31 Days of Horror: Return of the Living Dead (1985)

31-days-of-horrorDay 9 and I get to talk about one of the, now classic zombie movies that has a huge cult following.  Return of the Living Dead is the first zombie movie that was able to mix humor and gore into the same movie, zombie movie.  Before Shaun of the Dead, there was Return of the Living Dead.

For a little history, John Russo and George Romero worked together on Night of the Living Dead.  George Romero took the title, “Of The Dead” and Russo got, “Living Dead”.  It took John Russo a long time to get Return of the Living Dead made and originally it would be directed by Tobe Hooper and be filmed and released in 3D.  Eventually Dan O’bannon stepped in for re-writes and changed somethings and was offered the job of directing.  We ended up with the movie we have today.

Return of the Living Dead is about how a warehouse owner accompanied by his two employees, mortician friend, and a group of teenage punks rockers deal with the accidental release of a horde of brain-hungry zombies.  That and the fact these zombies can talk are the biggest differences from the Romero zombies.  I also love the naked dance scene with Linnea Quigley, but honestly, who doesn’t.  But it gets better, later she is a naked zombie leading the horde.

The mixture between comedy and gore is amazing, it is all about the cast and their delivery.  Couple that with a fun story and terrific effects, and you have a great movie.  But there is one thing, it may get over looked by some fans, the soundtrack is killer.  It really captures the punk era and for some reason I get really happy when I hear the theme song.

Return of the Living Dead is so good, it may be one of the best zombie movies ever made, it is 100% one of the top 5.  If I made a list, Dawn of the Dead may be the only hope for any Romero movies.  While I love Day of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead, they are just not as fun.  I mean, look at the trailer, “DO YOU WANNA PARTY!”


Now go watch Return of the Living Dead!  If you get the chance, check out the documentary, More Brains!: A Return To The Living Dead – The Definitive Return of the Living Dead Documentary.

Tomorrow, I will take a look at the sequel Return of the Living Dead part 2 and explore the sequels.  You know what would have made the second movie better, Linnea Quigley, they did bring back Thom Matthews and James Karen.

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