vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,

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'Supernatural' on Blu-ray: That's scary, kiddies (or is it?)

It's no secret that "Supernatural," released in spring 1933, is a film Carole Lombard really didn't want to make. Her lone foray into horror, Carole probably feared if the film was a hit, Paramount might relegate her to that genre. And while Fay Wray was able to escape typecasting after several outings as a "scream queen," Olga Baclanova was doomed after "Freaks" in 1932.

Lombard needn't have worried. "Supernatural," from the Halperin brothers of "White Zombie' fame, was a programmer, nothing more, and the public took it that way. It isn't a bad film -- OK, it's often silly by 2020 standards -- but it has its moments, and Carole acquits herself well in this tale of the dead (convicted murderess Vivienne Osborne) using the living (heiress Lombard) to pursue the real killer.

That's Joe Flaherty as Count Floyd ("That's scary, kiddies!") on "SCTV," a dead-on but affectionate parody of local horror movie hosts from John Zacherle in New York to Svengoolie in Chicago to Baron Daemon in my hometown of Syracuse, N.Y. However, I'm not certain whether "Supernatural" would've made the grade on SCTV or its real-life counterparts. Carole Lombard? In horror? A bit too glamorous for the genre, thank you.

Fortunately, you can decide for yourself. While "Supernatural" has been on a no-frills Universal video-on-demand DVD since October 2014, next month (April 7, to be precise) a new Blu-ray version comes out from Kino Lorber (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/1064087.html). It's complete with many of the extras fans have come to expect -- a 2K print, a theatrical trailer and audio commentary from Tim Lucas, who's done more than 30 such things.

And with reviews from Cinema Retro (https://cinemaretro.com/index.php?/archives/10809-REVIEW-SUPERNATURAL-1933-STARRING-CAROLE-LOMBARD;-BLU-RAY-SPECIAL-EDITION.html) and DVD Beaver (http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film9/blu-ray_review_121/supernatural_blu-ray.htm), we can supply even more information...in particular, how this new version looks.

Here's Lombard on the earlier VOD version...

...and on Kino's forthcoming Blu-ray"

Another comparison -- Universal, then Kino:

And another, this showing her character possessed:

While the film on the whole wasn't much fun for Carole, she managed to make the most of her special effects:

Gary Tooze of DVD Beaver notes the Blu-ray advances beyond the 2014 version "in every visual area," particularly in contrasts.

Raymond Benson of Cinema Retro writes, "How they got Carole Lombard to star in this hoot of a pre-Code horror film is more of a wonder than the film itself" (uh, Raymond, there was a little thing called the studio system; it's not as if she was freelancing). He calls the movie "short, cheap, unintentionally funny and dumb -- but a heck of a lot of fun for its 64-minute runtime," and adds the "high-definition restoration looks remarkably good." (Find a perceptive review of the film at https://andyoucallyourselfascientist.com/2018/02/26/supernatural-1933/.)

So look into getting the Blu-ray of "Supernatural"...

...for it will "reflect" well on you.


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