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[Released] Death Machine (1994) UK Director's Cut
#1
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Death Machine has been released on Blu Ray in Germany, featuring the 122 minute extended cut. There also exists a much shorter US R Rated release and a 116 minute version that was only released on DVD in the UK.

According to IMDB (obviously anyone can post on there) Director Stephen Norrington considers the 116 minute version to be his Director’s Cut and he hates the 122 minute version.

What is interesting is the only differences between the two occur during the first 15 minutes. Given that 15 minutes is the approximate length of a reel, our theory is that when the UK DVD was made it was scanned from a set of reels. And then when the German DVD/Blu Ray was scanned something happened to reel one. Instead of using reel one from the Director approved version, they somehow got hold of a reel from a workprint or master.

Obviously there is no way to prove any of this, but it’s the only theory we could any up with that addressed the fact that the only differences are during that first 15 minutes.

EDIT - we now have a full explanation from Director Stephen Norrington:

Just before the movie was finalized and released in 1993 I was conflicted about whether Death Machine was good or crap – my ego was such that it was hard for me to accept that the movie was too long or dragged but many people were telling me it was too long and my gut also was telling me the truth: the movie was too long, more specifically too slow (long isn’t bad if the movie’s compelling, Terminator 2 for example) – thus, despite my ego resisting the truth, I knew deep down the movie felt too long which meant it was not particularly compelling.

The problem was compounded by the movie being edited on film (this was before any form of digital picture editing was easily available) – the pacing of a film therefore depended on the instincts of the editor from day one to day delivery, it wasn’t something that could easily be changed at the last minute – I knew in my heart that the slow pace of death machine was partly because the editor was cautious and old school, prioritizing matching actions over editorial energy but mostly because I had forced him to run things long because I couldn’t bear to make things shorter, I was just too convinced of the awesomeness of every frame – in my defense it was the first movie I had ever made so I didn’t really understand much about pacing, I learned that the hard way – but, let’s be honest, the movie was slow and not particularly compelling because I had not let the editor cut freely.

So, when the UK distributor complained the movie was too long (and what they really meant was the movie wasn’t compelling – the actual phrase they used was “it’s good, not great”), I said I could make it better given the film process and the limited time available by recutting only the first reel – it was deemed impractical to recut the whole movie – they agreed so I personally recut reel one on a flatbed machine and we redid the sound – then a new interneg was struck from the reel one interpos and the interneg conformed by neg cutters to create the source for the UK delivery interpos – thus the UK reel one is one generation down from the rest of the movie – a legacy of the film process - I thought the new reel one was better and the distributors agreed so that was what went out in the UK – the recut reel one work print and conformed interneg probably still exists somewhere but I’ve never been able find it.

So this project is a recreation of the UK DVD 116 version, using the footage from the German Blu ray. Aside from one line of opening credits and a 16 frame shot, everything was present in the Blu Ray. One moving shot had to be cut so it transitioned to a different shot - see below. Considering there are only differences in the first 15 minutes, there are a hell of a lot of differences! Shots are shorter, rearranged, cut together with other shots etc.

Once the video had been recut I addressed the colour. I felt the German Blu Ray was rather dull and teal looking. The UK DVD is really blue in parts which I liked but the DVD also really dark at times. There is a German DVD of the extended version which also had a lot of blue, however the highlights are completely blown. Therefore neither of those options could be used for a full blown DrDre style regrade. So I used both of those as a partial reference and regraded it myself in Premiere using lumetri colour and RGB curves.

The audio from the DVD was converted to wav and retimed to 23.976. It’s a 2.0 Dolby Surround track, the AC3 on the DVD was only 192 khz but it doesn’t sound too bad.

The subtitles were taken from the Blu Ray, they also had to be recut with the video and then proof checked to ensure they still play correctly.

Finally the small amount of extras were ported over from the Blu Ray.

Huge thanks to my colleague/collaborator @Pineapples101 who came up with the idea for this project and helped me at various stages.
  • BD25 with a menu, background video, pop up menu and resume function
  • 1080P taken from the Blu Ray with Colour Grading
  • English 2.0 WAV
  • English SDH Subtitles
  • Featurette
  • Trailer

PM me for the links, contributing/long term members only please. Contributing means active members of the forum who post and/or make their own projects.

High Resolution cover and disc art available from @Pineapples101 Here.

Here is the shot I had to cut so it transitioned correctly (the edge on the second shot isn't that jagged in the final version):

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Here are some before and after colour correction shots (before/after):

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Menu Shots:

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Just to clarify this is a project that I have made for myself which I am choosing to share. If you don't like the project, if you think it should have been done differently then feel free to keep that to yourself and consider doing your own project.
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Thanks given by: PDB , Bigrob , maksnew , Pineapples101 , Passman84 , Hitcher , dvdmike
#2
Congrats on another interesting project alleycat!

WRT the extended vs director's cut debate, Death Machine was a UK/JPN co-production between Entertainment Film and JVC. For whatever reason each put out a different cut (the extended cut is on the JPN LD). On top of that the US distributor took it upon themselves to cut the film down heavily for the US Market. It seems to me that Turbine must have got their material from JVC, hence the extended cut plus many (possibly all) of the blu-ray extras are ported over from the LD.
I've looked online for interviews with Norrington discussing Death Machine and the UK cut but couldn't find anything. Maybe someone else here can confirm the UK cut is the Director's cut with an older article/interview etc.
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Thanks given by: alleycat
#3
(2023-11-13, 09:17 AM)zoidberg Wrote: Congrats on another interesting project alleycat!

WRT the extended vs director's cut debate, Death Machine was a UK/JPN co-production between Entertainment Film and JVC. For whatever reason each put out a different cut (the extended cut is on the JPN LD). On top of that the US distributor took it upon themselves to cut the film down heavily for the US Market. It seems to me that Turbine must have got their material from JVC, hence the extended cut plus many (possibly all) of the blu-ray extras are ported over from the LD.
I've looked online for interviews with Norrington discussing Death Machine and the UK cut but couldn't find anything. Maybe someone else here can confirm the UK cut is the Director's cut with an older article/interview etc.

Thanks much appreciated. 

The bit I couldn't explain was how different the two versions are during that first 15 minutes. There were so many changes, a few seconds at a time. For there to be that many differences for 15 minutes and then nothing for the following 1 hour 45 minutes - it just didn't make sense. Anyway I guess unless Norrington or someone else involved confirms either way we'll never know for sure. We did look for anything that backed up that information on imdb but like you we found nothing. 

One thing I can throw in the mix is that Turbine didn't actually know that featurette on the Japanese laserdisc existed at the time. They contacted pineapples101 about the artwork they were using for their release and he told them about the laserdisc, at which point they purchased a disc and capped it. I gather they also sourced the 2.0 audio track from the LD.

I guess worse case the comments on imdb are completely wrong and it's not a true DC - but it's still a version which is missing from HD space. 

Cheers
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Thanks given by: CSchmidlapp
#4
I have that dvd somewhere, need to watch this not seen in years
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#5
I wonder if there was a director/producer disagreement about the edit of the opening sequence, and the compromise was to have the different edits in Japan/UK.
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Thanks given by: alleycat
#6
(2023-11-13, 07:04 PM)zoidberg Wrote: I wonder if there was a director/producer disagreement about the edit of the opening sequence, and the compromise was to have the different edits in Japan/UK.

Sure I guess it's possible. Another thing to throw into the mix is on that laserdisc featurette is a segment with the director filming a promotion where he tells people to buy the Japanese laserdisc - which contains the longer extended version. Then again I guess that doesn't mean much.
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#7
Death Machine was co-produced between Entertainment Film Distributors and Largo/JVC. The DE BD contains the longest cut while the UK releases feature a slightly more refined cut prepared by EFD. Trimark got US distro rights and not only drastically recut it, but released all home video versions in a massacred pan and scam 4x3 transfer.

Lionsgate (who owns US distributor Trimark and almost never licensed out) controls this in the US, and I believe Kino (who are one of the first labels to get in a large deal with them) are doing a 2k remastered BD of the longer cut and may also have the bits exclusive to the UK cut. However, it may have it's own set of problems A/V wise and would be a wait and see ordeal.
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Thanks given by: alleycat
#8
Just seen about the Kino release scheduled for next march, let's see what they bring to the table
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#9
Hi folks - I may have forgotten to upload the artwork...
High resolution pdf can be downloaded here (View on browser to see the download option)
https://www.deviantart.com/pineapples101...1003997721

Cover includes 14mm spine blu ray cover, slip cover, booklet and disc art.
Reply
Thanks given by: PDB , dvdmike , alleycat , stwd4nder2
#10
Very interesting movie, remember watching it on cable a long time ago. I had no idea about the different cuts, i will need to check in to that, and the featurette on the japanese LD sounds interesting. I read that the new Kino release has been delayed, new date is May 28. Hopefully they can include an audio commentary or interviews with Norrington, he was such a talent before getting his career ruined by an egomaniac scottsman. It would be cool to see a comeback film from him but i doubt it will happen.
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