Shout Factory released The Return of the Living Dead (1985) Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray this week as a two-disc set loaded with plenty of special features and a new transfer of the film. The new cover features a classic zombie known as ‘TarMan‘ along with the rest of the zany cast and other zombies. Many of the original special features were carried over but this set contains a wealth of new bonus features as well.
For those not familiar with The Return of the Living Dead – the film was written and directed by Dan O’Bannon who made a name for himself for his Alien screenplay. The inspiration for the film came from John A. Russo who was one of the original creators of Night of the Living Dead (1968) who wanted to update the ‘zombie genre’. Dan O’Bannon and Production Designer William Stout were able to craft amazing looking zombies who ran, talked and wanted nothing more then to eat brains. The Return of the Living Dead movie was a success upon release and still considered one of the best ‘zombie films’ of all time.
Picture and sound for The Return of the Living Dead’s new transfer look great all things considered with the modest budget and year the movie was produced. This release is a good investment for fans of the movie or for those who want to ‘double dip’ on the original Blu-ray release.
Regarding the special features — ‘More Brains: A Return To The Living Dead‘ is a collection of zombie and horror filmmakers along with cast and crew from the movie. They are mostly ‘talking head’ interviews that span from original concept with John A. Russo to Dan O’Bannon’s conception and execution and finally post production rumors and anecdotes. Probably the most interesting aspect of this documentary is hearing how original special effects artist William Munns was replaced halfway through shooting because William Stout wasn’t happy with his work.
‘The FX Of The Living Dead‘ is a new featurette with William Stout and the other special effects team members discussing the genesis of concept art to practical applications for the movie. Basically it contains more debates between William Stout and William Munns who butted heads throughout production.
‘Party Time: The Music Of The Return Of The Living Dead‘ is a new documentary with music consultants and people involved in the soundtrack. More ‘talking head’ interviews with some of the band members featured on the soundtrack and a discussion on how punk rock music would be a good fit for The Return of the Living Dead soundtrack.
Full List of The Return of the Living Dead Bonus Features:
- NEW 2K Scan Of The Interpositive
- NEW Audio Commentary With Gary Smart (Co-author Of The Complete History Of The Return Of The Living Dead) And Chris Griffiths
- NEW Audio Commentary With Actors Thom Mathews, John Philbin And Make-up Effects Artist Tony Gardner
- Audio Commentary With Director Dan O’Bannon And Production Designer William Stout
- Audio Commentary With The Cast And Crew Featuring Production Designer William Stout And Actors Don Calfa, Linnea Quigley, Brian Peck, Beverly Randolph, Allan Trautman
- The Decade Of Darkness – Featurette On ’80s Horror Films (23 minutes)
- Theatrical Trailers
- TV Spots
- Still Gallery – Posters, Lobby Cards, Movie Stills And Behind-The-Scenes Photos
- Still Gallery – Behind-The-Scenes Photos From Special Make-up Effects Artist Kenny Myers’ Personal Collection
- Zombie Subtitles For The Film
- In Their Own Words – The Zombies Speak
- NEW The FX Of The Living Dead With Production Designer William Stout, FX Make-up Artists William Munns, Tony Gardner, Kenny Myers And Craig Caton-Largnet, Visual Effects Artists Bret Mixon And Gene Warren Jr. And Actor Brian Peck (Expanded Version) (30 minutes)
- NEW Party Time: The Music Of The Return Of The Living Dead With Music Consultants Budd Carr And Steve Pross And Soundtrack Artists Dinah Cancer (45 Grave), Chris D (The Flesh Eaters), Roky Erickson, Karl Moet (SSQ), Joe Wood (T.S.O.L.), Mark Robertson (Tall Boys) Plus Musicians Greg Hetson (Circle Jerks) And John Sox (The F.U.’s, Straw Dogs) (Expanded Version) (30 minutes)
- NEW HORROR’S HALLOWED GROUNDS – Revisiting The Locations Of The Film
- The Return Of The Living Dead Workprint – Includes 20 minutes Of Additional Footage (In Standard Definition)
- More Brains: A Return To The Living Dead – The Definitive Documentary On The Return Of The Living Dead (120 minutes)
- A Conversation With Dan O’Bannon – His Final Interview (28 minutes)
- The Origins Of The Living Dead – An Interview With John A. Russo (16 minutes)
- The Return Of The Living Dead – The Dead Have Risen – Interviews With Cast Members Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Brian Peck, Thom Mathews, Beverly Randolph, Linnea Quigley And More… (21 minutes)
- Designing The Dead – Interviews With Writer/Director Dan O’Bannon And Production Designer William Stout (15 minutes).