Blu-ray Review: Land Of The Dead (2005) Collector’s Edition
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Land of the Dead
Blu-ray (Collector’s Edition)
Director: George A. Romero
Screenwriter: George A. Romero
Cast: Simon Baker, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento, Robert Joy, Eugene Clark, John Leguizamo
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated R/Not Rated | 93/97 Minutes
Release Date: October 31, 2017

In 2005, 20 years after Day Of The Dead, Legendary filmmaker George A. Romero returned to the zombie subgenre he created with Land Of The Dead, the fourth entry in the writer-director’s Living Dead series.

Years after the zombie apocalypse, most of the United States is an uninhabited wasteland. Survivors have set up heavily fortified outposts across the country. In Pennsylvania, survivors have fled to the Golden Triangle district of Pittsburgh. Bordered by rivers and massive electric fences, Steel City has become a sanctuary for what’s left of humanity.

While most of the remaining population lives in squalor, the rich and powerful live comfortably in a luxury high-rise called Fiddler’s Green. Paul Kaufman (Dennis Hopper), the city’s Trump-esque ruler, has funded the Dead Reckoning project, an armored personnel vehicle that will bring the good people of Pittsburgh food and medical supplies, as well as necessities like liquor and cigars.

Dead Reckoning commander Riley Denbo (Simon Baker) and his crew venture into zombie-infested areas to scavenge for supplies. On one particular mission, Riley’s crew, including Charlie (Robert Joy), Cholo (John Leguizamo), and Slack (Asia Argento) notice that some of the undead, like Gas Station Owner Zombieâ„¢ “Big Daddy” (Eugene Clark) are exhibiting intelligent behavior. Soon the zombies learn to take up arms and, in the spirit of the Planet of the Apes films, rise up against their human oppressors.

When Land of the Dead was released in 2005, it followed recent zombie films like 2002’s 28 Days Later, and 2004’s apocalyptic trio: Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake, Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead, and Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Through that lens, a fourth zombie movie from Romero could have been seen as a lesser effort, but 12 years later, it’s easily the most relevant of the aforementioned films – a potent piece of social commentary from a true master of horror.

With some solid performances, stomach-turning special effects by Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger’s KNB EFX, Land of the Dead is a worthy addition to the Living Dead lore and Romero’s iconic filmography. Scream Factory’s two-disc Dawn of the Dead (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray looks great, with healthy grain retention and full colors. With a new 2K scan of the interpositive in the film’s original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix for home theater enthusiasts, Romero’s film has received a definitive high-definition release. As for special features, there are tons of new special features, as well as featurettes from previous releases.

Disc one includes the theatrical version of the movie with a new HD master derived From the digital intermediate archival negative as well four newly produced interview segments. Among the new materials, there’s “Cholo’s Reckoning – An Interview with John Leguizamo,” “Charlie’s Story – An Interview with Robert Joy,” “The Pillsbury Factor – An Interview with Pedro Miguel Arce,” and “Four of the Apocalypse – An Interview with Eugene Clark, Jennifer Baxter, Boyd Banks, and Jasmin Geljo.” There’s also “Dream of the Dead: George Romero,” a documentary with optional commentary by director Roy Frumkes, deleted scenes and footage from Frumkes’ documentary, and a theatrical trailer.

On disc two, there’s the uncut version of the film with a new 2K Scan of the interpositive with HD inserts and a brand new audio commentary with zombie performers Matt Blazi, Glena Chao, Michael Felsher, and Rob Mayr. There’s also an older commentary with Romero, producer Peter Grunwald, and editor Michael Doherty. There’s also a bevy of previously released bonus materials, including “Undead Again: The Making of Land of the Dead,” “Bringing the Dead to Life,” “Zombie Effects: From Green Screen to Finished Scene,” “Bringing the Storyboards to Life,” “A Day with the Living Dead,” and “When Shaun Met George.”

Picking up Scream Factory’s Land of the Dead (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray is a no-brainer (pun intended). If you’re a fan of Romero’s 2005 film and are looking to complete your high-definition collection of the late director’s filmography, you won’t find a better release than this one. You can purchase the two-disc edition now at Amazon.


Clip: Fireworks

Bonus Clip: John Leguizamo on Collaboration

Cover Art

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