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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Pit Stop Comparison - Code Red vs. Arrow

Now that the Code Red edition of Pit Stop has arrived I can do the direct compare I wanted to do in the first place. Both Arrow and Code Red released the same movie within a month of each other. It's caused some moderate controversy. Let's compare and contrast and look at some screen caps to figure this debacle out.

The Arrow version is the Jack Hill edition. The Code Red is the Corman edition. 

The Package: The Arrow version has reversible artwork and a booklet. One of the covers is the traditional artwork which is the same artwork used by Code Red. Code Red offers one cover option. No booklet. Standard Case. Arrow offers their clear case. The Arrow Release is Region AB and the Code Red is Region ABC. The Arrow release contains a Blu-ray and a PAL DVD (Region 1 and 2).



Summary: Arrow has the better package, but it comes at a higher price point. Code Red can also be viewed in Region C territories which may be important to some of you.

Code Red: http://www.diabolikdvd.com/category/Cult-Favorites/Pit-Stop-(Code-Red)-(Blu~Ray).html

Arrow: http://www.diabolikdvd.com/category/Cult-Favorites/Pit-Stop-(Arrow-UK-PAL-DVD-[sl]-Blu~Ray-Combo-Region-All-Region).html

Extras: Both contain Corman and Haig interviews but the interviews are different. They are comparable in content but the Arrow interviews are produced better. The Arrow release contains a Jack Hill interview and Jack Hill commentary track. No Jack Hill content on the Code Red release. The Jack Hill commentary is considered to be controversial because it includes Calum Waddell as the moderator who has sworn that he did not authorize a Region A release of his commentary by Arrow. I have not seen a response from Arrow on this but this most likely won't effect your decision on which one to pick up. The Arrow disc contains a restoration featurette that truly captures the essence of what happens to a picture when it goes from film to a digital format. I eat this stuff up. The Arrow edition includes the trailer. The Code Red release include a Drive-In, Trivia feature with Katarina (Code Red regulars will know who this is).

Summary: The Arrow release has much better extras in terms of volume, but two of the important ones are similar. More interviews, a commentary (however controversial) and nice featurette about the transfer. Code Red has some nice extras too, but I'm not sure that Katarina feature takes the place of Jack Hill... pretty sure it doesn't.

Now on to the transfer and restoration. I've taken some screen shots below. Each shot is approximately at the same time (a few frames give or take). You'll notice the Code Red transfer is darker and appears less blown out at times. Both have nice grain structures, minimal digital manipulation and the chief difference appears to be the color density.

Summary: I prefer the Code Red transfer, the dark appearance as it looks less blown out in most scenes especially when there are a ton of spot lights on the figure 8 track. I think this is probably personal preference. General the folks I've asked in a blind screen cap challenge enjoyed the Code Red more. I suppose it should be noted that the Arrow transfer was supervised by the director Jack Hill so perhaps it is supposed to look blown out at times, brighter... almost too bright.

Final thoughts: If you don't care about extras content and want to save a few bucks, you buy Code Red. If you are an extra fiend and love Jack Hill, you buy Arrow. Ultimately the transfer and resto should be the thing you focus on and I'd go Code Red. I think it's subjective though. I also don't believe we watch movies comparing two versions at the same exact time so you may not even notice the transfer differences since you'll be too busy enjoying Sid Haig go insane and cars smashing into each other. On a budget: Code Red. Want it all: Arrow. Life long Pit Stop junkie: Just buy 'em both and learn how to horde appropriately.

Here's my original review of the Arrow Blu-ray: http://www.docterror.com/2015/06/pit-stop-arrow-blu-ray-monster-is.html

Code Red

Arrow

Code Red
Arrow

Code Red
Arrow
Code Red
Arrow

Code Red 
Arrow
Code Red
Arrow
Code Red

Arrow

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