The Return of the Living Dead (1985) (Collector’s Edition) (Blu-ray Review)

The Return of the Living Dead (1985) (Collector’s Edition) (Blu-ray Review)

The Return of the Living Dead (1985) (Collector’s Edition) (Blu-ray Review)

📅12 June 2016, 16:30


The Return of the Living Dead (1985) (Collector’s Edition) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Dan O’Bannon
Starring: Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa
Rated: UR/Region A/1:85/1080p/Number of Discs 2
Available from Scream Factory

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On his first day on the job at an army surplus store, poor Freddy (Thom Mathews) unwittingly releases nerve gas from a secret U.S. military canister, unleashing an unbelievable terror. The gas re-animates an army of corpses, who arise from their graves with a ravenous hunger… for human brains! And luckily for those carnivorous cadavers, there is a group of partying teens nearby, just waiting to be eaten!

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I’ve talked about The Return of the Living Dead more times on this site than I can even count. I’ve told the story a million times over of how I was pretty freaked out at the opening of this one as a kid, too young or too dumb to get the joke. I not only missed the humor but the little thing about the events in this being true tricked me. Of course, I was only six years old and I grew to always go back to this movie at the video store when I didn’t see anything else that grabbed my attention. Now here I sit at age 33 and will happily tell you that this is my favorite horror movie of all-time. We can go on and on about how awesome the Tarman, Linnea Quigley in the graveyard, the music, or all the characters in general in this movie are, but it has all been said before and I’ve said it all a million times myself. Heck, we’ve seen a few Blu-rays of this movie by now. I myself have the MGM version as well as the Second Sight one. So there isn’t much Scream could offer up here that I didn’t already have or see, but I was excited about this release anyway. Mainly due to the new transfer. I didn’t think the movie looked bad before but you can easily see an improvement early in this one with Freddy and Frank in the office going over the ins and outs of Freddy’s new job. It seems the 2K scan really has pulled more details out in the transfer and I’d give it the edge over the UK Second Sight release. I know I get this stuff for review and people probably expect more from someone getting advanced copies than I usually give in the looks department, but all I can really go by is the naked eye and to me at least this version tops what we’ve seen before. And believe me, when I tell you’ve flipped back and forth between the different releases that I own before doing this review.

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Now the audio is something everyone was freaked out about and have been for a while. As far as I can tell the original audio is all here besides that song from The Damned at the start of the thing. When you have a lot of rights to obtain for a movie it can come back to be a real pain in the ass years later and that has been an issue with Return of the Living Dead Releases. I know the UK version seems to have everything in place, but Scream did what they could and just about got everything as far as I can tell besides that song. Now that’s just from a fan of the movie. I don’t know to the second when and where something is supposed to kick-in and how loud it should be, but as far as I can tell everything else is how it should have been all along. From the extras side of things we basically get most of what you’d get from the old MGM and Second Sight releases. I think everything ports over from MGM and ALMOST everything from the UK. We do get a new commentary this time around with author Gary Smart and Chris Griffiths. As well as features taking a look at the music of the film and the effects work. The big thing, however, will probably come in the form of a workprint version that mixes the HD material with 20 minutes of extra stuff in SD to compile the workprint of the film. I don’t think I’d ever seen that version before or even heard of it. Or if I did, I had forgotten somehow until now. That’s really cool for people like me who’ve seen this one a bunch and want to see a little bit of different things added in. I didn’t rush out to try to snag an extra slipcover for this thing as Scream Factory was offering, but as is, I can’t complain about this release at all. If you love the movie like I do, then you’ll want this version. Odds are if you are reading this review on this site you are like me and someone who tries to get every version of a movie you enjoy anyway. At least with this release you will be spending your money on something cool with new stuff to offer up for fans of the film.

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Disc 1
– NEW 2K scan of the inter-positive
– NEW Audio Commentary with Gary Smart (co-author of The Complete History of the Return of the Living Dead) and Chris Griffiths
– Audio Commentary with director Dan O’Bannon and Production Designer William Stout
– Audio Commentary with the cast and crew featuring Production Designer William Stout and actors Don Calfa, Linnea Quigley, Brian Peck, Beverly Randolph, Allan Trautman
– The Decade of Darkness – featurette on ‘80s horror films (23 minutes)
– Theatrical Trailers
– TV Spots
– Still Gallery – Posters, Lobby Cards, Movie Stills and Behind-the-Scenes photos
– Still Gallery – Behind-the-Scenes photos from special make-up effects artist Kenny Myers’ personal collection
– Zombie Subtitles for the Film
– In Their Own Words – The Zombies Speak
Disc 2
– NEW The FX of the Living Dead with Production Designer William Stout, FX make-up artists William Munns, Tony Gardner, Kenny Myers and Craig Caton-Largnet, Visual Effects artists Bret Mixon and Gene Warren Jr. and actor Brian Peck (Expanded Version) (30 minutes)
– NEW Party Time: The Music of The Return of the Living Dead with music consultants Budd Carr and Steve Pross and soundtrack artists Dinah Cancer (45 Grave), Chris D (The Flesh Eaters), Roky Erickson, Karl Moet (SSQ), Joe Wood (T.S.O.L.), Mark Robertson (Tall Boys) plus musicians Greg Hetson (Circle Jerks) and John Sox (The F.U.’s, Straw Dogs), (Expanded Version) (30 minutes)
– NEW HORROR’S HALLOWED GROUNDS – revisiting the locations of the film
– Return of the Living Dead Workprint – includes 20 minutes of additional footage (in Standard Definition)
– More Brains: A Return to the Living Dead – The definitive documentary on The Return of the Living Dead (120 minutes)
– A Conversation with Dan O’Bannon – His final interview (28 minutes)
– The Origins of the Living Dead – an interview with John A. Russo (16 minutes)
– The Return of the Living Dead – The Dead Have Risen – interviews with cast members Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Brian Peck, Thom Mathews, Beverly Randolph, Linnea Quigley and more… (21 minutes)
– Designing the Dead – interviews with writer/director Dan O’Bannon and production designer William Stout (15 minutes)

Quality of Transfer: 99%


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