Import Corner: Dawn of the Dead: Limited Edition (Second Sight) Blu-ray Review

After years of waiting, Second Sight has finally released their Dawn of the Dead Limited Edition. Was it worth the wait? Yes! Yes, it was! Wow, was it ever worth the wait. 

Studio: Second Sight
Release Date: May 24th, 1979 (theatrical) / November 16th, 2020 (blu-ray)
Run Time: 127 mins (theatrical) / 139 mins (extended) / 119 mins (Argento)
Region Code: B (locked)
Picture: 1080p (1.85:1 aspect ratio) (all versions)
Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 (all versions), English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (theatrical and extended), English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (theatrical and extended)
Subtitles: English SDH (all versions)
Slipcover: No
Digital Copy: No  
Starring: Scott Reiniger, Ken Foree, David Emge, Gaylen Ross, Tom Savini, and David Crawford
Written by George A. Romero
Directed by George A. Romero
Rating: BBFC: 18 (strong bloody violence, gore) (all versions)


Sequel of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. It's some time after the dead have started to rise and attack the shocked living, and civilization has started to crumble. In the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, TV station workers Stephen and Francine decide to run as the situation worsens and, after meeting Roger and Peter, two special policemen ordered to move any people into rescue stations who have also choose to run, steal the station's helicopter and fly west in an attempt to find a safe place. After several attempts during their flight across Pennsylvania, they find a deserted mega-mall in Monroeville, outside Pittsburgh, and decide to wait there until the crisis is over. They clear the mall of the undead and board the entrances up with tractor-trailers and then sit down and wait. Can they hold out, not only against the growing, moaning, and hungry masses of the undead outside, against murderous looters, but, most importantly of all, can they hold out and not lose their sanity...?

This review is going to be on the short side of things because there really isn’t much to say about DAWN OF THE DEAD that hasn’t been said before. The film is an out and out classic. Everything, from the script to the effects, the filmmaking, is just perfect. DAWN is Romero at the top of his game and he is using every tool he has at his disposal to make the best zombie film ever.

Watching it for this review, I was reminded just how great the film is even when it gets weird like when the pie fight breaks out. This would not have worked with another director. It works for Romero and it is amazing that it does. It shouldn’t work, but it does. I guess it works because the film is a satire rather than a straight forward horror film. The humor works because the film never takes itself seriously. When the bikers show up, our main characters aren’t really scared for their lives. Rather, they are annoyed that the mall that they have claimed for themselves is about to be taken over by those who didn’t earn it. This is, of course, white America thinks that they have been having to do for a long time. Black people moving from the city to the suburbs is something that scared white America around the time that DAWN was released. That is where the term “there goes the neighborhood” comes from. Whites ran from cities that they deemed unsafe (just like our main characters), where they took over land that didn’t belong to them (just like our main characters), and when the bikers enter the mall, it is the white character who fires on them. That is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the satire of DAWN

The effects are the other big thing that people talk about when talking DAWN. Tom Savini did an amazing job on the effects. When I first saw DAWN, it was the goriest film I had ever seen. Of course, there have been films that have come along since that are gorier (DEAD ALIVE, for example.), but DAWN really left an impression on me. I still find new things when it comes to gore every time I watch the film. This time I wondered why the guts on the biker were so clean. I had never really noticed it before even though it is right there, but the extras answered that question for me.

I really love DAWN OF THE DEAD. I think that it is a masterpiece of horror cinema and wish that the rights owner would lower his asking price so that more people can see the film without resorting to bootlegging it. The film is an important milestone, not only for the people who made it (Savini says that he would have never gotten the job on FRIDAY THE 13TH had it not been for DAWN), but for film in general. The film is funny, scary, exciting, and fun to watch. If you have not seen DAWN, then you need to do so right now. It is that good.


Second Sight has spent the last few years working on restoring DAWN OF THE DEAD and their work has paid off in full. This is an amazing restoration. The film grain is light to moderate and always reminds us that we are watching something shot on film. Colors are accurate as are skin tones. Black levels are deep but not crushed and every frame looks balanced. The sky is blue again rather than being a blue-ish white and the blood as texture to it. Detail is remarkable giving the film a real “lived in” feel to it. 

This restoration is the basis for the extended edition as well with the extended footage being taken from an internegative. The extra footage looks great with it looking just a tad bit worse than the theatrical footage. The Argento cut is taken from a 4K scan of the film’s interpositive and is a step down from the other two cuts of the film. 

We get a bunch of different audio options with the mono track being the original. It sounds just as great as the picture looks. Dialogue is crisp and clear and Goblin soundtrack sounds so good. The other tracks sound good too, but I always try to go with the original track whenever I can.


Disc 1: Theatrical 

Disc 2: Extended (Cannes) Cut

Disc 3: Argento Cut

Disc 4: Special Features



Disc 1: Theatrical Cut (2h 7m 7s, HD, 1.85:1)

Commentary by George A. Romero, Tom Savini, and Christine Forrest
Commentary by Travis Crawford

Disc 2: Extended “Cannes” Cut (2h 19m 28s, HD, 1.85:1)

Commentary by Richard Rubenstein

Disc 3: The Argento Cut (1h 59m 37s, HD, 1.85:1)

Commentary by Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger, Gaylen Ross, and David Emge

Disc 4: Special Features

Zombies and Bikers (58m 30s, HD, 1.78:1)
Starting out the extras disc is this brand new featurette about the making of the film from the point of view of the actors who played the zombies and the actors who played the bikers. Some great stories told here and just a nice air of positivity.

Memories of Monroeville (34m 24s, HD, 1.78:1) Here we go on a visit to the mall featured in the film with Tom Savini, Michael Gornick, Tom Dubensky, and Taso Stavrakis. Stories about the stunts, drunk zombies, the stores that didn’t want to be involved, and a live round mixed in with the blanks are told amongst others.

Raising the Dead (25m 3s, HD, 1.78:1) Tom Dubensky, Tom Savini, and Michael Gornick are on hand to talk about the technical side of the making of Dawn. We get talk about cameras, effects, and explosions.

The FX of Dawn (12m 56s, HD, 1.78:1) Tom Savini is interviewed here and he tells many of the same stories that he tells in the previous two featurettes, but also some tells some ones that I had not heard before.

Dummies! Dummies! (12m 20s, HD, 1.78:1) Actor Richard France is on hand to talk about his experiences with Romero and working on NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE CRAZIES, AND DAWN OF THE DEAD. He has a very touching story about something that Romero did for him that will have you tear up.

The Lost Romero Interview (20m 28s, SD, 1.78:1) Here Romero tells many of the same stories he tells in the making of found a bit later on in the disc, but he also talks about how he doesn’t like the machete kill despite it being one of the most well-known images from the film.

Super 8 Mall Footage (13m 25s, HD, 1.33:1) This footage was shot by two brothers who were zombies in the film. They shot this footage while working on the film. The footage plays without sound or with one of two commentary tracks from the brothers who shot it.

Commentary by Robert Langer
Commentary by Ralph Langer

Document of the Dead: The Original Cut (1h 36m, SD, 1.33:1)

Document of the Dead: The Definitive Cut (1h 42m, SD, 1.33:1)

Commentary by Roy Frumkes

The Dead Will Walk (1h 15m, SD, 1.78:1) This is the film’s official making of and first appeared on the Anchor Bay Ultimate Edition DVD. The filmmakers have gotten just about everyone who worked on the film, including both Dario and Salvatore Argento, and everyone is game to talk about the film. We get a timeline of making of the film along with some really great stories along the way.

Trailers, TV Spots, Radio Spots (18m 37s, HD) Here you can find 2 American trailers, 1 Italian trailer, 2 German trailers, 5 TV Spots, and 3 radio spots, all played one after the other.

Disc 5 (CD): Original Soundtrack by Goblin

01. "L’alba Dei Morti Viventi" (6:07)
        02. "Zombi" (4:26)
        03. "Safari" (2:13)
        04. "Torte In Faccia" (1:59)
        05. "Ai Margini Della Follia" (1:34)
        06. "Zaratozom" (3:39)
        07. "La Caccia" (3:41)
        08. "Tirassegno" (2:53)
        09. “Oblio" (5:15)
        10. "Risveglio" (1:07)
        11. "L’alba Dei Morti Viventi [Alternate Take]" (5:21)
        12. "Ai Margini Della Follia [Alternate Take]" (1:44)
        13. "Zombi [Sexy]" (2:22)
        14. "Ai Margini Della Follia [Alternate Take]" (3:40)
        15. "Zombi [Supermarket]" (3:16)
        16. "L’alba Dei Morti Viventi [Intro – Alternate Take]" (0:48)
        17. "Zombi [The Living Dead’s Voices!]" (2:09)

Disc 6 (CD): A De Wolfe Library Compilation: Part 1

01. "Cosmogony Part 1" (4:12)
        02. "Dramatic Moments No. 1" (1:03)
        03. "Sinstre" (3:09)
        04. "Dramatic Moments No. 2" (1:08)
        05. "Violence" (3:16)
        06. "Cosmogony Part 3" (2:52)
        07. "Eclipse" (4:06)
        08. "Dark Forest" (2:03)
        09. "Cause I’m a Man" (2:52)
        10. "Figments" (3:24)
        11. "Dynamise 65" (2:33)
        12. "Cosmogony Part 4" (3:06)
        13. "The Mask of Death" (3:16)
        14. "Cosmogony Part 2" (2:42)
        15. "Victorian Vintage" (1:46)
        16. "Queka" (1:40)
        17. "Scary I" (0:24)
        18. "Scary II" (0:25)
        19. "Zap" (0:13)
        20. "Spinechiller" (2:19)
        21. "Violent Payoff Version 2" (0:40)
        22. "Waiting for the Man" (5:19)
        23. "Flossie" (2:39)
        24. "Neurotic Bird" (4:33)
        25. "Desert De Glace" (3:53)
        26. "Dank Earth [Part 1]" (1:44)
        27. "Red Sequence" (0:35)
        28. "Barrage" (2:03)
        29. "Face at the Window" (2:49)

Disc 7 (CD): A De Wolfe Library Compilation: Part 2

01. "We Are the Champions" (2:18)
        02. "Ragtime Razzamatazz" (2:49)
        03. "Tango Tango" (1:01)
        04. "Fugarock" (1:29)
        05. "Sonata" (12:42)
        06. "El Chapo" (3:23)
        07. "Dramaturgy Part 1" (2:39)
        08. "Night Life" (1:01)
        09. "Sun High" (2:55)
        10. "Cantano" (5:21)
        11. "On His Own" (1:43)
        12. "Mechanical High Jinx" (2:52)
        13. "Dramaturgy Part 2" (3:34)
        14. "So Fantastico" (4:31)
        15. "Violence Sting 1" (0:07)
        16. "Caverne De Glace" (4:09)
        17. "Dramatic Moments No. 3" (1:06)
        18. "Deserted Vaults" (2:16)
        19. "Action Pack" (2:15)
        20. "Kadath" (4:14)
        21. "Proud Action" (2:33)
        22. "Dramatic Moments No. 4" (1:33)
        23. "The Gonk" (3:39)

Also included is a 156-page hardcover book featuring 18 essays about the film and its themes, an interview with George A. Romero, and info about the restorations.

Lastly, we have a 226-page paperback book of the film’s novelization by George A. Romero and Susanna Sparrow.

The brand new features, especially Bikers and Zombies and Memories of Monroeville, are really well done and full of interesting information. The commentary tracks are a lot of fun and I am glad that the making of from the Anchor Bay discs made it here. The three cds contain some great music and will have you reliving scenes from the film. The essays found in the hardcover book are worth reading and the paperback adaptation is a really interesting read. I do wish that more companies would include the written adaptations whenever possible, but I don’t see that happening especially in the U.S. 


Second Sight went out of their way to give the love and attention that DAWN OF THE DEAD really deserved and the wait was well worth it. This edition is missing some features, but that doesn’t really matter in the long scheme of things because what is here is just so good. The picture and sound are amazing, the features are numerous and informative, and the “swag” is worth the extra dough. This release is one of the best releases of 2020 and one of my favorite releases in the past few years.


Disc 1: Theatrical

Disc 2: Extended (Cannes) Cut

Disc 3: The Argento Cut

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  1. Honestly it looks awful. All blue. Takes away from the atmosphere of the original colors.