Sunday, October 14, 2012

Phil's Halloween Horrors Marathon, Day 12: Phil reviews MORE BRAINS! A RETURN TO THE LIVING DEAD (2011) DVD from Michael Perez Entertainment-October 12, 2012

MORE BRAINS! DVD Cover (2012)
Starring: Thom Mathews, Beverly Randolph, Jewel Shepard, John Philbin, Brian Peck, Linnea Quigley, Miguel A. Nunez, Jr., James Karen, Clu Gulager, Don Calfa, Allan Trautman, Stacey Q.
Narrated by Brian Peck
Written by Christian Sellers, Gary Smart, Thommy Hutson (additional material)
Produced by Thommy Hutson
Executive produced by Beverly Randolph and Michael Perez
Directed by Bill Philputt
Released by Michael Perez Entertainment

Welcome to Day Twelve of Phil's Halloween Horrors Marathon! Today's review will focus on a documentary about one of the greatest zombie films of all time! But I'm getting a head of myself, so let me back track first. On August 15, 1985, Orion Pictures released RETURN TO THE LIVING DEAD, written and directed by Dan O'Bannon. With its blend of horror, humor, gore, and slapstick, the film became a cult classic that still to this day is loved and revered among horror fans and critics alike. Now 26 years after the film's release, director Bill Philputt and writers Gary Smart and Christian Sellers pay tribute to O'Bannon's film with their in-depth, informative, and highly entertaining film MORE BRAINS! A RETURN TO THE LIVING DEAD.

Narrated by Brian Peck (who portrayed Scuz in the original film), the film chronicles the step by step process of the making of this legendary cult classic. From the pre-production nightmare that consisted of the legal battle between John Russo and George Romero over the rights to the film's title, original director Tobe Hooper backing out of the project and O'Bannon taking over even though he never directed a film before. Some of the issues that arose during the production of the film were the firing of special effects artist Bill Munns, the spats between the cast and O'Bannon, and the grueling 14 hour night shoots over the next 6 weeks took it's toll on the entire cast and crew. After filming was completed, the executives declared it "one notch above pornography." The film was finally released a year after it was finished and grossed over $14 million during its theatrical run.

Philputt left no stone unturned when making this film. It also helped the writers Smart and Sellers wrote the book The Complete History of The Return of the Living Dead, to which the documentary is based on. Philputt was able to get 25 members of the original cast and crew to conduct on-camera interviews, including Clu Gulager (Burt), James Karen (Frank), Don Calfa (Ernie), Beverly Randolf (Tina), Thom Mathews (Freddy), Jewel Shepard (Casey), Linnea Quigley (Trash), and Peck too, just to name a few. With these individuals sharing some hilarious, interesting, personal stories and memories, Philputt crafted an amazing film and really pulled together some fascinating facts for fans about this cult classic.

The special features on this DVD are just outstanding! First there's THE WON'T STAY DEAD: A LOOK AT RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD PART II: a half hour documentary on the making of the sequel and includes interviews with Michael Kenworthy (Jesse), Suzanne Snyder (Brenda), and Karen, Mathews, and Speck just to name a few. LOVE BEYOND THE GRAVE: A LOOK AT THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD PART 3: another short documentary chronicling the making of Part 3, including interviews with director Brian Yuzna, screenwriter John Penney, special effects make-up artist Steve Johnson, and actor Trevor Edmond (Curt). Resurrected Settings: The Filming Locations Today: both Speck and  Randolf host this very cool short showing us the actual filming locations as they are today, Stacey Q Live! An Exclusive "Tonight" music video, documentary deleted scenes, THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD told in 3 minutes, trailers for both MORE BRAINS! and NEVER SLEEP AGAIN: THE ELM STREET LEGACY, and A Conversation with Dan O'Bannon: The Final Interview: the last on-camera interview O'Bannon gave before his untimely passing from Crohn's Disease on December 17, 2009.

My conclusion is this: MORE BRAINS! A RETURN TO THE LIVING DEAD is a highly recommended documentary that belongs on every horror fans collection. In fact here's a real treat for all you creatures of the night: watch the original film and this documentary as a double feature! That would be the best way for you to honor the legacy of Dan O'Bannon! Go out and buy this DVD today! 5 out of 5 stars!

MORE BRAINS! A RETURN TO THE LIVING DEAD DVD can be purchased at your local retailer or you can purchase a copy on the film's website at

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the screaming!

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