Features and Columns · Movies

Scream Factory Brings the Dead Back to Life on Blu-ray

We take a look at brand new special edition Blu-rays of 2005’s Land of the Dead and the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead.
Land Of The Dead
By  · Published on October 28th, 2017

We take a look at brand new special edition Blu-rays of 2005’s Land of the Dead and the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead.

We lost the legendary George Romero earlier this year, but while he’s gone his films — and the films of those who he’s influenced — remain. Scream Factory’s releasing two new Romero-related Collector’s Editions, and both are stellar releases offering remastered pictures and lots of extras.

Land of the Dead (2005)

The dead walk across the land, and the living hole up in a walled city. Most of the populace exist at street level living day to day as they scrap for a living, but the wealthy enjoy extravagance in a high-rise looking over it all. What stands up must fall down, though, and when a horde of zombies that appear to be learning arrive at the front gates the safe haven becomes anything but.

George Romero’s original “dead” trilogy — Night, Dawn, and Day — remains an untouchable creation, and the films excelled at blending horror and so-called social thrillers decades before the likes of Get Out hit screens. Toss in some groundbreaking effects work (in the latter two particularly) and you have some of the best zombie movies ever made. Romero’s fourth entry (of six total) is a solid and fun movie in its own right, and while it offers some minor commentary on class its main joins come from action set-pieces and gory bits.

There is a fair amount of cg work here, both for big beats and bloody giblets, but it’s overshadowed by plenty of good old-fashioned practical bloodletting courtesy of two-thirds of the KNB boys. The unrated version in particular is loaded with bodies and body parts, and gory fx fans will not be disappointed. The story around it all is pretty straightforward, but the film keeps things entertaining and moving at an engaging pace.

Scream Factory’s two-disc Collector’s Edition includes both the unrated version and a new 2K scan of Romero’s theatrical cut. Numerous extras, new and old, are also spread across the two discs.

Blu-ray 1 R-Rated Version:

Blu-ray 2 Unrated Version:

Buy Land of the Dead Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray from Amazon.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

A calm morning is shattered by car alarms, sirens, and the screams of the dying, but the day gets far worse from there. A zombie plague has been unleashed with the undead attacking the living and creating more undead in the process. Now a handful of survivors have gathered together in the safety of a shopping mall, but the refuge soon comes to an end.

Romero’s 1978 classic might not have seemed like the obvious choice for a remake, and director Zack Snyder and and writer James Gunn seemed far from the ideal filmmakers to make it, and yet… the movie kicks all kinds of ass. It retains the original’s core setting while expanding the characters, narrative, and more — in short, it’s the right way to handle a remake. The opening sequence is among the best you’ll find in a horror movie, and still the best of Snyder’s career, and the whole just satisfies through to the end. (Yes, the end occurring through the end credits.)

It’s almost as much of an action movie as it is pure horror, and the two genres meld well in Snyder’s hands. We get all of the expected gory bits and more as bodies are shot up, torn apart, and chewed, but the film also delivers some big set-pieces as characters attempt various stabs at escape and defense. We get the expected ensemble character-wise with some we like and others we despise, but happily the “bad” guys are brought to such perfect life by the likes of Ty Burrell and Michael Kelly that we enjoy their presence even as we want them dead. It’s a fun, thrilling ride and one of the best horror remakes out there. (If only the Night and Day remakes had received the same care.)

As with Land of the Dead, Scream Factory’s new Collector’s Edition of Snyder’s film features both the unrated version and a 2K scan of the theatrical cut. Special features are plentiful and split between the two Blu-rays with new material located on the first disc.

Blu-ray 1 R-Rated Version:

Blu-ray 2 Unrated Version:

Buy Dawn of the Dead Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray from Amazon.

Related Topics:

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.