I don’t buy a whole lot of physical media these days, but Criterion releases are those kind of definitive editions that are hard to resist. I’m a sucker for their awesome cases, visual upgrades, and compilation of special features. All things that speak to my cinephile needs. And all that is made even better when it’s a movie that I actually love, like the two films that were announced today.
Criterion has revealed that they are releasing 4K versions of George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” and “Silence of the Lambs.” Here’s a breakdown of what each release will contain:
Night of the Living Dead
Shot outside Pittsburgh on a shoestring budget by a band of filmmakers determined to make their mark, Night of the Living Dead, directed by horror master George A. Romero, is one of the great stories of independent cinema: a midnighthit turned box-office smash that became one of the most influential films of all time. A deceptively simple tale of a group of strangers trapped in a farmhouse who find themselves fending off a horde of recently dead, flesh-eating ghouls, Romero’s claustrophobic vision of a late-1960s America literally tearing itself apart rewrote the rules of the horror genre, combined gruesome gore with acute social commentary, and quietly broke ground by casting a black actor (Duane Jones) in its lead role. Stark, haunting, and more relevant than ever, Night of the Living Deadis back, in a new 4K restoration.
1968 * 96 minutes * Black & White * Monaural * 1.37:1 aspect ratio
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
* New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director George A. Romero, coscreenwriter John A. Russo, sound engineer Gary R. Streiner, and producer Russell W. Streiner
* New restoration of the monaural soundtrack, supervised by Romero and Gary R. Streiner, and presented uncompressed on the Blu-ray
* Night of Anubis, a never-before-presented work-print edit of the film
* New program featuring filmmakers Frank Darabont, Guillermo del Toro, and Robert Rodriguez
* Never-before-seen 16 mm dailies reel
* New piece featuring Russo about the commercial and industrial-film production company where key Night of the Living Dead filmmakers got their start
* Two audio commentaries from 1994, featuring Romero, Russo, producer Karl Hardman, actor Judith O’Dea, and more
* Archival interviews with Romero and actors Duane Jones and Judith Ridley
* New programs about the editing, the score, and directing ghouls
* New interviews with Gary R. Streiner and Russel W. Streiner
* Trailer, radio spots, and TV spots
* PLUS: An essay by critic Stuart Klawans
“Night of the Living Dead” will retail for $39.95 but you can preorder for $31.96. Check it out here
The Silence of the Lambs
In this chilling adaptation of the best-selling novel by Thomas Harris, the astonishingly versatile director Jonathan Demme crafted a taut psychological thriller about an American obsession: serial murder. As Clarice Starling, an FBI trainee who enlists the help of the infamous Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter to gain insight into the mind of another killer, Jodie Foster subverts classic gender dynamics and gives one of the most memorable performances of her career. As her foil, Anthony Hopkins is the archetypical antihero – cultured, quick-witted, and savagely murderous – delivering a harrowing portrait of humanity gone terribly wrong. A gripping police procedural and a disquieting immersion into a twisted psyche, The Silence of the Lambs swept the Academy Awards (best picture, best director, best screenplay, best actress, best actor) and remains a cultural touchstone.
1991 * 118 minutes * Color * 2.0 surround * 1.85:1 aspect ratio
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES
* New 4K digital restoration, approved by director of photography Tak Fujimoto, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
* Alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray
* Audio commentary from 1994 featuring director Jonathan Demme, actors Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, screenwriter Ted Tally, and former FBI agent John Douglas
* New interview with critic Maitland McDonagh
* Thirty-five minutes of deleted scenes
* Interview from 2005 with Demme and Foster
* Inside the Labyrinth, a 2001 documentary
* Page to Screen, a 2002 program about the adaptation
* Scoring “The Silence,” a 2004 interview program featuring composer Howard Shore
* Understanding the Madness, a 2008 program featuring interviews with retired FBI special agents
* Original behind-the-scenes featurette
* PLUS: An essay by critic Amy Taubin along with, in the Blu-ray edition, a new introduction by Foster; an account of the origins of the character Hannibal Lecter by author Thomas Harris; and a 1991 interview with Demme
“The Silence of the Lambs” will retail for $39.95 but you can preorder for $31.96. Check it out here.
Both films are set to be released on February 13, 2018.