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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Zombie > Day Of The Dead (1985/Anchor Bay Blu-ray)

Day Of The Dead (1985/Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: B+     Film: B+



Since we last looked at Anchor Bay’s upgraded DVD of George Romero’s Day Of The Dead (1985) from their DiviMax series, many imitators have come and gone, few worked, a sequel arrived (see Land Of The Dead elsewhere on this site) and a remake is supposedly finished and still not released.  In all this, the film has only appreciated in value and this is what we had to say then:





Now, Anchor Bay (as part of Starz) has issued the film in the High Definition Blu-ray format and it is great to see the film hold up so well.  Ironically, more people have seen the film since and as more people have seen it, more have had mixed feelings about it.  Robin Wood (in the book Hollywood – From Vietnam To Reagan… & beyond, reviewed elsewhere on this site) did a whole chapter on it about how it is the woman’s nightmare, as well as the bleakest and most complex film in the series, a point he would likely still share after film four.


Sure, 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later (and maybe the Will Smith I Am Legend) are key entries in the genre, but outside of a few spoofs, most of the zombie films have been pointless and forgettable since.  Ironically, Romero was doing the first Resident Evil when creative differences had him leaving and the now three films are more action than zombie anyhow.


What makes the film work is that something new, interesting and challenging happens every few scenes.  While the imitators are stuck on the first two films fore the most part (the original has been remade a second time with 3-D as a gimmick), Romero’s film is now 22 years ahead of its time and counting.  The argument could be made that it returned to the darker side of the original and though some budget limitations show, it remains one of the most important Horror films of the 1980s (and along with Kubrick’s The Shining, one of the few that has anything to say) that just gets better with age.  Especially if you have not seen it before or saw it and did not catch what was really going on, this new Blu-ray is a great opportunity to see it better than ever, especially considering how early 35mm prints were so poor.


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image is the same HD master used for the Divimax DVD and though it reveals new flaws, the new benefits just outweigh those problems for a decent presentation.  Again, the print shows its age and more restoration will be needed down the line for the film, but it is the best version yet and will likely see for a long time.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 EX track is recycled and cannot match the DTS on the DiviMax DVD, but that DTS is replaced here by PCM 16/48 5.1 that is on par with the DTS.  Purists may enough the Dolby Mono track, but the PCM brings out the better aspects of the original mono sound, even if surrounds and subwoofer sounds are limited.


Extras are the same, including trailers, TV spots, Gateway Commerce Center promo, facts, behind-the-scenes footage, audio interview with Richard Liberty, The Many Days Of Day Of The Dead featurette and two audio commentary tracks.  One features filmmaker and fan Roger Avary, the other has Romero, actor/visual effects pioneer Tom Savini, production designer Cletus Anderson and actress Lori Cardille.  Even when the performance of the film shows its age, this is more of the kind of back catalog gem outside of the big studios we need to see more of on Blu-ray.  That it is a classic of the genre does not hurt either.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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