The sad passing of George A. Romero this year took away one of the true legends of genre cinema. With his zombie trilogy of Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, he completely changed the landscape of horror film making. Indeed, he single-handedly re-animated the sub-genre of zombies. Whilst these movies are indelibly etched on the psyche of multiple generations, much of his other earlier work is much less well-known. George A. Romero: Between Night and Dawn brings together There’s Always Vanilla, Season of the Witch and The Crazies.

There’s Always Vanilla

Romero’s second film is rather an anomaly and one he’s distanced himself from. It’s very much of its time and shows the yawning chasm between the traditional older generation and the new changing dynamic of society in the late 1960s/early 1970s. Chris (Raymond Laine) bums around playing guitar and doing whatever he pleases. He meets Lynn (Judith Ridley), a young TV commercial actress, and the pair hit it off. However, Chris is happy never to grow up, and when Lynn discovers she’s pregnant, he’s less than enthused. There’s Always Vanilla is an interesting swipe at the advertising industry and capitalism as a whole, but it’s unfocussed, erratic and too scatty for its own good.

Season of the Witch

A bored housewife Joan Mitchell (Jan White) with an abusive husband (Bill Thunhurst) and a runaway daughter (Joedda McClain) looks for a release through witchcraft. She attracts a cocky younger professor (Raymond Laine) but has increasingly more disturbing dreams about a masked intruder (S. William Hinzman). As her mania grows, Joan increasingly struggles to tell the difference between reality and fantasy. Season of the Witch is a claustrophobic thriller where old values collide with new and changing society. Whilst there are some great scenes and interesting directorial directions, it’s a little too unhinged.

The Crazies

The everyday humdrum life of Evans City, a quiet town in Pennsylvania, is shattered when some of the residents starts acting crazy. Major Ryder (Harry Spillman) moves in with a battalion of troops in protective suits and declares a quarantine zone around the town. With a breakdown in communication and an air of chaos, a nurse (lane Carroll) and her boyfriend (Will MacMillan) hide-out along with his colleague (Harold Wayne Jones), a father (Richard Liberty) and his teen daughter (Lynn Lowry). The Crazies is a twitchy, scattergun mix of sci-fi, horror and action which builds in intensity and tension.

George A. Romero: Between Night and Dawn is a mixed bag, but worth it for The Crazies alone. It’s a noisy, febrile collection of Romero’s early work, which demonstrates much of his style and political leanings of one of the most iconic horror directors. There are also some great extras on each disc.

LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
•        High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard DVD presentations

•        Original Mono Audio (Uncompressed PCM on the Blu-rays)

•        English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing

•        Reversible sleeve for each film featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

•        Limited edition 60-page booklet featuring new writing on the films by Kat Ellinger, Kier-La Janisse and Heather Drain
THERE’S ALWAYS VANILLA
•        Brand new 2K restoration from original film elements

•        Brand new audio commentary by Travis Crawford

•        Affair of the Heart: The Making of There’s Always Vanilla – brand new documentary featuring interviews with producers John Russo and Russell Streiner, stars Judith Streiner and Richard Ricci, and sound recordist Gary Streiner

•        Digging Up the Dead – The Lost Films of George A. Romero – archive interview with Romero discussing his early films There’s Always Vanilla and Season of the Witch

•        Location Gallery with audio commentary by Romero historian Lawrence DeVincentz

•        Memorabilia Gallery

•        Trailer

•        Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

SEASON OF THE WITCH

•        Brand new 4K restoration of the original theatrical version from the camera negative [90 mins]

•        Alternate extended version [104 mins]

•        Brand new audio commentary by Travis Crawford

•        When Romero Met Del Toro – filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro in conversation with George Romero

•        The Secret Life of Jack’s Wife – archive interview with actress Jan White

•        Alternate Opening Titles

•        Location Gallery with audio commentary by Romero historian Lawrence DeVincentz

•        Memorabilia Gallery

•        Trailer

•        Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

THE CRAZIES

•        Brand new 4K restoration from the original camera negative

•        Brand new audio commentary by Travis Crawford

•        Romero Was Here: Locating The Crazies – Romero historian Lawrence DeVincentz takes us on a guided tour of Evans City, PA and the locations used in The Crazies

•        Crazy for Lynn Lowry – cult star Lynn Lowry discusses her early career including her role in The Crazies

•        Q&A with Lynn Lowry filmed at the 2016 Abertoir Film Festival

•        Audio interview with producer Lee Hessel

•        Behind-the-scenes footage with optional commentary by Lawrence DeVincentz

•        Alternate Opening Titles

•        Image Galleries

•        Trailers & TV Spots

•        Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx

It’s released on dial format DVD & Blu-ray by Arrow Video on 23 October.