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Terrible treatment to the first film but a reasonable boxset
on 7 September 2002
Finally Romero's zombie trilogy has been released as a box set. Presented in an attractive foldout box, this four-disk edition really does look attractive on the shelf. The box set includes a brand new black and white version of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, the director's cut of DAWN OF THE DEAD, DAY OF THE DEAD, an extras disk containing roughly two and a half hours of documentary footage and a booklet summarising each film's plot and production.
DISK ONE - It is here that the slip up to the box set has occurred. I'm not an expert on DVD technicalities, but the picture and sound quality on my system is great. However, the movie itself has been practically destroyed by the needless bookends that have been added, which are, quite simply stated, a travesty to Romero's vision. Not only that, a new musical soundtrack has been added, totally destroying the impact that the original film had. The special features reflect the film, with a music video containing the all-new soundtrack, and a clip from a film called FLESHEATERS (I've never heard of it and I don't particularly care). I've said it but it needs repeating, this 30th Anniversary Edition is a travesty to the cult status this film has achieved.
DISK TWO - DAWN OF THE DEAD is the quintessential zombie movie, a startling social commentary and a gore-filled horror express. The director's cut, running at 139 minutes, is the best version. Again, good picture and sound quality, the film comes with an exclusive commentary by effects maestro Tom Savini (who also acts in the film as Blade, the head of the biker gang) and a stills gallery.
DISK THREE - DAY OF THE DEAD is the weakest of the series, and even Romero himself says he would have produced a better film if not for budget limitations. Still, it's reasonably good, and is by far the most violent and goriest of the trilogy. The features include a 20-minute behind the scenes featurette, a stills gallery, biographies of George A. Romero and Tom Savini and trailers for all three Zombie film. Digitally remastered and presented in widescreen. Good picture and sound quality apply.
DISK FOUR - It is four this disk that the box set is an essential purchase. Two long documentaries provide extremely interesting looks at the productions of NOTLD and DOTD, entitled NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD documentary and DOCUMENT OF THE DEAD respectively. Also contains biographies.
Overall, it's a reasonable buy, but I think I'll find myself going out and buying the original version on DVD as well.