53 Planet of the Vampires

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Finch
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:09 pm
Location: Edinburgh, UK

53 Planet of the Vampires

#1 Post by Finch » Wed Feb 14, 2024 8:06 am

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Planet of the Vampires (LE)

In the outer reaches of deep space, the spaceship Galliott answers a distress signal from Aura, an unexplored planet. As the ship attempts to land, members of the crew inexplicably begin to attack one another. This is the start of a terrifying expedition into the unknown, one plagued by paranoia, possession and violent mayhem wrought upon the unsuspecting explorers by the planet’s mysterious inhabitants. A sci-fi horror hybrid from genre master Mario Bava (Blood and Black Lace), Planet of the Vampires is widely regarded as one of the most influential genre films ever made, with a clear influence on films such as Alien and Pitch Black. With a uniquely chilly atmosphere and fantastic production design that belies its low budget origins, Planet of the Vampires is a true genre classic.

LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES

4K scan of the film from the original negative under the supervision of Lamberto Bava and carried out at Fotocinema in Rome in collaboration with CSC Cineteca Nazionale
High-Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the Italian (90 mins) and English (88 mins) versions of the film
Uncompressed mono audio
Archival audio commentary by Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark (2014)
A documentary feature which explores Planet of the Vampires, Mario Bava and the connection between gothic and science fiction. Co-directed by Dima Ballin and Kat Ellinger; featuring interviews with Guy Adams, Xavier Aldana Reyes, Alexandra Benedict, Johnny Mains and John Llewellyn Probert (2024)
Archival interview with Lamberto Bava
Super 8 Version - a reconstruction of the cut-down version distributed as Planet der Vampire (17 mins)
Joe Dante and Josh Olsen trailer commentaries - the filmmakers provide a short overview of the film (2013)
Trailers
Press and image gallery from the Tim Lucas / Alan Y. Upchurch collection
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Time Tomorrow
Limited edition 80-page book featuring new writing by Kyle Anderson, Martyn Conterio, Barry Forshaw, George Daniel Lea and Jerome Reuter plus archival materials
A collection of six exclusive postcards featuring promotional material
Limited edition of 5000 copies, presented in rigid box and full-height Scanavo packaging with removable OBI strip leaving packaging free of certificates

Cert: TBC
Format: Blu-ray
Region: ABC
RAD053BDLE
EAN: 5060974681006
Release date: 27/05/24

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Cash Flagg
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:15 pm

Re: 53 Planet of the Vampires

#2 Post by Cash Flagg » Wed Feb 14, 2024 9:03 am

Disappointing that there's no AIP cut (or a 4K release to match the Plaion), but I assume there were rights issues?

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MichaelB
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Re: 53 Planet of the Vampires

#3 Post by MichaelB » Wed Feb 14, 2024 9:12 am

Completely different rightsholder, I imagine. (Presumably MGM.)

As for the lack of a UHD release, Fran said that this is because the "4K restoration" turned out to be a 2K restoration of a 4K scan, so there wouldn't have been anything to be gained from it.

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dwk
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2010 6:10 pm

Re: 53 Planet of the Vampires

#4 Post by dwk » Wed Feb 14, 2024 12:17 pm

I am surprised that this is region free. Since it isn't MGM, who is the UK rightsholder?

nicolas
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2023 11:34 am

Re: 53 Planet of the Vampires

#5 Post by nicolas » Wed Feb 14, 2024 7:59 pm

Cash Flagg wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2024 9:03 am
Disappointing that there's no AIP cut (or a 4K release to match the Plaion), but I assume there were rights issues?
Regarding the UHD: I despise the way the German UHD looks with its flat look, which is the first (and only) time with Plaion. As they’ve been doing great work before and after this release, I’d actually say that they themselves may have been duped by the rightsholders and claims about the restoration being natively 4K as the resolution present on the UHD is barely HD.

The master lacks adequate detail and "resolution" for the format, particularly when it comes to the grain. Grain on the Plaion is extremely thick and "low-res", which shouldn’t be the case for any OCN-scanned film and a subsequent 4K restoration made with proper equipment. Even IPs newly and properly scanned in 4K would have better definition and color range. The film looks old and dated instead of sparkling and gorgeous like Bava’s Blood and Black Lace on Arrow’s perfect UHD. The difference between these two films is gigantic despite merely a year having passed between their original release dates. It’s impossible that the way Planet of the Vampires looks on the Plaion UHD is adequate and faithful to what’s on the negative.

POTV often looks like an older HD master that was given a new HDR pass. The HDR is subtle and the colors themselves fitting - although in the context how how "low-res" and vintage the master feels, the combination is quite inorganic to look at. The excessively bright, blown-out highlights in HDR / DV only add to that sentiment. (This is not a culprit of encoding issues but simply a case of no richer visual information being present in the master beyond its limited native dynamic range).

Can’t wait for the Radiance edition which, paired with FiM’s encoding, very likely remedies what’s wrong with this UHD.

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Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: 53 Planet of the Vampires

#6 Post by Matt » Thu Feb 15, 2024 2:34 pm

I didn't think I needed to own this, but that beautiful package and the promise of a great-looking transfer hooked me. I really like the way this film looks (costumes, sets, lighting)--one of Bava's best-looking films yet outside of the genre he's best known for.

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therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: 53 Planet of the Vampires

#7 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Feb 15, 2024 2:44 pm

I saw this somewhat recently and was comforted by its atmosphere, in a similarly effective way as Robinson Crusoe on Mars - I can't offer a better defense because nothing else was particularly memorable about this one for me, but I look forward to watching it again and trying to invest more in the content outside of the pleasurable tone incited by overwhelming aesthetics

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Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: 53 Planet of the Vampires

#8 Post by Matt » Thu Feb 15, 2024 6:04 pm

Saying this as a longtime fan who had Bava laserdiscs and owns the huge Tim Lucas book: there’s really nothing more to this one for me than pretty pictures and a cool mood, but I feel that way about most Bava. The Girl Who Knew Too Much is maybe the film with the most comprehensible and enjoyable plot.

M Sanderson
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:43 am

Re: 53 Planet of the Vampires

#9 Post by M Sanderson » Fri Feb 16, 2024 8:09 am

I was unaware of issues with the Plaion 4k. With it being the freshest restoration, and perhaps not knowing how films of this budget range should look in 4k, I paid way over for this title and didn't even see issues while watching the movie. I usually keep an eye on the UHD thread for titles worth upgrading and must've missed.

So everyone agrees that the Radiance will be the definitive release.

How about Dr Hichcock - any issues with the Vinegar Syndrome 4k and any preference for the Radiance Blu ray?

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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: 53 Planet of the Vampires

#10 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Feb 16, 2024 4:08 pm

A brilliant film, maybe the anti-Solaris! The giant spaceship sets with loads of headroom may be particularly sparse and stagey looking, but I find those enormous stretches of redundant blank space themselves lend the film some of its engagingly off-kilter atmosphere, matched on the planet by all of the coloured fog effects. Its a weirdly influential film, primarily an unacknowledged influence on the first half of Alien - i.e. the section involving landing on a strange planet, then the expedition to find out what happened to a crash landed ship giving off a distress beacon, only to find monsters there that start to kill off/assimilate the crew. Although really Alien has two unacknowledged forefathers - Planet of the Vampires in the first half and It! The Terror From Beyond Space for the second half of the alien running amok around the spaceship.

And of course now it also has some moments that weirdly anticipate Prometheus too! (As in the aliens being more advanced and in the circular ending
SpoilerShow
our main characters maybe not even being representatives of human beings in the moment of the survivors crash landing themselves onto the strange planet of Earth
)

It also really should probably have more correctly been called Planet of the Zombies, since the monsters are taking over the bodies of the dead crew and marionetting them around. But then I suppose the old school term of vampire/succubus works too for someone coming under the control of another being.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Tue Apr 09, 2024 6:24 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Altair
Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:56 pm
Location: England

Re: 53 Planet of the Vampires

#11 Post by Altair » Sat Feb 17, 2024 5:12 am

Similarly, I wasn't terribly impressed when I saw this a few years ago - great sets and costumes, but the film itself has slipped from my memory. This sumptuous release though, does tempt me to give it another try (even though I know it almost certainly won't improve as a film)...

M Sanderson
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:43 am

Re: 53 Planet of the Vampires

#12 Post by M Sanderson » Sat Feb 17, 2024 7:21 am

I did think the film was marvellous, in particular the vivid way in which the alien world was established. The giant skeletal remains, with no explanation, made the planet and its history more believable. There was no prosaic explanation. It simply was. In reversing cause and effect, and in spite of the vivid artifice, Bava had created a world that existed before this film was produced, if you know what I mean. (Certainly this is what Ridley did in ALIEN. And in Prometheus, the camp spacesuits also seem to be a nod...) While maintaining his own auteurism, in particular creating connections and even families beyond life, or humanity. Great pulp science fiction, and the surface level stuff, ray guns and space suits, and ominous sets, was tremendous fun also.

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colinr0380
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Re: 53 Planet of the Vampires

#13 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Feb 17, 2024 8:27 am

Plus Bava gets to reference his Gothic horror roots in the eerie 'bodies rising from their wrapped in plastic, metal sheeting covered techno-graves' sequence! (And is this the first time in a film where we get the sequence of the twitching hand of a dead body on a hospital table being made obvious to the audience but going unnoticed by the oblivious doctor in the room?)

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reaky
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 8:53 am
Location: Cambridge, England

Re: 53 Planet of the Vampires

#14 Post by reaky » Sat Feb 17, 2024 10:37 am

colinr0380 wrote:Plus Bava gets to reference his Gothic horror roots in the eerie 'bodies rising from their wrapped in plastic, metal sheeting covered techno-graves' sequence! (And is this the first time in a film where we get the sequence of the twitching hand of a dead body on a hospital table being made obvious to the audience but going unnoticed by the oblivious doctor in the room?)
That happens in Whale’s Frankenstein, the monster’s hand twitching then creeping up to strangle the doctor who’s preparing to dissect him.

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colinr0380
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Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: 53 Planet of the Vampires

#15 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Feb 17, 2024 11:18 am

Ah! I was even wondering about Frankenstein, but all I could fixate on was the doctor actually looking directly at the hand and crying "It's alive!" in the creation sequence!

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Cash Flagg
Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:15 pm

Re: 53 Planet of the Vampires

#16 Post by Cash Flagg » Sat Feb 17, 2024 12:05 pm

colinr0380 wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2024 8:27 am
Plus Bava gets to reference his Gothic horror roots in the eerie 'bodies rising from their wrapped in plastic sequence!
Which, of course, Alien co-writer Dan O’Bannon later reused in Return of the Living Dead (though he may have been equally inspired by Plague of the Zombies).

M Sanderson
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:43 am

Re: 53 Planet of the Vampires

#17 Post by M Sanderson » Sat Feb 17, 2024 3:18 pm

colinr0380 wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2024 8:27 am
Plus Bava gets to reference his Gothic horror roots in the eerie 'bodies rising from their wrapped in plastic, metal sheeting covered techno-graves' sequence! (And is this the first time in a film where we get the sequence of the twitching hand of a dead body on a hospital table being made obvious to the audience but going unnoticed by the oblivious doctor in the room?)
the rising from the graves scenes were beautifully done. languid and morbid.

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