Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 4th, 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
DVD released: September 13th, 2010
Approximate running time: 97 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Arrow Video
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £19.99
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.
Arrow Video presents Day of the Dead in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer looks very good as colors look nicely saturated, flesh tones look healthy, black levels are strong and details look crisp throughout.
This release comes with two audio options, a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in English and a Dolby Digital Stereo mix in English. Both audio mixes are in great shape as they are clean, clear and balanced throughout. The Dolby Digital 5.1 English mix sounds more robust of the two audio mixes. Also both mixes do a good job with the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack.
Extras for this release are spread over two discs. Extras on disc one 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.
Extras on disc two 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.
Also include with this release is a double-sided fold-out poster, two sleeve art options and a 24-page collector’s comic featuring new Bub storyline. Overall Arrow Video’s gives Day of the Dead strong DVD release that comes with an abundance of extras.