February 12, 2013

DVD Review: More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead (2011)

This one will be a short one, but it's definitely a sweet one too. 

In 1985, Dan O'Bannon and his misfit cast & crew gave us one of the best and most beloved zombie flicks of all time: The Return of the Living Dead.

There aren't many horror flicks that combine humor and horror as well as ROTLD did, and its quality is why it has remained so popular decades after its release. Also, Tarman. Tarman is a big reason that this movie is so awesome. He's the best zombie that the 80's gave us, and maybe of all time.

I still remember the first time I saw Tarman shamble on screen and gurgle out a wet and terrifying "Brains! More brains!" It was a defining moment for me and my burgeoning Horror Fandom, and remains to this day one of my favorite movie moments of all time.

When I heard that there was an ROTLD documentary out there that had the cast and crew talking about the making of the movie, I knew I had to see it ASAP.

Rated XXX! *Not really, but it makes it all sound cooler.
As far as Movie Docs go, most of them are underwhelming to me. Sure, most of them are neat to watch, but they tend to feel a bit too polished and restrained for my taste. I want to know what really happened on set. I want to know about the issues, the gaffes, the battles and the dysfunction. I want to know the truth of it all. The good and the bad. More Brains delivers all of that, and so much more.

Calista Flockhart was awesome in this movie.
We find out that Director Dan O'Bannon was a bit of a tyrant to work for, and how the set was often times a pretty hellish place to be for cast and crew alike. Starlet Beverly Randolph seems to have been downright scared of the guy, which may explain why she didn't do much acting after ROTLD. We even get to hear stories from a crew member who was fired mid-production. That's the kind of stuff that make behind the scenes documentaries interesting.

Bad girl.
It also goes without saying that anytime you get to sit and listen to Clu Gulager and James Karen talking candidly, it's a good thing; in addition to being funny as hell, Clu Gulager is foul-mouthed and very matter-of-fact with his opinions, and James Karen seems like he's one of the most genuinely sweet people ever. Their segments were our sentimental faves here.

How do you not love this guy?
The extras on this disc are crazy good as well as being crazy plentiful. There's tons of deleted scenes, behind the scenes footage, bloopers, test footage and interviews, including a really great interview with late Director Dan O'Bannon himself. They even give us little retrospectives of ROTLD parts 2 & 3, which just added to the awesomeness of it all. The extras alone make this DVD worth renting/owning.

Name a more iconic zombie character than Tarman. Go ahead, we'll wait.
This movie and it's jam-packed-with-cool-extras DVD is an A+ of an experience. If you're a fan of Return of the Living Dead (and its sequels), then seeing it is a no-brainer. Even the more casual fan will have a good time with it, because it's just that interesting. Rent it if you like, but in all honesty it's worth every cent of its $15 price tag, considering the wealth of extras it offers.

Either way, see it and enjoy.



There's nothing quite like the way Hotties looked in the 80's, is there? Linnea Quigley, Jewel Shepard and Beverly Randolph definitely made our childhood a better time. Thanks for the fantasies, ladies.


  1. Sounds like fun but I'll give you three zombies more iconic than Tarman:
    1. Bub
    2. The little girl from Night of the Living Dead
    3. Bicycle Girl from The Walking Dead

  2. Nice picks. Bub is just about as iconic, and the girl from NOTLD is too, but they're iconic in a far less dymanic way.

    At least to us, that is :)

  3. Just saw this review, and makes me want to own it, since I'm crazy about ROTLD. Any news it's going to be released on Blu-ray? I'll wait.

    1. Probably no Blu-ray, Goovy, but it is a damn fine Documentary. ROTLD is one of my personal favorites of all-time.

  4. If there's no release plan on Blu-ray, I'll get this one for sure.

    1. There is no release plan for Blu-ray, which makes me sad, but it is definitely worth owning, even on DVD. Since Blu-ray has existed, I've bought 2 DVD's: The Rifftrax version of Ghosthouse, and More Brains.

      A good Blu-ray player will upconvert the DVD anyway, and make it look better.

  5. Bought it a few months ago, watched just now, because too many list too watch. Seriously, it's a great documentary for one of the beloved zombie flicks of all time! No Blu-ray needed. The video quality on this DVD is superb enough. Scream also going to put this documentary as one of the extra for the upcoming TROTLD release, but not the bonus features itself, right? CMIIW

    1. Yeah, it's going to be included in the ROTLD Blu-ray from Scream, which jsut makes me want the set even more now :)