Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Scream Factory - RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD on Blu-ray ""

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Scream Factory - RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD on Blu-ray

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985; Dan O'Bannon)
"I don't have to tell you anything dickbrain!"
I love it when Scream Factory re-issues a classic. Also, I love that RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD has achieved classic status. I remember when it was just another Thorn EMI VHS tape in the horror section of my local video store. I remember when it was even kinda hard to find for a while there before it made it to DVD for the first time. To me, it started out as this goofy and kinda sleazy-feeling horror comedy. It felt like one of those movies you discover on late night television and then feel compelled to tell people about the next day. You'd try to tell them about this wacky zombie movie with a rockin' soundtrack where some punks end up taking on the lots of re-animated corpses. You'd try to tell them about how this movie presupposes that NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is based on a true incident that Army tried to cover up by accidentally misappropriating the bodies. You'd question whether or not you really saw a scene where a split dog seemingly comes to life and starts panting and whining. Best of all, you'd fondly remember the zombies and their constant muttering mantra: "Braaaaains!". 
This was the first movie that showed me it could movie beyond the trope of zombies being flesh-eating monsters to them instead being creatures that craved human brain tissue as a snack. The movie actually establishes an interesting rationale for why they eat brains too and I always liked that. Like the original George A. Romero movie, RETURN becomes something of a siege movie 

With cult actors like Clu Gulager, James Karen, Linnea Quigley and Thom Matthews heading up this ensemble, it's obviously found to be memorable. I saw this when I was young enough that Quigley's nudity in the film almost made me uncomfortable. I just hadn't seen all that much of that at the point I saw it and she was so seemingly unabashed about the whole thing that I couldn't help but be both compelled and unnerved by. Back then, I didn't know who Linnea Quigley was. I had no idea that she was an actor who had a reputation for getting naked and that it was almost something of a trademark for her. Revisiting this movie, I can see why. So I always remember her from this film and the other thing I remember is that I sometimes forget how the movie ends. I can always recall what goes down up until the the-quarters mark, but somehow the ending escapes me. What's neat about that is that each time I watch it, I feel like I'm seeing that part for the first time again. I also often refer to it as a horror comedy and though it has some comedic moments, it is actually more scary than it gets credit for. It even has one of the sadder moments I've ever seen in a horror film (when one of the characters commits a suicide). It's really the total package as far as horror goes, so it's no wonder that it has transcended its former cult classic status and entered the lexicon of genre greatness. 

Special Features:
Scream Factory has gone all out to make this basically THE definitive edition of RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. They did a solid job.

DISC 1:
-NEW 2K Scan Of The Interpositive.
-NEW Audio Commentary With Gary Smart (Co-author Of The Complete History Of The Return Of The Living Dead) And Chris Griffiths.
-NEW Audio Commentary With Actors Thom Mathews, John Philbin And Make-up Effects Artist Tony Gardner.
-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)
-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
-The 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).

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