Tuesday, December 11, 2018

THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS (2018) (Blu-ray Review)

THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS (2018) 

Label: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Region Code: A
Rating: R
Duration: 91 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Dolby Digital 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles 
Director: Brian Henson
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Joel McHale, Elizabeth Banks



Synopsis: The Happytime Murders is a raunchy comedy set in the underbelly of Los Angeles where puppets and humans coexist. Two clashing detectives with a shared secret, one human (McCarthy) and one puppet, are forced to work together again to solve the brutal murders of the former cast of a beloved classic puppet television show. A hilarious buddy cop murder mystery comedy at heart, the film is apologetically bold and keeps audiences entertained from start to finish.




The Happytime Murders (2018) is sort of a teenage fantasy of mine turned into reality, the idea of an R-rated Muppet movie was something I would joke about a lot, and now it's happened, and incredibly it's directed by the offspring of Mr. Muppet himself, Jim Henson son Brian Henson, how cool is that? 




The story is your average buddy-cop movie type thing partnering Phil Phillips, a disgraced former puppet cop now working as a private eye, with his bitter ex-partner Det. Connie Edwards (Melissa McCarthy, Ghostbusters), investigating a series of puppet murders in L.A., the victims were all once cast members of a beloved TV show called The Happytime Gang, all of whom have since all fallen onto hard times, with the one human cast member (Elizabeth Banks, Slither) now stripping for the amusement of puppets. 




The comedy is raunchy and fairly dumb, but I'm here to tell you that filth coming from the mouth of a puppet is as funny as I've always imagined it would be, this is some funny fluffin' stuff. There's sugar-snorting puppet junkies willing to suck dick for a sugar fix, a sex crazed fluff-filled nympho, a riotous silly-string slinging sex scene, and the very strange sight of an octopus milking a cow, an image that is now burned into my brain!




The Happytime Murders is pretty dang awesome, one of my favorite comedies of the year, I've already re-watched it several times and I'm still laughing at all the same stuff, always a good sign.



  

Special Features: 
- Deleted Scenes (16 min) 
- Gag Reel (3 min) 
- Line-O-Rama (3 min) 
- Virtual Environments: Go behind the scenes to see the transformation of the film’s virtual environments including visual effects through backdrops, action scenes, and the movements of the puppets themselves. (2 min) 
- Avatars Demo: VFX supervisors discuss how The Happytime Murders created a new realm of puppet movies by using avatars to make the puppets come to life. (3 min) 
- VFX Breakdown: An overview of the impact of visual special effects in the film. (4 min) 
- Theatrical Trailer (5 min) 
- Feature Commentary with Director Brian Henson and voice actor Bill Barretta



There's probably a lot of multi-layered ideas that could have been exploited here but they keep it simple-minded, funny and raunchy, and that's just fine by me, I laughed by ass off, very highly recommended for raunchy comedy fans.


THE NUN (2018) (Warner Bros. Blu-ray Review)

THE NUN (2018) 
Label: Warner Bros. 
Region Code: A
Rating: R
Duration: 96 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.40:1)
Director: Corin Hardy
Cast: Taissa Farmiga, Demián Bichir, Bonnie Aarons


Synopsis: When a young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a priest with a haunted past and a novitiate on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Together they uncover the order’s unholy secret. Risking not only their lives but their faith and their very souls, they confront a malevolent force in the form of the same demonic nun that first terrorized audiences in “The Conjuring 2,” as the abbey becomes a horrific battleground between the living and the damned.


As the Conjuring shared universe goes The Nun is pretty successful outing in my opinion, a Gothic horror set in Romania in the 1950's, centering around a spooky old Abbey, surrounded by a graveyard, drenched in fog and loaded with spooky atmosphere. I love period films, bringing this one back to the 50's was a great idea, separating it from the other Conjuring spin-offs, giving it an old horror aesthetic, but still amped-up with a few too many jump scares for my tastes.


Here we have Father Burke (Demián Bichir, Machete Kills) and Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga, American Horror Story: Apocalypse) being summoned by the Catholic Church to investigate the death of a nun in a Transylvania,  whose corpse was found hanging by a local villager named Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet, Orphan). They head to Transylvania and team-up with Frenchie, heading to the Abbey where they meets the spooky Abbess, who informs them that the nuns are observe a period of silence during the night, that they are welcome to stay in the adjoining convent till the morning. 


Over the course of the night they are visited upon by demonic apparitions, and of course, the evil nun from The Conjuring 2. The Nun succeeds in tone and atmosphere, a well-crafted visual experience that brought to mind the fog shrouded pictures of vintage Hammer Films, but it falls back into shocks and startles, and not enough on character and story, pretty standard for the films in this extended universe so far. It's a fun popcorn film but it isn't all that scary, it's all surface level fright but nothing deeper, nothing that gets under the skin. 


That said I think the film is successful in what it sets out to achieve, fans of this series of films will no doubt find it quite entertaining. There's a lot of polish here, the titular nun having a Nosferatu-ish look, like what we saw with Tobe Hooper's Salem's Lot. The set design and locations are eye candy for sure, Gothic architecture, foreboding forests and rickety grave yards  permeate the film, director Corin Hard (The Hallow) knows how to fill a frame with eerie imagery, I just wish he could fill the story with enough potency to match the excellent visuals.  For the more deep cut horror fans I will say that there is what I believe to be a nod to Lucio Fulci's The City of the Living Dead involving a living person confined to a coffin, I don't think that;'s an accident, someone involved with this film loves Italian horror.


Audio/Video: The Nun arrives on Blu-ray/DVD combo from Warner Bros looking gorgeous, the 108p HD widescreen (2.40:1) looks crisp and stunning with good clarity and depth. The fog is well resolved as are textures and fine detail throughout. Audio comes by way of a robust English DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix that makes good use of the surrounds to create a proper creepy vibe. 

Extras on the disc include several studio produced featurettes and about 10-min of deleted scenes. This release also includes a slipcover and a Movie Anywhere digital code for the film. 

Special Features: 
– A New Horror Icon (5 min) 
– Gruesome Planet (6 min) 
– The Conjuring Chronology (4 min) 
– Deleted Scenes


The Nun is a decent mainstream horror flick, judging my it's blockbuster success it seems to have gotten under the skin of the general masses, but it's a bit too slick and fraught with loud startles and cheap scares that aren't earned through suspense and storytelling for me to love it. I did enjoy it though, a decent popcorn horror entry that doesn't require much thought. 

EVIL DEAD 2 (1987) (4K UltraHD Review)

EVIL DEAD 2 (1987)
4K UltraHD/Blu-ray   

Label: Lionsgate

Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 84 Minutes
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD, Spanish 2.0 DTS-HD, French 5.1 DTS-HD, German 2.0 Mono DTS-HD with Optional English Subtitles
Video: Dolby Vision, 2160p UltraHD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: Sam Raimi
Cast: Bruce Campbell, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley Depaiva, Ted Raimi 

Synopsis: Ash, the sole survivor of The Evil Dead, returns to the same cabin in the woods and again unleashes the dead. With his girlfriend possessed and his body parts running amok, Ash must again single-handedly battle the damned in this unhinged horror classic!


In Sam Raimi's sequel to Evil Dead we have the reluctant hero Ash (Bruce Campell, Ash VS The Evil Dead) returning to the very same cabin in the woods where his last girlfriend (and whole group of friends and his sister) were slaughtered by demonic forces called "deadites". Why he would return to this cabin makes no sense whatsoever, and even less so when they get to the cabin and there doesn't seem to be any evidence of what happened there previously, you know, like dead bodies, pools of blood and demonic supernatural forces. Apparently Ash is real hard up to find a place to neck with his new girlfriend, who is also named Linda (Denise Bixler) - just like his last girlfriend. 

Things begin playing out much in the same way they unfolded in the first film with Ash finding and playing a tape recorded by  archaeologist who lived in the cabin, reciting passages from the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, and then all Hell breaks loose when the demonic presence possesses Linda, turning her into a "deadite", forcing Ash to decapitate his lady friend and burying her in the backyard, with he himself becoming temporarily possessed, with Linda's disembodies head returning from the grave, and a demonic grannie that's been buried in the basement running wild. More carnage ensues and Ash is forced to cut off his demonic infected hand with a chainsaw, which then has an evil-life of it's own, causing all sort of lunatic mayhem and Three Stooges inspired mayhem happening throughout. 

Not long after the archaeologist's adult daughter shows up unexpectedly along with a few redneck locals, all becoming fodder for the demonic Deadites, culminating in a the reading from the Book of the Dead that opens up a portal that transports Ash to medieval times, thereby setting up the sequel, Army of Darkness. 

Evil Dead 2 is a lot fun, a bloody, violent film that is also goody and humorous, Raimi let loose with is love of The Three Stooges with Campbell being a perfect pratfalling hero to anchor the film, a reluctant and dip-shitted every man armed with a shotgun and a wrist-mounted chainsaw, unlucky enough t be fated as savior of humanity. 

Audio/Video: Sam Raimi's Phantasmagoric horror-comedy Evil Dead 2 arrives on 4K UltraHD from Lionsgate in 2160 Ultra HD framed in the original 1.85:1 widescreen. I've seen this film from the VHS on through to DVD and the two previous Blu-ray releases, each evolution to the next format bringing with it a better A/V presentation, and oh boy, does this deliver the blood splattered goods in UltraHD! Grain is nicely resolved, black are shadowy and deep, the HDR enhanced colors are vibrant, the detail of the forest and wood floors and paneling really shine, the crevices of Ash's bloodstained face, the colored lighting, it's a very fine presentation. Now, 4K doesn't really help certain scenes that show the low-budget limitations, but it maintains a very filmic look, as natural as the heightened reality of the film will allow. 

Sadly we do not get a Dolby Atmos bump, the film 4L presentation offering the same English DTS-HD MA 5.1 that accompanied the 25th Anniversary Blu-ray, but the good news is that it's a strong, well-balanced track with some fantastic use of the surrounds, a scene of eerie, otherworldly sounds filling the cabin and bouncing from corner to corner is always fun, and the Joseph LoDuca (Army of Darkness) score sounds terrific, optional English subtitles are provided. 


Looking into the extras most of them are on the accompanying Blu-ray, which is the exact same disc as the 25th Anniversary release from Lionsgate, the Blu-ray is the older transfer, not the Studio Canal restoration that the 4K Ultra HD presentation is based on, so if you are not 4K enabled yet you do not need to upgrade. The Blu-ray disc contains over three hours of excellent extras, plus the fantastic audio commentary with writer-director Sam Raimi, actor Bruce Campbell, co-writer Scott Spiegel, and special make-up effects artist Greg Nicotero. The 4K disc contains the same commentary but only one new-ish extras, but it's a goodie, a 53-min appreciation of the film made in 2018 for the Studio Canal special edition release, containing appreciations by Edgar Wright, Guillermo del Toro, and Roger Corman among others, it's a nice addition to the wealth of extras here. 


The 2-disc 4K/Blu-ray release comes in a cool looking black slipcase with a one-sided sleeve of artwork, the same key art as the 25th Anniversary Blu-ray. The 4K disc features the same artwork, the Blu-ray disc has the skull from the original, one-sheet movie poster, plus we get a slipcover with the same key art, one of those slips with the rounded edges that accompany most of the 4K releases. Inside there's a digital code for the HD version of the film, not the 4K. 

Special Features: 
4K Ultra HD
- NEW “Bloody and Groovy, Baby!” – A Tribute to Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead 2 Featurette (53 min) 
- Audio Commentary with writer-director Sam Raimi, actor Bruce Campbell, co-writer Scott Spiegel, and special make-up effects artist Greg Nicotero
Blu-ray
- Audio Commentary with writer-director Sam Raimi, actor Bruce Campbell, co-writer Scott Spiegel, and special make-up effects artist Greg Nicotero
- “Swallowed Souls: The Making of Evil Dead 2” Featurette (98 min) 
- “Cabin Fever – A ‘Fly on the Wall’ Look Behind-the-Scenes of Evil Dead 2” Featurette (30 min) 
- “Road to Wadesboro: Revisiting the Shooting -Location with Filmmaker Tony Elwood” - Featurette (8 min) 
- “Evil Dead 2: Behind-the-Screams” Featurette (17 min) 
- “The Gore The Merrier” Featurette (32 min) 
- Theatrical Trailer (1 min) 
- Still Galleries  

Evil Dead 2 (1987) is still one of my favorite horror comedies, it's right up there with The Return of the Living Dead (1986), Fright Night (1985) and Dead Alive (1992). I wish Sam Raimi would direct another horror film, I love his kinetic style, the way his camera moves and his slapstick sense of humor, it's been too long since Drag Me To Hell! The new 4K Ultra HD is top-notch, highly recommended for fans of the film, it's never looked better and the nearly hour long new extra is pretty cool. 

SINGLE WHITE FEMALE (1992) (Umbrella Blu-ray Review)

SINGLE WHITE FEMALE (1992) 

Label: Umbrella Entertainment
Region Code: Region-FREE
Rating: M
Duration: 110 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.77:1) 
Director: Barbet Schroeder
Cast: Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Steven Weber, Peter Friedman, Stephen Tobolowsky



This classic 90's thriller is a tale of obsession and identity appropriation, I think it's up there with Misery (1990) and Silence of the Lambs (1991) as one of the best thrillers to come out of that decade. Stars Bridget Fonda (Lake Placid) and Jennifer Jason Lee (Breakfast Club) are absolute dynamite as the roomies who hit it off before one of them becomes a little too obsessed with the other. 



This is film with a surprising amount of violence and amped-up sexiness, I was in my teens when I caught it in the cinema and the sexuality of it really pushed that R-rating! Notably, the film was shot by Suspiria cinematographer Luciano Tovoli and looks wonderful on Blu-ray, with great atmospheric lighting and lensing. The appearance from Stephen Tobolowsky (Groundhog's Day) as a pervy hands-on boss is a highlight for me, as is the high-heel as murder weapon! 



Audio/Video: Single White Female (1992) arrives on Blu-ray from Umbrella Entertainment, the disc is labeled region B but I can confirm it is region A friendly. Presented in 1080p HD and framed in 1.77:1 widescreen, the film is slightly cropped from the original 1.85:1, losing slivers of information on all four asides. This is not advertised as a new 2K scan or anything but the image is bold and crisp, colors saturation looks great, with solid blacks. I also have the U.S. Blu-ray from Scream Factory that was released about the same time, and this looks to be the same HD master as that one, but slightly cropped, otherwise the color grading look identical to my eyes. This is a bare-bones release with no subtitles, extras or start-up menu. 



The single-disc release comes housed in an oversized Blu-ray keepcase with a sleeve of reversible artwork featuring the original movie poster image on both sides, one without the unsightly ratings label., the disc itself features the same key art. 



Fans of top-notch thriller Absolutely need this in their collection, a film that I thinks has been sort of undervalued in the years since it hit the cinema, featuring thrilling performances from Bridget Fonda, Jennifer and Jason Leigh

Single White Female

Monday, December 10, 2018

DAY OF THE DEAD (1985) (Umbrella Ultimate Edition Blu-ray Review with Screenshot Comparisons)

DAY OF THE DEAD (1985)
2-Disc Ultimate Edition BD/DVD

Label: Umbrella Entertainment
Region Code: Region-FREE
Duration: 101 Minutes 
Rating: Unrated
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono, 5.1 Surround with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p Widescreen (1.77:1) 
Director: George A. Romero
Cast: Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander Joe Pilato, Richard Liberty


Top: Anchor Bay Blu-ray (2007) 
Middle: Scream Factory Blu-ray (2013) 
Bottom: Umbrella Entrainment Blu-ray (2018) 

Day of the Dead (1985), George A. Romero's third and final entry in the original Romero' Dead Trilogy. Day of the Dead opens up sometime after the events of Dawn and it seems that humanity has all but lost the war against the undead hordes, survivors are few and far between, the powers is out and radio communication with other survivors and government agencies have ceased. 


Top: Anchor Bay Blu-ray (2007) 
Middle: Scream Factory Blu-ray (2013) 
Bottom: Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray (2018) 

As the film opens a helicopter flies up and down the coast of Florida looking for survivors and supplies, landing in Fort Myers they find not a single living soul but plenty of the undead, giving up the trio return to an subterranean Army base located in the Everglades. When I first saw this film the sight of the helicopter brought to mind Dawn of the Dead (1978) right away, but there's no connection to it's predecessor, but perhaps it's a poignant visual reminder to the previous story. As they land we meet our principal cast whom are divided-up into three distinct groups; the military, the scientist and the pilots.


Top: Anchor Bay Blu-ray (2007) 
Middle: Scream Factory Blu-ray (2013) 
Bottom: Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray (2018) 

Our group of scientist are Dr. Sarah Bowman (Lori Cardille, daughter of Chiller Theater host Bill "Chilly Billy" Cardille), Dr. "Frankenstein" Logan (Richard Liberty, The Crazies) and Dr. Fisher (John Amplas, Martin). Logan is the lead scientist and is in the process of devising a cure and/or final solution to the zombie-plague, to this end he experiments on the undead, his latest patient is a zombie he nicknames "Bub" (Howard Sherman, TV's Seinfeld) whom is showing signs of an emerging basic intelligence, giving him hope that zombies can be rehabilitated, which even as a young teen I  thought sounded pretty damn ridiculous, but it's an interesting point of exploitation for the film.


Top: Anchor Bay Blu-ray (2007) 
Middle: Scream Factory Blu-ray (2013) 
Bottom: Umbrella Entrainment Blu-ray (2018) 

Our second group are what seem to be civilian helicopter pilots,  a whiskey-sipping Irishman McDermott, (Jarlath Conroy, True Grit) and an affable Jamaican named John (Terry Alexander, The Horror Show) whom are content to fly the bird from time to time when duty calls but wisely prefer to distance themselves from the science geeks and the military, preferring to drink and get high, doing their own thing separate from the feuding groups, keeping to themselves in a separate area inside the underground bunker.



Top: Anchor Bay Blu-ray (2007) 
Middle: Scream Factory Blu-ray (2013) 
Bottom: Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray (2018) 

There's also a small group of brutish soldiers lead by the increasingly frustrated and unstable Capt. Rhodes (Joe Pilato, Pulp Fiction) who in the face of such a dire and apocalyptic situation begins to question just what the science nerds are up to, and if there's any merit to Logan's bizarre and bloody experimentations. This is the set-up that ignites the powder keg, things get tense when Logan suggest that zombies can be trained to behave, a notion that is pretty much the last straw for Rhodes. When it's later discovered that Logan is actually rewarding Bub by feeding him scraps of meat carved from dead soldiers things turn for the worse, and what was previously a tense partnership turns downright deadly. 


Top: Anchor Bay Blu-ray (2007) 
Middle: Scream Factory Blu-ray (2013) 
Bottom: Umbrella Entrainment Blu-ray (2018) 

Mostly set in the claustrophobic environs of an underground cavern Day of the Dead (1985) is frighteningly claustrophobic, it's dark and dreary, everyone is stressed to the nth degree, and Rhodes is a particularly venous and dangerous presence, threatening to shoot anyone one who disobeys his direct orders. Sure, he's the "bad guy" but just as unhinged as Rhodes is the demented doc Logan, a very memorable mad scientist archetype who is clearly every bit as insane as the Capt., in fact I think I sympathize with Rhodes a bit more with each viewing of the film, it's a really fucked situation.



 Top: Anchor Bay Blu-ray (2007) 
Middle: Scream Factory Blu-ray (2013) 
Bottom: Umbrella Entrainment Blu-ray (2018) 

I loved the gore-effects in the film, in Logan's lab a zombie breaks free of it's restraints and rises, his exposed intestines spill onto the floor as Logan casually walks over and puts a drill-bit through his forehead ceasing the threat, the whole lab is a real horror-show. Another zombie strapped to a table has had it's face and skull removed leaving only a brain attached to the body via the spinal cord, it's great stuff, and I think it would be safe to say that no gorehound has ever walked away from a viewing of Day of the Dead disappointed. Special effects makeup master Tom Savini assisted by a pre-KNB FX Group Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger were in top form, the effects are gut-churning, during the film's fantastic final third when the zombies make their way into the facility with the help of an unhinged, suicidal soldier they just start tearing chunks of flesh from the living in short order, ripping people open and in really creative stuff, a lot of it is on par with what we saw in John Carpenter's The Thing (1982), and it's certainly more visceral, as a special effects film this is one of the goriest of 'em all for the era.


Top: Anchor Bay Blu-ray (2007) 
Middle: Scream Factory Blu-ray (2013) 
Bottom: Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray (2018) 

Of course George A. Romero's use of social commentary is fully intact here, it may not be as in-your-face and/or as goofy as the consumerism critique of Dawn but it's there, this time out Romero plays with the tensions between the scientists and the military, and it's pretty tense stuff. Can you imagine being holed-up in an underground cavern, zombies are encroaching at an alarming rate, soldiers are dying at a steady clip, and the lead science guy wants to train the undead! All the while the military presence is becoming increasingly unhinged and hostile, it's a ripe recipe for apocalyptic conflict, a pretty bleak film from the top down. It's much darker than the previous entry, and not just because it's set underground, it's a depressing watch and one without the benefit (or detriment, depends on your view) of the occasional comedy breaks we had with Dawn, which may be why I prefer the Argento cut of Dawn, it removes a lot of the goofiness of Romero's cut.



Top: Anchor Bay Blu-ray (2007) 
Middle: Scream Factory Blu-ray (2013) 
Bottom: Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray (2018)

Day of the Dead may not have been as widely appreciated in the past as Romero's Night and Dawn but fans are shifting their opinion of this film much the same way as I have the past few years, it's a dark and unrelenting watch with a lot of great gore and some dynamic human interactions, a classic zombie film, still one of the best ever, period.

Top: Anchor Bay Blu-ray (2007) 
Middle: Scream Factory Blu-ray (2013) 
Bottom: Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray (2018)

Audio/Video: George A. Romero's Day of the Dead (1985) arrives on Blu-ray from Umbrella Entertainment in 1080p HD framed in 1.77:1 widescreen. The lineage of the HD master is vaguely being advertised as new to Australia, and from the looks of it this appears to be the same 2013 HD Master used by Scream Factory for their U.S. release, but a tad brighter than the SF release. There's a pleasing layer of film grain throughout that's not too intrusive, the colors are significantly warmer than the previous Anchor Bay Blu-ray from 2007, which was a bit cold with a heavy blue/green leanings. This is a film that was shot in a lot of subterranean low-light conditions, so don't expect the most vibrant viewing, but colors do occasionally show some vibrancy by way of reddish blood and gore. Notably, as with Scream Factory's release, which seems to have used the same master, this image is slightly cropped at 1.77:1, the correct ratio is 1.85:1, losing a sliver of information predominantly on the bottom and right of the frame. Personally the framing issue is a small consideration for me, but I know it won't be for many others. The Anchor Bay Blu-ray release was framed properly at 1.85:1 but that dated HD master really pales in comparison to this release, the colors are more natural and warmer here, though slightly cooler than the SF release, and fine detail and clarity is also much improved.


Top: Anchor Bay Blu-ray (2007) 
Middle: Scream Factory Blu-ray (2013) 
Bottom: Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray (2018)

Umbrella offer both both English DTS-HD MA Mono 2.0 and Surround 5.1 with optional English subtitles, I am glad they offered both options, as I recall the Scream Factory release only offered mono. Both mixes are solid, with John Harrison's score sounding terrific, having some nice depth in the mix, dialogue is crisp and clean. In past reviews of the film I've noted that the Anchor Bay Blu-ray featured some re-dubbed dialogue, at about the 9:35 mark the word "shit" was replaced with "right", and I can confirm that, like Scream Factory's Collector's Edition, the Umbrella release features the original uncensored dialogue, so enjoy that "shit" in both stereo and surround! 


The 2-disc edition from Umbrella offers loads of extras, spread out over the two discs, we get extras culled from previous Anchor Bay, Scream Factory and Arrow Video releases, plus one I think is exclusive to this set. Looking at the Blu-ray disc we get the 85-min 'World's End: The Legacy of Day of the Dead' which was produced by Red Shirt Pictures for the Scream Factory release initially, it's a first-rate feature length doc that is packed to the rafters with interviews from the major players. 


Screenshots from Umbrella Blu-ray
 
There are also extras ported over from the 2007 Anchor Bay and Arrow Video editions, these include two audio commentaries, the first originally appeared on the Anchor Bay disc, with director George A. Romero, Make-up Effects artist Tom Savini, Production Designer Cletus Anderson and actress Lori Cardille and it's loaded with facts and bits of trivia, a must-listen for fans. The second is an audio commentary with Greg Nicotero, Howard Berger, Everett Burrell ans Mike Deak, originally appearing on the Arrow release, a great FX track that digs deep into the making of the film and the awesome special effects we see in it.

Screenshots from Umbrella Blu-ray

Finishing up the extras on the Blu-ray disc we have two sets of behind-the-scenes video footage with about an hour's worth of video between them, plus a 49-minute interview with Romero from the 2008 MIFF which was a good watch, Romero is in good form, speaking about his career, making Land of the Dead, and fielding questions from the audience, the Blu-ray disc is buttoned up with trailers and TV spots.


Screenshots from Umbrella Blu-ray

Onto the bonus DVD disc of extras we have loads more, the 40-min 'The Many Days of the Dead', the 51-min 'Joe of the Dead' and the 18-min 'Travelogue of the Dead', which were all on the Arrow Video release, plus the 68-min 'Reflections of the Dead' from 2005, which was an extra on Umbrella's previous Blu-ray release of the film, this one is very NOTLD-centric, featuring a group interview with George A. Romero, John Russo, Russell Streiner, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastmen plus special guests interviews with Sam Raimi, Tobe Hooper, Wes Craven, John Landis, Scott Spiegel, Fred Olen Ray, and David DeCoteau among others heaping praise on the seminal flesh-muncher classic. The DVD is finished-up with 9-min gallery of behind-the-scenes images. 


While this truly is an ultimate-ish edition as far as extras go, it should be noted that is still missing a few notable extras from previous releases, this includes an audio commentary from Day of the Dead super-fan, writer/director Roger Avery (Pulp Fiction, Killing Zoe), a 16-min audio interview with the late actor Richard Liberty, and a 7-min tour of the Wampum Mines guided by Ed Demko of Bloodtype Online, plus a DVD-ROM of the original 166 page draft of Day of the Dead with Production Memos, so you may not want to trade in those other Blu-ray versions just yet.  




The 2-disc release comes housed in an oversized Blu-ray keepcase with a 2-sided sleeve of artwork, the a-side is the original one-sheet (which Scream Factory and Arrow also featured on their releases) plus a brand new illustration from Simon Sherry, a pencil drawing of the main title card zombie from the film. Both artworks are also features on the two discs inside the case.  

Special Features (Blu-ray): 

- Documentary - World’s End: The Legacy of “Day of the Dead (85 min) 
- Audio Commentary with writer/director George A. Romero, Special Make-up Effects artist Tom Savini, Production Designer Cletus Anderson and 
actress Lori Cardille
- Audio Commentary with Greg Nicotero, Howard Berger, Everett Burrell ans Mike Deak 
- Gateway Commerce Centre Promotional Video (8 min)
- Behind-The-Scenes: On-Set (22 min) 
- Behind-The-Scenes Footage from Special Make-up Effects Creator Tom Savini’s 
archives (31 min)
- Interview with George A. Romero from the 2008 Melbourne International Film Festival (49 min) 
- Theatrical Trailers (5 min)
- TV Spots (3 min)

Special Features (DVD):

- The Many Days of the Dead (40 min) 
- Joe of the Dead (51 min)
- Reflections of the Dead (68 min)
- Travelogue of the Dead (18 min) 
- Image Gallery (9 min)


Top: Anchor Bay Blu-ray (2007) 
Middle: Scream Factory Blu-ray (2013) 
Bottom: Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray (2018)

For years I preferred Romero's Dawn of the Dead (1978) over this one, I just loved the location, the mall was such an inspired idea to me as a teen, the social commentary on consumerism appealed to me and I loved the goofiness of it. As I have aged I've definitely turned more towards Day of the Dead, and now I can say that it's truly my favorite of Romero's Dead films, for now anyway. Umbrella come through with a fine looking release with a near ultimate collection of extras, highly recommended for fans of the undead.  

Screenshots from Umbrella Blu-ray


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