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‘Effects’ Restoration Returns George Romero Classic to Pristine Condition for Blu-Ray

On Aug. 22, genre fans will be able to watch a 4K Blu-ray rerelease of “Effects,” the scary 1980 DIY movie starring several friends of the late George Romero in which crew members on the set of a horror film within the film begin to suspect that the killings in the movie are real and that they’re actually making a snuff documentary.

“We knew that the print we had was rare since the original movie didn’t have a wide release,” says Joe Ziemba, director of the American Genre Film Archive.

John Harrison, a longtime Romero collaborator and a director on “Tales From the Darkside,” had a print, but it was damaged, and the original 16mm negative is lost. So AGFA’s 35mm print, a blowup from the lost negative, is the only known intact print of “Effects.”

It’s an “unfortunate coincidence,” Ziemba says, that the film is being released shortly after Romero’s death.

Sebastian del Castillo, AGFA’s head archivist, says that when the decision was made to rerelease “Effects” in 4K, his first step was to make a few repairs. “We set the scanner to create a 4K version,” he says. “Once we had that scan, we brought it into a DaVinci Resolve system and did a shot-by-shot color restoration. Since ‘Effects’ was printed on Eastman Kodak film stock from 1980, there was color dye fading. Once we restored color, we sweetened the audio in Pro Tools and then did editing and resizing before exporting our final master for the Blu-ray DVD.”

When Ziemba started working at Austin-based AGFA in 2012, he was blown away to discover the archive had a 35mm print of “Effects.” In 2015, that print was screened at Terror Tuesday — a weekly horror series in the Texas capital. “I think people were shocked by how accomplished the movie was,” Ziemba says. “With most DIY horror, you expect Bigfoot wearing Adidas sneakers or goop-covered beasties exploding out of human abdomens. You don’t expect to be deeply affected by the experience.”

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