Dawn of the Dead: Collector’s Edition

| October 30, 2017

If it were announced in 2017 that Zak Snyder were remaking some beloved classic, the news would be met with ire by a whole bunch of folks here on the internet. His work with the DC Extended Universe alone has been received with such mixed reaction from audiences that controversy there would be inevitable. And yet, before Snyder angered Superman fanboys with Man of Steel’s (2013) presentation of a supposedly truth-and-justice-devoted hero with no concern for collateral damage, Snyder actually did remake a beloved horror staple. And he did so in his feature film debut! For his first outing, Snyder remade George A. Romero’s seminal zombie survival thriller, Dawn of the Dead, and provided a fresh, fun take on the original’s basic premise of people taking up shelter in a shopping mall during a zombie outbreak.

Supported by a tremendously fast-paced and witty script from Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn, Snyder’s film hit theaters during the post-28 Days Later (2002) surge in zombie movie popularity and was a huge success. As a result of 28 Days’ influence, the zombies of this Dawn aren’t the shambling, slow hordes of Romero’s Dawn, but instead horrifyingly fast-moving running zombies of the sort popularized by Danny Boyle. This brings a speed and intensity to the narrative pacing of Snyder/Gunn’s remake that worked wonders to differentiate it from its predecessor.

But at its core, the remake follows much the same basic formula as Romero’s Dawn, just on a bigger scale. A host of characters with conflicting personalities find themselves trapped in a mall while the world ends outside. Some characters butt heads, some become friends, some fall in love. All the while, average folk rise to the task of keeping one another safe from harm no matter how much the odds are stacked against them. Of course, pretty much every one of them is quirky or clever or generally interesting in some way, because this is a James Gunn script! And they’re played by a thoroughly impressive cast of players including Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames (who also appeared in the vastly inferior 2008 Day of the Dead remake), Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifer, Ty Burrell, and Max Headroom himself, Matt Frewer.

Even if you think Dawn of the Dead (2004) too mainstream or its zombies too fast-moving, it is at least reverent to the original upon which it’s based. After all, there are notable appearances in the film by original Dawn of the Dead cast members Scott Reiniger, Ken Foree, Tom Savini. Moreover, the success of Snyder/Gunn’s Dawn arguably paved the way for what would be the fourth installment of Romero’s own Dead series, Land of the Dead, which hit theaters in 2005.

This year, though, Dawn of the Dead and Land of the Dead are being released concurrently in 2-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray sets from Scream Factory. The Dawn of the Dead: Collector’s Edition, as well as a Land of the Dead Collector’s Edition, will be available on Halloween Day, 2017 from Scream Factory. The release includes both the theatrical and the unrated cuts of the film, each on its own disc, accompanied by a truly impressive number of special features, some available on previous releases of Dawn of the Dead, and others newly-produced for the Scream Factory release. If you own any previous release, I’d declare this a mandatory upgrade without hesitation. Content-wise and transfer-wise, it puts all previous versions to shame.

The bulk of the returning features are included on the set’s second disc, but the breakdown of transfers, versions and features on the Dawn of the Dead: Collector’s Edition are as follows:

DISC ONE: Theatrical Version

  • NEW HD Master Derived from the Digital Intermediate Archival Negative
  • NEW Take A Chance On Me – An Interview with Actor Ty Burrell
  • NEW Gunn For Hire – An Interview with Writer James Gunn
  • NEW Punk, Rock, & Zombie – An Interview with Actor Jake Weber
  • NEW Killing Time At The Mall: The Special Effects of Dawn of the Dead – An Interview with Special Makeup Effects Artists David Anderson and Heather Langenkamp Anderson
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Director Zach Snyder and Producer Eric Newman
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Gallery

 

DISC TWO: Unrated Version

  • NEW HD Master Derived from the Digital Intermediate Archival Negative with HD Inserts
  • Audio Commentary with Director Zach Snyder and Producer Eric Newman
  • Splitting Headaches: Anatomy of Exploding Heads
  • Attack of the Living Dead
  • Raising the Dead
  • Andy’s Lost Tape
  • Special Report: Zombie Invasion
  • Undead And Loving It: A Mockumentary
  • Drawing The Dead Featurette
  • Storyboard Comparisons
  • Hidden Easter Egg

About the Author:

Jef is a writer and educator in Chicago, Illinois. He holds a degree in Media & Cinema Studies from DePaul University, but sometimes he drops it and picks it back up again. He's also the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com and is fueled entirely by coffee (as if you couldn't tell).
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