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    Night Of The Living Dead DVD Retrospective

    PART I: THE 1968 CLASSIC - A

    This was something I kept putting off, a huge task to rework. But this IS the season when it should be posted. So work began.

    Welcome to the re-launch!

    Back story.

    My name is JohnIan, some of you are readers (hopefully) of my weekly write-ups (Thursdays); a look back at previous store exclusives called "Past Tense" (within my tread, "Home Video Exclusives"). Check them out. These entries were altered from their original post on JoBlo's "DVD, Blu-Ray & Home Theater Discussion" forum which has since gone dark.

    This began as a side project, an idea that took root in November of 2011. It all started one night looking on Ebay at NOTLD collectables. As far as I can tell, this hasn't been done before; collected and indexed. Two months of writing, researching and gathering images before the first post was made on January 5th, 2012.

    I own most of this stuff (OR did at one time). Exceptions will be noted where needed.

    Man, getting it done was hard - blame the feet of procrastination and dread. I had to climb this big ass tower that kept getting larger and more complicated. Initially just want to go through the relevant DVD releases to the George A. Romero classic. But started to think about the laser discs and the CD soundtracks. Then popped in my head was the remakes, the re-imagining and colorized edition - more and more subjects...

    The original thread ran from 2012 to July 14th, 2015. I'll be adding newer entries as they appear and obviously re-posting the old ones.

    A labor of love.

    Shadows crawlin'!

    - - - - - - - - - -



    Released on March 12th, 2002 from Elite Entertainment for $24.95 was the "Millennium Edition" (#EE1117). This DVD came in a blood red case (first I ever saw) and a red foil wraparound, well the top and bottom of the front were foil.

    There were two inserts. First was a chapter listing with liner notes by Stephen King on both sides. The second was a single sided advertisement from Elite Entertainment which read "Got Blood?" Their collection of horror titles. Not going to list them; I counted, the sheet showcases forty-one releases.

    The motion picture is ninety-six minutes long.

    - - -

    Extras:

    * Commentary 1: director/co-writer George A. Romero, co-writer/actor/film editor John Russo, producer/actor/make-up/electronic sound effects/still photographer Karl Hardman and actress Marilyn Eastman
    * Commenatry 2: producer/actor Russell Streiner, director of photography/actor/assistant camera Bill Hinzman, actress Judith O' Dea, actor Keith Wayne, actress Kyra Schon and production director/actor Vince Survinski
    * Treatment/Original Script (frame advance)
    * Personal Scrapbook And Memorabilia gallery (159 images)
    * "Night Of The Living Bread" short (1990, full screen, 8:25 minutes)
    * "Duane Jones' Last Interview" December 13th, 1987 (audio only with stills from the movie, 16:21 minutes)
    * Judith Ridley Interview (full screen, 10:39 minutes)
    * Beginnings: The Latent Image/Hardman Eastman Studios
    - About The Studio (frame advance lecture)
    - Commercials (by The Latent Image): Magic Lantern, Awrey, Guiness Book/Chevy Dealers #1, Guiness Book/Chevy Dealers #2, The Calgon Story, Iron City Beer, Kennywood Park and Duke Beer (all full screen)
    - Outtakes from "The Derelict" (a short starring Karl Hardman, full screen, 1:22 minutes, no audio)
    - Breaking Out Of Commercials About Image Ten (frame advance lecture)
    * Scenes From "There's Always Vanilla" (a.k.a. "The Affair", lost film by Romero, starring Judith Ridley, full screen, 5:09 minutes)
    * "There's Always Vanilla" gallery (7 images)
    * Theatrical Trailer
    * TV Spot
    * THX Opimizer

    - - -

    Audio:

    * Dolby Digital 2.0 (mono)
    * Dolby Digital 5.1

    - - -

    NOTES/REVIEW

    There are no subtitle options.

    The DVD is not dubbed in any language(s).

    The DD 5.1 remix is different (newer) than the remix used in the "30th Anniversary" edition from Anchor Bay Entertainment (1999).

    This was a full screen motion picture; not widescreen; lensed on 35mm stock. So don't try looking. If you DO find it, you're getting less of the movie. The "Millennium Edition" was transferred from the laser disc (1994) remastered print (supervised by film's producers).



    All the DVD extras originated from the "25th Anniversary Collector's Edition" LD (#EE1114). I still have mine, good reason. This was a two disc, laser disc set (CLV/CAV); streeted on October 26th ('94) and retailed for $89.95. I remember being all giddy upon learning of its release - saved my money to buy that.

    If I'm not mistaken (been twenty-one years), I found out through Laser Craze, an LD store/mail order shop. Never visited their store in Massachusetts, I'm in Southern California. They were awesome; pre-order titles and get 20% off. Bought a lot from them, great deals - considering the prices at other places.

    For those of you jotting down facts. This was Elite Entertainment's very first laser disc release. And the first black and white movie get the THX treatment. The "Millennium Edition" has 12 chapters which is weak, the LD had 31.

    I still remember being excited when the package arrived, carefully opening it; reading all the liner notes and specs. But I didn't play it. This was a big deal for me, laser discs were expensive. The 17th of the following month was my birthday - that's when I wanted to see it, making it a special day indeed.

    On that Thursday, I pulled out disc 1 and gently placed into my laser disc player. *play*

    My jaw dropped.

    WTF!?!

    The movie starts and the worst possible print plays; all scratched up with blots and hairs. My heart sank.

    A moment later the Elite Entertainment logo crashed through the screen, things went black and the film played for real. You got me! I have to say I was impressed by the image quality. There were no DVDs back then, nor Blu-Rays or HD-DVDs. You HAD video cassettes, VHS or Betamax. This LD presentation blew them away.

    The commentaries are good, very informative. But of the two, the first one was better, livelier. As if a group of friends got together, joked around and reminisce. The second is dry; except for the comment on Kyra Schon's breasts, that was weird.

    The Stephen King liner notes is from the laser disc gatefold jacket. It also has notes from Romero, Tom Savini and Sam Raimi. The "Millennium Edition" does not include the false (damage print) start.

    My favorite commercial is "The Calgon Story", a parody of "Fantastic Voyage" (1966). A group of 'Calgonauts' are shrunk to micro size and inserted into a washing machine (why the hell would anybody do that?), they become trapped in the fibers of a t-shirt. Engines clogged by leftover detergent film. The explorer release Calgon and film be gone, free! Oh God, I'm old enough to have seen this ad originally air. I was a wee little boy.

    Did all the extras carry over?

    No it didn't.

    As you read above the main gallery has 159 pictures (minus the stills with text explaining what category you're looking at). The laser disc's gallery is bigger. How much more? Nearly 400 images! Hundreds of production and publicity stills - including very rare color photographs from the set. That alone is reason to keeping the LD. And I don't know if it will ever appear on DVD or BD.

    The gallery on the "40th Anniversary Edition" (2008) does in fact have production stills missing from this 2002 release. But that number is only 68 pictures. All together that's 227, we're still lacking over a hundred and fifty pixs. While true, 40th does have some color stills - not all of them. So for avid fans, hold on to that laser disc.

    Man, I have a problem.

    So this color thing had me thinking. I have some of those color photos - in card form, "25th Anniversary" set. An eight card... well, trading card collection, published by Imagine, Inc. in 1993, long out of print.

    There was a time I was very into collecting non-sport trading cards. Not ashamed, have quite the library (a good chunk of it feminine; bikini and nudes; there were even a couple of gentlemen clubs which had sets - oh pre-internet). Since I can't take screen snaps off my laser disc, this would be the next best thing. So I took a hi-res scan of two cards, #1 and #8. Both of these images were included on the LD. Cropped off the black boarders with the text "Night Of The Living Dead" in gold.

    Say thank you. I'm dead serious. You have no idea what a mess I made locating them.



    A hair puller, I hadn't seen this set in well over a decade. Where the hell did I put them? So I played amateur detective and found them. Where's MY Scooby Snack? The text. Card 1 "On Location: The Entire Cast & Crew!" Card 8: "On Location: Duane, Judy, Marilyn, And Karl". I should mentioned that I have cards #2 and #3 autographed by Karl Hardman and Marilyn Eastman, it was part of the set. Can't recall what I paid.

    The image on card 1 appeared inside the gatefold of the laser disc. Where's Romero? He's the fellow next to the 35mm camera.

    Like looking at old family pictures. Who were these guys?
    Last edited by JohnIan101; 06-19-2017 at 05:11 AM.

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