It’s back, yet again, and looking for more brains. Dan O’Bannon’s lively zombie comedy tells the tale of a toxic spill reanimating corpses who, not content with wanting to eat your brains, are going to give you lip about it at the same time. Notable for its mix of horror, punk rock, gore, humour and nudity (this is the film that established Linnea Quigley as a horror starlet), the film has since been bested in terms of wit and gore by both Dead/Alive and Shaun of the Dead, but it was there first, and remains great fun. Never having caught the film in the theatres, I haven’t noticed anything amiss with the soundtrack, but the chatter out there among the film’s fans lets it be known that some of the songs have been truncated, so be warned on that front. Otherwise, have a blast.
When I reviewed the original DVD release, lo rather too many years ago, I mentioned that the mono soundtrack was a bit disappointing, given how importance of the rock score. That situation has been addressed on this release with a stereo mix. It is 2.0, not 5.1, true. And the use of surround isn’t stellar (the rock just seems to be pumping out of all speakers to the same degree now), but the effect is still of a somewhat bigger sound, even if a certain thinness is still present.
There was nothing wrong with the original release’s transfer, and there’s nothing wrong with this one. The blacks are stupendous, but and with excellent contrasts and colours, the abundant night scenes are never murky. The film looks sharp, is free of grain, and is a ton of fun to watch. No complaints here.
The previous release’s extras are back again (commentary by O’Bannon and production designer William Stout, the “Designing the Dead” featurette), but now they have new friends. There’s a second commentary track, where Stout is joined by cast members (including Quigley). There’s plenty of joking around, but never to the point of getting in the way of the memories. “The Dead Have Risen” is a retrospective look at the film, with most of the major players from behind and before the cameras chiming in. “The Decade of Darkness” is a look at horror movies in the 80s. It’s an interesting piece, though not in the same category as some of the in-depth looks at the 70s that are out there. The Zombie subtitling option prints “urrrgghh” and the like whenever various groans are heard on-screen. Several trailers for the feature and other releases are here too, along with some liner notes.
The last release was a solid one, but this ads yet more goodies, so the return trip is worth it.