Review: Land of the Dead
DVD & Blu-ray: Land of the Dead (2005)
George Romero’s original ‘Dead Trilogy’, consisting of Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead (make sure to hear my interview shows with Scott Reiniger and John Harrison for some inside stories about it) and Day of the Dead (myself & Tina chatted with Lori Cardille too,) are rightly considered classics of the horror genre and reflect the zeitgeist of each of the 3 decades (60’s, 70’s & 80’s) in which they were made.
Jumping forward into the 21st century, Romero released another dead trilogy (or parts 4-6 of his ‘Dead Sextology’ if you will) between 2005 – 2009, of which Land of the Dead was the 1st, and in my opinion, also the best of his later zombie movies.
The living dead have more or less taken over the world, with small pockets of humanity desperately clinging onto life…some in more comfort than others.
One person who is living, quite literally, ‘the high life’, is Kaufman (Dennis Hopper), a man who lords it over everyone in a fortified high rise building, full of wealthy people who bought their way into there to escape the zombies.
Not so lucky, or wealthy, are the people who live outside of the building, all of them just about existing on whatever food and drink they can scavenge from the remains of shops that haven’t already been destroyed.
Romero once again gives some social commentary, including the unbalanced class system, and also shows the way in which both the zombies and humanity have changed since the initial outbreak, with the humans becoming less fearful of the living dead…which is not good, as the zombies are starting to evolve and are becoming more intelligent.
Throw in a pissed off mercenary (John Leguizamo), a not-so-pissed off mercenary (Simon Baker), a fist fighting zombie ass-kicker (Asia Argento…who is sadly underused and doesn’t kick the ass of as many zombies as I’d have hoped for), a badly burned sharpshooter (Robert Joy), a truckstop gasoline attendant zombie nicknamed ‘Big Daddy’ and who leads a zombie assault, a fortified truck loaded with explosive weaponry and called ‘Dead Reckoning’ (the original title of the movie), and you have the main ingredients for a story that, while it doesn’t quite reach its potential, it’s one I enjoyed a lot more on this rewatch.
One of the reasons for enjoying it more is that I hadn’t previously watched the unrated version. This adds a lot more blood and guts that I’d not seen before, with some great practical effects by KNB EFX, and some ‘not so great’ CG effects…give me practical effects over CGI every time.
This 2 disc set, as well as having both the theatrical and unrated versions of the movie, is loaded with fantastic special features and an all new artwork cover by the great Graham Humphreys.
After the recent release of Dawn of the Dead by Second Sight Films and now this by Fabulous Films, it is a great time to be a collector of Romero’s zombie movies. You could even say that it’s a ‘dead good’ time…sorry!
- Theatrical version
- Cholo’s Reckoning: An Interview with Actor John Leguizamo
- Charlie’s Story: An Interview with Actor Robert Joy
- The Pillsbury Actor: An Interview with Actor Pedro Miguel Arce
- Four of the Apocalypse: An Interview with Actors Eugene Clark, Jennifer Baxter, Boyd Banks and Jasmin Geljo
- Theatrical Trailer
- Dream of the Dead Documentary
- Dream of the Dead with Audio Commentary by Director Roy Frumkes
- Deleted Scenes from Dream of the Dead
- Unrated Version of the Feature
- Feature Commentary with Director George A. Romero, Producer Peter Grunwald and Editor Michael Doherty
- Feature Commentary with Zombie Performers Matt Blazi. Glena Chao, Michael Felsher and Rob Mayr
- When Shaun Met George
- Bringing the Dead to Life
- Scenes of Carnage
- Zombie Effects: From Green Screen to Finished Scene
- Scream Tests: Zombie Casting Call
- Bringing the Storyboards to Life
- Undead Again : The Making of Land of the Dead
- A Day with the Living Dead
- Reversible Sleeve
- All New Artwork by Graham Humphreys
Land of the Dead is released 15th February 2021.