Written by: Michael Den Boer on March 14th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1985
Director: George A. Romero
Writer: George A. Romero
Cast: Lori Cardille, Terry Alexander, Joseph Pilato, Jarlath Conroy, Anthony Dileo Jr., Richard Liberty, Sherman Howard, Gary Howard Klar
BluRay released: March 29th, 2010
Approximate running time: 103 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Mono English
BluRay Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: £24.99
Synopsis: The world has become overrun with zombies and the fate of mankind lies in the hands of a small group of survivors who live in an underground bunker.
Day of the Dead was originally intended to be the third and final installment in George R. Romero’s zombie trilogy. The other two film’s in this trilogy Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead. After a twenty year break from zombies, George R. Romero would direct Land of the Dead the first of three new zombies films. The other two films being Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead.
More than any of George R. Romero’s other zombie films, Day of the Dead has struggled to find its audience. Many fans felt it was a step backwards after Dawn of the Dead, which is generally regarded as his best zombie film. George R. Romero’s original concept for Day of the Dead was an ambitious film that had to be scaled down due to budget.
Upon closer inspection, Day of the Dead is not that much different than its predators (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead) with its small cast of characters and the bulk of the film taking place in one location. The thing that makes each of these three film’s most different form each other is that they are all products of the era’s from which they were made.
One area where Day of the Dead seems to get the most flack is its use of profanity of which there is an abundance of in this film. The heavy use of profanity actually fits well with the story at hand as this film is the more dialog driven than it’s predecessors. And the profanity can be most likely attributed to the claustrophobic nature of the story and like rats in a cage the last surviving humans who are day by day being surrounded by more and more living dead have long since crossed their breaking point.
Even though there are a few gruesome moments that overall tone of Day of the Dead is nowhere near as gory as Dawn of the Dead. Without a doubt the most disturbing moments are the scenes where Doctor Logan aka Doctor Frankenstein experiments of the zombies. This film’s strongest asset is its characters who populate this world, especially the megalomaniac Captain Rhodes who’s testosterone fueled decision making makes him look more barbaric than the zombies. The performances from the entire cast all hold up well on repeated viewing with the standout performance coming from Lori Cardille in the role of Sarah that the lone female out of the survivors in the bunker. For far too long Day of the Dead has been underestimated and with each new viewing my appreciation for this film increases.
Day of the Dead comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. The image looks sharp, colors look vibrant and nicely saturated throughout. Flesh tones look accurate and black levels fare well. Also DNR is not as pronounced on this release as it is on Anchor Bay’s U.S. BluRay release.
This release comes with two audio options, DTS-HD 5.1 English and Dolby Digital Mono English. Both audio mixes sound crystal clear and balanced throughout. The DTS-HD 5.1 English does a good job spreading out the mix with the more ambient sounds coming through clearly on through the rear channels.
Extras on disc one (BluRay) include a segment titled “Travelogue of the Dead” (17 minutes 49 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), a interview with Joseph Pilato titled “Joe of the Dead” (50 minutes 58 seconds – anamorphic widescreen) and a audio commentary with special effects team of Greg Nicotero, Howard Berger, Everett Burrell and Mike Deak. “Travelogue of the Dead” is essential a video document of actor Joseph Pilato’s traveling through the UK. This segment also features a Q & A with Joseph Pilato who also interacts with fans and there are also comments about the film from film critics. The lengthy interview with Joseph Pilato titled “Joe of the Dead”. All in all this is a exceptional interview in which Joseph Pilato discusses in depth his experiences working with director Goerge R. Romero and the Captain Rhodes characters he portrays in Day of the dead. The audio commentary is an informative track that leans more towards the technical aspects of this production. All of the extras included on disc one are in HD.
Extras on disc two (single layer DVD) include 4 T.V. ads for Day of the Dead, a trailer for Dawn of the Dead (2 minutes 45 seconds – letterboxed widescreen) and a trailer for 30th anniversary re-edit of Night of the Living Dead (2 minutes 1 second – 4:3 full frame), a text bio / filmography for George A. Romero, two image galleries, a promo clip for Wampum mine (one of the main locations for Day of the Dead), a audio interview with actor Richard Liberty (15 minutes 41 seconds), a segment titled “Behind the Zombies Footage” (20 minutes 19 seconds – 4:3 full frame) and a documentary about the film titled “The Many Days of the Dead” (38 minutes 42 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), which includes comments from writer / director George A. Romero, special make-up effects Tom Savini, production designer Cletus Anderson, special make-up effects Greg Nicotero, producer David Ball, assistant director Chris Romero, actress Lori Cardille, actors Joseph Pilato and Howard Sherman. The audio interview with Richard Liberty while the audio is not in the greatest shape the overall content of this interview is a well worth checking as he covers a wide variety of topics like how he got involved with the film, the film’s ending and his character Doc Logan. The documentary “The Many Days of the Dead” is a well rounded discussion that does a superb job covering the various of this production. All the extras on disc two are in standard definition.
Also include with this release is a 16 page booklet with an essay about the film that was written by Calum Waddell, four sleeve art options, a double-sided fold-out poster and a 24-page collector’s comic featuring new Bub storyline. Overall Arrows Films gives Day of the Dead a strong BluRay release which is highlighted with several extras which are exclusive to this release.