Oct 182022

The Return of the Living Dead isn’t a favorite zombie film of mine but still is fairly entertaining with some respectable makeup effects. This 4K set released by Shout does have excellent video and adequate audio.



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

Genre(s): Horror, Comedy
Shout Factory | R – 91 min. – $39.98 | October 18, 2022

Date Published: 10/18/2022 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: Dan O’Bannon
Writer(s): Rudolph J. Ricci & John Russo & Russ Steiner (story), Dan O’Bannon (screenplay)
Cast: Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Thom Mathews, Beverly Randolph

Features: Audio Commentaries, Featurettes, Still Galleries, Promotional Material
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 3

Audio (4K/BD): English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), English (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video (4K): 2160p/Widescreen 1.85
Video (BD): 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265 (4K), MPEG-4 AVC (BD)
Region(s): A, B, C

Shout Factory provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

Note: The screen captures were taken from the included Blu-ray disc.

THE MOVIE — 3¾/5

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 release comes with a matted slip cover.

Discs One & Two:
Audio Commentaries:

  • Gary Smart (Co-author of ‘The Complete History of The Return of the Living Dead) and Chris Griffiths
  • Actors Thom Mathews (Freddy) & John Philbin (Chuck) and Make-Up Effects Artist Tony Gardner. Moderated by Sean Clark
  • Director Dan O’Bannon and Production Designer William Stout
  • 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.

Disc Two:
Audio Commentaries – Same as the ones listed above.

The Decade of Darkness (23:23) 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), TV Spots (5:22) and a couple of Still Galleries.

Disc Three:
The Return of the Living Dead Workprint (1:48:05) is a raw version with additional footage.

More Brains: A Return to the Living Dead (1:59:43) — This is a feature-length documentary on the making The Return of the Living Dead and includes interviews with members of the cast and crew as they reflect back on the film.

The FX of The Return of the Living Dead (32:49) — Featurette that delves into the impressive special effects including animatronics.

Party Time: The Music of The Return of the Living Dead (29:11) goes into the rocking soundtrack.

Horrors Hallowed Grounds (10:15) is a great series hosted by Sean Clark returning to the filming locations.

A Conversation with Dan O’Bannon (28:32) is an interview with the director discussing his work on the film.

The Origins of The Return of the Living Dead (15:12) — This one goes into how the script came to be with an interview with James A. Russo.

The Return of the Living Dead: The Dead Have Risen (20:54) — Archive documentary from 2007.

Designing the Dead (13:39) looks at the art designs.


4K VIDEO – 4¾/5, BLU-RAY VIDEO – 4¾/5

Shout Factory releases The Return of the Living Dead onto 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray, both formats receiving a new 2160p and 1080p high-definition transfers, respectively, taken from a 2022 4K scan  of the original camera negative. This was a phenomenal picture, detail was incredibly sharp (this goes for the Blu-ray as well) and colors have a good vibrancy to it. I can’t say I noticed a significant difference between the two so not entirely how much aid the HDR brought to the UHD disc. Even so, this was a solid job done by Shout.

AUDIO – 4/5

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.

OVERALL — 4½/5

The Return of the Living Dead isn’t a favorite zombie film of mine but still is fairly entertaining with some respectable makeup effects. This 4K set released by Shout does have excellent video and adequate audio and although there are no new features, the bonus materials ported over from the previous Blu-ray release was fantastic.



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