Monday, February 11

Weird Bootleg Fetish: Chinese Hemdale/Image Terminator DVD

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The barcode is different, wonder if any stores got fooled? 
If you've read this blog long enough, you may know of my infatuation with "quality" bootlegs both on tape and disc. It's just fascinating the length some bootleggers will go to either convince the naive or cover their ass. I don't necessarily support them, never buying directly from a bootlegger is a rule, but they're hard to resist if I run across one cheap at a yard sale or thrift store.

Such is the case with this nicely done boot of The Terminator (1984), which I picked up over the weekend at a local Goodwill. I immediately recognized the key art being from the old cardboard snapper Image Entertainment release ported from their LaserDisc at the dawn of DVD in 1997. Only this time the thief printed the layout onto a professional quality paper sleeve.

What also sets this forgery apart from the majority is the lack of stupid and/or mismatched logos. The credits and distributor logos remain intact instead of slapping on credits from a totally different film or making this disc look released from Paramount or Criterion. Bootleggers seem obsessed with touting "DVD-9" and "AC-3" on their covers and discs. Maybe because of that very reason, you very seldom ever see authorized DVDs use these terms with dual-layer discs and Dolby Digital. This fake Terminator can't help itself in this aspect and has a DTS logo even though there no such audio track included.

This is where things fall apart despite the disc itself being factory pressed, dual layered, and featuring screened art depicting the cover. Seen in the capture above, the presentation is very poorly ripped from MGM's SE from 2001. Unlike that decent release, the widescreen transfer is non-anamorphic and riddled with digital compression artifacts and line combing. Best to think of this level of picture quality as a torture test for your DVD player's processing capabilities. Great players can actually clean up most of these issues.

The only audio option is the now infamous Dolby 5.1 remix, that totally replaces nearly all of the original sound effects with new ones, but only in Stereo. To my knowledge, no official DVD has ever featured this crappy surround remix in stereo. So that's kinda cool; if you don't mind the ruination of one of the greatest examples of cinematic sci-fi from the '80s. And finally, as usual all the extra features are stripped from the disc. Ehh, still worth essentially lighting two bucks on fire to pick it up in my book!              

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