The living dead come to life - again - in Dawn Of The Dead, a 21st century update of George A Romero's classic 70s zombie flick by first-time director Zach Snyder. Although many were initially dubious, this remake - starring Sarah Polley - turned out to be "fiercely funny and utterly horrifying". Bloodthirsty critics quickly put away their knives and this went on to become a surprise No.1 hit.
Cut, Hack, Slash!
Zach Snyder provides a brief introduction to this Director's Cut DVD, which features extra gore (previously censored by the American ratings board) and more in the way of backstory for some of the movie's key players. As Snyder explains, this version is also "more personal" than the original theatrical cut - we can safely assume he doesn't have many friends.
In addition to nearly ten minutes of added footage, The Lost Tape provides a more detailed portrait of trigger-happy Andy (Bruce Bohne) as he records his last terrifying days holed up in the back of his gun store. It's a little too long at 16 minutes and it doesn't always work, but there are a few laughs to be had as the zombies close in and Andy realises, "It's cool! I get to smoke these people, but it's OK because they're already dead!"
Likewise the Special Report featurette feels a little drawn out at over 21 minutes, although it can be very funny. Recording the zombie invasion over the course of a day, it effectively sends up many aspects of modern news coverage, from the delightfully po-faced newsreader, to the banal commentary offered by innocent bystanders, to the White House press secretary making excuses for an absentee president - who happens to be on a fishing holiday.
Prosthetic effects designer David LeRoy Anderson gets into the nitty-gritty of bringing the dead to life with just a little bit of latex and a sick imagination in Raising The Dead. You may be perturbed to know that Anderson studied human decomposition in real-life dead folks to get the look of those mouldy sinews and rotting limbs just right. "It made a lot of us very sick," he admits.
Still, Anderson seems cheerful enough as he explains the mechanics of exploding an actor's head in the Splitting Headaches featurette. There's a similarly gruesome attention detail in Attack Of The Living Dead, which unravels several key effects scenes including the pivotal garage/flying zombie sequence.
Snyder and producer Eric Newman provide optional commentary for 11 deleted scenes, boasting yet more grand-scale depravity, plus 2.34 minutes of Terry (Kevin Zegers) making a frothy Mocha Latte - gee, who knows why that was cut? The duo also provides an animated, if sometimes rather juvenile, feature commentary with Snyder in particular providing such edifying insights as "Oooh!" or "Ow!" or "Whoa!" or "Rocks!" Very loud and very vulgar, this Director's Cut DVD risks waking the dead.