring interviews with his most famous collaborators, even if they weren't involved with this episode: Brian Yuzna, Jeffrey Combs, Ken Foree, Barbara Crampton and more.  There are also interviews with co-star Chelah Horsdal and Howard Berger, a short collection of behind-the-scenes footage, a look back at the few CGI visual effects, outtakes, a stills gallery, a storyboard gallery and trailers for a bunch of Masters Of Horror episodes including this one.  It also came in a slipcover and included an insert and even a Stuart Gordon trading card.

Unfortunately, the blu-rays drop almost all of the original special edition DVD extras.  They just keep the commentaries.  But the German blu-ray has something the US blu-rays and even the original DVDs never had: a ton of behind-the-scenes footage.  There are glimpses of this in the DVD extras, but there's almost an hour's worth of footage here.  We see rehearsals and filming, more or less uncut, and well mic'd, so we can actually here Gordon giving direction, the animal controllers calling to the live rat, etc.  It also has reversible artwork so you can hide the tacky ratings logo.  So we lost a lot, but at least we gained something.  And of course, if you just keep your DVD, you've simply increased your collection of extras with this new stuff.
A scene only in the extended cut of Incident.
So let's talk quickly about the other episodes on here.  Don Coscarelli's Incident On and Off a Mountain Road is another fun reunion, where he's reunited with writer Joe R. Lansdale, who of course wrote the delightful Bubba Ho-Tep.  And Angus Scrimm may be a bit shoe-horned in (his character's not in the original story), but he's still the best thing about his episode.  It's also a creepy, nasty story with a strong premise, though the leads are pretty milquetoast and they really botched the ending.  The good news is, this is another episode that's longer on the Splendid blu than it was in America - score!  And it still has the great commentary with Coscarelli and Lansdale in conversation, and more exclusive behind-the-scenes footage.
The other two episodes are Tobe Hooper's Dance Of the Dead, which I'd classify as an interesting failure, adapting a rather extreme story by Richard Matheson, and Dario Argento's Jenifer, starring Steven Weber, which was a decent but unexceptional episode.  Again, we get commentaries and behind-the-scenes footage, plus these also have some interviews with Argento, Weber, and the Mathesons Jr and Sr.  Both of these episodes are the same length as their US counterparts, apart from the PAL thing.  Anyway, I'm here for Dreams, but I'll take these as fun bonuses, sure.
I can't leave you, though, without explaining that not every Splendid version is the preferred longer version.  No, unfortunately things have to be more complicated.  Norio Tsuruta's episode, Dream Cruise, is actually feature length at 87 minutes on DVD, but 57 (the length it originally was on Showtime) on blu.  Also a couple of Splendid's episodes are cut shorter (John Carpenter's Pro-Life and Dario Argento's Pelts), though they're uncut in the Nameless box set.  The Nameless box set is a now very hard to find German collection of the full series that was mostly a straight-forward reissue of the Splendid discs in fancy packaging, except that it fixed those cut episodes.  It still has the short version of Dream Cruise, though.  All the Splendid discs are available separately, but the Nameless versions are only in the full set.  This complication can make it daunting, and frustrating, to collect the whole series.  But if you're just interested in a couple of the stand-out episodes like me, anyway, it's easy to pick and choose the ideal editions so long as you're informed.
For the particular episodes on this disc at least, the Splendid is highly recommended.  I'd still hang onto the DVD for all those first class extras, but this longer cut makes a German version essential.  The HD boost, lossless audio and new extras sweeten the deal.  And if you haven't revisited it in a while, seriously, go back and watch Dreams In the Witch House again.  It really is something special.