Shout Factory’s initial slate of Corman DVD reissues have offered up a healthy cross-section of quality space-schlock: Galaxy Of Terror, Forbidden World and Starcrash have all been treated to excellent transfers and extras-rich DVD packages. The company has continued their mining of Corman’s intergalactic fare with this double-feature disc that pairs two of the later entries in this canon, The Terror Within and Dead Space. Despite the limitations of the two-on-one format, they’ve put together a solid package.
The Terror Within gets treated to a new anamorphic transfer that suits the film nicely, offering more detail and better colors than the old MGM videotape that most of us first saw this title on. Dead Space gets a full-frame transfer and looks like it might have come from an old video master. The improved resolution of DVD makes it look a little bit better but it’s still soft and hazy, due in part to the smoke-happy cinematography. The original sound mixes are retained for both titles and aside from a few stray pops on the track for The Terror Within, they sounded fine.
Like Shout Factory’s recent The Evil/Twice Dead double header, this disc offers the viewers the choice of watching the films as “The Roger Corman Experience.” Simply put, choosing this option lines up the two films as a single program and adds vintage intros and appropriate trailers (two per film) to precede each title. It’s a fun addition and it’s nice to note that the films depicted in the bonus trailers are either current or future Shout! Factory releases. By the way, these bonus trailers can also be watched separately.
There are also a few extras tucked into the remaining nooks and crannies left on the disc. The theatrical trailer for The Terror Within is represented here and it’s a punchy fast-edit bonanza that reflects its late-1980’s era. Better yet, there is a commentary track for Dead Space featuring director Fred Gallo and moderator Jeff McKay. It’s an unexpectedly interesting affair: Gallo discusses the ins and outs of what it was like to direct for Corman during this era, in which budgets were tight and schedules even tighter. He also tells a funny story about Bryan Cranston and reveals some eye opening details (example: his salary for the film was only $7000!). Even if you aren’t a fan of this film it’s worth a listen.
In short, this is another generous and skillfully assembled package from Shout! Factory crew. The presence of The Terror Within, one of the better latter-day Corman productions, and the intriguing Dead Space commentary make it well worth acquiring for fans.