DVD Title
Classic Disaster Movies
International Title
Virus/Hurricane/Deadly Harvest
DVD Length Original Length
108/73/86 Minutes 155/90/86 Minutes
Company Year of Manufacture
American Home Treasures 2003
Language Subtitles
English None
Region Number of Discs
1 1
Aspect Ratio Sound
1.33:1 2.0 Mono
Extras
. Menus (English)
. Chapters (6/6/6)
. Selected Filmographies (English, 7 in total)
. Biographies (English, 7 in total)
. Trivia (English)
. Natural Disasters Through the Ages (English)
Captures
Review

Three movies on one DVD for $6? Oh, this is going to hurt. I suppose the DVD should at least get a nod for addressing the pain the viewer is about to receive with a fair warning placed before the disc starts, although it would have been nice if it were placed on the front cover instead. So what are the three movies in question here? The first, and only Toho related title, is Kinji Fukasaku's Virus, present here in its heavily edited US form. The second picture is the, god awful, 1974 made for TV movie Hurricane, which is one of those productions where no one took the time to inform the crew that you don't have special guest stars on a full length feature. The last film on the disc is the 1976 movie Deadly Harvest, another horrible production and one which Kim Cattrall would probably love to bury in some hidden vault. It's safe to assume that Virus deserves far better than this, and to even see it associated with the latter two titles is a little disheartening. Anyway, with this disc, you get what you pay for, and at $2 a movie one can expect a pretty wretched presentation with horrid video and audio quality, while the extras aren't even worth the time.


 Video:

With three different video presentations to discuss, I will try and speed through this process as quickly as possible.

Virus, the first film on the disc, fares pretty close to the Diamond Entertainment release of Virus that same year. This means the colors are muted heavily, while the brightness level is turned so low that it's damn hard to distinguish anything during a good portion of the film. Artifcating and shimmering, a rainbow band of colors on fine details, is also present here, most likely on account of the heavy compression needed to fit all three films on the same disc. The print itself is lacking as well, as it sports numerous scratch marks and a noticeable layer of grain throughout, although it's masked greatly on account of the very low brightness level. This is the US cut of the film too, which means some 47 minutes of footage is lost. For the final insult, the movie is presented here in a 1.33:1, full screen, aspect ratio instead of its original widescreen.

The second film on the disc, Hurricane, has the worst video presentation of the three. The colors here are pretty muted, while there is a troublesome purple line that appears on the left side of the screen, as seen here. The purple line actually shouldn't bother people too much, though, as the brightness level is turned so low here that the viewer won't be seeing much of anything anyway. I assume there is a good amount of artifacting and grain present too, but it's pretty hard to distinguish on account of how dark everything is. Scratches, on the other hand, are still quite noticeable here. Going by the original running time, it would seem that 17 minutes of footage has been lost as well. In this case, I'll take their word for it, as I have never seen the film before, nor will I likely have the desire to ever search out a uncut version either. The film is presented here in a 1.33:1, full screen, aspect ratio, which is this made for TV movie's original format, so nothing to complain there at least. Sadly, I wish I could say this is the worst video presentation of any movie on DVD that I have had the misfortune of reviewing, but Alpha Video's Godzilla vs. Megalon release still takes "top honors" in that regard.

The final movie on the disc, Deadly Harvest, actually fares the best. Of course, that's saying next to nothing. The colors here are hugely distorted, looking a sickly yellow at the start of the film before changing into a, rather ghastly, orange by the time the film limps to its end. At least the brightness level is set here so that the viewer can actually see the film, even if it has been increased too much in this case. Artifcatcating and edge enchantment is a big issue here, as the film looks slightly pixilated and rather hazy as well. It's the only uncut film on the disc, though, so I suppose that's a plus. The aspect ratio is 1.33:1, though, which is a far cry from the original widescreen aspect ratio.


 Audio:
Star Rating

The audio presentation here fares better than the video, much, in fact, depending on the film.

Virus is present here with a 2.0 mono track, and although the levels sound a little odd at times, it's fairly good. There aren't really any hiss or crackles to the audio track, while the dialogue sounds reasonable clear. The soundtrack to the film does suffer from the oddly structured levels, though, and the music track, at times, sounds like it's coming from behind a wall.

Hurricane, on the other hand, once again ends up being the black sheep here. It's presented in a 2.0 mono track here, while dialogue in general sounds pretty muffled at times. There is some hiss to the track at times too, most apparent during the few scenes that actually contain music. The volume level, compared to the other two films, is also noticeably lower here.

Deadly Harvest's audio presentation, which is a 2.0 mono track, is lacking quite a bit. The entire track, dialogue and music, sounds overly muffled. No hisses or crackles, which is a plus, but the fact that the dialogue is so soft here makes the film a little hard to follow at times.


 Extras:

I would like to publicly thank whoever it was at American Home Treasures who took twenty minutes out of their schedule to do several Google searches to compound the needed data for the extra content here. The biographies on the actors are at least a little meaty in terms of length, even if the information is extremely generic. Everything else, why bother? The Natural Disasters extra takes generic to a whole new level too.


 Overview:

Bottom line, this disc would be hard to suggest to anyone in its present form, unless there is someone out there who actually enjoys the 1974 Hurricane, as this appears to be the only way to get the film on DVD. For those still searching for some Virus relief from the up cropping of horrible discs released of that film, this disc is probably the worst yet. My advice is either shell out the large sum for Kadokawa's two disc region 2 set, or look to pick up Miracle Pictures' cheap region 0 release of Virus, which is at least watchable unlike what's found here.

- Anthony Romeros
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