"Day of the Dead Fan Bible" Tri-Book Review

Written by Ilan Sheady

Published by TriCoast Publishing

Written by George Romero, Marcy Levitas Hamilton & Erik Smith
2011, 383 pages, Horror
Released on December 3rd, 2011

Review:

Nobody excites film distributors more than George Romero when it comes to re-releasing his titles, mainly because he seems so relaxed and happy to talk about his films. All he has to do is pop out a statement like 'Terry twisted his ankle in one of the scenes in Day of the Dead' and some guy in an office will jump up like Janine in Ghostbusters shouting 'WE GOT ONE' and a new DVD will be on the shelves in a matter of weeks with extra footage of said ankle being twisted in slow motion. The dedicated fans fork out an extra £18 (which we always do) and the film distributors throw some more money on the pile and wait for George to open his mouth again.

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Day of the Dead the Fan Bible might be the first in a revolution of digital releases that empowers the fans and lets us put our hard earned money into other fans’ hands who will then hopefully reward us with more footage, features and interviews therefore breaking the cycle. I say 'might' earlier because I'm yet to see what happens with the £6.95 I paid for this app. The money ‘might’ indeed go into the development of new updates, alternatively the 'fans' might just use the money to go out and buy pizza. Assuming it’s the former this App has a lot of potential.

In principle Day of the Dead Fan Bible is the George Romero authorized, digital version of the original, never-before-released script for Day of the Dead, a screenplay, it turns out, that was a lot more ambitious than the film we know and love. The real treat lies in the video footage that breaks up the pages. At first they consist of short clips from interviews with George then original set sketches, and behind the scenes footage followed by actual film sequences to see how the script translated onto the big screen. The original script itself is a real eye opener. Occasionally it can feel a little difficult to read and mentally comparing it to the released film doesn’t work. I often get confused as to who the Red Coats are and additional characters like Spider amongst many others.

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The App does have several flaws/bugs though. Whilst it can be viewed either horizontally or vertically the latter results in some videos being cropped and the layout is far from well planned. Also the videos can get a bit repetitive early on. Hearing Miguel call “HELLO? HELLOOOOOO? HELLOOOOOOOOOO?” every time I pressed play really tested my resilience as a fan. The videos however are really high quality and look beautiful on the iPad. They showed a lot of promise at first by providing me footage I had never seen before, but after the first chapter it had run out of exclusives and I was left with only cuts from the original scenes (something which you can argue is a little dishonest seeing as the first chapter is also the free demo). Lastly it would have been nice to read about WHY some of these scenes were cut or changed. I know it'll just be down to time or budget, but it's such a dramatic edit that it leaves me with more questions than before I bought the app. This doesn't matter though. This isn't a DVD of special features or a published book. This is an app and if the creators ate smart I'm sure that they will be updating it as soon as they are made aware of it. In fact I look forward to the next chapter of interviews that I'm hoping is coming our way. They will make this App well worth every penny. If however there are no plans to expand then there is a huge missed opportunity in this 'fan made' product that I'm sure someone else will pick up on.

If, like me, you did a search for Evil Dead on the Apple Store and were disappointed to see only a Bruce Campbell soundboard then your prayers may be answered. If this app shows any degree of success it'll only be a matter of time before Sam Raimi authorizes a fan bible of his trilogy (or fingers crossed quadrilogy). Heck, I might just get there first, I’m sure HorrorTalk has his phone number lying around.

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Grades:

 
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