Document of the Dead (1985)
Trailer-Suspiria, Inseminoid, I Drink Your Blood
Trailer-Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things
|Year Of Production||1985|
|Running Time||84:09 (Case: 96)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Roy Frumkes|
Scott H. Reiniger
George A. Romero
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
The documentary begins with a short discussion of Night of the Living Dead and its rise to fame, including the significance of shooting in Pittsburgh, before moving on to Dawn of the Dead and all of the stages of production. Divided into chapters on Preproduction, Production, Postproduction and Distribution, the documentary interviews Romero and various members of the cast and crew as they detail some of the issues and recount stories about filmmaking with Romero, as well as problems faced making films independently. Unfortunately, the documentary is scattershot, taking no particular focus, and subsequently fails to really give any solid information about the process of making the movies, nor the people behind the camera.
The final half-hour of the film, for example, includes discussion with Romero 10 years after the film, while he's working on another piece with Dario Argento, which leads to a lengthy examination of the difficulty of creating a particularly nifty, ghastly impalement injury that has to be reshot three times. Mixed in with this is interviews with Romero's wife, Christine Romero, who talks about issues with casting, and special effects / make-up guru Tom Savini, who discusses various incidents working with Romero. Individually, these are interesting pieces of information, but they're put together in a way that has no coherency or common thread. Overall, Document of the Dead is an enjoyable companion piece to Romero's Dead Trilogy, and it seems that it is mostly released as supplementary material for Dawn of the Dead, where it fits as another featurette on how the classic was made. But by itself, it cannot stand up as a great documentary.
This is a decent transfer that is unfortunately held back by its low budget, and the many different types of footage used to create it. It suffers from frequent issues with film artefacts such as constant scratches, alongside issues with interlacing, motion blur and a lot of grain.
The black levels are awful, with very little detail in the blacks and no detail in shadow at all. Low level noise is present often in dark scenes. Keep in mind, however, that this is a documentary from 1985 that has not been in any way restored with the intention of being screened in a home theatre, rather it's a featurette-style piece, and is of low quality. As it isn't intended to be state of the art, these issues, despite being problematic, do not really detract from the viewing experience.
There are no subtitles.
Essentially a mono-mix spread across the two speakers, this is a very simple no-frills mix that is completely audible but never thrilling. The dialogue in all interviews is at a good level and always in sync, and the music is well mixed to deliver what is expected without issue.
There's no surround or subwoofer usage, but as before, that isn't the intent. This is, essentially, a glorified DVD extra.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video and audio is satisfactory.
The disc is barebones.
|DVD||LG LH-D6230, using Component output|
|Display||Benq PE7700. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Speakers||B&W LCR 600 S3 (Front & Centre); B&W DM 600 (Rears); B&W ASW500 (Sub)|