At this point, as an avid horror movie collector, there’s a handful of titles that we’ve all bought several times over. You know what I’m talking about, right? Show of hands for anyone that’s picked up multiple copies of HALLOWEEN, THE EVIL DEAD, or THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE? Another title I think I’ve gotten on every format has to be RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, and the fine fiends over at Scream Factory have unleashed a brand new 2 disc Blu-Ray set, available now!
So I’m sure you’re thinking, “do I really need to upgrade and buy this again when I already have a Blu-Ray copy of it?” Much like with their stellar package for Tobe Hooper’s cult classic sequel THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2, the answer is a resounding YES. And here are 5 reasons why!
New 2K scan of the interpositive!
This is something Scream Factory has been really good at, presenting the best looking version of a film possible. Look, the movie, itself, is great. I think it’s probably up there as my favorite zombie movie ever. It’s my go-to party flick or background movie. And now it’s never looked better as it’s presented here in a new 2K scan from the original interpositive. From the kick-ass opening shots over the graveyard after Frank and Freddy accidentally release the toxin, to the high def gooey goodness of the infamous Tarman, to Linnea Quigley’s naked dance on a grave, RETURN looks and sounds better than any previous release.
More Brains! documentary
A few years back, there was a separate DVD release of Bill Philput’s feature length documentary MORE BRAINS! A RETURN TO THE LIVING DEAD, which talks to just about everyone involved in the production, both in front of and behind the camera. Plenty of fun tid-bits, behind-the-scenes drama and continued cult fanbase growth are covered from start to finish. In terms of “making-of” docs covering the history and impact of a movie, this is by far one of the best. And now it’s included here in its entirety as a bonus feature on the disc. This is a movie night unto itself!
“The Decade Of Darkness” documentary
Another fun documentary carted over from previous MGM releases of RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD is the 23 minute featurette titled “The Decade Of Darkness,” an essay on the horror of the 80’s. This goes beyond just the LIVING DEAD series and is a great look over various other popular genre titles from that time period, what was going on culturally and socially to inspire them and it includes interviews with filmmakers Tom Holland, Stuart Gordon, John Landis, Joe Dante, FANGORIA’s Tony Timpone, and hell, even Elvira! I don’t know about you, but any retrospective documentary about horror, or a specific period of horror, I will watch to no end!
New HORROR’S HALLOWED GROUNDS!
One of my favorite things on most of these Scream Factory releases has been getting a new episode of Sean Clark’s series HORROR’S HALLOWED GROUNDS. Clark’s attention to detail in terms of finding the original shooting locations from classic horror films is unparalleled, and quite frankly, mind-blowing. This one’s a bit different, because for the most part, none of the original shooting locations from RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD exist today the way they did back in 1985. Everything looks completely different, but Clark & crew manage to put together the pieces by scanning back and forth between footage from the movie and what the locations look like today. Again, these are always thoroughly entertaining, and since I live in Cali, I always need to have my notepad handy so I can mark down the streets he’s mentioning!
The Music Of RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD
One of the things that stands out about RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD is its bad-ass punk-rock soundtrack! It still to this day remains one of those soundtracks that is so synonymous with the horror film attached to it. In this doc (from the Severin Films gang!), we get to chat with everyone involved in the movie’s musical landscape, including Dinah Cancer of 45 GRAVE, Greg Hetson of THE CIRCLE JERKS, Joe Wood of T.S.O.L., music consultants Budd Carr and Steve Pross and many, many more. Lot of ground is covered, including the inspiration and backstory for “Party Time,” which ended up being the end credit track for the movie, much to the dismay of THE CRAMPS who were promised that slot. It’s a fascinating look at some punk pioneers at a really interesting time for movie soundtracks and I hope we get to see more stuff like this in the future! Stick around during the credits, because Pross shows off all the various vinyl editions of the RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD soundtrack.
On top of all of the above, there are dozens of other little interviews, featurettes and material here, including plenty about the film’s extensive FX work.
Basically, Scream Factory have gone above and beyond yet again. They are fans like us, and they know you own multiple versions of this flick already, so they’ve provided a package that literally has everything you could possibly ask for under one umbrella. It comes highly recommended. Just put the disc in and it’s party time!