October 23, 2022 The Return of the Living Dead (Collector’s Edition 4K UHD + Blu-ray Review)
Do you remember a time where you had to go to the video store and hope your favorite movie was in stock? Or a time where you had to play the waiting game until that film was shown for a limited period on premiere cable channels like HBO? Well, those days are gone… for better or worse. Some would say the mainstreaming of the DVD is what really made entertainment available so easily, but honestly it was the advent of streaming which required not even an effort to view anything; it is almost to the point where we do not even need to think to watch anything, and in exchange, everything has become disposable. Those thoughts inside, for many of us, one of those films that always seemed to be a treat to see was 1985’s The Return of the Living Dead.
One of the most beloved Horror flicks to come out of the ’80s era, The Return of the Living Dead was one of those films that was late to the party for a DVD. In fact, it was not until 2002 that the first DVD release of the film, when others had been put out on the format at least 2-3 years earlier. Until that time, it was still the waiting game for fans; looking for cable channels to show it, or even hitting messaging boards to find someone who had a VHS copy. Since then, The Return of the Living Dead has certainly been more mainstreamed as far as releases, with a Collector’s Edition DVD released in 2007, 25th Anniversary Edition released on Blu-ray in 2010, and a 30th anniversary Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray released in 2016. Some might say it is overkill, especially dedicated fans who want to have the absolute best copy of the film and all the bonus material included.
Don’t look now, but just when you thought it was safe to put away your credit card, The Return of the Living Dead is back with Collector’s Edition 4K UHD + Blu-ray release on October 18, 2022. This time a 3-disc set, put out thanks to Scream Factory, the question is… do you really need another copy of the movie in your collection? Well, when you look at what you are getting with this edition, it might be worth it. Let us dive in and see…
So, with The Return of the Living Dead Collector’s Edition 4K UHD + Blu-ray you get a 4K Ultra High-Definition transfer of the film. What does this mean? In this case, it is a 4K transfer of the film from the original negatives, and in truth, it is a completely different viewing experience. It is obvious if you are thinking of purchasing this you have seen the movie; you have probably seen it more times than you would like to admit because you absolutely love it, but do not be ashamed. That in mind, you probably are astute to every detail of the image and sound in the film. Being someone who clearly appreciates this film, it is guaranteed you will immediately notice the difference in the image, and even the sound, as soon as you pop it in the player. In short, the colors are brighter, the picture is sharper, and even the sound seems to be better. So, even if you have studied the film for decades, you can actually look at it in a completely different light after this viewing experience.
With the impeccable quality of this 4K transfer explained, this should be enough to win you over. However, there is more because Scream Factory stuffs in audio commentaries with cast and crew, More Brains: A Return to The Living Dead documentary, The Decade of Darkness documentary, and a ton of interviews. Comparing apples to apples, if you took all your editions of The Return of the Living Dead off the shelf and carefully went through every feature on each of them, you would be hard-pressed to find anything missing from this new edition. What does this mean? It means you technically could sell off all the other editions if you wish and would not be short changed on any extra swapping out for this new edition. Although, if you happen to have an older copy signed by cast members… don’t sell that, you should know better!
All in all, The Return of the Living Dead Collector’s Edition 4K UHD + Blu-ray set is extremely impressive. As mentioned, the 4K viewing experience of the film is truly spectacular. The only complaint one might have is that the set does not include any fold out posters, lobby cards, or little extras all us fans love. However, those who ordered it from ShoutFactory.com received an exclusive rolled 18×24 poster featuring the original theatrical artwork, but those are now sold out. Either way, become inspired, do not become a streaming zombie, and keep the physical format alive, because Cryptic Rock gives The Return of the Living Dead Collector’s Edition 4K UHD + Blu-ray set 5 out of 5 stars.