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  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
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  Extras
  • 3 Theatrical trailer - Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead.
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Photo gallery
  • Awards/Nominations
Day Of The Dead
Force Entertainment/Force Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 102 mins . R . PAL

  Feature
Contract

The third instalment in George A. Romero's zombie trilogy is generally regarded as the least successful, despite the fact that (in my experience anyway) Dawn of the Dead is seemingly the harder of the three to actually find, either for hire or for sale. Actually, the original version of Night of the Living Dead was also quite difficult to find. There were always plenty of copies of the full colour remake (remade by George A. Romero himself nonetheless), but that's beside the point, as Force Video are very quickly fixing this problem. On top of their previous release of rather healthily packaged Night of the Living Dead: 30th Anniversary Edition DVD, they have now provided Day of the Dead to add to your collection. Why Dawn of the Dead was not released before this is anyone's guess, however as I previously mentioned, that particular film has been rather difficult to track down in the first place.

Day of the Dead quite obviously continues the mysterious zombie plague sweeping the world, however it is by far the most apocalyptic of the three films. The zombie infection has spread so rapidly that they now outnumber the living something like one hundred to one. A group of military personnel and scientists are now holed up inside a missile silo with limited manpower, rapidly declining food, ammo and resources and only one working helicopter as transport.

Paranoia is at an all time high as everyone begins to become more than a little edgy. Whilst the soldiers are getting itchy fingers, the science team are racing against the clock to solve this mystery. However, the solution is generally believed to lie primarily in the hands of the elusive Dr. "Frankenstein" Logan, whose bizarre experiments are beginning to generate more questions than answers.

Unfortunately, whilst Day of the Dead often serves up some truly fantastic zombies and gory action pieces, it is let down by a generally boring and uninspiring plot. The base concept of Dr. Logan's prime experiment is, in essence, a very good one and truth be told, it's probably the most innovative idea in the entire film; but the entire surrounding plot places too much of an emphasis on melodramatic paranoia to really let this idea blossom. Quite simply, the whole thing becomes very tiring rather quickly. It contains none of the gothic appeal from the first film and none of the entertaining satire from the second, leaving the overall presentation little more than a rather dull study of cabin fever.

Taking that into account, the exceptional amount (and quality) of gore holds more than enough entertainment to warrant a couple of screenings.

  Video
  Audio
  Extras
Contract

While this presentation finds Day of the Dead looking by far the best that I have ever seen it, it is by no means a pretty transfer. The biggest problem is the excessive amount of film grain present in the film's black levels, heavy doses of which are seen throughout almost the entire feature. You will find it in backgrounds, in shadows, in just about everything. It is unfortunately not the subtle type of grain that many of us are used to either; rather it often borders on severe white noise.

However, for the relatively few moments when the film is well lit, then everything looks rather nice. Of course we are not talking about a million-dollar restoration, rather the film looks as close to its original print as possible. Unfortunately, this also winds up presenting a few more problems for the transfer, as the film stock originally used for Day of the Dead contained some inherent colour problems, resulting in an overall blurred and rather washed out palette.

One element that had me very quite impressed with the transfer however, was the surprisingly small amount of film scratches and artefacts throughout the presentation. I certainly expected to see a lot more than were actually present.

Not surprisingly, the Dolby Digital Stereo track provided is even less inspiring than the image; marred by fairly constant background hiss and some definite distortion problems within dialogue levels. On the plus side, the Carpenter-esq '80s synthesiser soundtrack comes across quite full-bodied, as do the many zombie moans and groans, which actually achieve a tiny bit of directional activity that does add to the atmosphere.

The biggest treat on this disc however, lies firmly in the extras. While it only runs for just over 20 minutes and is fairly poor in terms of video quality, the behind the scenes documentary supplied is really quite excellent. Expect a hearty chuckle whilst the casting office describe exactly what an extra receives for appearing as a zombie in Day of the Dead.

Some other decent features in include theatrical trailers for all three of George A. Romero's cult zombie films, a small photo gallery and a fairly detailed biography section for George A. Romero and make-up artist Tom Savini.

While I am certain there was some effort put into this transfer of Day of the Dead, it unfortunately falls a little short of cutting the mustard. It is most certainly the lesser of the trilogy, however, If you can sit through the frankly monotonous sub plot then you will be in for some truly magnificent zombie treats.


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  •   And I quote...
    "If you can sit through the frankly monotonous sub plot then you will be in for some truly magnificent zombie treats. "
    - Ben Pollock
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Omni SL-P2000KD
    • TV:
          Palsonic 71cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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