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Night of the Living Duped, or Why Forgotten Films’ Dead Blu-ray Deserves to Be

This article is an addendum of sorts to the substantial coverage of Night of the Living Dead and its Blu-ray iterations that is already available here. Those who want to hear what I have to say about the film should look here, while those interested in the other two Blu-ray releases I’ve reviewed thus far should look here. And those of you looking for a review of the unlicensed gray market Forgotten Film’s Blu-ray of Night of the Living Dead, you’re in the right place.

Now forgive me for my brevity, but I really don’t want to waste any more time than is absolutely necessary on this one. As the screenshots included here will no doubt convince, Forgotten Films’ Blu-ray edition of Night of the Living Dead from 2009 is little more than a copy of another Blu-ray edition that uses Dimension Films’ HD master of the film (I suspect the Optimum given its cheapness and date of availability). Little more, but yes, a little. For some dubious reason, either to hide their outright thievery or to bolster their claim to copyright in case anyone should chance to copy their “work” (there are scads of copyright statements in their presentation), Forgotten Films have imposed a slight but painfully obvious cut during one of the film’s dialogue scenes. The cut arrives between Barbara’s lines, “We came to put a wreath on my father’s grave,” and, “And he said ‘Oh it’s late, why did we start so late?’” and eliminates all that rests between. The two frames below appear immediately before and immediately after the cut:

 

Otherwise differences are minimal here. The similarity in contrast is exacting, as is the tight framing, long a sticking point with the Dimension Films transfer and the editions minted from it (including a domestic DVD and several foreign Blu-rays). Sharpness is reduced modestly in the Forgotten Films, doubtless a byproduct of their copy / cut / paste process. Audio is lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 monophonic, but the rest of the technical specs are sound enough. The 1080p transfer is well encoded in Mpeg-4 AVC at an average video bitrate of 30.4 Mbps. Too bad it’s stolen, and edited besides.

The disc comes housed in decidedly amateurish packaging (note the misspelling of the word “struggle” on the front, if you can distract yourself from the awful art for long enough to read it that is), and the only supplement is a worthless 18 minute still gallery of images culled directly from the film. Needless to say I can’t recommend, especially not with superior and officially licensed editions being so readily available from other territories. Those looking to blow $20 on an inferior product can look this one up Amazon themselves – I’ll have no further part in it. The rest of you should steer clear.

Comparison images are taken from the Optimum Releasing Blu-ray, reviewed separately here. Order is Optimum first, followed by Forgotten Films. 

All new screenshots were captured as native resolution .png in Totem Movie Player, then compressed to .jpg at a quality setting of 97% using the ImageMagick command line tool. 

2 thoughts on “Night of the Living Duped, or Why Forgotten Films’ Dead Blu-ray Deserves to Be

  1. I remember reading that this version supposedly looks about as good as the Dimension transfer but with more image. Good thing I didn’t waste a cent on it.

  2. I had no idea that this version even existed. I watched the 1990 version of Night of the Living Dead through Blockbuster @Home and loved it. I didn’t find out there was a 1968 version until one of my co-workers at Dish told me to IMDB the title. I’m especially glad I stopped by here before I decided to buy a copy; it’s good to know there are people out there who appreciate value.

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