Hey, she has the same expression I do!
Despite only having come out a little over a year ago, the sole High Definition home video release of Peter Jackson's watershed splat-stick opus, DEAD ALIVE (or "BRAINDEAD" to damn near every country that is not 'Merica), is already out of print. And yeah, it's "Out of Print" in the way where eBay and Amazon sellers have already raised the prices five times its list, of which they likely paid half of on release day. Gods, we live in strange times...
The consensus seems to be that Trimark Pictures' rights to the film - which, in turn, became Lionsgate's rights when they bought them out around 2000 - have finally expired. To put this into perspective, that's about 13 years after the initial Trimark/Lionsgate DVD was released in North America, so these guys had a pretty goddamn good run with it, financially speaking.
Keep in mind that while this is one of the single best things on the planet ever made... it's still cut by over 5 minutes. Supposedly this was the director's preferred cut, but I think we can all kindly shut the fuck up with that nonsense, unless someone can point me to a new interview where Jackson disowns the original Kiwi version and not give me the same second-hand quites IMDb has been milking for 15 years running. Seriously, the continuity on the US edit is all over the place, trimming some of my favorite jokes and leaving the fate of several of the film's most iconic spleen eaters unsettled! But I know, I know, anyone remotely familiar with this movie knows all of this, so discussing it beyond "Yes, it's still cut!" is about as productive as pissing upwind. So pardon me while I zip up.
As I said when the disc came out, it looks PRETTY DAMN GOOD, all things considered. Not perfect, largely because it's surely sourced from a 20 year 2nd Generation IN. Make no mistake though, it's substantially better than any SD release available - particularly when compared to the overflowing cornucopia of appallingly piss-poor (but uncut!) PAL versions floating around - and word is the insanely grainy look is similar enough to theatrical screenings that what you're seeing is just... y'know, Braindead, in all of its lo-fidelity, $3 million budgeted glory.
If you see this kicking around for the $20 MSRP, pick it up now, because this bad boy is already starting at over sixty bucks used. The fact that LG lost the home video rights means they've probably lost all broadcast and digital streaming rights, too, so unless New Line Cinema really wants to whore Jackson's early works to tie into The Hobbit Trilogy, this is as good as it's gonna get for a while.
I hate needing to say this, but I honestly wish Arrow Video would pick up the slack and do this title some uncut HD justice. Jackson's been threatening to restore all of his early films for nearly a decade now; if he does I'll gladly sell my damn plasma to upgrade if need be, but I'm getting old and impatient! I want Braindead, Uncut, and in HD... is that so difficult? Seriously, is it?
Oh well. Just a few more weeks until I can satisfy my love for practical bloodlust with Fede Alvarez' remake of The Evil Dead. I'm honestly super excited to see that... go figure.