THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD
RELEASE DATE: Available on Blu-ray Now
WRITTEN BY: Rudy Ricci (story), John A. Russo (story), Russell Streiner (story), Dan O’Bannon
DIRECTED BY: Dan O’Bannon
STARRING: Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa
First of all, I am relatively certain that 99% of you reading this have seen THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, love it for the classic that it definitely is, and own it on one format or another, so the summary elements are going to be kept even lighter than normal (if such a thing is possible in this column). Rather, I’m going to be lettin’ you ghouls know if this version is worth owning over the one(s) you already hold in your monstrous mitts.
For the none of you who haven’t seen RETURN, here goes that summary I mentioned: When two bumbling medical-supply warehouse employees crack open a canister containing a corpse and some toxic gas, an all-out zombie bite-a-thon is unleashed. Punks and New Wavers try their best to survive the chaos with often blood-soaked results.
As an aside, this is, in my opinion, the greatest zombie film ever made. I discovered it as a young Misfits-lovin’ lad, and the whole thing just summed up EXACTLY what my tastes were back in ’85; and still are today.
So, that’s the basics. Now on to whether you should purchase this.
In order to form an educated opinion on that subject, let’s take a look at what those sexy devils at Scream Factory saw fit to include in this release, shall we? Well, you get four commentaries (two new, two archived); the nearly two-hour doc MORE BRAINS! A RETURN TO THE LIVING DEAD; all-new thirty-minute features on the film’s effects and music; a short piece on the film’s locations; an interview with director Dan O’ Bannon recorded shortly before he passed; a short piece on the flick’s origins featuring John Russo; a collection of interviews with the film’s stars; a short piece on William Stout’s design work for the flick; and a complete (albeit ultra-rough-looking) work-print of the film. To say this has everything but the mortuary’s slop sink would be an understatement here, my fiends!
I’ll put this simply: If you are a fan of THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, you need this in your collection just for the sheer volume of bonus materials contained on the disc … not to mention that the soundtrack is presented as close to the film’s theatrical release as it’s ever been on Blu-ray (minus that pain in the ass song by The Damned). On the other side of the coin, if by some insane stretch of the imagination you have never seen RETURN, this is the way to do it up. I can almost guarantee that you will love it as much as yours cruelly!