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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Thriller > Monster > Supernatural > Alien 2: On Earth (1980/Midnight Legacy/MVD Blu-ray)/Fulci’s Zombie (1979/Blue Underground Blu-ray)

Alien 2: On Earth (1980/Midnight Legacy/MVD Blu-ray)/Fulci’s Zombie (1979/Blue Underground Blu-ray)

 

Picture: B+     Sound: B-/B+     Extras: C/A     Films: D/B

 

 

Although it has seen release several times over the years, in 2004, Lucio Fulci's Zombie (1979) was given two nearly simultaneous releases that split potential buyers on which to get.  On one side, Blue Underground's version had superior video and audio.  On the other, Media Blasters would in very short order release an edition that came close to matching those qualities, but added a substantial amount of bonus content.

 

It's now five years later, but Blue Underground has just put out a new Ultimate Edition on Blu-ray that is superior in all ways to either of the previous ones mentioned.  It not only looks gorgeous – better than it ever has on any home format – but it also carries over the commentary from the Anchor Bay and Media Blasters editions and provides newly filmed featurette segments... all of them in HD, no less.

 

Known in Italy as Zombi 2, the film is often considered to be an unofficial sequel to George Romero's Dawn of the Dead.  In reality, it is completely unrelated, though if one wanted to force it into the mythology badly enough, it can be seen as an alternate prequel to “Dawn”.  The story isn't exactly the film's strong suit – we follow a reporter as he helps a beauty find what has happened to her father after his boat washes up in a New York harbor with a couple of undead aboard, but no sign of him.  From there, it's off to the father's island, which is now crawling with zombies.

 

Fear not, more desirable than story is the boatload of cool zombie action.  Throughout the course of the movie we not only get to see a zombie take on a shark, but one of Fulci's most legendary eye-gouges and plenty more dollops of gore.  It's a fun ride and rightfully deserves being considered a classic of the genre.

 

The film is presented in full 1080p 2.35:1 anamorphic digital High Definition widescreen with several choices for audio.  There are tracks in both English and Italian presented in 7.1 DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless, 5.1 Dolby Digital and in the original mono.  The bonus content here is superb, and makes this edition the easy choice if you're looking to add just one disc to your collection.  However, if you're a huge Zombie or Fulci fan in general, you'll still want to hang onto the Media Blasters release for its different content.

 

There's also another unofficial Italian “sequel” of similar vintage that has recently made its way out onto Blu-ray – the 1980 film Alien 2: On Earth.  This limited edition disc comes to us courtesy of Midnight Legacy, and is their inaugural release.  Long buried and forgotten (possibly with good reason, but we'll get to that in a minute), there's no way one would've assumed it might someday crawl out from where it came and be given the loving care and tireless devotion it needed to play with the big boys on a high def format.

 

As for the film itself, there isn't much to say except that it's a dud.  It plods along for a while, people go into a cave and then said people in cave get gruesomely picked off by aliens.  On paper it sounds about like any other setup a movie like this has going for it, but it's so terribly boring that even the occasional splash of gore can't save this one.  Leaping to the defense of this release, I must stress that this title does indeed look and sound great – better than many titles on the format, in fact.  This bodes well for the company's future releases - if they're willing to spend their time on something as bad as this, I'd love to see what they do for a movie that's actually any damn good.

 

Special features are slim - there's a trailer that comes from the Dutch VHS release (the only home release the film had ever been given up till now) and some outtakes.  More special features would have been a nice touch, but to be honest, there probably isn't much to say.  The film is presented in 1080p 1.85:1 anamorphic digital High Definition widescreen and features the dubbed-in English soundtrack in 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio (MA) lossless track.  I give the disc a recommendation solely to support this great new company's further efforts.  I have good faith in them, and after you see how great this looks, I'm sure you'll agree.

 

Oh, and Alien 2 references the 1955 British Sci-Fi film The Quatermass Xperiment (aka The Creeping Unknown), which we just reviewed from MGM’s web-exclusive Limited Edition Collection, so there’s another much-needed release of a key title for genre fans.  You can read about it at this link:

 

http://www.fulvuedrive-in.com/review/11276/The+Quatermass+Xperiment+(1955/a

 

 

-   David Milchick


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