I’m going to put my hand up and say that this is my all-time favourite zombie movie; sure, there are better ones with more serious undertones and even The Walking Dead’s constant lack of hope or levity is more for the modern age but me, I like my zombie flicks to be daft and The Return of the Living Dead is like watching a 90-minute party.
It’s basically 80’s punks vs. endless hordes of the undead but rather than making you feel utterly miserable it has a kick ass rock soundtrack and a lighthearted tone which remains throughout the movie even when the bodycount starts to rise.
It’s also got a chick who is naked for pretty much the entire runtime… even once she becomes a zombie which is awkward and yet still kinda hot.
You’re just smiling from beginning to end as it never takes itself too seriously but also references Night of the Living Dead from George A. Romero which remains one of the most influential zombie movies of all time.
It’s only 90 minutes long and it takes a little while for any really cool stuff to happen but it still holds up, especially the make-up effects which (for The Tar Man especially) are impressive.
Some of the acting may be less than stellar but that’s part of the charm. There are little things going on in the background too like the “eye test” which spells out Burt is a Slave Driver amongst other tidbits.
I also love how the zombies don’t drag themselves along slowly like they normally do in other movies; in this they are fast. They run, they speak and most importantly they think and feel. I love the scene with The Tar Man using a pulley to try and open the door to get a potential victim as it made him all the more scary. Another high point is when the half corpse is chained to the tabale and speaks saying how eating brains eases the pain of death; she can feel her body rotting which was quite a disturbing thought.
So if you’ve never seen The Return of the Living Dead then you should check out the new Blu-ray from Shout Factory ASAP as it’s a must have classic.
Special Features Include:
NEW 2K Scan Of The Interpositive
NEW Audio Commentary With Gary Smart (Co-author Of The Complete History Of The Return Of The Living Dead) And Chris Griffiths
NEW Audio Commentary With Actors Thom Mathews, John Philbin And Make-up Effects Artist Tony Gardner
Audio Commentary With Director Dan O’Bannon And Production Designer William Stout
Audio Commentary With The Cast And Crew Featuring Production Designer William Stout And Actors Don Calfa, Linnea Quigley, Brian Peck, Beverly Randolph, Allan Trautman
The Decade Of Darkness – Featurette On ’80s Horror Films (23 minutes)
Still Gallery – Posters, Lobby Cards, Movie Stills And Behind-The-Scenes Photos
Still Gallery – Behind-The-Scenes Photos From Special Make-up Effects Artist Kenny Myers’ Personal Collection
Zombie Subtitles For The Film
In Their Own Words – The Zombies Speak
NEW The FX Of The Living Dead With Production Designer William Stout, FX Make-up Artists William Munns, Tony Gardner, Kenny Myers And Craig Caton-Largnet, Visual Effects Artists Bret Mixon And Gene Warren Jr. And Actor Brian Peck (Expanded Version) (30 minutes)
NEWParty Time: The Music Of The Return Of The Living Dead With Music Consultants Budd Carr And Steve Pross And Soundtrack Artists Dinah Cancer (45 Grave), Chris D (The Flesh Eaters), Roky Erickson, Karl Moet (SSQ), Joe Wood (T.S.O.L.), Mark Robertson (Tall Boys) Plus Musicians Greg Hetson (Circle Jerks) And John Sox (The F.U.’s, Straw Dogs) (Expanded Version) (30 minutes)
NEW HORROR’S HALLOWED GROUNDS – Revisiting The Locations Of The Film
The Return Of The Living Dead Workprint – Includes 20 minutes Of Additional Footage (In Standard Definition)
More Brains: A Return To The Living Dead – The Definitive Documentary On The Return Of The Living Dead (120 minutes)
A Conversation With Dan O’Bannon – His Final Interview (28 minutes)
The Origins Of The Living Dead – An Interview With John A. Russo (16 minutes)
The Return Of The Living Dead – The Dead Have Risen – Interviews With Cast Members Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Brian Peck, Thom Mathews, Beverly Randolph, Linnea Quigley And More… (21 minutes)
Designing The Dead – Interviews With Writer/Director Dan O’Bannon And Production Designer William Stout (15 minutes)