Director: Dan O’Bannon
Cast: Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa
Release Date: Now Available On 2-Disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 10/10
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the cemetery, those brain-eating zombies are back and hungry for more tasty mortals. A fiendish mix of outrageous humor and heart-stopping terror, THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD is a veritable smorgasbord of fun (LA Herald-Examiner) filled with skin-crawling jolts, eye-popping visuals and relentless surprise! On his first day on the job at an army surplus store, poor Freddy 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!
The ridiculously entertaining and genre changing 1980’s zombie flick ‘The Return of the Living Dead’ introduced viewers to a fresh new take on the zombies they knew and loved, bringing together a clever film that is part horror, part comedy and all fun. Directed by Dan O’Bannon who penned the screenplay for Ridley Scott’s original ‘Alien’ among other classics, ‘The Return of the Living Dead’ was released in 1985 and follows a bumbling supply warehouse employee on his first day as he and his co-worker accidently unleash a dangerous chemical from a corpse storage barrel that the military seemingly misplaced. Before long the dead begin to rise en masse, with everything from dog halves to skeletons rising from their slumber courtesy of the leaked chemicals. Without a clue how to rectify their mistake, the two employees set out to attempt every idea they can fathom including burning all evidence. Meanwhile unbeknownst to the two, the punker friends of the new employee party it up in the neighboring cemetery and unfortunately for them the dead resting within aren’t likely to remain that way for long.
Fans of this wonderfully entertaining cult classic will definitely want to make certain to grab a copy of Scream Factory’s phenomenal 2-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray of ‘The Return of the Living Dead’ to add to your collections. This outstanding new Blu-ray release delivers fantastic high definition video and audio presentations for the film, including a brand new 2K Scan of the movie from the interpositive. In addition to the impressive video and audio presentations, this new Collector’s Edition release is overloaded with great extras including 4 Audio Commentaries for the film, along with an entire disc dedicated solely to supplemental material and featuring the documentary ‘More Brains: A Return to the Living Dead’, along with the original workprint for the movie and a great deal more (more detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below), altogether resulting in an absolute must own Blu-ray release for any fan of this horror comedy gem.
Overall, almost anyone who is a fan of ‘The Return of the Living Dead’ will likely want to be sure to get their hands on a copy of this wonderful 2-Disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release. The new video transfer, solid lossless audio presentation(s) and hours upon hours of notable extras easily make this the definitive Blu-ray release (or any format release for that matter) of this bloody fun 80’s cult classic. It should also provide the perfect opportunity for any genre fans that may not have previously had the pleasure; I can’t imagine a better way to experience it for the first time at home.
Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of ‘The Return of the Living Dead’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation from a new 2K Scan of the interpositive and utilizing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. This new video presentation looks quite impressive and provides a sharp, smooth and detailed video presentation that looks gorgeous and suffers no notable faults of any kind, holding up admirably even during the numerous darkly lit and/or fast moving sequences in the film and never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible, while still managing to retain elements representative of its film source. Overall, this is a wonderful new high definition video presentation from Scream Factory that should easily thrill most fans.
The Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release features the Original Mono 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio Soundtrack, in addition to both a lossless 5.1 channel and a 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. After exploring tidbits of the film with each of the available audio tracks, I opted for viewing with the Original 2.0 Mono lossless soundtrack which is also the default soundtrack and provides the most impressive audio presentation. This 2.0 Mono soundtrack sounds great and delivers a surprisingly crisp, clean and detailed presentation that perfectly balances all of the simultaneously occurring audio activity and provides a more than adequate presentation in every possible way with no noticeable issues audible throughout. Overall, this is a solid 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA soundtrack that should generally please.
Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of ‘The Return of the Living Dead’ is absolutely jam packed with wonderful extras, including an entire disc dedicated solely to supplemental material in addition to some goodies included on the Feature Film Disc. For the sake of simplicity I’m break down the bonus content by disc immediately below:
Disc One (aka the Feature Film disc) includes ‘4 Audio Commentary’ tracks, 2 of which are brand new commentaries. The first Audio Commentary includes Gary Smart (Co-author of The Complete History of the Return of the Living Dead) and Chris Griffiths; the second Audio Commentary features Actors Thom Matthews, John Philbin and Make-up Effects Artist Tony Gardner; the third Audio Commentary includes Director Dan O’Bannon and Production Designer William Stout; and the fourth Audio Commentary features members of The Cast and Crew. Also included on the first disc is a Featurette ‘The Decade of Darkness’ (running approximately 23 minutes in length) that explores the popularity of horror films in the 80’s. A collection of ‘Theatrical Trailers’ (running approximately 8 minutes altogether), ‘TV Spots’ (approximately 5 minutes in total), and 2 ‘Still Galleries’ are also included, as are some fun little extras such as goofy Zombie Subtitles and more selectable to accompany the feature film.
Disc Two (aka the Special Features disc) includes numerous hours of additional bonus content. Included on the disc is the Feature Length Documentary ‘More Brains: A Return to the Living Dead’ (running approximately 2 hours in length), and the original Workprint edition of ‘Return of the Living Dead’ (approximately 1 hour, 48 minutes) sourced from VHS and while not great quality (which is forewarned when selected along with the explanation of it being the best quality obtainable) is still a fun little treat as the workprint version includes a number of differences and scenes omitted from the final cut. The second disc also includes a collection of Behind the Scenes Featurettes and videos that include interviews with the cast and crew and more. The included Featurettes/videos are: ‘The FX of The Return of the Living Dead’ (approximately 33 minutes), ‘Party Time: The Music of The Return of the Living Dead’ (30 minutes), ‘A Conversation with Dan O’Bannon: The Final Interview’ (29 minutes), ‘The Origins of The Return of the Living Dead’ (15 minutes), ‘The Return of the Living Dead: The Dead Have Risen’ (21 minutes), ‘Designing The Dead’ (14 minutes), and revisit shooting locations from the film in ‘Horror’s Hollowed Grounds’ (10 minutes).