Sunday, October 31, 2021

The Laughing Dead – Vinegar Syndrome (Blu-ray)

Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1989
Director: Somtow Sucharitkul
Writer: Somtow Sucharitkul
Cast: Tim Sullivan, Wendy Webb, Premika Eaton, Patrick Roskowick, Larry Kagen, Krista Keim

Release Date: October 26th, 2021
Approximate Running Time: 91 Minutes 32 Seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $39.98

"A busload of travelers and their guide, on the hunt for Aztec ruins, decide to stop in an all but forgotten-to-time Mexican village, on the eve of the Day of the Dead. The tour leader, a disgraced priest, is enlisted by a local doctor to perform what he believes to be an exorcism, but in actuality, the doctor is using him to begin a diabolical ritual intended to bring about Hell on Earth!" - synopsis provided by the distributor

Video: 5/5

Here’s the information provided about this release's transfer, "Newly scanned & restored in 4k from its 35mm original negative."

The Laughing Dead comes on a 50 GB dual layer Blu-ray.

Disc Size: 32.9 GB

Feature: 25.3 GB

This is another outstanding transfer from Vinegar Syndrome. The source used is in excellent shape, colors look correct, image clarity and black levels look solid and the image looks organic.

Audio: 5/5

This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD stereo mix in English and included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. The audio is in great shape. Dialog comes through clearly, everything sounds balanced, and ambient sounds are well-represented.


Extras for this release include reversible cover art, a making-of documentary with: director Somtow Sucharitkul, producer Lex Nakashima, actress Premika Eaton, actor Tim Sullivan, cinematographer David Boyd, associate producer/second unit director Michael Deak, costume designer Shellagh Hannigan and transportation/pa Ron Ford titled Unholy Assembly: Crafting The Laughing Dead (35 minutes 12 seconds, Dolby Digital stereo English with removable English subtitles), an audio commentary with Somtow Sucharitkul and an embossed slipcover limited to 5,000 units.


Based solely on its premise, The Laughing Dead should have turned out better than it did. That said, how can a movie that features exorcism and zombies turn out so badly?

The thing that immediately grabs you while watching The Laughing Dead is its stiff performances. For most of the cast, this was their first and only film they ever appeared in. And to further compound things, the awkward dialog does not do the actors any favors.

Though it's clear that The Laughing Dead is a film of limited resources. Surprisingly, when it comes to other things besides acting, The Laughing Dead does a good job exploiting these areas. Most notably, the visuals and production design/locations.

The area where The Laughing Dead excels the most is special effects. A standout moment is an exorcism sequence where a character removes their heart and places it in another character's chest, after they remove that character's heart. Ultimately, The Laughing Dead is the type of film that fans of so-bad-it's-good cinema will only enjoy.

The Laughing Dead makes its way to Blu-ray via an excellent release from Vinegar Syndrome that comes with a solid audio/video presentation and a pair of informative extras.

Written by Michael Den Boer

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