Return of the Living Dead, The: Collector's Edition (DVD) - Dread Central
Connect with us

Reviews

Return of the Living Dead, The: Collector’s Edition (DVD)

Published

on

The Return of the Living Dead: The Collector's Edition (click for larger image)Starring Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Thom Mathews, Beverly Randolph, Linnea Quigley, Miguel A. Núñez Jr., Brian Peck

Directed by Dan O’Bannon

Distributed by MGM and Fox Home Entertainment


Please allow me to be perfectly honest — when I first heard about this DVD my initial reaction was, “So what?” Like many of you, I assumed this would be yet another pointless double dipping. Instead what we got from MGM and Fox is probably one of the absolute best DVD’s of the year.

Is it even worth it for me to give a brief synopsis of the story here as per usual? I think not. If you’re a horror fan and have never seen nor heard of the Eighties Dan O’Bannon classic The Return of the Living Dead then what the fuck are you doing here? You don’t need to read reviews. Get to your local Best Buy, stat!

The Return of the Living Dead: The Collector's Edition (click for larger image)Now let’s talk about this massive (and I mean massive) DVD. Holy shit! This is only a single disc?! Are you kidding me?

Things kick off with a twenty minute cast and crew retrospective called The Return of the Living Dead — The Dead Have Risen. You see now this is what I am talking about. This is no five minute semi-insightful jaunt. This is an in-depth look at the movie, both past and present, through the eyes and from the mouths of those who were there. Part of what made ROTLD so good was its quirky sense of humor. Apparently the cast has held on to that magic because even after all this time there are some genuine laughs to be had. Really good stuff.

Next up we get a truly unexpected gem. A near twenty-five minute long featurette entitled The Decade of Darkness which focuses on the plentiful horrors of the Eighties (Reaganomics, Stiff Stuff, and Flock of Seagulls not included). Simply put, this kicks a copious amount of ass. Though not as bountiful a haul as Rudy Scalese’s Going to Pieces (review here) or even the seldom seen Dave Parker and Mike Mendez documentary classic, Masters of Horror (no relation to the Showtime series of the same name), Decade of Darkness takes a look at such horror classics as The Howling, Child’s Play, The Fog, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Motel Hell, The Brood, and of course The Return of the Living Dead with appearances made by Bill Moseley, Elvira, Tom Holland, John Landis, Joe Dante, and more. This came completely out of left field and hits one hell of a horror loving home run.

The Return of the Living Dead: The Collector's Edition (click for larger image)*grabs junk and spits*

From here we get a near fifteen minute look at the what went into bringing the zombies to life in a featurette known as Designing the Dead. Finally we get to hear from Director Dan O’Bannon. Up until this point he was suspiciously missing from the feastivities. There’s a lot of ground covered here. This is not just a make-up how to. Instead what we get is a look at the genesis of this project which was originally conceived from a script by (God help us) John “I fucked up Night of the Living Dead by splicing in nonsensical scenes featuring a buck toothed bald headed reverend who delivers painfully scripted dialogue which I wrote as a means to try and cash-in on some of the money I lost due to copyright issues” Russo. Thankfully O’Bannon put the kibosh on Russo’s ideas early on and decided to make his own film instead. Russo has since tried to sequelize Night on his own with the abysmally funny Children of the Living Dead. Let me just stop here before I go off on a tangent.

Ahem …

The Return of the Living Dead: The Collector's Edition (click for larger image)As if that all that wasn’t enough, this package showcases not just one, but two commentary tracks. The first featuring production designer, William Stout and director O’Bannon is engaging enough but the second one that has Stout, along with stars Don Calfa, Linnea Quigley, Brian Peck, Beverly Randolph, and Tarman himself, Allan Trautman is where it’s at. We’re talking side splittingly funny stuff here, people. You will almost feel as if these cats were right there with you while watching.

Last but not least there’s even an option to turn on Zombie subtitles. Ever wonder what the dead have been groaning about? Read it for yourself here. True, this feature is on the nonsensical side of the fence as it doesn’t add a damned thing to the package, but it’s still kind of funny to see “ARRGGHHHHHH, MOOOAAANNNNN” written out in decaying green font across the bottom of your TV screens.

In short, double dip away. Jump into the “I can’t believe I’m gonna buy this flick on DVD for a second time” pool with reckless abandon. You’ll be glad you did. Back in 1985 when the dead began to rise, punk icons 45 Grave announced that it was Party-time. Even so many years later with this release — it still is.

Oh, and don’t forget to dig on the nifty glow-in-the-dark cover!

Special Features

  • Audio commentary with director Dan O’Bannon and production designer William Stout
  • Audio commentary with production designer William Stout Stout, and stars Don Calfa, Linnea Quigley, Brian Peck, Beverly Randolph, and Allan Trautman
  • The Return of the Living Dead: The Dead Have Risen featurette
  • The Decade of Darkness featurette
  • Designing the Dead featurette
  • Zombie subtitles
  • Trailers
  • Film:

    5 out of 5

    Special Features:

    5 out of 5

    Discuss The Return of the Living Dead in our forums!

    Comments

    Continue Reading
    Advertisement
    Comments

    Reviews

    Us and Them Review – Fantastic Acting Bolsters a Tense Standoff

    Published

    on

    Starring Jack Roth, Andrew Tiernan, Tim Bentinck, Sophie Colquhoun

    Written by Joe Martin

    Directed by Joe Martin


    The age old debate of “Is this movie actually horror?” has been around for decades and will probably carry on for the rest of eternity. As Kristy Puchko recently tweeted, “Just because you think it’s also art doesn’t mean it’s not horror. It just means your definition of “horror” is too damn narrow.” Horror should be able to cast a wide net, just as films in the comedy and drama genres are able to. Where that goes awry is when a film simply doesn’t know its own identity, as is the case with Joe Martin’s feature-length directorial debut Us and Them.

    The film follows Danny (Roth), a young man struggling in his lower class status and bristling with untapped rage at the 1% who use the downtrodden as footstools for their enterprises. Hatching a plan with his pals Tommy and Sean to break into the home of a wealthy banker, that scheme quickly becomes unraveled as thread after thread beings unraveling from the original tapestry. Determined but without a Plan B, Danny attempts to use the opportunity to drive home a message to the masses via social media to show that the 99% need to rise up against the 1% and create, as he says, some consistency. But as tensions arise within Danny, Tommy, and Sean, it’s questionable whether or not the night will end in triumphant rebellion or sadistic revenge.

    Clocking in at a lean 83 minutes, Us and Them doesn’t waste any time getting straight to the point. Within the first few minutes, we’re already deep mix and ready to watch Danny take on the “man”, to see him wage war against the establishment. But as the film goes on, his mission begins to feel empty as his lack of a plan is mirrored by the misdirection of his anger towards a family that, for all intents and purposes, might be snobbish but haven’t been shown to hurt anyone personally.

    This resulting conflict then raises questions about the greater fight that Danny has decided to undertake and champion. Who is the real villain of this story? Who is the hero? Who are we even supposed to care one bit about? While Danny spouts on and on about the injustices of the world, his tortuous methods are cruel and manipulative, undermining his own self-righteousness.

    Us and Them practically screams its Ritchie, Tarantino, and de Palma influences. From split screen scenes to “hip” and “cool” licensed background music, Martin clearly wants to be seen in the same realm. The problem is that his script leaps around with reckless abandon in an attempt to overly explain the simple story instead of finding ways to break it into new and exciting territory.

    Despite these issues, it must be said that the performances are fantastic across the board. Roth shines as Danny, torn by his own personal griefs that can easily draw sympathy, while Bentinck’s almost frothing, slobbering disdain splashes across the screen. Even with only a few lines each, both Colquhoun as Phillipa and Carolyn Backhouse, who plays her mother, Margaret, revel in their terror. And while I have my critiques about the violence Danny inflicts, I cannot deny that it is brutal and makes for a squeamish experience. Martin milks every drop of the family’s fear to great effect.

    While Us and Them comes at a time when financial inequality is undeniably an issue, the film loses its purpose just as it fails to cement itself as a heist thriller, a horror home invasion, or even a black comedy. Its unwillingness to embrace any, or even all, of these genres makes it a lacking film experience.

    • Us and Them
    2.5

    Summary

    Us and Them is anchored by stellar performances, Roth especially, but it can’t decide what it wants to be or whom it wants to champion.

    Sending
    User Rating 0 (0 votes)

    Comments

    Continue Reading

    Reviews

    SockMonster Short Film Review – The Day The Laundry Fought Back

    Published

    on

    Starring Briana Evigan, Derek Mears, Soso Bianchi

    Directed by Wesley Alley


    While some might detest the prospect of doing laundry, I personally find it quite therapeutic – the act of separating the whites from the colors, the perfect amount of detergent to spruce up that awkwardly funky favorite shirt of yours, and then there’s the dryer…a beast all its own. Too long a cycle will have your garments shrunken down to the point where they could become a fashion accessory for a chihuahua – too short will have them wet, wrinkled and limp to the touch, kind of like grandma tucked away in the basement – okay, forget that last part. But what if one day, your laundry had just enough of your shit and decided to strike back in blinding semblance?

    Enter Wesley Alley’s short film, SockMonster – produced by Darren Lynn Bousman, this 4 minute front-row seat to “laundrycide” if you will stars Briana Evigan as a grieving woman who looks longingly into the tumbling cylinder of her cellar dryer, almost as if something of hers has gone missing. Crouched on a cold-slab cement floor, she awaits for the door to open as soon as the appliance has run its course…and the results are less than spring-fresh. Alley’s direction coupled with the horror know-how of Bousman all add up to a seriously fun few minutes, and toss in the towering, menacing form of one Derek Mears, and you’ve got yourself an insanely concocted quickie that only has one glaring negative – it’s too damn short! Overall, I can’t recommend this one enough to those wanting a little blood with their bleach…just make sure to use the appropriate amount of stain-lifter, or that shit will NEVER come out.

    • Film
    4.0

    Summary

    Hate doing the wash? Well, maybe for one hot minute did you think about how much your wash hates you right back?

    Sending
    User Rating 0 (0 votes)

    Comments

    Continue Reading

    News

    Who Goes There Podcast: Ep159 – Demons at the Door

    Published

    on

    For the last year, Producer Shane has been bugging the shit out of us to give him a “Producer Shane Pick”. After doing everything in our power to get him to forget about “his pick” Shane got his wish. This week we’re discussing 2004’s Demons at the Door, a movie who’s entire soundtrack is provided by none other than the Insane Clown Posse. Yup, it’s gonna be one of those shows!

    You think you’ve got what it takes? I’ve been guarding my gate for a long time, bitch. It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 159!

    If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

    The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

    Comments

    Continue Reading

    Go Ad Free!

    Support Dread Central on Patreon!
    Advertisement
    Advertisement

    Recent Comments

    Advertisement

    Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

    * indicates required

    Trending

    Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC