Mondo Esoterica

DVD Reviews FAQ

Just to explain a few things, here are some of the criteria we use for judging a DVD, plus other occasionally asked questions:

1)    Are all your DVDs English Language?

All the DVDs we review have English audio or subtitles. All the DVDs are reviewed from the perspective of an English speaking user. This is especially important in the case of extra features; although an audio commentary/interview may be present, and we will note it - if it is not in English, and is unsubtitled then it will not count towards our final score.

2)     How do you score the films?
We use a basic criteria for the summary totals:

A/V (audio/visual) quality - this is mostly based on the visual quality, only if the audio is noticeably poorer will it impact on this score. See the detailed notes in each review for more information.

0/5 - unwatchably poor transfer. Literally it is impossible to watch this film
1/5 - very poor transfer. Heavy print damage, essentially unwatchable.
2/5 - poor transfer. There will be distracting print damage or bad digital transfer throughout, some scenes may be hard to watch.
3/5 - average transfer. Frequent print damage, or digital flaws. Film is watchable but problems will be noticeable and may distract.
4/5 - good transfer. Light print damage or digital flaws, may go unnoticed for most of the run time.
5/5 - very good transfer. Minimal print damage or digital flaws. Any damage must be unnoticeable unless specifically looked for.

Extras - See the detailed notes in each review for more information.
0/5 - no extra features on the disc at all (chapter stops and menu do not count as extra features).
1/5 - very light, may include some unconnected trailers, or stills gallery of scenes from film.
2/5 - light on features. Original trailer or behind-the-scenes photo gallery. Nothing of real interest.
3/5 - average features. Should generally include either documentary/interviews or audio commentary. Means some effort went into disc.
4/5 - good features. Will include either good commentary or documentary, or decent version of both.
5/5 - very good features. Must include documentary and commentaries.

3)   Is a film cut?

This is a surprisingly hard category to judge. There are several variants to cuts:

Cut for the DVD
In this case, the film was cut by the DVD firm to get passed for release to DVD. This information is easily obtained, and we will post it. For example, Last House on the Left (1976) had to be cut by a few seconds in order to receive a UK DVD release.

Print is historically cut version
Sometimes a DVD is produced from a decent quality print, but not always the most uncut version known. For example, the Hammer film Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell. The US DVD release of this film was made from a US print that had been cut by a few scenes back in the 1970s to receive an R rating. There is a German DVD made from a European print, that had these scenes included.
In some cases, deleted scenes are rumoured but not known, where we know of missing scenes, we will mention this.

Alternate versions
When it comes to European films, from the 1970s onwards there was a craze of releasing films in multiple variances, sometimes with different titles. Usually this was to bypass the censors - so a sequence might be shot twice, once with the actress clothed - for the censoring countries, and once with her unclothed - for the more liberal countries. Again, scenes may be rumoured but unconfirmed - where it is known that the film presented is a specific version, we will mention this.

4) What was the Original Aspect Ratio?

Like the discussion of film cuts, this is a topic that can be highly debated. The primary cause for this is that some films, again often European films from the 1970s or so, would be matted at 1.66:1 for European release, and 1.78:1 for US release. Hence if a DVD shows the film in 1.78:1, it is a proper aspect ratio, but may be incorrect for some fans. This topic is often highly debated, and wishing to remain away from such debates our rule is that if a film is shown in a ratio that it was properly shown in at one point, then it can count as OAR. If a film is pan and scanned, open matte or hard matted just for the DVD, then this will be mentioned. We will also mention the ratio the film is in.

5) Which actors/crew members do you make pages for?

Ideally, any actor/director/composer for whom we have more than one film entry will get their own page. However, unless we can find some background details on them, then the page will be little more than a filmography, and pointless.

6) Will you be reviewing HD?

At the moment we have no plans to review HD, due to the high cost of the equipment, the lack of an audience for the reviews and the current lack of HD cult movies. We do not expect to offer HD reviews until the middle of 2007.

7) You made a mistake in one of your reviews...

If you feel that we have made any mistakes in any of the reviews. Please e-mail.  We attempt to use as much data as we can find to ensure that our information is correct, however mistakes can be made, and any help is more than welcome.

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