Cast: Steve Buscemi, Ned Beatty, John Glover, Miriam Margolyes
Extras: Commentary Track, Photo Gallery, Alternate Scenes
Looking at the cover and reading the back of the packaging immediately conjured up memories of Peter Jackson’s ’Dead Alive’ when I received a review copy of Pathfinder Home Entertainment’s ’Ed And His Dead Mother. In many ways the story resembles that of Jackson’s splatter comedy, though this one drives more for humor than guts.
Mama-boy Ed (Steve Buscemi) just can’t get over the death of his mother one year earlier and he would do anything to get her back. One day a salesman appear explaining that for a meager $1000 his company could bring his mother back to life. Ed agrees and two days later his mum is returned to him, seemingly fully intact. But the salesman was a crook, as it turns out, and Ed’s mother is nothing like she used to be. Not only does she need a constant – costly diet – to remain alive, she also turns into a blood-thirsty beast. So, after a lot of deliberation, Ed decides to put her back into the grave where she belongs, but that turns out to be much harder than he expected, after all.
Pathfinder presents the movie in a non-anamorphic widescreen transfer on this DVD and sadly the presentation is plagued by numerous problems. Despite using a fairly high bitrate, the image quality is poor at best. The image is washed out at times, but even more so, the compression creates visible artifacts such as pixelation, banding and mosquitoing. Especially the latter is quite distracting, as it turns parts of the screen with subtle movement, into grainy pixel-clusters. The image lost a lot of definition as a result of the compression, making it a tad disappointing. Cleaning up and stabilizing the source material before compressing it would probably have gone a long way in putting the bitrate to good use, but as it stands, it only serves to exaggerate the inherent problems. Colors are good, though washed out at times, and black levels are weak, creating shifting shadows and blacks.
The disc contains a Dolby Stereo track that is well-produced. It is clear and without notable defects. Distortion is at bay, and the frequency response is a bit limited, though generally natural-sounding. Sadly, the disc features neither subtitles nor closed-captions, which is a disappointment and should finally be embraced by EVERY DVD publisher as a must-have feature.
’Ed And His Dead Mother’ comes with a commentary track featuring critics Luke Thompson and Gregory Weinkauf. It is informative and entertaining, though their enthusiasm comes across a bit artificial at times.
A Still Gallery is also enclosed as well as the movie’s opening and ending with color in place – the original opening and ending appear in black and white in the final film.
’Ed And His Dead Mother’ is a fun little film that certainly owes a lot to ’Dead Alive,’ which appeared a year earlier. It is silly and over the top, and good enough to keep you amused. Too bad the DVD has a few rough edges.