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Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist – October 2, 2014

Brandon's Blu-ray Wishlist THUMBThe horror themed Wishlist tread to Halloween continues.  This time with ZOMBIES!  Lets get our bite on with today’s Wishlist pick!  Blu-raaaaaaayyyyyyyyys…

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ROTLD 2 wishlist

Return Of The Living Dead – Part II (1988)

In 1985, Return Of The Living Dead made a sort of horror-generational statement bringing punk rock infused teens with zombies.  It was a comedy from one of the original talents of Night Of The Living Dead and sort held hands with it as a part of the same universe.  Then in 1988, came the sequel, a film that was not originally intended to be a sequel.  The script had to be tweaked to tie it into the first film in order to get the project greenlit.  Luckily, keeping with the spirit of the first film the sequel is also a horror-comedy.

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This film is nowhere near being the level of iconic horror like the first film (who could forget the lovely Linnea Quigley and “Send more cops!”).  But, nonetheless it is a sort of silly, doesn’t take itself very seriously, fun movie on its own.  It brings back Thom Matthews and James Karen who sort of play the same kind of roles they had in the first movie, making for an odd sort of enjoyable choice.  And the zombies still look good and there’s plenty of fresh new locales for the series to have zombies come attacking in.  While the film may be on the lesser end, once you see where some of the latter sequels went (Pretty much pointing at you Necropolis and Rave To The Grave) this thing looks like Dawn Of The Dead in comparison.

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One of the bigger things that may be what this film is famous for is having a Michael Jackson zombie in it that gets zapped by lightning.   A lot of the traditional zombie tropes came from primarily the first film but this series in general.  The zombies can range from super scary to very cartoon-like.  If there’s a compliment to give, the zombies of Return Of The Living dead aren’t short of being distinct and having character.  Also a fun fact, when people go around and act like a zombie and moan “braaaaiiins”, that whole stereotype originated from these movies.  Prior to 1985, the living dead never uttered a word, aside from moaning and munching.

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Controversy on the film came with its initial DVD release.  The score had been severely altered for reasons people aren’t too sure of.  Some say it was a rights thing, but I’m not sure how that would be if its VHS and Laserdisc releases were able to keep it intact.  This was a film made when VHS was really taking off and I’m sure that portion has to do with the completed film AND subsequent home video releases and television airings.  So, really that can’t be it.  Oddly, if you switch the audio to the French track it retains the score.  I have heard there are some fan edits of the film floating around that have taken remastered VHS audio and put it together with the video transfer of the DVD release of the film.  This is one thing a Blu-ray release could swing in and save the day on and make for some excitement for fans is just getting the audio right.

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The big question; who has the video distribution rights to Return Of The Living Dead – Part II?  Damnit, its Warner Bros.  Should we just give up on a Wishlist pick hoping for this to happen then?  Zombies have been at their greatest height in popularity for many a fall Blu-ray season now and they’ve not struck on the piping hot iron.  They also won’t sub-license to someone who would probably do something really cool with a special edition either.  Such a waste to just sit collecting dust.  And if they did release the film, you know we’d be lucky to have just a trailer as a bonus feature for it.  I suppose we can hope for Lionsgate to release a US edition of the UK uncut edition of Return Of The Living Dead 3 in the meantime.

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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).

3 Responses to “Brandon’s Blu-ray Wishlist – October 2, 2014”


  1. Eric with Cheese Ashley

    I remember being so disappointed in this when I first saw it, and haven’t given it another try since. Maybe I should pick up the DVD and give it a spin.

  2. Brandon Peters

    Its a big let down after the first one, but with the advent of time and those SyFy sequels, I’ve warmed to it a little more a been a tad more forgiving.

    Mostly, its a movie that does have a pretty solid fanbase, so I’m sure they’d be right there for a nice release of it.

  3. Eric with Cheese Ashley

    I think my disappointment was worsened when I really ended up liking part 3, also. But yes, I’m sure I would become a fan of this one after those awful Peter Coyote ones.