Before there was Shaun of the Dead, there was The Return of the Living Dead, an equally entertaining if not better zombie comedy. Scene after scene, this movie will keep surprising you with clever dialogue and gory action. By the time we reach the one-hour mark so much stuff will happen that you’ll start wondering where are they going with this? We have full-frontal nudity, hilarious one-liners, great acting, crazy gangs, army experiments, awesome practical effects, and motherfucking zombies!
All of this makes and much more makes The Return of the Living Dead one of those movies you’ll keep coming back to. I know I have for the last twenty years. After all, this is the first movie that features zombies who are specifically looking for brains. Moreover, this is also the first movie with running zombies. Up until this point, we only had the pleasure of watching the walking dead. Considering all of this, it’s not surprising that we got four sequels of declining quality.
The Return of the Living Dead is a masterfully crafted gem bursting with creativity and style. And it has so many different elements that fit perfectly together. Just take the opening scene where an older employee is showing a new one how things work. If you ever worked in any place like this you’ll recognize the characters immediately. There’s always one joker, one guy who knows all the conspiracies and the ruthless head honcho. And the decision-making is also quite good along with the attention to detail.
Speaking of realistic characters, our punk gang does look like a parody of itself but it’s just so damn stylish! Check out Dead End Drive-In for more of this over-the-top eighties extravaganza. Additionally, just one year later, Highlander will copy Mark Venturini’s Suicide character and graft him onto Clancy Brown’s Kurgan. With great success, if I might add. After seeing so many women in the audience, O’Bannon remarked that he would make Mark take off his clothes if he knew that was going to happen.
However, I think that Linnea Quigley as Trash was the most memorable character. Mostly because she spends the movie completely naked climaxing with that infamous grave dancing scene. Oh yeah, this is quite a wild ride people, so better strap in.
Today is a very important day for young Freddy, it’s his first day at his first job. He’s working for the Uneeda medical supply warehouse, a strange company located on the outskirts of town. And while he’s happy he finally got a job, he’s also anxiously waiting to go drink some beers and celebrate with his friends later on. They arrive a lot earlier and decide to start without him. However, what they didn’t know is that something horrible has happened at the Uneeda medical supply…
The Return of the Living Dead was written and directed by Dan O’Bannon. He’s the guy who worked on such classics as Alien, Total Recall and Screamers. And we can add this one to that list without any hesitation. The special effects are juicy and even the soundtrack is this pulsating blend of deathrock and punk rock. The atmosphere is engaging and there’s always something going on. I could go on and on about all the little details I love about this movie, but I think it’s best you check it out for yourself. If you haven’t already.
And if you’re looking for something to watch afterward, check out Feast, also starring Clu Gulager. I also have to mention another weird eighties movie that’s more of a straight horror that turned out funny than a blend of the two genres. I’m, of course, talking about Lifeforce – The Weirdest Vampire Movie Ever Released. It features a script written by O’Bannon and it’s directed by none other than Tobe Hooper. It’s funny that they had the same issues with pubic hair as they did here. And on that note, I think it’s time to wrap this review up.
Director: Dan O’Bannon
Writers: Rudy Ricci, John A. Russo, Russell Streiner
Cast: Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Thom Mathews, Linnea Quigley, Brian Peck, Miguel A. Núñez Jr.
Fun Facts: The huge gun is actually a WWII German Howitzer.