Tuesday, November 17

Return of the Living Dead: The DVD Comparison Nobody Asked For

Ever totally forget you ordered something until it arrives? This is Videoville Showtime's box set of Return of the Living Dead Necropolis and Rave to the Grave hailing from Canada. It also came all the way from the country and took weeks to get to my mailbox. Why is Canadian Post always so damn slow?

I decided to investigate this VVS Films set since there's a number of odd things about it. First, it just seems strange a studio would care enough to create a limited edition box set of two rather uneventful releases and dub it a "collection" of a director that's nowhere near a household name to anyone. A curious "unrated" is slapped on the front and Rave to the Grave's cover with Lionsgate's stateside discs being R-rated. There also appears to be no specs or details of this set available anywhere. So I had no idea if these had exclusive extras or what...dammit.

When Amazon.ca had this set, it was tagged with the insane price of $42 US shipped. Finally sealed copies are currently popping up from iNetVideo on Amazon's Marketplace and eBay for $15 shipped, but the shipping time as stated is a bitch like that third step.

Surprisingly, both films in this set are longer than Lionsgate's U.S. discs. Necropolis runs one minute, six seconds longer while Rave to the Grave runs exactly three minutes longer than the R-rated cut. This extra time is calculated at main track start and every disc has identical opening and closing credit sequences. I haven't seen Necropolis recently enough to tell (aside from the first kill), but it appears nearly every bloodier/gorier portion involving zombie attacks in Rave is lengthened by a few frames on this Canadian DVD. You gotta wonder why Lionsgate went through the trouble of submitting to the MPAA's scissors when the only people watching these would want to see the maximum amount of undead carnage contained within. The addition bits aren't going to change minds but it's annoying knowing the versions from a studio known for releasing horror uncut are truncated.

For the the video quality of the presentations; the hat tips to Lionsgate with both of their DVDs featuring progessive, anamorphic widescreen transfers. VVS's transfers are interlaced with terrible combing artifacts and for some unknown reason Necropolis is non-anamorphic (despite the box stating it is) yet Rave is anamorphic. Liongate's discs only feature Dolby stereo tracks while both of VVS's discs sport Dolby 5.1 tracks. Extras are slim with VVS having each film's "Coming to a Theater Near You" (hahaha) trailers and Lionsgate crapping out with only trailers for other films on each.

I know this won't mean much to most, but this entry is for those like me with DVD version control OCD and uncut diehards who demand only the longest cuts of the films they watch...but who wouldn't? If you haven't seen these and want to; this set looks nice with a nice price (see here) next to your other ROLD series DVDs. No reason to fiddle with the edited versions, right?


Fear Finder said...

Express air between US and Canada is 7-10 business days. No matter if its heading north to Canada, or south to the US. Anything quicker than that costs an arm and a leg!

For future Canadian mystery releases, send me a message on FT, I can get the info for you.


KFelon said...

Thanks once again for selling me something I don't need. I ended up buying the set off the inetvideo.com website as it was $10 new or $8 used plus $3 shipping. I went the cheap route and got the used one for $11 shipped as I've had a previous good experience with a used HDDVD showing up brand new from them. Shipping is horribly slow though and always takes 3 weeks from them because they ship from Canada even though they claim to be in the US.

Anyways check your email for some major Synapse news!

KFelon said...

By the way, how is that unrated copy of Return of the Living Dead 3? I've been meaning to import a copy for years.

Jayson Kennedy said...

Thanks FF! Will do!

Hope you don't kill me Felon after seeing these! And yep, that's the Brit ROLD 3 disc. Transfer looks likr a decent video master but it is uncut unlike the US disc.

E.S. Coakley said...

I've actually toyed with the idea of seeing RAVE TO THE GRAVE for awhile now (I like the box photo/art), but I wasn't sure if it was worth my time. When it comes to horror, I've been duped by box art many a time!

Clarence Boddicker said...

Actually, these two films were intended to go into theatres. Freestyle Releasing picked up the two films and were supposed to release them together on October 7th, 2005. However, the release was pulled and the films went straight to cable. Honestly, I don't blame them for canceling the theatrical run.

Meanwhile, does the unrated Return Of The Living Dead 3 have a commentary like the rated version does?

...do you dare tread upon the staircase?

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