Evening Write: 30+ Works I Should Have Read in 2008, Magnolia Doinks LET THE RIGHT ONE IN Subtitles

Posted by Peter Hall - March 24th 2009 @ 11:00 pm

Vince Liguano passed out to the LOTTD the press release containing the finalists up for a 2008 Bram Stoker Award, which only served to make me feel an invalid.  I did not read a single title on this list.  Not one.  And that includes nominee UNSPEAKABLE HORROR, an anthology released by Vince and fellow LOTTD’er Chad Helder.  Once again I am reminded of how unsatisfactory my reading habits are.  What fleeting time I did have in ’08 to devote to reading, typically on a long haul flight, was most often dedicated to either Science Fiction (please do read ANATHEM) or non-fiction (and certainly please do read THE ALCHEMY OF AIR: A JEWISH GENIUS, A DOOMED TYCOON, AND THE SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY THAT FED THE WORLD BUT FUELED THE RISE OF HITLER).

Now I’ve got yet another list of back catalog to work through.  Quitting my job damn well better be bliss come June.

I’ll post the entire list of nominees at the end.  Oh, and best of luck to Chad and Vince on their nomination!

And now on to the LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (review) subtitle scandal that Icons of Fright broke and that has irritated supporters of the film large and small: Cinematical, CHUD, Hollywood Elsewhere, Evil on Two Legs, MTV, NYM.  I recommend taking a second and clicking on over there to scan through their proof of failure screen captures as there is no point in my reposting them all here. Magnolia’s handling of the Region 1 consumer release is inexplicable, to say the least.  What they so graciously put into theaters contained the proper English subtitles, what they put on DVD and Blu-ray contains egregious mistranslations.

These are no mere instances of crossed tounges.  These new subs defile crucial context.  And at the benefit of what?  Nothing.  Nothing at all.  It would be a stretch to say that the offending sections ruin the film entirely, but that concession provides no justification for the changes.  Gone is the playful mystery in Eli and Oscar’s first encounter.  Gone is the soulful empathy of Eli’s handler’s encounter with a jar filled with a certain liquid.  Gone is nuance, gone for no reason.

I’ll be honest, I have yet to pop in my Blu-ray of the film, but I won’t even bother now.  It’s going right back to Amazon.  I’ve bent at knee many a time at HND to kiss the hand of Magnolia and particularly their genre arm Magnet Releasing, but this warrants a long, hard scratch of the head.  Someone, somewhere fucked up, intentional or not.  I don’t think Magnolia was trying to pull one over on the diehard crowd in some misguided attempt to pander to the casual rental crowd.  Then again maybe it was.  LaTour tells me the DVD plays the dubbed track by default, which is a feature that unarguably has the casual renter in mind.

Whatever happened, what’s sitting on my shelf is half-baked and unexplainable enough to make a fan like me not want to even own the best horror film of 2008 in its current state.  However, adding insult to geek-only injury, Magnolia has acknowledge the non-theatrical subs and has told The Digital Bits that they will be printing future discs with the proper subs, but will not offer any manner of exchange program.  Do I think they owe it to every fan out there to replace the discs on their own dime, awashing the release’s accounting balance sheet well in the red?  No.  Am I anal enough about a smattering of butchered subtitles to wish financial ruin upon the otherwise standout firm?  Absolutely not.  Could they have handled the PR on this better?  Absolutely.

Shit’s still bogus, though.

Nominees for a 2008 Bram Stoker Award:

Superior Achievement in a Novel

Coffin Country
by Gary Braunbeck (Leisure Books)
The Reach by Nate Kenyon (Leisure Books)
Duma Key by Stephen King (Scribner)
Johnny Gruesome by Gregory Lamberson (Bad Moon Books/Medallion Press)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

Midnight on Mourn Street by Christopher Conlon (Earthling Publications)
The Gentling Box by Lisa Mannetti (Dark Hart Press)
Monster Behind the Wheel by Michael McCarty and Mark McLaughlin (Delirium Books)
The Suicide Collectors by David Oppegaard (St. Martin’s Press)
Frozen Blood by Joel A. Sutherland (Lachesis Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

The Shallow End of the Pool by Adam-Troy Castro (Creeping Hemlock Press)
Miranda by John R. Little (Bad Moon Books)
Redemption Roadshow by Weston Ochse (Burning Effigy Press)
The Confessions of St. Zach by Gene O’Neill (Bad Moon Books)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

“Petrified” by Scott Edelman (Desolate Souls)
“The Lost” by Sarah Langan (Cemetery Dance Publications)
“The Dude Who Collected Lovecraft” by Nick Mamatas and Tim Pratt (Chizine)
“Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment” by M. Rickert (Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)
“Turtle” by Lee Thomas (Doorways)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

Like a Chinese Tattoo , edited by Bill Breedlove (Dark Arts Books)
Horror Library, Vol. 3, edited by R.J. Cavender (Cutting Block Press)
Beneath the Surface, edited by Tim Deal (Shroud Publishing)
Unspeakable Horror, edited by Vince A. Liaguno and Chad Helder (Dark Scribe Press)

Superior Achievement in a Collection

The Number 121 to Pennsylvania by Kealan Patrick Burke (Cemetery Dance Publications)
Mama’s Boy and Other Dark Tales by Fran Friel (Apex Publications)
Just After Sunset by Stephen King (Scribner)
Mr. Gaunt and Other Uneasy Encounters by John Langan (Prime Books)
Gleefully Macabre Tales by Jeff Strand (Delirium Books)

Superior Achievement in Nonfiction

Cheap Scares by Gregory Lamberson (McFarland)
Zombie CSU by Jonathan Maberry (Citadel Press)
A Hallowe’en Anthology by Lisa Morton (McFarland)
The Book of Lists: Horror by Amy Wallace, Del Howison and Scott Bradley (HarperCollins)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

The Nightmare Collection by Bruce Boston (Dark Regions Press)
The Phantom World by Gary William Crawford (Sam’s Dot Publishing)
Virgin of the Apocalypse by Corrine De Winter (Sam’s Dot Publishing)
Attack of the Two-Headed Poetry Monster by Mark McLaughlin and Michael McCarty (Skullvines Press)

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comments are closed
  1. John LaTour
    March 25th, 2009 | 8:40 am | #1

    “For those that wish to purchase a version with the theatrical subtitles, it will be called out in the tech specs box at the back/bottom of the package where it will list SUBTITLES: ENGLISH (Theatrical), SPANISH.”

    Looks like I’m gonna wait until this version comes out to buy it. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. March 25th, 2009 | 9:31 am | #2

    I have LTROI at my house right now (from Netflix). Should I watch it or just send it back and wait for the corrected version? OH MY GOD, WHAT DO I DO???!!!

  3. March 25th, 2009 | 10:01 am | #3

    Brian, just let me get you a copy that has the right subtitles! I can only wonder how screwed up the dubbed track is.

  4. March 25th, 2009 | 12:59 pm | #4

    Adam, I would prefer to watch the blu-ray, but thank you for offering. Also, PLEASE STOP CONFUSING MY INTERNET LIFE WITH MY REAL LIFE. I DO NOT KNOW YOU ON THE INTERNET.

  5. March 26th, 2009 | 3:37 pm | #5

    Stop commenting on my blog then if you don’t know me!

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