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Sunday, October 21, 2018


On October 8th, the chaps over at Arrow Video UK unleashed a vicious monster of a special edition on the world: Lucio Fulci's City of the Living Dead. (Throughout the article, I am going to have comparison photos of the 4K and the standard Blu, respectively)

It is an unfortunate time for the city of Dunwich. Father William Thomas, for unknown reasons, has hung himself in the local cemetery. His suicide has flung open the gates of hell, giving Father Thomas the power to appear anywhere and inflict unspeakable acts upon the citizens of Dunwich. Only a medium, Mary Woodhouse, a reporter, Peter Bell, and a local psychiatrist, Gerry, have a chance in hell in stopping his unholy march against the denizens of Dunwich and then, the world.

I'm not going to bore you by telling you my thoughts about the film itself. Chances are, you have seen or know of City of the Living Dead. If you haven't seen it, take it from me, City of the Living Dead is a must see Italian Splatter film. Also, I wouldn't have sprung for the UK edition of a mediocre film.

City of the Living Dead was remastered and scanned in 4K from the original negative and presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with Mono, Stereo, and 5.1 surround sound. From the beautiful 56 page booklet that accompanies the set: "The original 3-perf 35mm camera negative was scanned in 4K resolution at EuroLab, Rome. The film was graded and restored at Silver Salt Restoration, London. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, picture instability, and other instances of film wear were repaired and removed through a combination of digital restoration tools and techniques. Some of instances of colour fading, flickering and picture wear remain, in keeping with the condition of the original negative."  

In other words, it looks fantastic! You can see for yourself from the stills. Where the transfer really shines is in the gore scenes. The reds are darker, giving the blood a more realistic look. The blacks are much blacker, making it more natural and deeper. They aren't mind-blowing changes, but they are noticeable.

Coupled with the inclusion of reproduced, double-sided lobby cards and the insightful booklet, this is indeed a killer special edition. If you've waited on a high-end edition of City of the Living Dead, AND you have an all-regions Blu-Ray player, this will be the one you want to get. I have no doubt that the US will get some sort of 4K remaster, but will it include the physical extras of the Arrow Edition? I wouldn't bet on it.

Bonus Materials:
  • Brand new restoration from a 4K scan of the original negative by Arrow Films
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original uncompressed 1.0 mono and optional 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Original English and Italian soundtracks
  • Newly translated, optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Audio commentary with star Catriona MacColl and journalist Jay Slater
  • Audio commentary with star Giovanni Lombardo Radice and writer Calum Waddell
  • We Are the Apocalypse, new interview with writer Dardano Sacchetti
  • Through Your Eyes, new interview with Catriona MacColl
  • Dust in the Wind, new interview with cameraman Roberto Forges Davanzati
  • The Art of Dreaming, new interview with production designer Massimo Antonello Geleng
  • Tales of Friendship, new interview with cinematographer Sergio Salvati
  • I Walked with a Zombie, new interview with actor Giovanni Lombardo Radice
  • They Call Him "Bombardone , new interview with special effects artist Gino De Rossi
  • The Horror Family, new interview with father and son actors Venantino and Luca Venantini
  • Previously unseen interview with composer Fabio Frizzi
  • Archival interview with actor Carlo De Mejo
  • Building Fulci s City, a new video interview with Stephen Thrower, author of the definitive tome, Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci
  • Reflections on Fulci, a new appraisal of Fulci s Gothic period by actor, writer and director Andy Nyman (Ghost Stories)
  • The Dead Are Alive!, a new video essay by Kat Ellinger on Lucio Fulci and the Italian zombie cycle
  • Behind the scenes 8mm footage with Roberto Forges Davanzati audio commentary
  • Alternative US Gates of Hell opening credits
  • Original trailers and radio spots
  • Extensive image gallery featuring over 150 stills, posters and other ephemera from the FAB Press and Mike Siegel archives
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Wes Benscoter
  • Double-sided fold-out poster
  • 6 Double-sided lobby card reproductions
  • Limited edition 60-page booklet (was listed as 60 pages, but it only goes to 56)

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