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The Resurrected (Blu-ray Review)

Dan O’Bannon’s 1990 film, The Resurrected is getting the Scream Factory Blu-ray treatment come September 12th. While not dubbed a “Collector’s Edition”, the release is quite stacked with interviews and bonus material. The John Terry/Chris Sarandon horror/thriller was a part of the budding straight-to-video boom in the late 1980s/early 1990s. However, it did play for some festival circuits, so there was theatrical life for the film. You can insure that you have yourself a copy of this Lovecraftian tale from the guy who conjured up classics like Alien and Return of the Living Dead starring the man who played Prince Humperdink, Jerry Dandridge, Detective Mike Norris and that guy who was Jack’s Dad on Lost (Also a one-time Felix Leiter) by clicking on the Amazon pre-order link below.

Film 

Death used to be the end. Now it’s just the beginning…Since the beginning of time, man has struggled with death. Now Charles Dexter Ward (, a wealthy scientist, may have found a way to beat it. Using an ancient diary and human remains, Ward begins a terrifying and bloody pursuit for immortality. By the time his wife Claire hires private investigator John March to halt the horrible experiments, it’s too late … the dead have been resurrected!

Dan O’Bannon’s The Resurrected is one of the more relateable, straightforward Lovecraft stories maybe ever put to screen. It focuses on themes of duality and immortality. What helps is the narrative isn’t really wishy washy and the supernatural elements aren’t super bizarre and fit the confines of our grounded universe moreso than his other stuff.  I’m not a hater of the other Lovecraft things I’ve experienced, I’m just saying that for someone who is, they might want to give The Resurrected a shot.

The film is wonderfully acted, to start and features the competency and fun of a Dan O’Bannon horror film. Its got the goop and scares of a Return of the Living Dead, but is able to harness in a more mysterious and serious tone with stakes to this adventure.  While the result of the film’s narrative may be super obvious from the start, its the fun in watching the other characters figure it out. Chris Sarandon’s performance is also something that really keeps this thing afloat and engaging. He’s also surrounded and led by great turns from John Terry and Jane Sibbett as well. Overall, there is just so much to like about the film. It also has a really awesome modern gothic and classic gothic aesthetic.

The Resurrected is a solid little venture into some old low budget horror. I don’t know if I’m more fond of this movie in retrospect and being older and more knowledgeable or if I would have liked it back when it came out. Its film that brings quite a bit of things together, like adventure movies, gore movies, noir, Harryhausen and more. Overall, its probably much too long, but here is some fun to be had here and one I’ll definitely consider some time in the future for some fall watching.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: The Resurrected features a solid transfer on its journey to the Blu-ray format. Its nothing incredible, but up to par with most of Shout Factory’s usually solid to terrific work. Going to the high definition format also does showcase some film mistakes, like some incredibly out of focus scenes. The film boasts some solid details, especially some cool ones on closer shots with the cavern, artifact hunting in the movie that shows cobwebs, dust and other signs of wear on books, shelves and other objects.

Depth:  The image is a little bit above looking flat, with a decent amount of spacing between foreground and background, fairing better in well lit scenes. Movements are cinematic and feature minimal blurring and juttering during frantic movements.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and pretty dark. Information can be hidden in really dark sequences as well. Grain maintains the same presence in the really dark sequences. No crushing in the image was witnessed during the viewing for the review.

Color Reproduction: Colors hold on to a very natural appearance, with blue being probably the biggest stand out. There are many shades of it and it looks good on everything from denim to ink in a book. Red, when used as blood can pop too. The grays, browns and such that fill in the sort of boring colors, do a nice job in making things look ancient in the right scenes.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent. Wrinkles, dimples, make-up, cheek bone structure, stubble and more are visible in close ups and most medium shots for facial features.

Noise/Artifacts: Some grain, but no real problems going on in the image.

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 Stereo DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  The Resurrected debuts with a rather solid stereo track. Its not the cleanest or most spruced up mix in the world, but it gets the trick done. Yes, you’ll find it sounding very analog at times, especially on dubs, but most of the intricacies that may not appreciate..

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is clear and clean. There are audible analog sounds at times and in a couple instances, the action/music slightly drowns out speech.

Extras 

The Resurrected comes with a reversible cover featuring alternate (Super friggin’ swet btw) artwork.

Audio Commentary

  • With Producers Mark Borde, and Kenneth Raich, Screenwriter Brent V. Friedman, Acotor Richard Romano and make-up effects artist

Claire’s Conundrum (HD, 15:29) – An interview with actress Jane Sibbett. She almost looks like she hasn’t aged a day. She begins with her early love for film and Spencer Tracy movies and romantic comedies and go through her learning the craft. She then goes through working on the film and stuff about each of the key figures with the film (O’Bannon, Sarandon, Terry).

The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward (HD, 24:22) – And interview with author ST Joshi.  He goes into an in-depth analysis of the character of Charles Dexter Ward, Lovecraft’s story, the themes and really everything you’d want from anybody about this movie and story.

The Resurrected Man (HD, 15:34) – An interview with actor Chris Sarandon. He talks about his initial jump into horror with Fright Night and also working with Tom Holland through Child’s Play and how it made him comfortable with horror and what helped him to take the job. Like the other people, working with Dan O’Bannon was an appeal of this one. He also goes into the cult following of HP Lovecraft that he’s been tuned into by fans. Overall he found it to be a good experience.

Abominations & Adaptations (HD, 17:48) – An interview with Screenwriter Brent V. Friedman. He discusses his admiration for Lovecraft’s ability to do so much within the confines of a short story. He found Charles Dexter Ward to be the most substantial of the Lovecraft works and he had a lot of material to work with. One cool aspect, is that he was upset with the home video release because it was put out with a bad print and there was no good way to see it.

Grotesgue Melodies (HD, 10:14) – An interview with composer Richard Band. The composer really likes how on edge you can be with this film, like you’re on the verge to a great secret you don’t want to know the truth of. He had also worked on Re-Animator and From Beyond and had Lovecraft experience. Its one of his favorite all-time genre scores as well (Patting himself on the back lol).

Lovecraftian Landscapes (HD, 7:57) – An interview with production designer Brent Thomas. It was “all brand new” to him, being one of his early movies. It was exciting to him, the challenge of doing a whole lot with not a lot of money. Dan O’Bannon really was able to set the mood for how the production were going to go, being very clear and specific. He still loves the film finding it vintage/retro and overall thinking it holds up and is charming.

Human Experiments (HD, 15:56) – An interview with special effects artist Todd Masters. Masters feels its a gem that still has yet to be discovered and you really need to let it reveal itself. He goes a little bit by bit on each effect/creature in the film and how they were done. Its pretty lengthy and in depth, and overall he feels Dan O’Bannon really left a mark on cinema.

Deleted and Extended Scenes (HD, 18:04) 

Chainsaw Awards Speech (HD, 3:00) – Opens with Bruce Campbell hosting and then Quentin Tarantino presenting the award for best independent/direct to video award to O’Bannon for The Resurrected who gives a charming little speech where he really praises the script, Todd Masters and Brent Thomas.

Home Video Trailer (HD, 1:41) 

Japanese Trailer (HD, 1:54) 

Photo Gallery (HD, 8:10)

Summary 

The Resurrect is a little bit long, but is an overall decent little jaunt into some modern Lovecraftian horror.  Scream Factory’s new Blu-ray makes the film look pretty darn good, giving some nice clarity to the goopy, gory details. The stereo track is also a pretty fun mixture. Extra are top tier for them like they always are. Fans of the film should be elated that not only is it out on Blu-ray, but it was given plenty of love and appreciation in doing so. Those possibly curious, and have never seen the movie, should consider it.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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