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Lady In White (Blu-ray Review)

Lady-In-WhiteSometimes it takes a little help from the living for the dead to rest. Scream Factory™ proudly presents Lady in White for the first time ever on Blu-ray on September 27, 2016. This 2-disc set includes the never-before-released full-length director’s cut, extended behind-the-scenes footage, and many more special features. Originally released in 1988, this thriling ghost tale comes from director Frank LaLoggia (Fear No Evil) and stars Stars Lukas Haas (Witness), Alex Rocco (The Godfather, The Simpsons, The Facts of Life) , Katherine Helmond (Soap, Who’s The Boss) and Len Cariou (Blue Bloods).

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Film 

For ten year old Frankie Scarletti, school isn’t just a place for learning. On Halloween of 1962, after being forced to spend the night locked in the coffin-like confines of his fourth-grade cloakroom, Frankie discovers the ghost of a little girl who was murdered in the very same room ten years earlier by a serial killer that has eluded the police for the last decade . With the death toll continuing to rise, Frankie, along with the help of the girl’s restless spirit, takes it upon himself to bring the killer to justice.

Looking back on Lady In White, it almost feels like its ahead of its time.  Somewhat of a trendsetter of a kind of genre that would start to become more apparent and used 10 years down the road.  I’m sure there’s the possibility of the storytelling device traveling back further, but where it sits in time it sort of stands by itself.  The tale of a child’s ghost coming back to assist a living person in figuring out the mystery of their death and bringing closure to their tormented afterlife.  We would later see this rise in the late 90s/early 2000s with the likes of The Sixth Sense, Stir of Echoes and The Ring.  Still to this day even, but Lady In White is sorta the prototype for it.

An aspect I really enjoyed (And seemingly most of the critics upon release admired) was how genuine and “real” the atmosphere of fall, during Halloween in a small town felt.  Frank LaLoggia has crafted a look that made me feel nostalgic for my 80s childhood thoughts on how things felt.  I’ll compare it to Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers in terms of how it comes across on film.  And before anyone misreads that, that is actually some high praise for me.

One of the real things that held this thing back for me, if anything, was the pacing and length of it all.  While there is a mystery at hand, it isn’t as tight of one as it could have been.  The only people looking into it are the kids, too.  The adults have an interesting subplot going on, too, but sometimes it feels a distraction for this ghost matter at hand.  However, that adult subplot of racism is actually really damn eye opening, solid and topical, which may indeed keep this film aged well and more interesting than some of its contemporaries.

The film features some really solid ghost effects.  I’d say a majority of it all holds up decently.  Some of it, of course dates with being older tech coupled with a high definition transfer.  However, for me, this is the kind of ghost effect that still haunts a bit as it looks kind of lifelike and just overall spooky.  Its got that kind of look that the more human looking spirits in Ghostbusters do.

Lady In White is a neat little, more family friendly ghost story that still holds a bit more of adult weight to it which could add more gravitas to the younger viewers.  It evokes some really lovely atmosphere and truly grips that genuine fall feel in a small town.  The film runs a bit too long, but has a strong enough central mystery to not have it be too grueling when getting itself to the finish line.  Its a neat little film that you can have here in three different cuts for your own preferential viewing.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  Lady In White transfers onto Blu-ray with a solid looking picture.  The image is kinda dim and a little soft in its appearance.  It features some smooth like looks to it and has a decent amount of detail.  It looks stronger than a DVD but also that it could have been done from the same master.  The Extended Director’s Cut features inserts from a scan of an interpositive, which varies and differs in quality from the master used for the other cuts of the film.

Depth:  The image is “okay” when it comes to depth.  Movement is decent, but spacing leaves some to be desired.  Nothing awful, but improvement could be made.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and a tad consuming.  Darker scenes, hair, surfaces and clothing can tend to loose or be tougher to make out details.

Color Reproduction:  Colors take a rather autumnal look to their appearance.  Oranges and tints like it seems to drive the overall look of the film.  Some nice greens are in there too. 

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones have a bit of a warmer look to them with a slight orange filtered look to it.  Detail is good on close-up shots but things seems to smooth out as you pull back.

Noise/Artifacts: Some grain and a spec or dirt here or there.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics:  Lady In White debuts on Blu-ray with a pretty solid 5.1 track.  Big spooks scenes with action moments come to the forefront and are plenty loud and impacting when they need to be.  There is a decent balance between vocals, effects and the score in the film.  The Extended Director’s Cut uses a source from an interpositive scans that differs in quality containing some hisses and pops not present in the remainder of the film

Low Frequency Extension:  Crashing, roaring fire, car/truck engines and the like give a nice prrr to the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  A friendly 5 channel lap around the speakers.  Rear channels do provide some ghostly ambiance as well as their own haunting tidbits throughout the film.  Front channels give a good, accurate portrayal of movement and distance through nice sound placement.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Audio is clean and plenty audible at any given time in the film  Singing sounds hauntingly perfect in this mix.

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Extras 

Lady In White is a 2-Blu-ray disc set.

Disc 1

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Frank LaLoggia – The same commentary from the DVD edition.

Introduction with Frank LaLoggia (HD, :46) – An brief introduction from the director recorded for the DVD version of the film.

Behind-The-Scenes Footage with Introduction by Frank LaLoggia and Optional Commentary (HD, 16:21) – LaLoggia says this was just to be for his personal keepings, but due to the adventure of DVD and such he can share it now.  VHS footage of shooting different scenes and LaLoggia at work.

Deleted Scenes with Introduction by Frank LaLoggia and Optional Commentary (HD, 36:13)

Extended Behind-The-Scenes Production and Post-Production Footage (HD, 1:13:21) 

Promotional Short Film (HD, 7:18) – A sort of demo version, featuring some of the same actors and some different.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:57)

Alternate Trailers (HD, 7:10)

TV Spots (HD, 1:34)

Radio Spots (HD, 2:21)

Behind-The-Scenes Photo Montage (HD, 2:30)

Extended Photo Gallery (HD, 1:55)

Disc 2

Extended Director’s Cut (HD, 2:06:52) 

Original Theatrical Cut (HD, 1:53:34) 

Summary 

Lady In White spooks itself to Blu-ray in three different cuts.  I’m not sure as to which is the preferred version of the film, but I’m pretty sure the extended director’s cut includes pretty much everything.  This Blu-ray is loaded with extras that seem to a be a majority ported over from a previous DVD or multiple DVD releases of the film.  Video and audio quality look very nice as well.  This is a solid upgrade for fans of the film and people should be pretty happy with it.

Lady-In-White-Blu-ray

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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