June 2, 2012

Filthy Review - Return of the Living Dead: 2 Disc Special Edition

The Return of the Living Dead (1985) 2 Disc Special Edition

Review by Jude Felton

The first time I saw Return of the Living Dead was over 20 years ago on VHS. Since then I have watched the movie numerous times and still own the bare-bones DVD from 2002. This 2 Disc release, which is also available on limited edition Steel book Blu-ray, is the release that his movie truly deserves though. The Return of the Living Dead is a bonafide classic horror film, in a time when the word ‘classic’ is thrown at just about any movie that is above average. This, my friends, is the real deal.

For those of you that have never seen the movie, and I am sure there are one or two of you, the movie is about two warehouse workers, Frank and Freddy, who rather carelessly release powerful toxins into the air. At the same time as this, Freddy’s punk friends are waiting for him to finish work, so they decide to hang out in the nearby cemetery. Before you can say “there be zombies in that thar cemetery”, the undead do indeed come to life, and so begins one of the funniest horror films this fan has ever had the pleasure to see.

The Return of the Living Dead is one of those rare occasions where everything comes together just perfectly. The cast are fantastic, with a blend of well-known names and relative unknowns, the script is pitch perfect and there is blood and guts aplenty. It was also ahead of its time in the fact that the zombies in this film not only ran, but they could talk as well. Whether that is your kind of zombie or not really doesn’t matter all that much because in this film it works, and it works damned well.

I could rattle on and on about the film itself, as it is simply just that good. As a horror fan, or even just a fan of good cinema, you owe it to yourself to see this film at least once. Horror, as a genre, has so much crap mixed in to it that when the really good ones’ come along that simply must be seen, and this is one of those films.

With this 2 Disc release Second Sight have come up trumps and given the movie the release that is really does warrant. There are over 5 hours of special features to accompany the films, and you are going to have a blast working your way through them. Top of the pile, without a doubt, is the 2hour documentary ‘More Brains: A Return to the Living Dead’ in which cast and crew members tell the story, and more, of the history of the film, from its initial idea all the way through. It is excellent entertainment and incredibly interesting viewing. Quite honestly it would be worth the price on its own.

On top of the documentary that are plenty of other features included. There is a trip around some of the shooting locations as they are today, with Beverley Randolph and Brian Peck (Tina and Scuz), the final interview with director Dan O’Bannon, a look at the sequels Parts 2 & 3, deleted scenes from the More Brains and still there are more.

The fact that the DVD has been afforded the same extras as the Blu-ray should really be commended. So many times the Blu-ray gets all the good stuff and the DVD gets forgotten about, but not this time. I love the Blu-ray format, however I still enjoy DVD’s and this is rocking release.

I should reiterate that this is the UK release, so before you throw down your hard earned cash make sure that you have a Blu-ray or DVD player that is region free. I have a region free DVD player but not a region free Blu-ray, so it is worth checking. That being said, I’d recommend buying one just so that you can buy this 2 Disc set.

The Return of the Living Dead 2 Disc set is, to the best of my knowledge, the definitive release of the film. You are getting a fantastic movie and an excellent selection of extras, spread over the 2 discs. Recommended? Without a shadow of a doubt.

The Return of the Living Dead: 2 Disc Special Edition is released in the UK on June 4th by Second Sight.

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