Friday, August 31, 2018


TRICK ‘R TREAT (2007) 

Label: Scream Factory
Region Code: A
Duration: 82 Minutes
Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 with Optional english Subtitles
Director: Michael Dougherty
Cast: Dylan Baker, Rochelle Aytes, Anna Paquin, Brian Cox

A creepy, darkly comic celebration of the scariest night of the year from writer-director Michael Dougherty (Krampus, Godzilla: King of The Monsters), Trick 'r Treat stars Dylan Baker (Homeland, The Americans), Rochelle Aytes (Designated Survivor, Mistresses) with Anna Paquin (X-Men, True Blood) and Brian Cox (Succession, X2). The film takes the Creepshow and Tales from the Crypt approach to nefarious new depths with four interwoven tales set on Halloween night. A high school principal (Dylan Baker) moonlights as a vicious serial killer; the quest of a young virgin (Anna Paquin) for that special someone takes a gruesome turn; a group of teens carries out a cruel prank with disastrous consequences; and a cantankerous old man (Brian Cox) battles a mischievous trick-or-treating demon. On October 9, 2018, SCREAM FACTORY™ is proud to unleash Trick 'r Treat Collector’s Edition Blu-ray. A must-have for movie collectors and horror enthusiasts, this definition collector’s edition contains new 2K scan of the film, new interviews with Michael Dougherty and crew, new special featurettes, and much more! Pre-order is available now at

Special Features: 
- NEW 2K Scan of the original film elements supervised and approved by director Michael Dougherty
- NEW Tales of Folklore & Fright: Creating Trick ‘r Treat – including interviews with writer/director Michael Dougherty, conceptual artist Breehn Burns, and storyboard artist Simeon Wilkins.
- NEW Tales of Mischief & Mayhem: Filming Trick ‘r Treat – in-depth interview with Michael Dougherty on the making of the film
- NEW Sounds of Shock & Superstition: Scoring Trick ‘r Treat – including interviews with Michael Dougherty and composer Douglas Pipes
- NEW Tales of Dread and Despair: Releasing Trick ‘r Treat – a look at the release and fandom with Michael Dougherty and writer Rob Galluzzo
- Season’s Greetings – NEW 2K scan of the original 16mm elements – a short film by Michael Dougherty with optional commentary by Dougherty
- NEW Storyboard and Conceptual Artwork Gallery
- NEW Behind the Scenes Still Gallery
- NEW Monster Mash – a story from the TRICK ‘R TREAT graphic novel
- NEW Shorts
- Audio Commentary with director Michael Dougherty
- Trick ‘R Treat: The Lore and Legends of Halloween featurette
- Deleted and Alternate Scenes with optional commentary by director Michael Dougherty
- School Bus FX Comparison
- Theatrical Trailer

Verboden Video Presents SPLIT – 30thAnniversary Special Edition of Chris Shaws's fiercely unique vision.

SPLIT (1989) 

Label: Verboden Video
Release Date: November 13th 2018 
Duration: 85 Minutes
Region: A
Video: 1080p HD Full Screen (1.33:1)
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Director:  Chris Shaw
Cast: Timothy Dwight, Joan Bechtel, John Flynn

Starker is the one man in a society of complacent people who can see the stifling control exerted on humankind by beings from another dimension. Living on garbage and in ever-changing disguise, he bounces from one person to another, trying to wake the world from its slavery. But as his ideas start to gain traction, he becomes the singular target of the Agency Director, a formidable dictator. Starker must race against advanced surveillance technology and evade countless agents to get his message out to the masses before he is neutralized by the forces of order.

As much entertaining science fiction, as it is an illustration of chaos theory applied to human nature and featuring pioneering computer effects by MacArthur Genius Grant winner Robert Shaw, SPLIT is the fiercely unique vision of savant mathematician and artist Chris Shaw.

Produced from a brand new 2K restoration from the original negatives, and including a never before released extended cut of the film.

Special Features:
- Includes both the original release version and the never before released extended cut of the film.
- Director Commentary on both versions of the film.
- Unused footage with director commentary.
- New interview with actress Joan Bechtel.
- New interview with actor John Flynn.
- Original, remastered trailer.
- English SDH on both cuts of the film.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Lionsgate Announce: MARA (2018) arrives on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital), DVD and Digital November 6th

Street Date: November 6th 2018 

Blu-ray™ + Digital SRP: $21.99

DVD SRP: $19.98

Prepare to lose a whole lot of sleep when Mara arrives on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital), DVD and Digital November 6th from Lionsgate. This film is currently available On Demand. Based on famous folklore, the film’s expertly crafted story line tells the tale of criminal psychologist Kate Fuller, who starts to experience the same terrifying symptoms as the victims of an ancient demon who kills people in their sleep. The absolutely chilling Mara will be available on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital) and DVD for the suggested retail price of $21.99 and $19.98, respectively.

From a producer of Paranormal Activity and Insidious comes this shock-filled descent into fear. After a man is seemingly strangled in his bed, criminal psychologist Kate Fuller (Olga Kurylenko) interviews the sole witness, the victim’s eight-year-old daughter, Sophie. When asked to identify the killer, Sophie says, “Mara.” As Kate digs into the case, she unearths a community of people who claim to be tormented by a shadowy menace — a centuries-old demon who kills her victims as they sleep.

Mara: A Legacy of Evil” Featurette

Olga Kurylenko - Vampire Academy, Quantum of Solace, Oblivion
Craig Conway - Doomsday, Estranged 
Javier Botet - The Conjuring 2, The Mummy 
Rosie Fellner - The Trip to Italy, Heist 
Year of Production: 2017
Title Copyright: Mara © 2017 Mara The Film, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Artwork & Supplementary Materials © 2018 Saban Films LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Type: Theatrical Premiere
Rating: R for disturbing violent images, and language
Genre: Thriller
Closed-Captioned: N/A
Subtitles: Spanish, English SDH
Feature Run Time: 99 Minutes
Blu-ray Format: 1080p High Definition 16x9 2.39:1 Presentation
DVD Format: 16x9 Widescreen 2.39:1 Presentation
Blu-ray Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master AudioTM
DVD Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio

AMAZONIA: THE CATHERINE MILES STORY (1985) (88 Films Blu-ray Review)


Label: 88 Films 
Region Code: Region-FREE 
Audio: English and Italian DTS-HD MA with Mono with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1)
Duration: 90 Minutes 
Cast:  Elvire Audray, Will Gonzales, Dick Campbell 
Director: Mario Gariazzo

No other cycle of films turned stomachs the way that the vintage Italian cannibal film did during their heyday, all other horrors pale in comparison in my mind, they were a sleazy mix of gratuitous nudity, primal savagery, heinous gore and - the worst offender of all - oftentimes real scenes of animal cruelty caught on camera. Films like Cannibal Holocaust (1980) and Cannibal Ferox (1981) are the iconic films of the era, I still find both of these films to be lunch-losers, but there were later 80's entries that also offered somewhat toned down jungle-savage horror, and one such film is Amazonia - The Catherine Miles Story (1985), (aka White Slave, aka Cannibal Holocaust 2) which is based on a true story, yeah right! The story opens up as a true series of events told in flashback by the titular character years after her ordeal has ended. It comes from director Mario Gariazzo (Eerie Midnight Horror Show) and is written by Franco Prosperi (of Mondo Cane infamy), the pair offering a mix of sick and schlock that come together like bloody peanut butter seeping from a chocolate wound. The film stars platinum blonde looker Elvire Audray (Ironmaster) who after graduating from her London school travels to the Amazon to visit her parents on their rubber plantation. There they celebrate her eighteenth birthday with a cruise down the Amazon with her parents and aunt and uncle. Stopping for a rest they are attacked by a tribe of indigenous headhunters who blow-dart them with paralyzing toxin before decapitating her parents, she is only wounded and is brought back to their village.

While this is lumped in with the cannibal cycle this is actually not a true cannibal film, the indigenous people are headhunter warriors, not and not of the human-flesh eating variety. In a way that largely recalls the seminal Man From Deep River Catherine is made to adopt the ways of the locals to survive, becoming the possession of young warrior Umukai (Will Gonzales), who treats her with kindness.

In typical cannibal-tropiness the film paints the the civilized people (and not the primatives) as the real savages as the film plays along, highlighted  by a pair mercenaries hunting the tribesmen from a helicopter and taking their hands as trophies, in addition to a tasty reveal towards the end of the film the re-frames what we thought we knew, allowing for a fun bit of bloody revenge. The film is nicely lensed by Silvano Ippoliti (Caligula), capturing the lush jungle scenery with a keen eye, providing some not too leering nudity, but there is loads of it. The gore is largely not overly-glorified, such as a scene wherein Catherine is de-virgined by the women of the tribe using a phalic bamboo shoot, we see it happen but it's done by focusing on her anguished face, then the camera pans to a bloody tipped shoot of bamboo, gross for sure, but not lingering on it the way something like Cannibal Ferox would have. 

Blonde looker Elvire Audray doesn't seem to have done a whole lot of films but she does alright here in a film that posits her in several precarious and vulnerable scenarios, she's not given any great dialogie to chew on, but she does "go native" by way of being topless and more for much of the film (thank you), and she's a sympathetic character so she's easy to get behind. As mentioned this is not really a cannibal film, but the tribe are not opposed to lopping off the heads of victims, as they sort of do with her parents, their heads hang on display in the village throughout the film, with Catherine being increasiingly unnerved by their presence which I thought was a nice touch, one of several, that make this a more than average primitive nasty a fun watch.

Audio/Video: Amazonia - The Catherine Miles Story (1985) arrives on region-free Blu-ray from 88 Films as part of The Italian Collection. The film is presented in 1080p HD and framed in 1.85:1 widescreen, advertised as being sourced from a new 2K scan from original camera negative. The source shows some age by way of white speckling and occasional print damage but overall looks pretty great for a grindhouse jungle-film, the grain is nicely managed and colors look very good. The film looks a bit soft at times but this looks to be a limitation of the cinematography more so than any issue with the transfer. Skintones which are viewed in abundance throughout looks natural and warm, black levels are adequate. Note: All screen grabs in this review are pulled straight from the 88 Films Blu-ray of the film sent for review. 

The presentation has two audio options, English and Italian DTS-HD 2.0 Mono, both are a bit narrow but export the dialogue and Franco Campanino score sound very good throughout, optional English subtitles are provided, I give the fidelity edge to to the Italian track but chose to watch it in English.

Onto the extras the main course is a brand-new 51-minute documentary, 'The Last Supper - The Finals Days of the Italian Cannibal Film' directed by Dr. Calum Waddell, a nice bookend to his other cannibal doc 'Eaten Alive: The Rise And Fall Of The Italian Cannibal Film' that shows up on the Grindhouse Releasing Blu-ray of Umberto Lemzi's Cannibal Ferox. The doc features interviews with writer John Martin, actor Michael Sopkiw (Massacre in Dinosaur Valley), directors Ed Sanchez (Blair Witch Project) and Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust) and Mikel Koven and Calum Waddell and writer John Martin. It's a great exploration and discussion of the late-era Italian cannibal films like Ruggero Deodato's hybrid Cut and Run, with talk of the genres notoriety on the tape tarding circuit as recalled by Ed Sanchez, and Sopkiw tells a fun story about picking trippy mushrooms in the jungle and how that went awry.  

The only other video extras are a trailer for the film and an interview with camera operator Federico Del Zoppo who speaks about his career, not talking about this film in particular but touching on various directors and cast he got along with and did not, disagreements with vain actresses and crossing Burt Lancaster, working with Lucio Fulci, and touching a bit on Leviathan and Alien 2 on Earth (1980).  This is in Italian with English subtitles provided. 

The single-disc release comes housed in a clear oversized Blu-ray keepcase with a reversible sleeve of artwork, plus a limited edition slipcover with hboth the Amazonia art and title and the alternate Schiave Bianche - Il Sesso E La Violenza artwork and title on the other side, the spine of the slipcover features the Italian title and is not numbered like the wrap. We also get a first pressing booklet with liner notes detailing the mysterious life and times of star Elvire Audray, covering her flirtation in the music industry, Italian films and obscurity and probable suicide, this all written by Dr. Calum Waddell. 

Special Features: 
- Limited Edition Slipcase - Only 500 (EXCLUSIVE) 
- Limited Edition First Pressing Booklet - The Life and Times of Elvire Audray - By Dr Calum Waddell
- Brand New 2K Transfer of the Film From the Original Camera Negative
- Original Lossless Mono English and Italian Soundtracks
- Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian sountrack
- An Italian in Amazonia: Interview with Cameraman Federico Del Zoppo (14 min) 
- Original Theatrical Trailer (3 min) 
- Collector's booklet on the life and times of AMAZONIA actress Elvire Audray
- Reversible sleeve featuring 2 alternative original artworks

Amazonia - The Catherina Miles Story (1985) was a fun watch, a cannibal-esque slice of jungle-savage exploitation that is a bit more palatable than a few of it's more notorious predecessors, and easy in the eyes via starlet Elvire Audray. The region-free Blu-ray from 88 Films looks fantastic and the extras are wonderful, plus the limited edition packaging is a knockout! 


Monday, August 27, 2018




A shit sixty-hour work week in the food industry for me means another volume of capsule reviews for you! This week we have Spanish gore-comedy, a 90's direct-to-video supernatural thriller with Michael Rooker, a lo-fi 70's revenger, a double-dose of seedy don't-sploitation and mockumentary series that parodies famous documentaries. 

Fans of comedy and documentaries might have fun with the DOCUMENTARY NOW! SEASONS 1&2, a series which has just arrived on Blu-ray from Mill Creek Entertainment in a 2-disc set with all fourteen episodes from the first two seasons of the IFC series. I sort of fancy myself a fan of docs but watching this I realized nope, I'm just a casual fan, but the creators of this show are die-hards. This series lampoons famous docs with oddball accuracy, telling a different story but capturing the aesthetic and vibe of the original docs, it's so next level documentary-nerdy that it sort of boggles the mind. Despite not really having watched any of the docs they send-up, with the exception of The Kid Stays in the Picture, I had a blast with all these. This is the brainchild of Saturday Night Live alumni Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Seth Meyers, and director Rhys Thomas with additional writing by stand-up comic John Mulaney. Like I said, I wasn't too aware of 99% of the docs being parodied here but I found them all funny, and if you're an adventurous TV type I think you will to. No extras on this one but you will find a digital code for the proprietary Mill Creek streaming service.

The 1990s straight-to-video BRAM STOKER'S SHADOWBUILDER (1998) stars Michael Rooker (Henry - Portrait of a Serial Killer) as an ass-kicking demon hunter sponsored by the Catholic Church, think of him as the Father Marin of demonology, a man of faith and handy with a gun and not opposed to some physical violence when necessary. He's on the trail of shadow demon who has targeted a kid with the potential of becoming a saint, which designs on bringing about the Apocalypse. This one feels like a 90's direct-to-video entry, it feels dated, the special effects are passable, but there's a shimmering/fluid metallic look to the demon that feels real dated, but I love Rooker and I'll watch just about anything he stars in, plus you get to see Mr. Tony "Candyman" Todd as a dread locked loon. The film gets a deluxe 2-disc DVD/BD from MVD Entertainment as part of their MVD Rewind Collection with a reversible sleeve, limited edition slipcover with a numbered spine and fold-out mini-poster. Note: That cool-looking demon on the cover is nowhere to be found in the film, that looks more like Curse of the Demon (1957) than anything you get here, but it's still mighty cool. 

Spanish horror-comedy THE NIGHT OF THE VIRGIN (2016) is a chunk-spewing slice of disgusting foreign cinema, about a gangly twenty-something Nico (Javier Bodalo) who is trying to pop his cherry on New Year's Eve at a club. No women seem to want to give the goof a go but an older woman named Medea (Miriam Martin) takes the horny guy home, but this lady is giving off a seriously creepy vibe from the beginning, which should send him running for the door, which he considers, but he's thinking with the wrong head, which winds up putting him in an impossible predicament as the increasingly bizarre woman sets forth to bring about the birth of an ancient deities child - and not in any way you are expecting! The film is a bit over-long at but the slow-burn serves to amp up the atmosphere and tension, leading up to a bizarre, disgusting and frenzied finale that was both depraved and ingenious. The film gets a region-free release from MVD Visual, extras include slideshow and trailers for the film. 

Fans of region 70's exploitation should be aware of GRINDHOUSE DOUBLE FEATURE: DON'T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT & DON'T OPEN THE DOOR,  a double-dose of S.F. Brownrigg cult-cinema by way of a pair of what I like to call don't-sploitation, the first film is a seedy 'the inmates running the asylum' thriller with a low-budget regional charm, a nymphomaniac and an axe murderer. The second film has a young woman being summoned to the home of her ailing granny - the same house where her mother was murdered years earlier. A seedy Gothic thriller with some cool low-budget suspense and mystery. The 2-disc DVD/Blu release features 1080p HD restoration of the drive-in stapes along with a commentary from David DeCoteau and film historian David Del Valle, plus trailers, deleted scenes, a reversible sleeve.

From Australian distributor Umbrella Entertainment comes ESCAPE FROM ABSOLOM (1995) a prison island movie I somehow have never come across, starring Ray Liota as a mysterious man send to an inescapable prison island, there he runs afoul of the locals who are a very rough crowd. This slice of prison escape roughness stars a game cast including Lance Henriksen, Kevin Dillon and Ernie Hudson and is an action-packed and violent piece of 90's cinema, loved it. Think Mad Mad by way of Terminal Island (with a dash of Waterworld) and you have a decent idea of what your in for here, Liota is surprisingly great as the man of action here, and I love Michael Lerner (Barton Fink) as the evil warden, playing against type a bit, but he pulls it off. The 1080p presentation looks great, but the extras are slim, only a vintage featurette and trailers, but we do get a reversible sleeve of artwork with the same artwork but alternate U.S. title of No Escape. The Disc is labeled region B-locked but played Just fine on my region A Blu-ray player.

If you regularly read this blog you might know I have a soft spot for low-budget trash, but LADY STREET FIGHTER (1977) tested and destroyed that notion, a semi-incompetent film about a prostitute turned dead-sister revenger that scream low-budget boredom, but it's a wild sort of dull that I'm sure has it's fans. The story behind the film is several times over more interesting than the film, thankfully we have some cool extras that explore the film and it's starlet Renee Harmon by way of an audio commentary with the director James Bryan (and a booklet with liner notes from Bleeding Skull's Annie Choi, and a reversible sleeve, oh, and they've included the previously unreleased sequel REVENGE OF LADY STREET FIGHTER (1990) which I have not been brave enough to throw on the TV yet. The film is a turn but the release from AGFA is top-notch - only lovers of trashy lo-fi seventies cinema need only seek this one out. 

There you have it, as promised a few brief remembrances of the recently released. 'Til next time support physical media and buy a damn movie, Amazon links below for each of the films below...

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD PART II (1988) (Scream Factory Blu-ray Review)


Label: Scream Factory
Region Code: A
Rating: R
Duration: 89 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo with Optional English Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.85:1) 
Director: Ken Wiederhorn
Cast: James Karen, Thom Mathews, Dana Ashbrook, Marsha Dietlein, Philip Bruns, Michael Kenworthy

I have always wanted to like Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988) more than I actually do, and with the release of the Scream Factory Collector's Edition Blu-ray it seemed like as good a time as any to give it another watch, and maybe through the miracle of HD experience it as never before, so let's give this a shot. The sequel opens with an Army convoy transporting barrels of Trioxin during a dark and stormy night when one of the barrels flies right off the back of a truck unnoticed by the stoned soldier driving the vehicle. The next day suburban kid Jesse (Michael Kenworthy, The Blob) is being bullied by a pair of dip-shits named Billy and Johnny in the cemetery, he runs and hides in a nearby sewer where they find him before taking a break from harassing the kid when the trio discover the barrel of Trioxin. They take a moment to investigate this strange Army-branded barrel that they've found, but run screaming away in fright when a glass portal in the barrel reveals a creepy corpse that lay inside. However, when Jesse says he's going to call the number printed on the side of the barrel and report the discovery the bullies lock him inside a creepy old mausoleum, wanting to keep this new discovery for themselves. Jesse is later found in the mausoleum by a pair of inept graverobbbers, Ed (James Karen, Poltergeist) and Joey (Thom Mathews, Friday the 13th Part VI), the latter of whom drags along his exasperated girlfriend Brenda (Suzanne Snyder, Weird Science) on their cadaverous treasure endeavor. 

Meanwhile the bullies have gone back into the sewer and opened up the Trioxin container, in the process drenching themselves in the un-deadly green vapors inside it, which then seeps into the ground and the surrounding cemetery, including the mausoleum with the grave robbers, with the now familiar results for anyone who has seen ROTLD. Having left the mausoleum before all this Jesse escapes being contaminated by the green vapors, but does returns to look in on the barrel for himself a short time later. While the bullies are gone the corpse from the barrel remains at large, a new re-imagined version of the Tar Man from ROTLD, though a bit more cartoonish and slightly less gooey than his previous incarnation. The fiend attacks him but the kid manages to escape, running home to tell his older teen sister Lucy about the zombie threat, but she dismisses his warnings as nonsense and locks him away in his room while she spends some quality teen-time with handsome cable TV installer Tom (Dana Ashbrook, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me).

As hordes of the undead begin to emerge from the local cemetery the various factions convene and team-up to face off against the threat, with the bullies and the grave robbers experiencing the now familiar Trioxin-induced sickness, suffering from a lack of vitals and stiffening rigor mortis, plus a new found craving for human brains. I think a large part of the reason I keep coming back to this one is that Thom Mathews and James Karen are basically revisiting their characters from ROTLD, it's a testament to their onscreen chemistry how funny they are, re-visiting memorable lines straight from the first film to good effect, Karen has a bunch of great lines in particular, with a lot of macabre grave robbing humor. I do think the kid Jesse is pretty damn annoying, I'm firmly on his sister's side here, this kids a shit. It's always fun to see Dana Ashbrook in these 80's rolls, this one coming out the same year as comedy-horror Waxwork (1988), before he went onto appear in David Lynch's surreal TV crime-drama Twin Peaks. The film also inserts a local medical man Doc Mandell (Phil Bruns, Corvette Summer) a fairly obvious watered down stand-in for Don Calfa's probable-Nazi-mortician from the first film, coming across more as a Grandpa Howard (from Sixteen Candles), but he's got some good comedic timing so it's still fun. 

As with so many films before and after the descent from the original to the sequel is pretty steep, basically a retread of the first film with a lot of the same beats, but the script and execution aren't up to the challenge, falling far below the classic that Dan O'Bannon wrote/directed. But fear not, there's fun to be had here, the wonky blending of slapstick humor and half-hearted horror offers some silly laughs, and  you cannot deny the fun special effects of Kenny Myers (returning from ROTLD) and his team, they created a handful of cool-looking zombies including the re-imagined Tar Man, a zombie that's been blown in half, the crowbar zombie from the mausoleum and Billy the bully as a zombie is creepy looking, the kid has the look of a future serial killer even before he's transformed into the undead. 

Compared to the punk rock awesomeness of the original this is a let down, but I dig the special effects and the atmosphere in certain scenes, like the graveyard stuff with loads cool Gothic trappings with thick shrouds of fog and fun humor inflected montages of the dead rising from the graves, it's just too bad the story isn't better, the humor is way too slapstick and the horror elements are downplayed, Wiederhorn just went all out for the comedy, but he's not much of a comedy director in my opinion, he seems out of his element. I will say that this viewing was the best so far with improved an A/V presentation and a wealth of extras that did give me a new appreciation for the film. 

Audio/Video: Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988) arrives on Blu-ray from Scream Factory with a new 2K scan from the interpositive, performed by Warner Bros.. The sleeve has some contradicting claims about the transfer, while the special features listing indicates the 2K scan, there's written indication elsewhere on the same sleeve that this is a 4K scan from the original camera negative, but I do believe that this is a 2K scan from the interpositive, as advertised by both the wrap and slipcover - it looks like the 4K OCN info is a misprint. Regardless, the 1080p HD image is framed in 1.85:1 widescreen and looks solid all things considered. This is one of those fuzzy looking 80's productions that often looked like Vaseline has been smeared across the lens with diffused lighting and a gauzy appearance that has the magic ability to sap fine detail, but this is the best the film has ever looked on home video to my eyes.

Audio comes by way of an English DTS-HD MA Stereo 2.0 track, and while usually audio is not a big deal for me this is perhaps one of the most notable features of this new Blu-ray release, it features the unaltered theatrical audio/soundtrack for the first time since the original VHS/Laserdisc release. When this film arrived on DVD there was a licensing snafu that resulted in the score/soundtrack being altered and some weird voice over narration was added to the opening. Well, that phony soundtrack and voice-over are gone and we get the real deal, including some choice cuts from 80's rockers Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction (bonus points if you remember them!), Anthrax, Leatherwolf and even some Top 40 Robert Palmer with "Bad Case of Loving You". Fear not though if you have a soft spot for the DVD audio track, Scream Factory have you covered by included it here as an alternate audio option, optional English subtitles are provided.

The film might not wow me but the extras on this release are fantastic, beginning with two brand new audio commentaries, the first with actress Suzanne Snyder, and a second with Gary Smart (co-author of The Complete History of the Return of the Living Dead) and filmmaker Christopher Griffiths, plus a vintage commentary from the DVD with director Ken Wiederhorn and actor Thor Van Lingen who played the bully Billy. We also get a 25-minute 'Back to the Dead: The Effects of Return of the Living Dead Part II' with Special Make-up Effects creator Kenny Myers and Special Make-up Effects artists Andy Schoneberg and Mike Smithson who take us behind-the-scenes discussing the FX of the film, Myers says he didn't like the comedic bent of the film from the beginning, but enjoyed the extra time he was afforded to create the special effects. Lots of great insight into the creation and execution of the FX used in the film, including the silly Michael Jackson zombie that literally jumps into frame during the end credits.

'The Laughing Dead' is a new and very candid interview with writer/director Ken Wiederhorn (Shock Waves) who discusses how he came into directing, and coming onto the project with apprehension after his experience on another film which was retitled Meatballs 2 - despite the movie having nothing to do with the previous film, but then being OK with making this film a sequel even though hs original script had nothing to do with the original film! He also speaks about the excitement of working with a larger budget than he had before, the cast and special effects team, and some acne-fighting wisdom he departed onto Dana Ashbrook, also touching on the cult-status of the film and the joy of cashing residual checks from it. 

'Undead Melodies' with composer J. Peter Robinson (Mind Ripper) whose shows up to discuss his approach to scoring film, not going for the obvious comedy phrasings, instead being more atmospheric and brooding, what he calls a "serious piece of work", but also dissecting the final product and mix, feeling the music wasn't mixed very well into the film, that there should have been more give and take with the effects and what not. 

Actor Troy Fromin who appears as the weed-smoking Army truck driver at the start of the film shows up for a very brief 2-min interview discussing how he was so excited to be cast as an extra in the film. You can tell this guy must tell everyone he has ever met about his role in the film and - and who can blame him, I would too if it was me!

Another coll extra is that Scream Factory have included all the interviews from the 'They Won’t Stay Dead: A Look at RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD II' documentary that pertained the sequel, with interviews from the cast and crew from this and the first film, a nicely candid set of interviews, well-produced and still a very cool. 

The disc is buttoned-up with vintage featurette, interview, behind-the-scenes footage, trailers, TV spots and a pair of galleries. The single-disc release comes housed in a standard Blu-ray keepcase with a reversible sleeve of artwork, the a-side is the original poster artwork and the b-side is a new illustration from artist Graham Humphreys who also did the new artwork for Scream Factory's ROTLD release, so it's cool that have some symmetry and they look great on the shelf right next to each other.   

Special Features:
- NEW 2K scans from the interpositive
- NEW Audio Commentary with actress Suzanne Snyder
- NEW Audio Commentary with Gary Smart (co-author of The Complete History of the Return of the Living Dead) and filmmaker Christopher Griffiths
- NEW Back to the Dead: The Effects of “Return of the Living Dead Part II” – including interviews with Special Make-up Effects creator Kenny Myers and Special Make-up Effects artists Andy Schoneberg and Mike Smithson (25 min) HD 
- NEW The Laughing Dead - a new interview with writer/director Ken Wiederhorn (19 min) HD 
- NEW Undead Melodies – an interview with composer J. Peter Robinson (13 min) HD 
- NEW interview with actor Troy Fromin (2 min) HD 
- Audio Commentary with writer/director Ken Wiederhorn and co-star Thor Van Lingen
- They Won’t Stay Dead: A Look at RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD II including interviews with  James Karen, Thom Matthews, Brian Peck, Kenny Myers, Susan Snyder, Michael Kenworthy and more… (30 min) HD 
- Archival Featurette – Live from the Set (6 min) 
- Archival interviews with Ken Wiederhorn, James Karen, Thom Matthews and Kenny Myers (3 min) 
- Behind the Scenes footage (4 min) HD 
- Theatrical Trailer (2 min) HD

- Teaser Trailer (2 min) HD
- TV Spots (2 mn) 
- Still Gallery of posters and stills (6 min) HD
- Still Gallery of Behind-the-Scenes stills from Makeup Effects artists Kenny Myers and Mike Smithson (2 min) HD

Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988) is a problematic sequel, it's not awful but it pales in comparison to the original film, which is a punk-zombie classic. There's still a lot of fun to be had here though, with cool undead make-up FX and the somewhat confusing return of James Karen and Thom Mathews from the first film. The main distraction here is that there's an imbalance of comedy and horror, if feels out of whack, but it's trashy fun, glad to see it get a true special edition from Scream Factory with loads of extras and a quality presentation.