Day Of The Dead (1985/Blu-ray)
B Sound: B Extras: B+ Film: B+
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:
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
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.
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.
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