Friday, July 4, 2014

VHS Memories XXXVI: George Romero's "Dead Trilogy" on Video

Starting up the VHS Memories train again for a look at some classic George Romero zombie action... Well, the video and laser disc covers at least.  Going with the first three entries in Romero's series as by the time Land of the Dead came out, VHS was pretty much dead.

Let's start with Night of the Living Dead.  You could probably write an entire book about the home video history of the 1968 classic by itself but to be brief, the film ended up in the public domain rather rapidly and as a result, scores upon scores of companies have released it in varying levels of quality.

Won't be looking at all of them but there are a few notable ones plus some I just like the look of.  Let's start with the high quality ones first.

Ah, good old Media.  Good picture quality, durable tapes, there's a damn good reason they were around for so long (and still are to an extent).

 Same goes for Republic.

Now here is what I'm thinking of when I think of a budget release of this movie!  Cheesy looking box, limited text.  Funny thing is that Video Treasures was the budget label for Media.

 Blockbuster Video put out a few horror titles on their own label, along with this one I also have seen (and owned) their copy of Halloween.  Pretty good quality.

Now this is from my favorite, Anchor Bay.  They ruled the roost in the early days of DVD when it came to cheesy horror titles (as well as some not so cheesy) but lately they've sort of dropped off.  Still, you can't go wrong with them when it comes to releases of the Dead Trilogy, the Evil Dead films or Halloween.  If nothing else, you have a wide variety of purchasing options.

Now that we've covered the good stuff, let's take a brief, mostly pictorial look at the low budget stuff.

 Pretty early release from the 80's.  Probably decent enough quality given the company.

Like the cover art of this one as well the one above.  In general, budget labels were good for the cheesy cover art, if nothing else.

"Guaranteed superior quality": sounds good on the box, though that's the definition of a crap shoot statement.

If I had a dollar for every company with a similar title to this, I'd never have to work again.

 See what I mean?

Oddly enough, a recurring theme with these boxes is the constant misspelling of Duane Jones' name.  Who the hell puts a second "n" in that name?

And last, and probably least, K-Tel.  Mail order media legend, purveyor of cheesy commercials and just plain cheese in general.

And now for a quick look at the other two... Seeing as this post is running a little long.

The tape that kicked off my love affair with this movie.  Actually, this is the Betamax box and I rented the VHS but still!

Another nice Anchor Bay release, this is a two tape release of the extended 137 minute cut of the movie with some trailers on the second tape.

 The third movie had some decent releases with unrated and R-rated cuts in the initial release...

 The inevitable budget release...

 And the budget re-release.

 To finish, here's the box for the 1990 remake, directed by Tom Savini.  It's actually a pretty decent version of the original.

And that's the trilogy, more or less, on home video during the VHS era.  Happy 4th of July!

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.