Saturday, February 20

Aenigma Italian DVD Spotcheck: It's Not Anamorphic...

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Despite being listed as such by several sources, most notably DVDCompare (see listing here), the Italian Minerva Pictures/UniVideo "HorrorClub" DVD of Lucio Fulci's Aenigma does not feature an anamorphic transfer. DVDCompare notes a stripped down "DeAgostini" release without an anamorphic transfer and in only Italian audio. The release I recently picked up definitely has Italian, English, and French tracks along with a Fulci bio, trailer, and gallery. Although it's definitely not a 16x9 transfer, just 1.85:1 widescreen, after popping the disc with my DVD-ROM and standalone player. The specs on the back cover are slightly confusing stating "Letterboxed: 16:9"--which is a contradiction. The term "letterbox"usually refers to a DVD being non-anamorphic. Maybe that's confusing people into believing this release is enhanced for widescreen displays.

I know it may not seem like a big deal, it isn't, but I tend to find errors like this on DVD review sites quite irritating. If you're a collector searching for the best home video version, you'll likely be looking for this disc, much like I. The disc was only ten bucks for me, but one might pay much more only to be royally disappointed with the lack of a widescreen display-friendly presentation. At least the film is uncut on this Minerva Pictures release unlike the domestic out-of-print and also non-anamorphic Image Entertainment "EuroShock" release which is missing several minutes. If one is searching for an English-friendly anamorphic transfer, it appears Raro Video in Italy now have one along with Néo Publishing in France. Just be weary of this particular release for that purpose, but the picture quality isn't bad anyway. Here's several screenshots exhibiting the lack of anamorphic enhancement, if it was, the matte bars would be missing:

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