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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Return of the Living Dead a Retrospective

Dave Brown
The Return of the Living Dead : 2 Disc Special Edition [DVD] [1985]
Back in 1985, Dan O'Bannon had the vision to produce a sequel to Night of the Living Dead with George Romero.  The problem was that the script was seen as too violent and too much for audiences at the time.  With that in mind he put his helm behind a rewritten somewhat less controversial script.  This is a basic retelling of the background behind Return of the Living Dead.  

This has become a movie that stands as one of the pillars of zombie movie fandom right beside Night of the Living Dead or in some cases recent movies like Shaun of the Dead. There is just the right balance of violence, gore and slapstick humor.  This was the movie that gave zombies the reasoning to know what they wanted and the means with which to get it.  Compared to the Romero zombies the ROTLD zombies were more stylized and more cunning. They were more memorable and had more personality.  

Now more than 20 years later, we are starting to see a comeback.  The newest DVD release of this classic came earlier this year when it was released by Second Sight in the U.K. This release encompasses a two disc format, with the first having the feature and a small plethora of special features. Many of these include interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.  The second disc is where the real action comes in with a two hour documentary called "More Brains: A Return to the Living Dead". If you have ever wanted to know about much of the background behind the story and everything from location scouting to the zombie makeup, this is the documentary for you. Here is a little sampling of what this edition has to offer:

A conversation with Dan O’Bannon: The Final Interview
They Won’t Stay Dead: A Look at Return of the Living Dead Part 2
A Love Beyond The Grave: A Look at Return of the Living Dead 3
Stacey Q Live: Exclusive ‘Tonight’ music video
Even More Brains: Deleted documentary interview
Return of the Living Dead in three minutes
Resurrected Settings: The Filming Locations Today

THE FX OF THE LIVING DEAD – with production designer William Stout and FX make-up artists William Munns and Tony Gardner
PARTY TIME – with music consultant Steve Pross and 45 Grave singer Dinah Cancer

The sound and picture quality on this DVD are just amazing and as always, the story is one that is fast paced and timeless. While some of the soundtrack may be outdated, I would argue that it does nothing more than to put you in the mood for this fast paced movie. Besides who can resist a movie where one of the main zombies is "Tar-Man".  The movie is great and the special features make this a must own for any fan of great zombie movies.  If you would like to pick this up just make not that it is Region B so if you don't live in the UK then you will want to make sure you have a region free player.  This is one movie release that you will want to get your hands on today!

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