The Dead Next Door (Home Video Review)

Starring Pete Ferry, Bogdan Pecic, Michael Grossi

Directed by J.R. Bookwalter


Every once in a while I like to dive back into the pile of stuff that I’ve had holding up the South wall of my residence, hoping to yank out that one shining gem of a forgotten flick that may have escaped my peepers in years, and was I pleasantly surprised to locate this one in the heap. 1989’s The Dead Next Door is the little engine that could in my feckless assessment, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank the man responsible for getting this one into my grubby mitts – his name is Jason Nagy and he’s the owner/operator and lead flesh-chewer over at ZombiesandToys.com – the very first site that I was given the opportunity to ply my craft at, and for that I’ll always be grateful to him. For news concerning all things undead and a pretty killer toy store attached to boot, head on over and pay them a visit – I promise you won’t get bit…unless you ask nicely.

So here I am with this glorious little zombie film in my hands, and turns out that it was given quite the dusting off and proper buffing by Tempe Digital back in 2017, and actually is financially feasible (about $20 on Amazon), but let’s give a quick look at the storyline before we dissect the pertinents, shall we? After a worldwide epidemic has literally turned the masses into roving, cannibalistic killers, a crack Zombie-eradication unit has been assembled by the last few rational members of Government (boy, is that an oxymoron). The squad’s mission is simple: waste every undead target within eyeshot – the only problem is that the deceased (and diseased) are being protected to a fashion by a demented cult who believe that the only way to restart society is to let the world be purged to an extent…oh, what a way of thinking! The remainder of the film has the usual twists and turns, and even though there had been more than a handful of zombie presentations at hand by 1989, this was still a fun representation of what chaos would look like, and there are even some doses of humor chucked in to break up the seriousness of it all.

But what we’re all here for are the specs of this double-disced delight, aren’t we? Well, buckle your lap-straps ya slimebags – here we go! Picture-wise, we’ve got a 1080p transfer that only marginally cleans up the original look from back in the day – not a negative by any stretch, as I find it quite impressive to not only tidy up some rough spots but maintain the grainy integrity of these lesser-known pieces of work – not the shiniest, but definitely pleasing to the peepers. When it comes to sound, what can really be said? The film back in ’89 was gravelly and muffled to an extent, and even with the advances in technology the dialogue and surrounding noises still come off with that same buried-feel, regardless of the “classic dub-mix” that’s been provided. When it comes to Special Features, if you can’t find it on this 2-disc set, it probably didn’t exist, but allow me to roll out the red carpet of goodies for you down below so feel free to give em’ a gander. In closing (gosh, that sounds official), I can definitely recommend The Dead Next Door as a solid home video pickup, especially for those who hunger for the true-goodness that was the zombie-genre back in the 80’s before it was jammed down our gullets with such Schwarzenegger-like force decades later. If you haven’t checked this one out and want a little no-nonsense horror goodness, give it a look!

Special Features:

  • Restoration of the Dead
  • The Nightlight Screening
  • Behind the Scenes Footage
  • Deleted Scenes and Outtakes
  • Still Galleries
  • Trailers
  • 2015 Producers Commentary
  • Richards Returns!
  • 1999 Location Tour
  • 20 Years in 15 Minutes
  • Video Storyboard
  • Music Video
  • Video Pre-shoots
  • Auditions
  • 2000 Frightvision Reunion
  • 2015 Producers Commentary with J.R. Bookwalter, Jolie Jackunas and Scott P. Plumme
  • 2001 Foreign Commentary with J.R. Bookwalter and FX artist David Lange
  • 2005 Audio Commentary with writer/director J.R. Bookwalter, actor Michael Todd, and cinematographer Michael Tolochko, Jr
The Dead Next Door (1989)
  • Film:
  • Special Features:
3.8
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