Day of the Dead is a zombie apocalypse movie that is loved by many, a true classic and very original take on the undead overtaking the world with only a handful of known survivors living in an underground military bunker. Day of the Dead is a direct follow-up to the most popular zombie movie of all time Dawn of the Dead written and directed by the late great George Romero.
The film has been released time and time again but what are the differences in all of these Day of the Dead editions?
While the variations of the film are mild in most cases there are still differences ranging from over-dubbed audio to absolute cuts or even extensions of the classic zombie movie.
So what different versions are there of Day of the Dead 1985? I have compiled a list of the various editions below, separated by direct editions and local editions to certain geographic locations.
- DAY OF THE DEAD THEATRICAL/ORIGINAL VERSION
- Day of the Dead Directors Cut
- Day of the Dead Collector’s Edition
- Day of the Dead Anchor Bay Release
- Day of the Dead Ultimate Edition
- Day of the Dead UK Release
- Day of the Dead Canadian Version
- Day of the Dead German Version
- Day of the Dead Australian Edition
- Day of the Dead Swedish Edition
- Day of the Dead Brazilian Edition
There are possibly many more releases floating around but these were the main versions released to the global market.
Is your head spinning yet? this film has been cut, recut, re-joined and re-released in so many versions and regions that you may find it hard to tell which version of the film is the best version to addt you your collection, the definitive edition of the movie would always be the longest running film with absolutely no cuts and added footage, lets explore which Day of the Dead from 1985 edition is the one best for you.
What’s the difference in the localized versions of Day of the Dead?
There are small to major differences in the films based on the country of release, some of those in the form of censorship, continue reading to learn the differences in places that have censored the film like Canada, Germany and the UK.
Oh Canada, we can’t hear your Day of the Dead movie.
The Canadian version of the beloved classic was down right torn apart and watered down for a more PG type audience, the original releasing company many years ago in 1986 was Media Home Entertainment in this version of Day of the Dead has almost all of the gruesome, gore parts cut from the film. In addition, the editing took place without considering the audience. During editing, scenes depicting zombies taking shots to the head were edited out. There is one tremendously poor edit that removes sound effects for the film’s core elements, which makes the film a joke in Canada. They literally eliminated the sounds of gunfire after removing the sound effects. Thus, zombies are shot without any sound effects.
Really? REALLY — they cut all the things that made a zombie movie good, then they removed the sound effects on top of this?. Hands down this is the worst version of the film that you could have possibly added to your library. Making Canada have the least favorable edition of the film to enter home video in the mid 80’s.
The German release was also very edited to exclude gore but they had gun shot sound effects still. They did however get an un-censored release shortly after when it was re-released by Astro Video in the German market.
In the United Kingdom there were also censors in play though not as drastic as the removal of all gore, the film was still cut to remove the following scenes; Miller’s throat being torn open by the Old Lady zombie after she bites him and the removal of Rickles’ fingers being bitten off after he is pulled down outside the corral and has his cheek shaved back to his bone.
All of the films are in essence the same film when it comes down to the big company’s releasing these updated or remastered copies, however it comes down to which version has the very best picture quality and any additional content or bonus features. A perfect example would be that on the Shout! release you get some extras like the mini documentary World’s End: The Legacy of Day of the Dead which made the release a selling point in many peoples eyes during its release run.
What are the differences in the home releases of Day of the Dead
Let’s take a look at the different releases of Day of the Dead that have came out over the lifetime of the classic zombie movie.
The Original Day of the Dead Release on VHS
Easily the best version of the film when it was first release by Anchor Bay, it was the exact same movie as we seen in the original release in the theatrical run of the film, and is now considered to be a very good piece of horror film history with its collectible status going up each year as there are not many copies of the film left in existence on the VHS or tape format. Some would argue that this is the best version of the film for home releases and while it may have been the best and the ultimate nostalgia version, the picture quality will suffer always on the tape medium considering todays high pixel count televisions would not display the VHS in its former glory as intended.
If you ever manage to see this movie floating around at a swap meet, garage sale or anywhere be sure to grab this one as it’s rarity is quite high nowadays.
Day of the Dead DVD releases, so many versions but which one is best?
When it comes to the DVD era there were so many companies looking to rehash older products there really was not a specific DVD version that stood out, however the picture quality on some of the DVD releases was much better coming in at 480i and 480p in some cases, but the colorization and noise was still present. If you are looking for the best DVD version of Day of the Dead then it’s going to be the Shout! version as they have the best pictures quality for a DVD and the most extra features.
Here is the complete list of of releases that were made on DVD officially not counting the many re-releases by smaller production houses.
- America – Anchor Bay Entertainment
- America – Shout! Factory – Collector’s Edition
- America – Anchor Bay Entertainment – Divimax
- America – Anchor Bay Entertainment – Divimax Special Edition
- Australia – Force Video
- Australia – Umbrella Entertainment – Special Edition
- United Kingdom – Arrow Films – 2-Disc Special Edition 
- United Kingdom – Arrow Films – 25th Anniversary Special Edition 
- United Kingdom – Anchor Bay Entertainment – George A. Romero’s Trilogy of the Dead
- United Kingdom – Arrow Film Distributors
- Germany – Astro
- Italy – Alan Young Pictures – Special Edition
- Japan – Happinet Pictures
- Scandinavia – Paramount Home Entertainment – Trilogy of the Dead
- Russia – Viking Video
Sure DVD offered something new and easier to use but in the era of Blu-ray and digital the DVD has been left behind in terms of picture quality and considering they have little to no collectors value at this point in time lets move right on to the Blu-Ray releases.
What’s the difference in Day of the Dead 1985 Blu-ray from Shout!, Umbrella and others?
Both the two major Blu-Ray releases from Shout! and Umbrella have superior picture quality over any other release, Shout! has great extras so does Umbrella however you will get a little bit better quality in terms of audio and extras when it comes to the Umbrella release also known as Day of the Dead Ultimate Edition. Thus making the Umbrella release the go-to release for those who want the best in terms of quality.
With all the different Day of the Dead releases floating around it certainly can be hard to choose one but I hope that this ultimate Day of the Dead guide helps you decide on the best version or alternate version of the film to add to your movie library.
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