This HD transfer seems to have received a whole unholy hell load of flak. I went into it expecting not a whole lot, but I came out of it pleasantly surprised and being reminded once again that I shouldn't listen to the reviews unless they're written by people I really trust to know their stuff (and even then sometimes you gotta see things for yourself to decide). Could this film look better? If the original camera negative (OCN) could be found. This Blu-ray was transferred from a 35mm interpositive (IP)--that is, the 16mm OCN was blown up to a 35mm negative which was then used for the IP. What we get is a source two generations removed from the OCN, with the audio taken from an analog video master, so there are flaws, but to anyone's knowledge these are the best elements for the picture and sound that currently exist. However, it was cleaned up rather well and is a pleasing transfer with healthy, nondistracting grain. (Unless, of course, you're a grain hater--in which case, why are you watching movies shot on film??? The grain MAKES UP the image, and to scrub that away means to eliminate a certain amount of critical picture detail along with it.) Black levels can look a bit light at times, while most times being richly dark and appropriate. Color reproduction is good, and it's nice to have a film in its native 1.66:1 aspect ratio rather than cropping it for 16:9 (1.78:1), or worse, 1.85:1 (which is common practice in a lot of circles and really cramps the headroom and ruins the photography on a lot of releases). I didn't notice any kind of digital artifacting and the like.
The film itself is a fun ride and recommended for any fans of '80s slasher flicks. There are a lot of cliches here that come with the genre, but there are some unique twists and the movie overall is just a whole lot of fun, and one I personally think is acted real well. Naysayers of leading actress Laura Lapinski can take a flying leap because I think she's incredibly gorgeous, a unique beauty. Props to this film for not having buxom bimbo babes and loads of nudity, despite being a slasher (though there is one such gratuitous shot, which I'll admit I loved). It's not quite as smart and artistic as "The Prowler", but it's a breath of fresh air amidst the immense slew of cash-in slasher films. For a student film, this is very well made. INCREDIBLY well made, actually.
The film is uncut, too! There's a great reason to buy it. To my knowledge this is the only uncut version of the film in the States, and even if you don't yet have a Blu-ray player, it comes with a DVD plus your future-proof hi-def copy of the film for when you eventually do splurge on the newer equipment. The two interviews with the composer and special effects artist are very informative and entertaining, and the two trailers--one for "The Dorm That Dripped Blood" and the other for its retitle, "Pranks"--are in full HD glory.
Chalk one up to the Blu-ray horror collection. For high definition enthusiasts, this one's sure to please.
An impressive package overall. Highly recommended.