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ROTLD DVD Review
on August 24, 2003
"Return Of The Living Dead" is one of those horror gems that hardcore fans have wanted to see on DVD. A fun old-fashioned horror film that has been out of print on VHS for awhile, "Return" is not related to George Romero's "Dead" series. It is more or less a parody of the Living Dead films before it. Written and directed by Dan O'Bannon, this 1985 cult classic is an excellent mixture of horror and comedy. Unfortunately, the DVD falls short of some fan's expectations in a few areas.
The picture quality is superb. You get both the widescreen and full-frame versions of the film but the sound mix leaves something to be desired. The original soundtrack has been altered during some scenes (perhaps for copyright reasons) so some songs are absent altogether. This really hurts the DVD all around. Not only that but you don't get too many special features on the DVD. There is a nice collection of trailers & TV spots and an audio commentary from O'Bannon which doesn't get too insightful as far as elements of the story are concerned. You hear more from O'Bannon the director than you do from the writer. It would have been good to hear him comment more on the story as opposed to how he got certain things to look a certain way. Especially since we already get a featurette where he comments on the visual style of the movie. While we're making wishes, it would have been good to have a few more featurettes that help cover the behind-the-scenes stuff.
With this DVD, we get a little better than many of these DVD's which give you nothing but the movie and sometimes the trailer but even with the little bit of special treatmant it gets, it still seems to be treated like an "unwanted child". There are a lot of people who have begged for either a "director's cut" or deleted scenes with a rumored alternate ending. As someone who loves and appreciates this underrated film, I was expecting more. Don't ask me why but this DVD seems to come up short. It really killed it when they removed some of the familiar music numbers in the movie. I still love this movie and am grateful that they released it in this format but I am still hoping to eventually see a "special edition" down the road.