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Average review score based on 46 user reviews
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"Return Of The Living Dead" is basically one giant homage to George Romero's infamous "Night Of The Living Dead," and a loving one at that. It pokes plenty of fun at the horror genre, is stocked with stupid characters, and has plentiful helpings of gore. During his first day on the job at Uneeda Medical Supplies, Freddy (Tom Mathews, you may remember him as Tommy Jarvis in "Friday the 13th, pt. VI: "Jason Lives") and his bumbling supervisor, Frank (James Karen), accidentally crack a tank containing a corpse that was previously a zombie (ala "Night Of The Living Dead"). Problem is, this tank was filled with toxic gasses, and not only does it make the two very ill, every dead creature in the building comes back to life (even some split puppies (?)). Up until this point, there is only one zombie to worry about, until the two decide to cremate it, which spreads more gasses into the air and re-awakens the dead all over town. Big mess. And caught in the middle of it all are a really obnoxious group of teenagers, coincidentally, Freddy's friends (one of whom stays nude pretty much for her entire screen-time, problem is, she's one of the first to go) and some very unlucky and downright stupid paramedics. From here on out, it follows standard zombie flick procedure, with an abundance of shocks and laughs thrown everywhere, all capped off with a surprising ending that will leave you scratching your head and wondering what you just saw. Nevertheless, "Return Of The Living Dead" is pure fun. It may go over the heads of horror snobs, but if you are looking for a good time this Halloween, it can't be beat (I'm sorry, but I couldn't stop laughing when they were trying to tackle the original zombie). The DVD edition supports the movie with audio-commentary by director Dan O'Bannon, a few technical featurettes and TV spots and trailers. Recommended for those who want to have a bloody good time.
What if George Romero's seminal zombie opus 'Night of the Living Dead' wasn't just a movie? That's the premise of this flick, 'The Return of the Living Dead.'
A Kentuckian named Freddy has recently gotten a job at the Uneeda Medical Supply Co. in Louisville and is being shown the ropes by his uncle, Frank, when Frank reveals to his nephew 'Night of the Living Dead' actually happened, although it wasn't Venusian radiation that reanimated the dead. Instead, it was an experimental chemical called "Trioxin." Due to a shipping mistake, the pickled corpses of the zombies, sealed in airtight drums, were shipped to Uneeda, and Frank can't resist showing them off.
Before you can say, "Bad idea!" the idiots have opened one of the drums, unleashing the Trioxin to reanimate not only the very gooey zombie stored inside but also a medical cadaver kept in storage. Efforts to cut up and burn the undead only make things worse. The smoke rises and the Trioxin comes down in the rain and brings back to life every single corpse interred at Resurrection Cemetery... which is where Freddy's girlfriend Tina and her punk rocker friends - Spider, Scuz, Casey, Suicide, Trash and Chuck - are having a party.
The unfortunate hooligans find themselves besieged by the undead, who desire one thing and one thing only: to eat human brains! Everyone seeks refuge in the funeral home run by Ernie (who is a former Nazi and keeps a pearl-handled Walther P38 on him at all times) and try to survive the night. But exposure to the Trioxin is having a most unfortunate effect on Freddy and Frank: they're slowly turning into zombies themselves!
And wait 'till you see what happens when police and paramedics begin attempting to respond to the crisis. The line "Send more cops!" was never funnier.
'The Return of the Living Dead' is a laugh riot. It's funny, it's scary, it's gross. It's everything a horror comedy should be, with fun characters (Ernie in particular is a hoot) and a fairly nihilistic outlook, and a good punk rock soundtrack. There's even a striptease scene with Trash, who goes the full monty as they say. The DVD is well put-together, with two commentary tracks. The first is by director Dan O'Bannon and William Stout; the second features O'Bannon again but this time he's joined by several members of the cast, including two "zombies" (or some random actors pretending to be zombies). Both tracks are informative and fun and there are also some making-of featurettes.
Return of the Living Dead does not take itself seriously and hopes fans of the genre won't either. It hass a fun romp, comic book feel to it and is intentionally over the top. Its played for laughs and has some real good ones mixed throughout the movie.
The characters are all stock for a horror movie, but the dialog and camera work really work in a fast paced quick cut way. A forerunner of modern day filmmakers. The plot such as it is, surmises that Night of the Living Dead was actually more or less a documentary and that events it depicts really happened! In fact the Shipping warehouse Freddy has started work for actually houses a cannister from the US army which holds one of the zombies in hibernation.
Needless to say the cannister finds itself opened by the dimwitted Freddy and his boss during which a mysterious gas is released as well animating other dead items in the warehouse. Now the two must deal with an animated corpse while trying to keep things hushed and avoid the authorities. Unlike the Night storyline you can't kill these Ghouls with a blow to the head. These undead zombies walk and talk and even run!!
Subduing the first corpse they decide to try to incinerate it altogether at a local crematorium across the street. You'd think that would work, but as you watch you'll see it actually creates more of a mess!! think abbot/costello meeting Romero's zombies.
Meanwhile Freddy's friends are all partying in a cemetary near the two buildings, awaiting on Freddy to get off of work. Piece it all together and the storyline really takes off from there as one mistake compounds another into a full frenzy of jokes/deaths into one screwball comedy. Its not heavy on the gore, but is sprinkled with notable nudity probably not suitable for younger viewers. Fans of Zombieland will enjoy this film and most of Romero's fans should as well. Its not meant as a direct sequel to his series, but does have several nods to it. Its comedy done respectfully to the source. I highly recommend it for those looking for some laughs and a fast film to pass some time.
Zombie fans probably know about this movie already. How could they not with the name so similar to Romero's classics. Still, this is not like Romero's socio-political movies, this one is just fun zombie gore.
It has all the best cliches. Kid on his first day of work at a creepy medical supply warehouse, supervisor trying to show him something cool takes him to the basement where there is a container with military writing on it and a corpse in it. Of course the container gets messed with and some sort of toxic gas gets released. Did I mention this warehouse is near a cemetery? Of course it is! Dark and stormy night - punk kids playing in the cemetery get acid-like rain on them and the dead come back hungry...and still able to place their orders. Brainsssss.
Lots of running, lots of gore, lots of screaming and one exhibitionist. It would not be 80's horror without a topless girl. Love it when the paramedics get called and attacked and then the zombies ask dispatch to "send more brains".
Highly recommended as a fun horror movie, not a creepy "ohh I'm scared" kinda movie but a classic 80's horror movie none the less.
Region: Region 1
Number of Discs: 1
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 11, 2007
Mono - Spanish
Dolby Digital Stereo - English, French
Subtitles - English, Spanish, Zombie - Optional
Subtitles - English - Closed Captioned
Additional Release Material:
Audio Commentaries - Including Cast, Crew, Zombies
Documentaries - "From The Underground: The Rise of Horror in the 80s"
Featurettes - "Remembering The Dead: Cast Recollections"
Taken From The Zombie Memorabilia Website: ARCHIVES OF THE DEAD