5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Arrow Blu Ray : some doubts about the transfer,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Day of the Dead (Blu-ray + DVD) (Blu-ray)
Recently I've been upgrading my collection of what I think of as 'Modern Classic Horror Films' to BD. As Kim Newman suggests in his book 'Nightmare Movies', the post-Gothic, Modern Horror film appeared with 'Night of the Living Dead' in 1968. For me, by the end of the 1980s, the genre was in terminal decline, so the kind of films I've been purchasing for maybe the third time has included the aforementioned Romero classic (which looks fabulous on the official BD), 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre', 'Halloween', the works of Dario Argento between 1975-1982 and the like.
I saw 'Day of the Dead' at the cinema when it first appeared. While it doesn't have the immediate iconic appeal of 'Night' and 'Dawn', I've always felt it is a great film and easily the most consistent and even of the initial 'Dead' trilogy (I won't mention the second trilogy). The film is of a piece, flowing seamlessly from one scene to the next, with superior effects and music to its predecessors, with no jarring moments - for me some of the library music of 'Night' ruins the consistency of the film, while to my way of thinking, there is not yet a definitive cut of 'Dawn' - the ideal version for me would be a revision of the extended cut that incorporated the additional thrills and violence of the European cut and featuring only the music by Goblin, albeit pumped up in the mix...and all of this on bluray in hidef, DTS 5.1, naturally. I can dream.
'Day of the Dead', however, can't really be improved, except in terms of quality of presentation. The Arrow UK 3 disc edition incorporates all the special features from the previous US divimax edition DVD on 2 DVDs (plus the film on DVD) and of course, a BD disc.
Arrow are by now well known for delivering inconsistent results on BD. To be fair, you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear, but when a film as technically proficient as Argento's 'Tenebrae' ends up with a worse transfer than Fulci's 'Zombi 2' (aka 'Zombie Flesh eaters' something is amiss - not to dis the Fulci, it's a cracking feature and my enjoyment of it has been improved enormously by Arrow's stunning transfer, despite the 6 seconds of missing footage at the start of the film), you know that their quality control needs questioning. who is in charge at the office, Arrow?
The BD of 'Day' looks better than the divimax DVD, but is a disappointment: so many of the well-lit sequences seem very soft-focussed, especially in the backgrounds, while the foregrounds sometimes fail too - in numerous scenes the actors' faces lack the sharpness one expects from good cinematography and proper bluray mastering. The darker scenes in the mine are absolutely fine and the gore sequences are pretty amazing. Although this is a big improvement on the DVD versions - the blues have the kind of steeliness only seen on DVD and theatrically - I still feel a better transfer must be possible. No way were the actors' faces out of focus when filmed...
Overall, this BD doesn't approach the quality of 'Suspiria' and Arrow's 'Zombie Flesh Eaters' - and remember, these were Italian films both made some years before 'Day of the Dead'. Another worthy comparison is the Blue Underground BD of 'the Living Dead at Manchester Morgue', which looks amazing -and this was a cheapish film made in 1974 (and to my mind, the best living dead movie of them all after 'Night').
Finally, I'd urge fans to seek out the recent double CD reissue of the soundtrack - not listed on amazon - from the USA, as it's a stunning bit of work and massively underrated.