06th Nov2020

‘Dawn of the Dead: Limited Edition’ Blu-ray Review (Second Sight)

by Chris Cummings

Stars: David Emge, Ken Foree, Scott H. Reiniger, Gaylen Ross, David Crawford, David Early, Howard Smith, Daniel Dietrich | Written and Directed by George A. Romero

I remember seeing the 1978 classic, Dawn of the Dead, in the mid-90s. It was one of the first horror movies I ever really fell in love with, and helped turn me into a fully fledged horror fan. George A. Romero’s masterpiece has become an iconic picture in the history of cinema, and one of the most beloved horror films of all time. While it wasn’t the first zombie movie, it certainly changed the landscape of what a zombie movie could be. From the location to the music to the scenes of gore, Dawn of the Dead is absolutely and undeniably great.

We all know what the film is all about. It’s the tale of a group of survivors holding up in a shopping mall and trying to stay alive against the hordes of zombies who are clawing at the windows of every store. It’s packed with political metaphors and winks at society, but at its heart it is a pure horror film, with wonderful practical effects and a story that always feels relevant. I was very excited when I first heard that Second Sight would be putting out a new release of Dawn of the Dead a couple of years ago. A new 4K release was in the works, as well as a blu-ray release, and a whole range of cuts and features. Now the releases are on the horizon, I’ve had a chance to look at the Blu-ray release and oh boy, what a release it is.

There are three cuts of the movie here, the theatrical cut, with a new 4K scan, as well as commentary from Romero and a new commentary track. It looks and sounds beautiful. This is the best I’ve seen the film look, and the best I’ve heard it sound, and I’ve seen many releases of this film over the years. Unreal. The grain retention is there, and the film looks gritty like it should, but the scan is really clear and delightful to watch. The second disc features the extended “Cannes” Cut of the film, which uses a 4K scan, and features a commentary with Richard P. Rubenstein. The third disc has the Argento Cut of the film on it, a cut I very much enjoy personally. This 4K scan also has a lovely commentary from Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger, David Emge and Gaylen Ross. The fourth disc features a whole range of special extras, including feature length documentaries like Document of the Dead, which is an absolute blast and the very good The Dead Will Walk. I recall seeing Document of the Dead a couple of years back and it was a lot of fun to go back and watch it again, it’s a really well done film in its own right. It’s truly incredible that this release not only features some excellent smaller features but also some pretty damn lengthy ones, in the feature length documentaries about Dawn of the Dead and the zombie genre, too. It’s extremely impressive stuff.

The limited edition release will also come with audio CD’s which will include the famous soundtrack from Goblin, a hardback book and a novelisation of the movie. It comes in a hard box, too, because we all like some sexy packaging. It’s always great to see classic films getting wonderful treatment, and this is one of those releases. There is so much content here, and the new scans of the film looks fantastic. The list of features is brilliant, and the entire release definitely hits the mark. It is, as it intended to be, the ultimate release of Romero’s most beloved film.

Here’s a full list of what you can expect from the Dawn of the Dead: Limited Edition Blu-ray release:

SPECIAL FEATURES:

BLU-RAY DISC 1 – THE THEATRICAL CUT

  • New 4K scan and restoration of the Original Camera Negative by Second Sight at Final Frame New York and London supervised and approved by DoP Michael Gornick
  • Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Mono – New restoration of the original OCN Optical / DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Commentary by George A. Romero, Tom Savini, Christine Forrest
  • NEW commentary by Travis Crawford
  • New optional English subtitles for the hearing impaired

BLU-RAY DISC 2 – THE EXTENDED (‘CANNES’) CUT

  • Produced using 4K scan of the Theatrical Cut Original Camera Negative and 4K scan of the Extended Cut Colour Reversal Internegative
  • DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 Mono
  • Commentary by Richard P Rubinstein
  • New optional English subtitles for the hearing impaired

BLU-RAY DISC 3 – THE ARGENTO CUT

  • 4K scan of the Interpositive by Michele De Angelis at Backlight Digital, Rome
  • Audio: DT-HD Master Audio Mono 1.0 / Surround 5.1 / Stereo 2.0
  • Commentary by Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger, Gaylen Ross, David Emge
  • New optional English subtitles for the hearing impaired

BLU-RAY DISC 4 – SPECIAL FEATURES

  • NEW Zombies and Bikers with John Amplas, Roy Frumkes, Tom Savini, Christine Forrest, Tom Dubensky, Tony Buba, Taso Stavrakis and a whole host of zombies and bikers! (59 mins)
  • NEW Memories of Monroeville: A tour of the mall with Michael Gornick, Tom Savini, Tom Dubensky and Taso Stavrakis (34 mins)
  • NEW Raising the Dead: The Production Logistics with Michael Gornick, Christine Forrest, John Amplas, Tom Dubensky (23 mins)
  • NEW The FX of Dawn with Tom Savini (13 mins)
  • NEW Dummies! Dummies! An interview with Richard France (12 mins)
  • NEW The Lost Romero Dawn Interview: previously unreleased archive interview (20 mins)
  • Super 8 Mall Footage by zombie extra Ralph Langer with option of archive commentary by Robert Langer and new commentary by Ralph Langer (13 mins)
  • Document of the Dead: The Original Cut with optional commentary by Roy Frumkes (66 mins)
  • Document of the Dead: The Definitive Cut (100 mins)
  • The Dead Will Walk 2014 Documentary (80 mins)
  • Trailers, TV, and Radio Spots (TBC)

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS:

  • AUDIO CD DISC 1
    The Goblin Soundtrack 17 tracks including Alternate and Bonus Tracks
  • AUDIO CD DISC 2
    A De Wolfe library compilation part 1
  • AUDIO CD DISC 3
    A De Wolfe library compilation part 2
  • Rigid box with lid featuring the original iconic artwork
  • 2 inner digipaks
  • 160-page hardback book featuring new essays, archive article, archive George A. Romero interview and rare behind-the-scenes stills
  • Dawn of the Dead: The novelisation book by George A. Romero and Susanna Sparrow with exclusive artwork

Dawn of the Dead: Limited Edition Blu-ray will be released on the 16th of November 2020 through Second Sight Films. It will also be available in a 4K release.

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