Return of the Living Dead (1985) Reviewed

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985)
This under-appreciated zombie movie made a moderate splash with teens but mostly went unnoticed in 1984. It’s one of my favorites and is a perfect example of a successful horror-comedy (tried often, but rarely successful). Penned by Dan O’Bannon, the same scribe of ALIEN, the story is surprisingly fun. Two nit-wit working stiffs at a medical supply company inadvertently release a toxic gas that reanimates the dead and makes them hungry for human brains. These fleet-footed zombies pre-date …28 Days Later by nearly two decades. They look appropriately disgusting and are pretty verbal (“More brains!”). Clu Galanger and James Karen steal the show but it’s Linnea Quigley’s crypt-top strip tease that kept my adolescent ass coming back for more. There’s a lot of “punk rock” in this movie too. Our heroes are a group of teen punks (complete with chains and mo-hawks) who one by one succumb to the army of flesh eaters. There are lots of laughs and tons of gross-out moments, not to mention a fair share of genuine scares. This was a sleepover favorite in my formative years and because it was fake punk rock before fake punk rock was cool, it stands the test of time. For it’s genre, it ranks with the original Night of the Living Dead as a near-masterpiece. Quigley provides the only nudity and the soundtrack features the Cramps(!) How fucking cool is that?
***1/2

~ by Number5ive on August 19, 2008.

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