Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Return of the Living Dead region 2 Special Edition!? Hold your horses, buddy...

If you're like me, or any self-respecting horror fan, you are obsessed with Dan O'Bannon's classic zombie comedy Return of the Living Dead and, also like me, live outside the US and have been waiting for the special edition to finally arrive on your shores, then this product on Amazon possibly had you thinking your prayers had been answered (I didn't say your prayers were very responsible). Oh joy, we finally have it! We finally get the in depth special edition the yanks have enjoyed for so long! Hold your horses there, buddy. Something is going down in Zombietown.

This is not the same as the region 1 special edition.

Ok, now that I've buried the obvious lead, allow me to elaborate. For years, US viewers had a special edition of ROTLD that featured a commentary by Dan O'Bannon and a making of documentary, and then in 2007 they got an even fancier 2 disc version that contains more commentaries and making ofs and is generally quite a riot. I picked this up in a double pack with a Blu Ray, and it's an interesting piece that provides info not present elsewhere.

Switch to region 2 land, and what do we get? A poor transfer with only a theatrical trailer... That's it. That's the whole boring shabbang. So, out of the blue, I noticed an upcoming release on Amazon that seemed to be the region 1 special edition finally being ported over to here, but alas, no. 

So, if we don't get the region 1 special edition, what are we getting? Are we, by any chance, getting something better!? Well, yes and no.

Then again, nothing is better than this old DVD cover.

As far as I can gather, the first disc will be the film itself, and some possibly new features of ; The Origins of Return Of The Living Dead with John A. Russo; The FX Of The Living Dead with production designer William Stout and FX make-up artists William Munns and Tony Gardner and; Party Time with music consultant Steve Pross and 45 Grave singer Dinah Cancer. That's interesting, and possibly quite cool stuff there. As far as I can tell, these are features exclusive to this disc, though they may be new titles on pre-existing ones, we have to see. The more interesting side is with disc 2, which is...

More Brains: A Return to the Living Dead, which is a comprehensive look at the making of the film made by the same folks who did the Nightmare on Elm Street doc Never Sleep Again, and written by the guys who wrote the Complete History to Return of the Living Dead, which is a fantastic look at all the films in the series and is a must have for any fan. If you read the book, a lot of the info in the documentary will be familiar to you, and whereas the NOES documentary covered all the films over 4 hours, this is one film in an hour and a half and does lag comparatively. I showed it to the missus, who wouldn't know much about ROTLD, and it felt excruciatingly long, but when I watched it again by myself, it was perfectly enjoyable, so it is more of one for the hardcore fan, as opposed to the regular viewer. Nevertheless, it's great.

Add this book to your collection. You'll thank me.

Huzzah, right? That's a brilliant doc right there. Score one up for Second Sight and their region 2 release! Not so fast. While this IS a great set, it actually leaves a massive hole in the film experience for the avid fan. How so? Well, the documentary contains much of the same information as the book, which is readily available in region 2 land, but the Dan O'Bannon and cast commentaries are lost exclusively to the US. The US kids don't get the documentary bundled with their film, but they do get other features and the documentary itself is available region free from the companies website. For me, the O'Bannon commentary is an extremely valuable asset, especially in the wake of the maestro's passing, and the info he sheds is still out of reach for us here.

You have to hear him talk about the vagina plug, of course.

What I'm getting at is that the book and documentary are available easy enough here and are no amazing new addition to the market, whereas the commentary is still lost to us. Of course, I say this all relatively. The region 1 disc is handy enough to get, but I like the gusto Second Sight have given to the release. I'm sure it is out of their power to release the region 1 features. I encourage everyone to get this release, and the region 1 release, and the book, then you will have the COMPLETE Return of the Living Dead collection, and only then. Oh, and you have to check out the deleted scenes found in the workprint here.

When not complaining about perfectly good DVD releases, I am preparing to release the feature film I produced. Check out the SODIUM PARTY Facebook and get in on the action. You'll never watch Irish films the same way again.


  1. I hear your version has all of the original music restored though, so rest assured, we US kids are envious!

  2. Ah this is true! Or it might not be... I dunno, I haven't heard the new UK releases soundtrack yet!