"Return of the Living Dead" DVD, fans MUST read this!!!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael Allred, Apr 12, 2002.

  1. Michael Allred

    Michael Allred Screenwriter

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    Ok folks, Dan called me today for an update so here's the latest.
    He has finished remastering BOTH the video and audio for the film. It's been color corrected, scene-by-scene and the audio has been cleaned up. According to Dan, it's the BEST the movie has ever looked and sounded.
    Now, the bad news.
    MGM is under the gun, so to speak, to hurry up and release the DVD very soon. The marketing department apparently wants to put it out in the near future. What this means is, MGM may very well NOT use the newly restored prints that Dan worked on. Dan told me that what they were originally going to put out was horrible in terms of quality, that they hired some guy to work on it before him and Dan found it to be lacking severely.
    So it was a good thing that Dan came in to do the restoring job, he was given the go-ahead for the project but as I said, they may not end up using it for the DVD.
    As fans, we want Dan's restored version of the film, to see and hear it the way Dan wanted and really, who wouldn't want the film to look and sound as good as possible? Can't the marketing people understand this? Put out a GOOD DVD and it'll sell well but release an inferior print when people KNOW a better version could've been used will piss ALL of us off.
    Now understand, none of this is definite. In fact, Dan will be speaking to an MGM honcho about using the restored print BUT we HAVE to write/e-mail MGM about this, tell them we want the best possible master available which would be the new stuff Dan oversaw personally. After waiting for so long to get this on DVD, MGM had better treat it right.
    Please, be kind and respectful when writing but make yourselves very clear, we want Dan's restored print of the movie for the DVD, no excuses. His work is done and readily available so use it!
    E-mail MGM at [email protected] or at [email protected]
    You can also call MGM's customer service line at 1-877-646-4968.
    You can write to MGM's marketing department at;
    MGM Home Entertainment
    c/o Marketing Department
    2500 Broadway
    Santa Monica, California 90404
    'ROTLD' fans, we must act and we MUST ACT NOW! We *have* to let MGM know that we want the remastered/restored print of the movie that Dan O'Bannon did and that this is the ONLY way we will buy the DVD. We do not want an inferior version. Again, please be respectful if you call or write but be very clear in what you're saying.
    Dan has worked very hard to make the movie look/sound the best it ever has. Tell MGM to use Dan's version for the DVD!
    Also, there has been some talk of a featurette called "Designing the Dead" that will be on the DVD. I asked Dan about this and all he knows is that both he and William Stout simply sat down in front of a camera and answered some questions. I don't know if MGM will add anything to that or not.
     
  2. Matthew Chmiel

    Matthew Chmiel Cinematographer

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    I sent them an e-mail (to both e-mail address) over to MGM. I'll write a snail mail to them and call MGM at a later date.
     
  3. Steve_Knutzen

    Steve_Knutzen Screenwriter

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    I just sent two e-mails. I'll try to write a letter and make a phone call as well. Does this mean that Dan probably won't get to record a commentary?
     
  4. Matthew Brown

    Matthew Brown Supporting Actor

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    Two e-mails sent. This is one of my favorite movies. I am sure that nobody minds waiting a little longer if it means the best elements will be used for the DVD.

    They could do a Halloween tie-in. At least two of the bands are still around and touring that are on the soundtrack. I am sure at least one would promote the movie.

    Matt
     
  5. Robert Ringwald

    Robert Ringwald Cinematographer

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    Dan already recorded one I think. [​IMG] Along with someone else.
     
  6. Tim_Prasuhn

    Tim_Prasuhn Stunt Coordinator

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    emailed MGM

    By the way, this restored print wouldn't happen to have any deleted scenes reinstated, would it?
     
  7. Dan Brodin

    Dan Brodin Stunt Coordinator

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    Sent 2 emails... will send snail mail next week.

    -Dan
     
  8. Beau

    Beau Supporting Actor

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    If Dan's version is ALREADY finished why wouldn't they use it? Am I missing something?[​IMG]
     
  9. Michael Allred

    Michael Allred Screenwriter

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    Dan and William Stout have already recorded the commentary, it WILL be on the DVD.

    The reasons for why the restored print *might* not be used can apparently be blamed on the marketing department as they 1) want to rush the DVD for release and I guess there wouldn't be enough time to use Dan's new print as it was *just* finished 2) marketing seems to be looking at the film as "just another small movie."

    Call the number, tell them NOT to rush the DVD and use Dan's restored print and then ask that your comments be passed along to marketing.
     
  10. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Oh Jeez, do I smell a "special edition" to come 6 months later ala "Platoon"????
    Sheesh!
    BTW, where is "The Fog"?????
    D
     
  11. Brandon Gantt

    Brandon Gantt Second Unit

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    I don't understand why they would want to rush release this when they've been working on The Vampire Lovers for nearly a year!
     
  12. Artur Meinild

    Artur Meinild Screenwriter

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    Emailed MGM and asked them politely to use Dan's improved transfer. Please people, keep those mails rushing MGM's way, this is very important.
    Michael has done us all a great favor by involving Mr. O'Bannon which has lead to an improved transfer of this movie. Now, if that transfer is not used, this work has been to no avail!
    Speak up (but in a polite way of course)! [​IMG]
     
  13. Walt Riarson

    Walt Riarson Supporting Actor

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  14. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Thanx for the info, Walt! Now if we can JUST get the SE of the ORIGINAL, REAL Rollerball which is anamorphic w.commentaries and ALREADY out in the UK and Australia!!!
    [​IMG] D
     
  15. Robert Ringwald

    Robert Ringwald Cinematographer

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    I sent at least 3 from different e-mails. I also signed them at the end w/ different names. I had some of my friends do it too. [​IMG]
    That'll make about 10 from me and my friends when I'm done. I'm also gonna send at least 4 more from new e-mails.
     
  16. Michael Allred

    Michael Allred Screenwriter

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    Ok everyone, I spoke with Dan O'Bannon on the phone this afternoon and here's what I learned.

    Dan had a meeting with Gray Ainsworth (I think I spelled his last name right), the VP of tech services at MGM.

    Apparently when word got out that MGM might not use Dan's restored print, fans rallied and really let MGM know what they thought. This made Gray somewhat uncomfortable. He showed Dan the comments on his computer including the bit about the two having a meeting soon...the very meeting they were having! lol. See? Just goes to show you, if the fans speak up loudly enough, the studios WILL notice!

    Anyway, something should be cleared up right here and now.

    MGM has settled on the print to use for the DVD.

    There was some misunderstanding on my part in regards to the video quality of the print MGM will use and for that I apologize. The video quality is NOT from an old, grainy transfer. MGM went back to the original film negative and remastered it. Dan has seen this himself and said it's very "clean" and looks good. His *only* gripe was with the colors, meaning the color saturation isn't as perfect as he wanted it. Regardless, Dan himself feels the video quality is very good so fans need not worry. Yes, he did oversee a new print with color correction however, due to time constraints, that will not be used. Again, do not mistake this as MGM using a poor quality video transfer. MGM completely cleaned up the film from the negatives so we should all be very happy with how the DVD will look.

    The even better news, MGM *will* be using Dan's new sound mix for the DVD.

    Dan's original mix for the film was never used originally as the producers changed it after he had finished. In some scenes the music was too loud, making it difficult to hear what the actors were saying. This has all been fixed. Also, some sound effects have been enhanced or otherwise replaced entirely. For example, the sound of the atomic blast at the end of the film has been given more bass, Tarman's voice is now more in tune with how Dan wanted him to sound, etc. Dan feels that the sound is now better and richer than ever, he's "very pleased...quite tickled" with it.

    As for what type of sound mix the DVD will have, Dan said it will be digital mono. Now some of you might wonder why it wasn't remixed for Dolby Digital 5.1. Dan explained that 1) It would've taken more time and money than was available and 2) He didn't feel it was necessary saying that even Stanley Kubrick never bothered with mixing his movies that way.

    Regarding how the film will be presented as far as aspect ratios go, there will be both 4:3 full screen and 1.78 anamorphic widescreen versions on the disc. Ok, I know some of you will wonder why the original 1.85 OAR is not being used. This is NOT MGM's decision, Dan gave the ok for it. He was going to insist on the 1.85 presentation but wanted to compare the two ratios before deciding. After seeing both, he felt there was very little difference between the two and decided on 1.78. Keep in mind no information will be lost off the sides of the picture since it was filmed open matte. This is what Dan wanted and as I'm sure most of you will agree, as long as it has been approved by the director, it's all good.

    Now here is the most interesting bit. Something that really excited me at the mere possibility of it happening.

    MGM is allowing Dan to gather all the elements necessary to produce what essentially is a "director's cut". This would include the original opening AND ending edited back into the film. The color corrected print would also be used. HOWEVER this would solely depend on how well the first DVD sells. If it does nothing, there won't be a special edition reissue BUT if the sales please MGM, they will produce Dan's "director's cut" sometime down the line so basically everyone, BUY THE DVD WHEN IT COMES OUT so they'll go ahead and reissue it as a special edition. This is a business and MGM needs to see that there is a financial upside to do this project. I know it kinda sucks to "double dip" but considering what we will be rewarded with if it sells well the first time, it will be well worth it!

    Dan O'Bannon also went over what extra material the upcoming DVD will have again. 1) audio commentary by Dan and production designer William Stout. 2) New interviews with them both for some kind of featurette. 3) A stills gallery featuring many of the sketches and artwork Stout made for the film.

    The theatrical trailer will also probably be included (it's virtully a standard extra on most DVD's anyway) but Dan wasn't sure yet, he said he'd ask. Also, he still doesn't know of a specific release date but he'd ask about that as well. I got an e-mail from MGM saying it's due this Fall.

    Dan wanted me to tell everybody this and that fans can rest easy so let me repeat myself, the video quality for the DVD is NOT bad at all, it's a "good", cleaned up print from the original negative. His new sound mix WILL be on the DVD and most importantly, if the DVD sells well, MGM will release Dan's preferred cut, the one he always wanted so please guys and gals, buy the DVD when it comes out so a more elaborate special edition will be released. This is truly a case where "double dipping" will be more than worth it.

    Gray Ainsworth (I keep thinking his name is "Amesworth" for some reason) is a good guy and he does support the DVD. MGM won't let us down with the quality or content. Again, if we support the upcoming DVD, we will ALL be rewarded with Dan's "directors cut" so let's thank MGM with a simple e-mail, letter or phone call for their efforts in giving us a high quality DVD. Tell them you'll buy the disc (then actually DO buy it) and encourage them to re-issue the special edition later. If you're wondering why they just don't let Dan cut the new version now, simply put, there just isn't enough time to do that as they've already put the DVD on this year's release schedule.

    Buy the upcoming DVD everyone, I KNOW you all want the director's cut. If the disc sells well, that's exactly what we'll all get later on!
     
  17. Justin_S

    Justin_S Producer

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    Thanks a lot for the update! I can't wait for this DVD! This is easily one of my favorite films, and I don't mind doubledipping the least bit. Oh yeah, Tarman is the coolest zombie ever!
     
  18. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    Michael, I breathed a tremendous sigh of relief when I read your update, thanks a bunch![​IMG]
    I'm actually thinking of buying TWO copies of the first disc! Hey, that counts as 2 sales am I right? [​IMG]
     
  19. Thomas Hart

    Thomas Hart Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not a big fan of double-dipping my DVDs, but I can take one for the team if need be. I wonder; will ROTLD be under MGM's Midnite Movies banner or not?

    On a side note (especially if MGM is reading this thread):

    Baltimore is hosting the CreepCon Convention on June 8-9 this year which is going have a ROTLD reunion!!! The tentative guest list includes the following actors:

    Linnea Quigley

    James Karen

    Jewel Shepard

    Beverly Randolph (Hartley)

    Brian Peck

    Miguel Nunez

    Don Calfa

    John Philbin

    Allan Trautman

    Dan O'Bannon (Director)

    Jules Brenner (Director of Photography)

    William Stout (Production Designer)

    All I know is, that with this many cast & crew members in one place, this would be an extreme great opportunity for a terrific documentary and/or audio commentary on MGM's part. If MGM were to include that on one of the DVDs, well, let's just say X-mas gifts all around.
     
  20. Michael Allred

    Michael Allred Screenwriter

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    Yes, it would be a good opportunity for MGM to record *something* at the reunion in Baltimore (I helped get James Karen on board. Thom Mathews also might appear now.)

    However it's obviously too late to put such footage on the first DVD and since a 2nd release depends on how well the first one sells, would MGM even bother to send a film crew there to record footage for a DVD that might not happen?
     

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