DVD Review “Birth of the Living Dead”

Actors: George A. Romero, Larry Fessenden, Mark Harris, Gale Anne Hurd, Elvis Mitchell
Directors: Rob Kuhns
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: First Run Features
DVD Release Date: January 7, 2014
Run Time: 76 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

“The Walking Dead” is one of the hottest shows on TV right now. It is a world wide phenomenon. But this zombie madness all started back in 1968 with George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead”. Originally when I heard about “Birth of the Living Dead”, I thought “another documentary?” but I was really pleasantly surprised. The documentary is smart, sharp and very informative. There are a very small list of interviews included, which I feel works for this film because it keeps Romero front and center, as he should be. Highly recommended for any horror fan!

Official Premise: In 1968 a young college drop-out named George A. Romero directed Night of the Living Dead, a low budget horror film that shocked the world, became an icon of the counterculture, and spawned a zombie industry worth billions of dollars that continues to this day. Birth of the Living Dead shows how Romero gathered an unlikely team of Pittsburghers policemen, iron workers, teachers, ad-men, housewives and a roller-rink owner to shoot a revolutionary guerrilla style film that went on to become a cinematic landmark, offering a profound insight into how our society worked in a singular time in American history.

This film delivers some impressive special features. There is an extended interview with George A. Romero, which runs just over 30 minutes. I liked listening to his stories and they interview is quite interesting. There is an audio only extra called “George A. Romero at the Museum of Modern Art, June 16, 1970”, which runs about 10 minutes. Lastly there is also a feature “Bill Hinzman and the World Record-Breaking Monroeville Zombie Walk”, which is worth the price of the DVD only.

 

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Book Review “Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography Vol. 1”

“Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography Vol. 1”
Author: Paul Brannigan, Ian Winwood
Hardcover: 378 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

“Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography Vol. 1” written by former Kerrang! Editor Paul Brannigan and British rock journalist Ian Winwood is an in-depth look at arguable one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time. The first in a two part series Vol.1 documents from the bands inception in 1981 up through 1991 and the release of the groups ground breaking “Black” album. “Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography Vol. 1” is being released via Da Capo Press and features 378 pages along with 8 pages of photos.

From the time I first saw Metallica’s video for “One” I was hooked. Anything and everything related to the band I had to check out (good or bad) and even though they had released 3 albums prior to “And Justice for All” the album spawning the single “One” and I was late getting to the party it didn’t hinder my quest for all things Metallica. Prior to reading this book my expectations were not very high as I had thought that I pretty much read everything about the band that was available. Upon delving in to the 378 pages you instantly realize that you are going to be in for a treat as the authors take you places normally off limits to the public. Weather they are talking with members of the band at their practice space known as “HQ”, Telling stories of speaking with Lars on a phone booth at 3am or covering the listening party for the “Black Album” “Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography Vol. 1” has a bit of everything. Even if you have heard some of these accounts before I found it quite interesting to hear different take. Along with some great writing are 8 pages packed with rare photos going back to when Dave Mustaine was in the band. I only wished that there had been a few more of these photo pages placed throughout the book to correspond with the subsequent chapters.

Fans of Metallica and or heavy metal music in general will surely enjoy “Birth School Metallica Death: The Biography Vol. 1”. Not only does it contain some really cool interviews and accounts but it’s a fairly straight forward and easy read. So even if you are terminally shaken from years of head banging and moshing I encourage you to put down your devil horns and stagger over to your nearest book store and pick up a copy of this book.

DVD Review “Switched at Birth: Volume One”

Starring: Katie Leclerc, Vanessa Marano, Constance Marie, D. W. Moffett, Lea Thompson
Number of discs: 2
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: ABC Studios
Episodes: 1-10
Run Time: 430 minutes

Our Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I have seen the promos for this show and overall I am of fan of ABC Family’s TV programming. The show is enjoyable with some funny and dramatic elements but overall seems lacking a major purpose. This set consists of the first ten episodes from the show’s freshman season. Overall the show might cater more to the female gender or teenagers but not to me personally. There are also no special features on this releases as well, which is a little disappointing.

The series doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to revealing the whole switching at birth, as it happens in the first episode. Once they get it out the way the series really takes form having the two girls meet each others family and even moving in together. The show features the girls struggle with their own identities and prejudices against one another and while also facing everyday teenage drama like dating, friendships, and family.

I really had a problem with actress Vanessa Marano, it wasn’t so much her character but I just thought that she was really annoying. On the complete opposite, I really enjoyed watching Katie Leclerc and thought that she was really sweet. Watching great actresses like Lea Thompson and Constance Marie were highlights of the show. Lucas Grabeel known for his “High School Musical” fame sadly is only secondary character and really could have shined more.