One of the nice things about Synapse is they release DVDs for the kind of gen­re film fes­ti­val favorites that would have a hard time get­ting seen on home video oth­er­wise, giv­ing them solid trans­fers and adding extras when pos­si­ble. Reel Zombies is their lat­est entry in this vein, offer­ing a nice pre­sen­ta­tion of a self-par­o­dy­ing zom-com from a group of Canadian film­mak­ers that earned some good press on the hor­ror fest cir­cuit.

The main fea­ture is pre­sent­ed in an anamor­phic trans­fer that does well by film that was shot on video in “fast and cheap” con­di­tions.  The image is clean and sharp, offer­ing as much detail as the doc­u­men­tary-style cin­e­matog­ra­phy will allow. A 2.0 stereo mix is offered and sounds smooth, offer­ing clear dia­logue through­out.

ReelZom-dvdThe first of the extras is a com­men­tary track fea­tur­ing writer/co-director Mike Masters, co-direc­tor David Francis and pro­duc­er Stephen Papadimitriou, all of whom also star in the film as comedic ver­sions of their real-life selves.  It’s a fun, rol­lick­ing track that quick­ly reveals just how close the par­tic­i­pants stuck to real­i­ty: for exam­ple, the audi­tions sequence incor­po­rates a lot of real audi­tion footage and the actress play­ing Masters’ ex-girl­friend in the film was real­ly his ex-girl­friend.

They also reveal how ardu­ous a task the edit­ing was (the film was cut down from 88 hours of footage and the rough cut took eight months to do).  Elsewhere, they dis­cuss their rela­tion­ships with the oth­er actors in the film, most of whom they’ve worked with on oth­er films, and offer plen­ty of scene-speci­fic mem­o­ries, includ­ing a num­ber of inci­den­tal injuries that occurred dur­ing stunts.  Fans of the film will also be hap­py to know that the real life Masters/Francis rela­tion­ship is much like how it is depict­ed in the film.

The next extra is about 40 min­utes’ worth of out­takes, rang­ing from brief snips to full sce­nes and even a few extend­ed ver­sions of sce­nes in the film.  It’s easy to see why much of this mate­ri­al was cut for pac­ing rea­sons but it’s worth watch­ing at least once for fans for a few gems sprin­kled through­out the run­ning time: high­lights include Master’s slow-burn reac­tion to dis­cov­er­ing zom­bie extras have been dressed in his col­lec­tion of jer­seys and a fun­ny scene where one actor attempts to nego­ti­ate nude and sex sce­nes for him­self in the film.

The last of the extras is a trail­er: it moves fast and, in true exploita­tion film style, crams most of the exploitable stunt and gore ele­ments into its short run­ning time.  All in all, Synapse has put togeth­er a tidy DVD edi­tion of Reel Zombies that will hope­ful­ly help this fes­ti­val fave get some more expo­sure to the hor­ror audi­ence.

To read Schlockmania’s film review for Reel Zombies, click here.