Day of the Dead: Collector's Edition (1985)

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Released 3-Apr-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Audio Commentary-Cast and crew
Audio Commentary-Special effects crew
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette-Reflections On The Living Dead
Trailer-(3)
TV Spots-(3)
Trailer-Umbrella trailers (6)
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1985
Running Time 101:02 (Case: 175)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By George A. Romero
Studio
Distributor
Umbrella
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Lori Cardille
Terry Alexander
Joe Iplato
Richard Liberty
Case ?
RPI $27.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Writer/director George A. Romero made history with his black and white low-budget sci-fi horror film Night Of The Living Dead. A subtle satire on race politics, it was also an effective chiller that burned itself into the collective consciousness of a generation. In 1979 Romero did the impossible by delivering a sequel, Dawn Of The Dead, that not only stayed true to its original, but bettered it. That bitter take on American consumerism also hit the zeitgeist of a generation and became a cult classic elevating the horror genre out of low-budget pulp to political allegory.

    In 1985, Romero went back to the well a third time with Day Of The Dead, this time to tear into the military industrial complex – specifically, Regan-era military spending and questionable scientific experimentation in an effort to “win” the Cold War with the Soviets, although the military scientists in this film probably have more in common with Nazi scientists experimenting on Jews and prisoners of war in an effort to win World War II. As a result, the audience inevitably winds up sympathising more with the zombies than the human protagonists.

    Unfortunately for Romero, a limited budget meant that his vision could not be brought to full fruition, though thankfully there was little skimping on the gore. As a result, Day Of The Dead is a let down by comparison to its predecessors, although there is still plenty here to satisfy fans when viewed on its own merits – another piece of evidence that even a mediocre Romero film is still a thousand times better than 90% of the other horror films churned out of the US.

    Those who are not ordinarily fans of the horror genre may find themselves surprised (if grossed out) by this film and I urge those who like unusual political allegory to check this film out. While not as good as his two earlier films and easily surpassed by the last instalment in the franchise, the blistering and bloody Land Of The Dead, there is much in here to work your brain over, and lots of gore for the mindless.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented in full anamorphic height 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, this is close to the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    This is far from a perfect transfer, and despite some detractors on the various forums, I still consider the Anchor Bay Blu-Ray release to be significantly clearer – not as much of an improvement as the 1080p transfer done for the Anchor Bay Blu-Ray release of Dawn Of The Dead, but an improvement over any prior release of Day Of The Dead to be sure.

    This transfer suffers from many fairly obvious NTSC-to-PAL transfer artefacts, including frame interlacing issues and noticeable aliasing. While the PS3 did a good job of smoothing these problems out for 1080p playback on my VPL-VW60, the faults were nevertheless still evident when compared to the 1080p release.

    Colour and shadow detail were much better than earlier VHS incarnations of this film, though, and I was pleasantly surprised by the transfer in this respect. The image also has a lot more detail and clarity than the old VHS releases.

    While the print has been cleaned up a lot, there is still some noticeable dirt and grain, although the opening credit sequence and first fifteen minutes or so bore the worst of it, as if those scenes were shot with different film stock.

    There are no subtitles, which is disappointing as my deaf friend would have been scared out of her wits by this.

    I spotted no dual layer pause.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Audio is available in a English 2.0 Dolby Digital encoded at 224 Kbps only.

    This is a decent stereo track, but seems a little thin when compared to more recent audio transfers, especially the 5.1 LPCM track on the recent Anchor Bay Blu-Ray release, but even the 5.1 DTS track on the earlier Anchor Bay Divimax Standard Definition DVD release.

    There are some good directional cues within the stereo soundfield, but once you’ve had LPCM it’s hard to go back.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, and silent.

Disc 1

Featurette: Behind the Scenes (30:52)

TV Spots (1:33)

    Three TV Spots, presented in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced.

Stills Gallery

Theatrical Trailers

    Three theatrical trailers presented 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced.

Umbrella Trailers

    Trailers for:

Disc 2

Feature – Alternate Version (96:37)

    This would appear to be the original Australian release in its proper PAL runtime. Other than some credits removed from the front of the movie, I cannot tell the difference between the two transfers.

Audio Commentary 1

    Good commentary by George A. Romero, Tom Savani, Cletus Anderson and Lori Cardelle.

Audio Commentary 2

    Another good commentary with the special effects team, Greg Nicotero, Howard Berger, Everett Burrell and Mike Deak

Featurette – Reflections On The Living Dead (78:43)

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, this is a reasonable documentary on Night Of The Living Dead with views on the film by various famous auteurs of the horror genre, including Tobe Hooper, Sam Raimi and Wes Craven.

Umbrella Trailers

    Trailers for:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 Anchor Bay Divimax release is the best Standard Definition DVD release of this to date, and the picture on that transfer, whilst NTSC, is still better than the transfer present here. The recent Anchor Bay Blu-Ray release trumps the Divimax again in terms of picture and sound quality, if you have the capability to display 1080p and hear LPCM multi-channel audio, and the Blu-Ray retains most of but not quite all of the extras. If you are Blu-Ray capable, I would go for that release as it is not region coded and relatively inexpensive.

Summary

    Day Of The Dead is not quite the masterpiece of its predecessors, but it is nevertheless a worthy entry in the “Dead” franchise. This 2-disc collector’s edition is the best R4 release so far, but the R1 Divimax release and new Anchor Bay Blu-Ray release easily beat it.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3 (HDMI 1.3) with Upscaling, using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW60 SXRD Projector with 100" Longhorn Pro-Series White Matt 16:9 screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersJensen QX70 Centre Front, Jensen QX45 Left Front & Right Front, Jensen QX20 Left Rear & Right Rear, Jensen QX-90 Dual 10" 250 Watt Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Awful Transfer? - Gizmo35 (The Biography ain't much to look at.) REPLY POSTED