Aug 022016

The Return of the Living Dead is an incredibly fun zombie flick. No, it doesn’t have the subtext of a George A. Romero film but it’s unique in its own right with some on-point humor that is consistent from beginning to end.



The Return of the Living Dead
— Collector’s Edition —


Genre(s): Horror, Comedy
Shout Factory | R – 91 min. – $34.93 | July 19, 2016

Date Published: 08/02/2016 | Author: The Movieman


Directed by:
Dan O’Bannon
Writer(s): Rudolph J. Ricci & John Russo & Russ Streiner (story), Dan O’Bannon (screenplay)
Cast: Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Thom Mathews, Beverly Randolph, John Philbin
Audio Commentaries, Featurettes, Still Galleries, TV Spots, Theatrical Trailers
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 2.0 Mono), English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH, Zombie, Zombie Speak
Disc Size: NA
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A


THE MOVIE — 3.75/5

Plot Synopsis: While showing off containers with zombies collected by the US. Government following the outbreak as portrayed in Day of the Living Dead, two employees (JAMES KAREN, THOM MATHEWS) for a medical supply company accidentally unleash a toxic gas which leads to a corpse held in cold storage to come back to life, not to mention one of the original zombies. Unable to kill it, even when chopping it into pieces, the company’s owner (CLU GULAGER) decides the best way to dispose of it, seeing as they don’t want to attract the attention of the government given they had the canisters, is to use the crematory next door, which is run by a good friend (DON CALFA) of 20+ years.

Quick Hit Review: The Return of the Living Dead, co-written and directed by Dan O’Bannon (writer of Alien) is an all around fun experience and one can see why others have attempted to replicate it over the years (and more often than not, failed at it). The comedy is consistent yet the horror elements are never ignored. It’s hard not to make this a yearly tradition around Halloween and belongs in the upper echelon of zombie flicks.



This two-disc set comes in a standard Blu-ray case and has reversible artwork revealing the movie’s original poster. Also included is a nice matted slip cover.

Disc 1:
Audio Commentaries:

  1. [NEW] Gary Smart (Co-author of ‘The Complete History of The Return of the Living Dead) and Chris Griffiths
  2. [NEW] Actors Thom Mathews (Freddy) & John Philbin (Chuck) and Make-Up Effects Artist Tony Gardner. Moderated by Sean Clark.
  3. Director Dan O’Bannon and Production Designer William Stout
  4. Cast and Crew: Production Designer Stout and Actors Don Calfa (Ernie), Linnea Quigley (Trash), Brian Peck (Scuz), Beverly Randolph (Tina) & Allan Troutman (Tarman)

That’s right, we get no less than four commentary tracks covering a variety of topics. The first one is more analytical taking on how the movie became a cult classic, the second gives a perspective 30 years later and the last two were older tracks but still provide different perspective with track #3 on behind-the-scenes aspects while #4 is very cast oriented.

The Decade of Darkness (23:23; SD) is an older featurette on 1980s horror films from Return of the Living Dead as well as other films from the era including Child’s Play and Dolls amongst others.

Also included are the Theatrical Trailers (8:31; HD), TV Spots (5:22; HD) and a couple of Still Galleries.

Disc 2:
More Brains: A Return to the Living Dead (1:59:43; HD)
is a retrospective documentary featuring interviews with a variety of folks including Don Calfa, Thom Mathews, James Karen, Clu Gulager, director Dan O’Bannon, Brian Peck, etc as they discuss the making of the movie and its cultural impact.

[NEW] The FX of The Return of the Living Dead (32:49; HD) breaks down how some of the make-up effects were done and features new interviews.

[NEW] Party Time: The Music of The Return of the Living Dead (29:31; HD) looks at the score and soundtrack for the movie.

[NEW] Horror’s Hallowed Grounds (10:15; HD) is easily one of my favorite features (as I’ve said many times before) and this is no different. Host/creator Sean Clark tours the different locations used in The Return of the Living Dead.

A Conversation with Dan O’Bannon (28:32; HD) is an interview with the director, his final one in fact, as he answers text questions about the movie.

The Origins of The Return of the Living Dead (15:12; HD) takes us through how the movie got made as told by Co-Writer/Co-Producer John A. Russo.

The Return of the Living Dead: The Dead Have Risen (20:34; SD) – In this older featurette delves more into the making of the movie.

Designing the Dead (13:39; SD) looks at how the zombies were created and O’Bannon making it his own rather than copying George A. Romero.

Return of the Living Dead Workprint (1:48:05; SD) is a version of the movie shown in (VERY) low quality with an extra 20-minutes or so. Certainly only for the most rabid fans.


VIDEO – 4.5/5

Shout Factory, via their Scream line, releases The Return of the Living Dead onto Blu-ray from a new scan of a 2K Interpositive and it looks fantastic. Colors are generally vibrant but more impressive are the detail which is sharp and well defined throughout. I didn’t notice major instances of artifacts, aliasing, dust marks, dirt or scratches making this look the best this movie has ever been, especially when you compare it to the untouched Workprint…

AUDIO – 4.0/5

We get a trio of options with the audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono, DTS-HD MA 5.1 and DTS-HD MA 2.0. The best is easily the first (original) having more depth and even the dialogue levels sound crisp and clear though the other two are certainly above average.

Also available are two special subtitles. One is a simple zombie subtitle which is basically comprised of arghs and such while the other is zombie speak and gives words to what they’re saying. It’s a fun little feature and in keeping with the comedic angle of the movie.


OVERALL – 4.25/5

Overall, The Return of the Living Dead is an incredibly fun zombie flick. No, it doesn’t have the subtext of a George A. Romero film but it’s unique in its own right with some on-point humor that is consistent from beginning to end. This “Collector’s Edition” Blu-ray from Scream Factory offers great video/audio transfers and an excellent selection of bonus material.





Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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