The Walking Dead:
The Complete Second Season
Limited Edition Blu-ray
The Complete Second Season
Limited Edition Blu-ray
Four disc set of the second season of The Walking Dead stored in a collector's zombie statue created by McFarlane Toys and designed by Special Effects Make-Up Supervisor and Co-Executive Producer Greg Nicotero
Anchor Bay: 2012
4/ 5 zedheads
Today, Anchor Bay released to stores its limited edition Blu-ray set for the second season of AMC's The Walking Dead. Unlike the mass retail set, this limited edition set is housed within the bust of a zombie head with a screwdriver through its eye, replicating an iconic moment from the second season.
Since this set was announced, it has been on the must-have list of many zombie fans who are dying to get back into the post-apocalyptic world of AMC's The Walking Dead ahead of its season three debut on October 14th.
But is Anchor Bay's limited edition set really worth the money? Well, we took a trip to our local Best Buy to pick up the set and see for ourselves.
For Walking Dead fans, this set is certainly an impressive and gruesome display piece, not to mention a novel way to store Blu-ray discs and persuade people like me to buy Blu-ray even though the size difference in DVD and Blu-ray cases makes them look awkward when displayed together on the shelf. This set gets around that problem for collectors by offering us an even cooler collective incentive: a zombie head! It's an impressive set that's only really hurt by the inability of the paint to live up to its own exceptional box and promotion art.
The head is sculpted in fantastic detail with textured and rotten skin, sunken eyes, a crooked and molted nose as well as mouth of exposed teeth and putrid lips. Although the removable screwdriver doesn't seem like something to marvel at, the designers have made it into a very accurate reproduction of a real-world tool.
When you get this set in hand, there's plenty as-advertised detail to explore with your hands and fingers. After getting ours out of the box, I was surprised to find that the whole head is cast in a semi-soft rubber that is pliable under the fingers. It gives the whole head an eerie skin-like quality much like a fully cast Halloween mask. The base, however, is very plain, but that doesn't detract from the details of the head sculpt.
Unfortunately, the paint applications on this set do not live up to the expectations set by the advertised box-art. While the box art makes the zombie sculpt look life-like and natural (well -- as life-like and natural as the walking dead can be), the final product ends up looking slightly doughy and rough around the edges in the paint department. The plastic texture of the face is accentuated rather than hidden by the broad choice of paint applications, especially the quick wash of blacks and browns on the teeth that rob them of any real tooth texture. What on the box looks like a highly detailed and textured statue comes out of the box looking more like a rubber mask. It's disappointing in one respect considering the $90.38 price tag at Best Buy in Canada (after taxes), but when you stop to consider that most places will be retailing the regular Blu-ray set for $59.99 or more, the limited edition zombie sculpture case is only an extra $30 or so. At that cost, the paint applications we get are not unreasonable. It's still unfortunate, however, that Anchor Bay couldn't go a step beyond and improve the paint details around the teeth and eyes, which are a focal point of this design.
This set isn't just a statue, it's also a functional Blu-ray storage space with a very macabre feature. Without the screwdriver, the head remains latched at the neck via a small catch at the base of the neck. However, stab the zombie in the eye with the screwdriver and the catch releases allowing you to angle the head back at the neck to reveals a slot in the center of the head where the second season of The Walking Dead is stored. It's a satisfying and addictive gimmick. Who would have thought that stabbing a zombie in the peepers with a screwdriver could be so satisfying!
The Blu-ray package design within the head truly shows that this is the zombie-lover's edition of The Walking Dead. Notice the lack of human cast members on the front of the packaging. Instead, we're treated to a lovely painted collage of undead walkers created, if I'm not mistaken, by Drew Struzan. As a zombie fan, I approve!
Over the span of four discs, you will find all 12 episodes of season two as well as 11 featurettes, five audio commentaries with cast and crew, deleted scenes, and the six webisodes that aired on AMC.com revealing the identity of the bicycle zombie from season one. The enclosed booklet is nothing show-related. It's simply advertisements for other The Walking Dead-related merchandise and AMC shows. Unfortunately for Canadians but fortunately for Americans, there's also a $2 coupon for any Anchor Bay horror Blu-ray or DVD. Want a suggestion on where to spend it? Go pick up THE DEAD, the zombie apocalypse movie set in Africa and also distributed by Anchor Bay.
So what's the final verdict? Despite some disappointing paint applications, Anchor Bay's limited edition Blu-ray set of The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season is truly the zombie-lovers edition. With gimmicks and packaging catering to all of us that love zombies, this set is entirely worth the extra money for a cool display piece and the vicarious pleasure it gives of stabbing some rotten freak in the face with a screw driver.