Burial Ground: The Next Generation

It's been long delayed, but 88 Films' restoration of Burial Ground has finally landed in the USA! If you contributed to their indiegogo campaign at the end of 2014 (it was DVDExotica's very first tweet!), you should be getting your copies now. And if you didn't, it's in stock and shipping. So it's available for all. Now, I suppose, the only question is... was it worth it?

Update 3/11/16 - 10/27/16: And now it's time for another blu-ray edition of Burial Ground, this time from Severin Films. This isn't the first time they've followed closely on 88 Film's heels with a US release of one of their Italian restorations (for that, see Zombie Holocaust, which was in the same Indiegogo campaign). That time, Severin won a lot of fan favor for their improved color timing, alternate cut of the film and impressive set of special features (though disappointingly, they lost the Italian subtitles, forcing Western audiences to stick to the English dub). But can they snatch the crown a second time?

Update 3/30/24: Eight years later, and Burial Ground has advanced to a new age, an Ultra High Def age.  Once again, 88 and Severin have put out competing editions.  Especially with UHDs, region locking isn't a thing (well, except in a very few infamous cases), so we're really free to choose which edition we want.  I've rolled the dice on Severin.  Let's see how I did.
Admittedly, Burial Ground is a B-movie. I mean, even within the realm of horror movies and 80s zombie films, it's a B. No one's ever going to refer to this film's taste or class. But it's such a fun flick. It's an Italian film that doesn't shy away from the blood and guts, provided by Fulci effects regular Gino de Rossi, and it's shot in a castle! So it's got that European Gothic flavor, including a creepy little incestuous subplot, sprinkled over essentially another Zombi knock off sequel. In fact, it was released in Japan as Zombie 3. Burial Ground's a little on the cheaper side - some of the zombies look a little more mask-y than Fulci's undead - but this film certainly delivers the mayhem, giving it a replay value many of its peers lack, even if they're maybe technically, objectively better films.
So, Andrea Bianchi's Burial Ground's been around the home video block. There are lower quality DVDs from your usual suspect labels like Vipco and Laser Paradise, as well as a non-anamorphic Italian Shock DVD. At least pretty much every release has been uncut. But probably the first really respectable release was Shriek Show's 2002 DVD, which was an anamorphic widescreen special edition, which I've got here for comparison. Shriek Show bumped it up to blu-ray with a new but mildly received transfer in 2011, and about two minutes worth of controversially missing frames. Essentially, damaged frames were removed whenever the picture cut, similar to the issue we saw on Blue Underground's blu-ray of Hell Of the Living Dead. And as in that case, the loss of visual frames is less the issue itself than what it does to the synced audio. So I held off on upgrading to that disc.
One of the many frames missing from Shriek Show's blu, restored on 88's.
Now, the running time for 88's 2016 restoration is 85:11, as opposed to Shriek Show's 83:24, and there's no 88 Films logo or anything at the beginning padding it out; so that's a very promising sign. Unfortunately, the review that detailed all of the missing shots between the DVD and blu-ray is gone. The whole site, wtf-film.com has closed.  :(  But the post on Kentai's blog lists a few of them, and shows some of the missing frames, so I'm checking the new blu against the time codes there. And... oh thank goodness! The missing frames are there at 14:25. You do hear the chandelier exploding at 16:09, and see the shot of the zombie starting to emerge from the planter at 25:51. 88 Films came through!

So with that problem resolved, we can relax.  The missing frames thing is behind us.  Anf, funf act: 88's first blu-ray features two transfers: a new 2k scan from a 35mm print done in the USA, described as their "alternative grindhouse version," and a new HD master taken from the original 16mm negative in Italy.  Then came Severin's blu-ray, using that same, latter master.  In 2023, 88 released a flusher special edition UHD, and now in 2024, Severin have done the same.  In fact, it's a BD/ UHD combo-pack, so we'll be adding two new sets of shots to the comparison.
1) Shriek Show 2002 DVD; 2) 88 Films 2016 grindhouse BD;
3) 88 Films 2016 restored BD; 4) Severin 2016 BD;
5) Severin 2024 BD; 6) Severin 2024 UHD.
hehe  Look how some form of scratch removal
removed Mariangle's flowing white scarf in this frame.

Happily, the scarf returns to us in 2024!

Well, I even prefer 88's "grindhouse" version to Shriek Show's DVD, even though the contrast is through the roof. The grindhouse version has lots of dirt flecks, especially in the beginning; but at least it preserves the film's 1.66:1 ratio. The DVD is slightly letterboxed to 1.85:1, mostly cropping the top of the image. It's also faded, soft and washed. Plus, the DVD is interlaced:
Shriek Show 2002 DVD.
Meanwhile, the newer 1.66 version from the negative is clearly the best this film had ever looked. Of course, the deck was stacked against the other versions - I almost suspect the whole reason 88 included the print version may've just been to make the other look better by comparison - but no matter what context you put it in, it's surprising the 16mm footage could look this good. It's crisper than I was expecting, and the grain looks natural and un-tampered with. And between the two 2016 negative transfers?  Severin did some more re-timing, going for some slightly more vivid colors and higher contrast, but possibly crushing the slightest bits of info out of some shadows and highlights.  So which is preferable is a bit of a personal judgement call.

But we can pretty much forget about that now in 2024, anyway.  We can see this isn't just the same master blown up to 2160p because that scarf is back.  Besides that, okay, it's not like there's loads of new details to unveil.  But thanks to the new Dolby Vision/ HDR presentation, subtle colors like the shine on Bark's forehead get to be more subtle and authentic, and small edges like the food on his plate are smooth and natural, as opposed to blocky like on the BDs.  Look at his hand facing the camera, and even on the Severin negative transfer, you can see areas where film grain is jagged and pixelated, but not on the UHD.  Burial Ground has upgraded to a new generation of image quality, though you'll need a pretty good set to notice the difference.

More good news: since 88 Films' 2016 BD, every release has provided both the English and Italian audio tracks in lossless 1.0 (LPCM in the case of 88's 2016 blu, DTS-HD for all that followed), with optional English subtitles. So we now have both language options.  Past releases, including Shriek Show's DVD and subsequent blu, only featured the English audio and no subs at all.
Now let's talk extras. This is where I said hang onto your Shriek Shows, because they had a couple exclusive interviews not on 88's release. There are roughly 10 minute talks with producer Gabriele Crisanti, and actress Mariangela Giordano. Besides those Shriek Show also has a photo gallery, the trailer, some bonus trailers and an insert with liner notes by AV Maniacs' Charles Avinger and European Trash Cinema's Craig Ledbetter. Plus, on their 2011 blu-ray - but not their original 2002 DVD - they have 9+ minutes of outtakes without sound.

88's blu does not have those interviews, but they did make their own new extras, just with experts rather than any of the filmmakers. There's an audio commentary by UK critic and author John Martin, who's surprisingly negative about the film and spends most of the track ignoring it to talk about his own personal history. And there's a nearly half hour on camera interview with Mikel Coven (who wrote a book on Bianchi's films), which has a lot of interesting information. Coven really gets into Bianchi's other films, and I'm glad to have these extras - though you can really skip the commentary - but you can't top the people who were actually there.
Now so far, Severin has been running neck and neck with 88 Films, but here's where they started to pull ahead. They have a bunch of new special features, and they've actually got people who worked on the film.  Most excitingly for most fans is an interview, recorded before an audience at a 2013 screening, with the one and only Peter Bark!  They show clips from some of his other work, and it's definitely a fun, if a little brief (7.5 minutes) piece fans will want to see.  There's also a nice interview with actor Simone Mattioli, and a pretty in-depth featurette about the film's dramatic villa, filmed on location.  It turns out there's a ton of film history there.  All these new extras are great, and you should definitely check them out.

And Severin has also imported the Shriek Show extras... mostly, kinda sorta.  Where Shriek Show's on-camera interviews with Crisanti and Giordano were nine and a half, and eleven minutes long, respectively, Severin has made an odd choice. They edited them together into one nine minute and twenty second featurette that cuts back and forth between them.  And it's not even like they cut out all the clips from the film; those are still in there, plus about 30 seconds worth of newly added credits.  So, on the one hand, it is a more tightly edited piece, which some viewers will prefer.  A lot of what was cut was the interviewer asking his questions.  But on the other hand, we lost about 12 minutes, which is more than half of the interviews, including a lot of the subjects' thoughts; and that's a little bit disappointing.  Now it's like, uh, do I still hang onto my Shriek Show disc?  But if you've got the Severin disc, I'd say really don't go back and double-dip for the complete interviews unless you're a super fan with a poster of Mariangela up on your wall.
from the outtakes on 88's 2016 blu.
Happily, all the blu-rays also include the outtakes, albeit without sound. They've each got the theatrical trailer, too, and 88 includes a bonus trailer for their other indiegogo restoration, Zombie Holocaust. Severin also includes the alternate Italian opening credits, which 88 has on their "grindhouse" version. 88's disc includes a postcard with alternate artwork, a 16-page booklet with liner notes by Calum Waddell (who also moderated the audio commentary), reversible cover art and an exclusive slipcover if you're one of the people who donated to the campaign.  Meanwhile, the first 3000 copies of Severin's blu came in a slipcover, and all copies have reversible cover art with the traditional giant skull face or lumbering zombie images.
And yes, things have gotten even better for UHDs.  88 Films commissioned several exciting new extras for their 2023, and Severin has carried the most exciting of them over to their 2024 disc, too.  There's a new expert commentary by Nathaniel Thompson, Troy Howarth, and Eugenio Ercolani that's definitely better than the Martin one (which is still here, too), if a little overly casual and prone to long tangents.  Then, what's sure to be the real crowd pleaser, there's a new interview with Peter Bark (the old Q&A's still here, too), conducted at the old villa.  Now, 88 did also conduct two new on-camera interviews with additional experts that Severin didn't carry over (they haven't ported the Koven interview either)... but even 88's latest set is still missing the cast interviews with Mattioli, Cristiani and Giordano, which are all on Severin's UHD.  And for me, no knocks against anybody, but three interviews with the actual cast versus three interviews with additional experts is no contest.

Severin's UHD is light on booklets and stuff, but it does come in a nice, embossed slipcover.  And if you really need some swag, you can get their special bundle exclusive from their website, which includes a T-shirt and a Peter Bark pillowcase!
I was quite happy with 88's initial restoration. I was confident this would give us the best version of Burial Ground to date back when I donated, but I wasn't at all sure how much better. I was prepared for just slightly less noise. Thankfully though, all of the issues were fixed, the picture was a nice upgrade, plus we get some fresh extras and the Italian track, all in an attractive package. I'm still glad I donated.  Since that time, we've gotten even more improvements and special features, making incrementally better releases each time.  It may not have been worth the trouble and expensive of collecting each step along the way, but we've wound up in a pretty incredible place for this crazy little film. Whichever edition winds up on your shelf, it's all delightful.

Lucio Fulci's City Of the Living Dead

Having covered so many of Lucio Fulci's great 80s horror classics, City Of the Living Dead's absence has probably stood out like a bit of a sore thumb.  Well, I'd been planning on doing it, but then, in the beginning of February last year, Code Red announced a new edition with a fresh 2k scan of the OCN.  Given the troubled state of the previous CotLD blus (more on that below), I decided to wait.  Eventually, it was announced that Scorpion would be handling it instead of Code Red, and then radio silence.  Meanwhile, Arrow announced a fresh 4k scan from the OCN.  And, well, here it is October 2018, and I don't know what's happening with Code Red/ Scorpion, but they're gonna have a hard time topping this!

Update 8/26/19: Another new version! And it's... deliberately worse than the preceding release?  Yes, it's Code Red/ Dark Force's curious Retro Drive-In Double Feature of The Gates Of Hell (a.k.a. City Of the Living Dead, of course) and Psycho From Texas, not to be confused with Code Red/ Scorpion's disc, which is apparently still forthcoming.

Update 6/13/20: "Forthcoming" shmorthcoming; it's here!  Did they wind up topping the Arrow after all?

Update 3/24/24: And we swing back around to Arrow for their brand new "true 4k" UHD release.  We all knew this was coming, right?  Well okay, so how much better did things get?
City Of the Living Dead, a.k.a. The Gates Of Hell, is either the first or second in Fulci's loose trilogy of end of the world, undead horror.  City and The Beyond are a definite pair, but then it's more of a looser fit to try and tack on Zombie, House By the Cemetery, or maybe even Manhattan Baby.  But certainly, as with any of those others, Fulci's assembled his A-Team here: writer, Dardano Sacchetti, cinematographer Sergio Salvati, composer Fabio Frizzi, effects by Gino de Rossi and Cathriona MacColl in the lead.  And he's assembled a pretty great cast, including Christopher George, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Janet Agren and Michele Soavi.  There was no way this wasn't going to be somewhere in his upper echelon.
I'm also partial to the horror free for all style of story being told here.  You've already got Sacchetti's love for blending genres mixed with a healthy dose of Lovecraft's undeniable influence.  And yet it's still got a little more thematic unity to it than The Beyond, where each scene could practically be from a different movie.  Here, anything can still happen - dead people appearing and disappearing at will, bleeding walls, an air raid of maggots - but it all sort of feels like it fits within the premise.  There are certainly... flaws in the characterizations.  MacColl is alternatively dogmatically determined to prevent the apocalypse she saw in her visions or willing to forget the whole thing and go get a coffee instead.  Bob's tryst with his self-inflating sex doll is completely out of place.  But coherence isn't really a highly regarded commodity in 80s Italian horror in the first place, and combined with the utterly mad plot-line, it's hard to define anything as out of place or ill-fitting here.  Anything can happen when the gates of Hell are open.
Now, City of the Living Dead is hardly debuting on disc here. It was first released in 1998 by a cool cult label called EC Entertainment.  Then Anchor Bay gave it a wider release in 2000, which was later repressed by Blue Underground in 2007.  In 2010, Arrow and Blue Underground released blu-ray editions for the UK and US markets, respectively.  I wound up getting the BU blu because it had marginally better picture quality, but I still copped the DVD version (in fact a 2-disc set) of the Arrow disc for all the unique special features.  But despite having the superior transfer of the two, BU's disc was still plagued with scanner noise that a lot of Italian films had baked into their scans around that period.  So I'd been anxiously awaiting the 4k scan from Arrow's re-release in October 2018; it was the City of the Living Dead we'd all been waiting for.

But the story hasn't ended there.  In 2019, there was this random BD from Code Red and Dark Forces, which didn't have much to offer but could at least be considered an amusing diversion.  That was followed by a serious new contender, Scorpion's long-awaited 2020 BD, which rivaled, if doesn't dethrone, Arrow's.  And now we've entered the proper 4k era, with it debuting on UHD in the US from Cauldron Films.  Their edition was a bit pricey though, so personally I held out for the inevitable Arrow UK release, which I just got my hands on and streets next week.
1) 1998 EC DVD, 2) 2000 AB DVD, 3) 2007 BU DVD, 4) 2010 Arrow DVD,
5) 2010 BU BD, 6) 2018 Arrow BD, 7) 2019 DF BD; 8) 2020 Scorpion BD.
So EC's a pretty collectible little label, and I've read that some of their DVDs were actually better quality than many later reissues.  That's not the case here.  Their Deluxe Collector's Edition is non-anamorphic, interlaced and a generally pixelated affair, slightly mis-framed at 1.75:1.  The Anchor Bay DVD may not be pretty, but it corrected all of that: anamorphic, non-interlaced, 1.84:1 and more filmic.  And the BU DVD is the exact same transfer, no differences.  Pretty straight-forward so far.

Then the fine folks at BU (and Arrow) come back with their blu, finessing the framing to a perfect 1.85:1, clearing up the image and bringing us into the world of HD.  Unfortunately, they've got that scanner noise.  Now, I don't have Arrow's 2010 blu, just their DVD, but my understanding is that Arrow did some additional tampering with the image in an attempt to undo the noise (certainly their DVD has a weirdly smoothed look to it), and BU left it alone, hence the latter being the preferable option.  But of course, neither one is too hot, which brings us to Arrow's new addition.
2010 BU BD left; 2018 Arrow BD right.
This movie was always a pretty rough looking feature, so fans hoping for a wealth of new, fine detail from this 4k scan might initially be a little disappointed.  It's still framed at 1.85:1, but restores all the original film grain and thankfully, yes, is free of the noise.  If you're not clear on what scanner noise is, or how to spot it, check out this enlargement.  See how all the grain looks very blocky and pixelated?  That's not actually grain, but noise on top of the image.  It's artificial detail, nothing to do with what was actually being photographed.  See how it makes all the lines (of his face, the bookcase behind him, etc) all jagged and oversharpened?  Arrow's blu may actually look a bit softer by comparison, but that's the actual, natural image.  And since the noise is random, not part of the core image like film grain is, it looks even worse in motion, like you're watching the film through a jittery window screen.  So Arrow's new blu may first appear a little underwhelming, but it's a very welcome upgrade.

And Dark Force's disc?  Well, it's what Code Red likes to describe as a "grindhouse" version, which is to say that it's an HD scan, but taken from a very beat up source, in this case an old film print.  So it's got lots of vertical, green chemical lines, dirt, flecks, spots and cigarette burns at the reel changes.  The idea of this sort of presentation is that it's a throwback, enhanced by the fact that this BD is a double-feature, and in between there's about fifteen minutes of vintage commercials and trailers.  I don't know if the slight novelty value that provides really sells me on the notion of purposefully collecting lower condition films, but if that's your bag, now you have the option.  And it is still a decent HD scan of 35mm, matted to 1.85:1, and preferable to the older DVD releases... arguably even Blue Underground's disc with its scanner noise issue.  Well, maybe not; but at least it looks like film.  The framing is more zoomed in than any of the other blus, losing some info along the sides and bringing it back to where the DVDs were, and the coloring leans excessively blue.  But it's not really missing much detail.
2018 Arrow BD left; 2020 Scorpion BD right.
The big question then came between Arrow's transfer and Scorpion's.  It's not just the same transfer ported over to a region A release.  Scorpion's case itself describes it as a "NEW 2020 4K color grading and restoration of the film from a 4K scan of the original camera negative."  So it's not the same.  But note that it's a new "color grading and restoration," not another new scan.  Look at the second set of shots; Scorpion's frame is a lot cooler than the distinctly warmer one from Arrow.  They've taken a fresh stab at the colors, and they might actually be genuinely better.  Slightly boosted contrast and dark levels also help you make out detail better.  Numbers on a clock that were far from the camera and blended into the face around it are now visibly distinct.
2024 Arrow UHD.
But now of course we're talking about 2160p; so once again, it's a whole new ball-game.  The film has been again scanned and restored in 4k, this time in HDR10 and Dolby Vision.  And yes, the 4k resolution clearly puts it ahead of even the last Scorpion BD.  Edges that get pixelated and jagged are now smooth and natural curves, though you may have to zoom in or have a really large screen to appreciate it.  The contrast is a little lower, making fine detail stand out a little less, but it's all still there, and probably more authentic for it.  Film grain is clearer, though still subtle, and much better resolved.  Even on the Scorpion, a lot of it was getting lost to the 1080 compression, and it's here now.  The new scan does tighten up the framing a little bit.  It's still 1.85:1, but shaves thin slivers off the edges compared to the Scorpion disc, though nothing you'd see outside of a direct screenshot to screenshot comparison like this.

By the way, if you're wondering how Arrow's UHD compares to Cauldron's, the answer is: essentially the same, because Arrow is using Cauldron's master, who are credited in their accompanying book.  So strictly in terms of PQ, it's fairly academic which UHD you go with, though as we'll see, their are differences in other departments.
Another sweet thing about Arrow's release, meanwhile, was that it included both the Italian and English audio tracks.  All the previous editions only had the English.  EC had the mono with optional English and Dutch subs, while AB and BU (2007) had stereo and 5.1 mixes, but no subs.  Same goes for the old Arrow, except their blu also had a 7.1 mix in DTS-HD.  BU's blu also had that 7.1, plus the 5.1 and mono, as well as English, French and Spanish subs.  The  newer Arrows (the 2018 BD and the UHD) have the English 5.1, stereo and mono, all in DTS-HD, plus the Italian mono in DTS-HD, with two optional English subtitles tracks (one for the Italian and one to go with the English audio).

Predictably, Dark Force only includes the English dub with no subtitle options.  But Scorpion, thankfully, lives up to the standards Arrow set, including all three English tracks in DTS-HD, the Italian mono (again in DTS-HD) and both sets of English subtitles.  As with the 4k scan, I think Scorpion's just using the same stuff as Arrow, this time without any 2020 adjustments.  Audio and subtitle-wise, they're the same.
Major things have been happening in the special features department, too.  In short, the new Arrow handily trumps all that came before it.  Their new interviews are longer, better edited and in higher quality video than any of the previous editions.  Plus, they have the old audio commentaries, which are okay, but completely redundant if you watch the interviews, which are better paced.  So the old Arrow, the BU blu, and the new Arrow blu all talk to a bunch of the same people, and they all tell the same anecdotes the same way every time.  So, while I understand (believe me, I do!) the collector's impulse to say I need all these discs because they all have unique extras, you truly honestly don't.  Specifically, here's what the 2018 Arrow has:

*The old audio commentary with Catriona MacColl and journalist Jay Slater. I know he's a bit infamous and had one of his commentaries pulled from a Shriek Show disc and all, but he's perfectly charming here.
*The old audio commentary with Giovanni Lombardo Radice and writer Calum Waddell
*On-camera interview with Dardano Sacchetti, who's surprisingly negative towards the film
*On-camera interview with Catriona MacColl
*On-camera interview with cameraman Roberto Forges Davanzati
*On-camera new interview with production designer Massimo Antonello Geleng
*On-camera interview with Sergio Salvati
*On-camera interview with Giovanni Lombardo Radice (again, with these improved interviews, Arrow could've tossed the old commentaries, but I appreciate them erring on the side of inclusion)
*On-camera interview with Gino De Rossi
*On-camera interview with Venantino and Luca Venantini, played the boy and his father (yes, they're also father and son in real life)
*On-camera interview with Fabio Frizzi
*On-camera interview with Carlo De Mejo (this one's from the old Arrow release, and has an annoying editing style that's difficult to watch, but it's the best we're going to get since he's passed)
*On-camera interview with expert Stephen Thrower, who starts out repeating some pretty basic info, but gets pretty interesting as he gets deeper into things.  I wish he'd gone even deeper into how this film is an anti-fascist piece from Fulci, because other aspects, like the cops abusing the bohemians in NY and the fact that everyone is being punished for being Salem witch burners really play into that message, too.  But that's not a criticism, because Thrower has a lot of great stuff to say, which just inspired me to think about it and add my two cents here.
*On-camera interview with Andy Nyman, director of the recent film Ghost Stories
*A video essay by Kat Ellinger (who did a better job on Mondo Macabro's Who Can Kill a Child?, but here feels a bit lost) about Fulci's input in the zombie genre, which spends a lot of time just listing names and titles of classic zombie films, before eventually coming around to making a point
*Perhaps this disc's biggest gem: behind-the-scenes 8mm footage of this film's USA shoots with audio commentary by Davanzati, who shot it all
*Alternate Gates of Hell opening credits
*Two trailers, a TV spot and a couple radio spots
*Four image galleries
...And, this set comes packaged in a nice hard slipbox with reversible artwork for the inner case.  Also inside is a double-sided poster, six lobby cards and a 60-page booklet by Travis Crawford and Roberto Curti, plus Arrow's usual card for another film in their catalog (I got Don't Torture a Duckling).
So, the Anchor Bay and old BU discs are barebones, with just a trailer and slideshow.  You can forget them anyway.  The EC DVD actually has a unique extra: MacColl and David Warbeck speaking at Eurofest '96.  A portion of this did wind up on Grindhouse's Beyond blu-ray, but this EC version includes about six or seven additional minutes of them on stage.  Small potatoes, but like I said, I understand the collector's impulse.  😉

Blue Underground had some good stuff, it's just basically all been rendered redundant.  On camera interviews with MacColl and Radice perfectly mirror their other interviews and commentaries, and their half hour 'making of' carefully goes over each of the film's infamous set pieces, which again are all covered as well or better on Arrow's new blu.  Their "Memories of the Maestro" featurette is more unique, interviewing various cast and crew about their memories of Fulci, but it's all 100% taken from Paura vol. 1, meaning it's the exact same footage; so if you have that either by itself or as packaged with 88's blu of Zombie 3, you've already got that content.

You might be a little more tempted to hang onto the 2010 Arrow blu (or DVD set).  Again some of it, including the commentaries and Carlo De Mejo interview, have been ported over.  But there's a lot that hasn't.  Most of it, though, is older interviews with the same people saying the same things in lower quality.  This includes on-camera interviews with Radice and MacColl, of course, plus a shorter talk with Sacchetti and a brief introduction to the film by De Mejo.  But it has a couple unique features, including an interview with Fulci's daughter, Antonella, and one with Luigi Cozzi which feels like they just threw it on there because they had recorded it a while ago and had no better release to stick it on.  Most compelling is probably a silly featurette called Fulci In the House, which is more of an overview of Fulci's career and pretty disposable except it interviews a few interesting people like Joe Dante and Lloyd Kaufman.  It also includes a booklet by Waddell, a poster, lobby cards, one of Arrow's old window sleeves and reversible artwork.
Dark Force's disc doesn't really have any CotLD-related extras, but of course it has the entire other film, Psycho From Texas, which gets its own coverage here.  It also has the aforementioned 15 minutes worth of drive-in ads and trailers, and comes in a very cool, glow-in-the-dark slipcover.

Scorpion basically has everything the new Arrow has, with a few exceptions.  It's missing two featurettes: the Carlo De Mejo interview and more disappointingly, the 8mm behind-the-scenes footage.  They've also replaced the two audio commentaries with two different ones.  They've recorded a new expert commentary with Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson, which is up to their usual standards, though I'm not sure fans will learn anything new from them at this point.  And they've included the commentary by Salvati and Davanzati from the old Italian DVD No Shame put out in 2004.  That commentary has never been in English before (Scorpion has it subtitled), so it's essentially brand new for all of us English speakers.  So I'd say, overall, it's a step backwards in the featurettes but a step forwards in commentaries, essentially making it a tie.  Scorpion doesn't have all the swag of Arrow's limited edition, but it does come in a slipcover and includes reversible cover art, using The Gates Of Hell title (I have to say, I get a little kick now out of having The Gates Of Heaven and The Gates Of Hell now right next to each other on my shelf).

And for Arrow's new UHD?  We swing back to the the 2018 BD selection.  But coming from the Scorpion, it's nice to get the behind the scenes footage back.  And a nice surprise is the restoration of the 2010 Arrow extras, like the Antonella Fulci interview and even the Carlo de Mejo intro, that had been dropped from the 2018 BD.  Plus, while this new release's artwork is a little questionable, in terms of packaging, it's the most satisfying yet.  A black amary case (with the six lobby cards and ad card) with reversible artwork sits alongside the book and poster in a solid slipbox, which itself slips inside a match slipcover.  Frankly, I'm glad to move away from the J-card that's too big to fit inside its box that's taped on with that little clear circle on the front.
It's worth noting that Cauldron added a new expert commentary and a new featurette visiting the Bonaventure cemetery, which are exclusive to their release.  Honestly, any of the more recent special editions are so loaded, that I can't imagine any of them will leave their owners pining for the exclusive bits of any of the others, but if you're a die-hard completist, unfortunately, Scorpion, Arrow and Cauldron all have a few bits none of the others do.  In fact, so do Blue Underground and even EC.  But this new Arrow has the most and best overall collection of extras.  Plus, not that the revisionist remixes are particularly important, but it should be noted that of the two UHDs, only Arrow includes the stereo and 5.1 in addition to both of the mono tracks.  So anyway, I'd say Arrow's new UHD is the one to get.  But if you've already got one of the more recent previous editions, this may not be a high priority title to upgrade.