Review: Dracula Prince of Darkness (Restored & Remastered Blu-ray version)

Dracula Prince of Darkness Blu-ray

StudioCanal and Hammer Films release a restored version of Dracula Prince of Darkness as a double-play offering on March 5, but if you’ve previously picked up the single DVD or Hammer Box set, is it worth it?
Well, simply put, yes.

DPOD has been restored in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and scanned at 2k resolution from the original negatives. The net result of this restoration jargon for you the viewer? The colours literally pop off the screen giving it an almost 3D quality.

Emerald greens, ripe reds and golden yellows lend the scenes in Dracula’s castle an opulence that makes you understand why a group of lonely travellers would want to spend the night there. It’s like watching a comic book.

LPCM sound suffices delivering a clarity that lets you hear every click of each footstep in castle Dracula, but one can’t help notice the difference in quality when switching between listening to the commentary track, which has more depth than the move track.

Extras-wise there’s a commentary track featuring the cast’s principles including Mr Lee himself, which is great.
Hammer historian Marcus Hearn delivers an insightful “Making Of” feature with interviews with the cast as well as a detailed breakdown of the film’s score and an interview with the restoration team.

Other features feel thrown in. The World of Hammer episode feature suffers in quality and should have either being improved or left off the disk. The restoration comparison, title variants, trailers and some on set footage with commentary are nice, but don’t offer that much in terms of value-add.

Given that companies like Arrow Films are leading the way in Blu-ray releases in terms of packaging and extras, Hammer should have taken a leaf out of their book for this Blu-ray release.

However, given how beautiful the HD version of this film is, it really is like seeing the film again for the first time and definitely worth buying if you’re a Hammer fan.

Dracula Prince of Darkness is released on Blu-ray double-play March 5.

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