Dan O'Bannon's The Resurrected

Dear Lions Gate, you may not be aware, but among the many, many excellent cult catalog titles you have shut away in your vaults, is an fun, highly regarded HP Lovecraft adaptation that fans have been asking for called The Resurrected. It's written and directed by Dan O'Bannon, creator behind such cult classics as Return Of the Living Dead, Dark Star and co-writer of the original Alien. You've even got a lovely, HD master already made (we know, because it's streamed on Netflix). And all you would need to do, to make a lot of people very happy, boost your reputation and make a nice little profit is to release it on DVD and blu-ray, or sub-license it to a niche label like Scream Factory, Synapse, etc. who will happily do it for you. I could see wanting to do it yourself, or leasing it out and letting another company front all the risk and labor, but surely you'd want to do something more than just sitting on your vast catalog and watching them depreciate in value - especially with a hot.

Update, update, holy crap - update! 8/28/15: The special edition this film should've gotten years ago has finally landed! It's a limited edition blu-ray/ DVD combo pack from OFDb Filmworks, with a plethora of extras from Red Shirt Pictures. The film's finally been released in its OAR, and its in HD. It's a pretty lavish set from Germany (so be prepared for Region B blu and region 2 DVD), and I just got my hands on it the other day, so let's take a look! Join me further down the page for a fresh comparison and look at all the new features.

Update 1/5/20: So in 2015, it was a German, region B release.  Shortly after, Lions Gate really started cracking open their vaults with the Vestron Line.  And tonight we wrap up our updating run with the one title they licensed to Scream Factory for a proper US release in 2017.
The Resurrected is one of the most direct, faithful adaptations of Lovecraft on film, starring Chris Sarandon (who, by the way Lions Gate, starred in the also underestimated Fright Night, which wound up selling out its entire blu-ray run in only two days. Just sayin'.) as Charles Dexter Ward, whose wife hires a private detective (24's John Terry) to find out why he's disappeared to a remote cabin with a strange man. Mad science, gruesome murders and a sequence set in the 1700s stand between them and the monstrous answer. Impressive effects, music by the always reliable Richard Band and some atmospheric cinematography (though you wouldn't know it from the full screen version) add up to a quality horror flick just dying to be rediscovered by a broader audience. The Lurker In the Lobby: A Guide to the Cinema of H.P. Lovecraft calls it, "the best serious Lovecraftian screen adaptation to date."
Admittedly, part of the difficulty The Resurrected has had finding its audience is that the film ran into some difficulty in post production. The producers took the film away from O'Bannon, who said he felt it was his best work at the time, and re-cut it themselves. So it went through a couple titles (Shatterbrain and The Ancestor) and a final version O'Bannon wasn't so pleased with. And tragically, Dan O'Bannon has passed away, so it's too late to hope for his involvement in any kind of special edition. But thankfully, his director's cut already exists! He made it before he passed and it's already screened theatrically as early as 2013. It's frustrating that nobody's taken the opportunity to pull a Nightbreed and put out the still unreleased director's cut along with the theatrical version of the film.  But we at least get deleted scenes taken from the workprint on both the OFDb and Scream Factory discs, which is a good step in the right direction.
Now, to be fair to Lions Gate, they did release The Resurrected on DVD at one point. It's fifteen years old now, long out of print, and a completely no-frills fullscreen release without even a trailer, but that's substantially more than can be said for some other sought after Lions Gate titles, like Nightwish Tale of a Vampire.  But it really wasn't until OFDb released it in Germany that the film could be said to have any kind of proper edition.  They released a proper widescreen version in 2015 on blu as a limited edition media book, followed by a slimmer single-disc release in 2016.  And of course, as of 2017, we now have it in HD here in the US courtesy of Scream Factory.
1) 2005 LG DVD; 2) 2015 OFDb BD; 3) 2017 SF BD.
Credit where it's due, the DVD is at least open matte rather than pan & scan, so nothing's cropped away. Still, it's interlaced.  And looking at the composition, there's no question that the widescreen version is the correct ratio, with the OFDb looking much more impressive in 1.78:1.  Then, SF's blu is even wider at 1.85:1, but they didn't just matte it a little more.  It actually has more vertical info (though not as much as the DVD) and more on the sides - especially the left.  The boxy look of the film on DVD and cable is certainly a part of the for the negative reactions this film has gotten from casual viewers over the years. This finally looks like a movie, not a cheap TV show. Granted, the new HD transfer doesn't look quite state of the art: a little soft and it doesn't look like we've got a natural look at the film grain yet. And that goes for both blus. Scream has the improved framing and they've also done some fresh color correction (OFDb's timing pretty much matches the old DVD), providing some additional separation, generally white whites and unveils some detail that was crushed away in the shadows of the earlier edition.  But this 2k scan of the interpositive still seems to have had its grain smoothed away, or more likely not thoroughly captured in the first place.

The 2005 DVD just offered the original stereo track with no subtitle options.  OFDb bumped that up to DTS-HD, plus both 2.0 and 5.1 DTS-HD mixes of the German dub with optional German subtitles.Scream Factory keeps the stereo track in DTS-HD and gives the film optional English subtitles for the first time.
So it's great to have a widescreen release of this film, finally, but where OFDb has really excelled is the extras. Now, this is a German disc, so there are a couple of bits that are German only. But most things - all the important stuff -  is completely English-friendly.

First up is an audio commentary (yes, in English) with the film's producers Mark Borde and Kenneth Raich, writer Brent V. Friedman, special effects artist Todd Masters and actor Robert Romanus (he played Lonnie).  Brent Friedman and Todd Masters also comes back for on-camera interviews, running 18 and 16 minutes respectively. This and all the other interviews are in English with optional/ removable German subtitles. The other interviews include star Chris Sarandon (16 mins), composer Richard Band (10 mins), and production designer Brent Thomas (8 mins). There's also a brief acceptance speech by Dan O'Bannon at the Chainsaw Awards, introduced by Bruce Campbell and Quentin Tarantino, and two trailers for the film. Finally and perhaps most excitingly of all, there's over 18 minutes of recovered footage of the director's cut from the workprint tape. As you'd expect, it's from fuzzy 4:3 tape, but it actually looks a lot cleaner than most workprints I've seen, looking essentially like a commercial VHS release. It's missing music cues, and there's the occasional "shot missing" card for big effects moments; but this is really the stuff fans have been wanting to see since final cut was first taken from O'Bannon back in 1991. These are all on the blu-ray and in HD.
2015 OFDb DVD.
Because yeah, technically OFDb's release is a 3-disc set.  The second disc in this set is the DVD version of the blu.  And the third disc is most of the extras that couldn't fit on the blu on DVD. It's worth noting, though, that there's an animated stills gallery with the behind-the-scenes photos and such that's only on the DVD, and not on the blu. And for the German speakers among us, there are also two additional commentaries (one with a pair of German film critics, and one with two guys from Wicked-Vision Magazin), as well as a radio play of the original Lovecraft story. Oh, and there's a glossy, 80-page book included in this set, which is also all in German. But at least it makes the set look a little more lavish. There's a separate insert, too, with a note from the producers of the DVD and telling you the individual number of your limited copy (mine's 2040/5000).

And Scream Factory?  Thankfully, they've imported everything except the German-language commentaries.  Even that photo gallery.  And most excitingly, they've also come up with a little bit more.  First is an on-camera interview with ST Joshi, the Lovecraft expert we've seen on several recent Lovecraft discs, like Dagon and Beyond Re-Animator.  Then, even better, they interview female lead Jane Sibbett.  Apparently, she doesn't like horror movies, but she's a good sport.  Scream's release also comes with reversible cover art.
OFDb's release turned out to be absolutely everything I was asking and hoping for when I wrote the original version of this post, and Scream Factory's is even better.  Admittedly, I still hold out hope for that director's cut, and this film could still look better.  But at a certain point, we're looking at the grey lining of a silver cloud, because these blus really deliver what we fans have been clamoring for and they'd have to be crazy to be disinterested just because we can think up even more to hope for.


  1. There's a German Blu on the way with special features by Red Shirt Pictures -- if your German's any good, here's a link with details:


    1. Oh, wow - that's awesome! Ha ha What else should I wish for while it seems to be working? Or maybe I shouldn't push my luck...