Written and directed by Dan O’Bannon, the pen behind Alien, Total Recall, Lifeforce and Dark Star is The Return of the Living Dead. It’s a straight up 80’s zombie horror movie bursting out of the grave with flesh eating fun and it’s truly deserved of both its cult status and this DVD and Blu-Ray re-release – which will hopefully introduce it to a whole new horror audience.
Opening in a medical supplies warehouse, dim-witted Freddy (Thom Mathews from Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI) is starting a new job. As part of his initiation, his foreman takes him to the basement where a set of mysterious military canisters are stored which he is told contain the real zombies which inspired the movie Night of the Living Dead.
Unleashing the toxic gas inside the drums by accident, the pair discover that along with a load of dead animals, a cadaver kept in their meat locker has come to life and seems awfully angry. Panicking they call their boss to try to sort the sick and spooky situation out.
After hacking the body to pieces, pieces which still seem to be alive, the trio take the bag of body bits to a nearby mortuary to burn unaware that their misguided actions are about to bring about The Return of the Living Dead.
Unleashing a deadly acidic rain which causes the previously passed to come alive again, Freddy’s friends hanging around the graveyard across from the warehouse find themselves beset by brain eating bodies brought back to life, and now hungry to take theirs away.
Can they stop the zombie horde from spreading before its too late? And more importantly, how do you kill something that’s already dead?
From its raucous rock soundtrack provided by The Cramps and other blistering bands, to the punk style, ridiculous haircuts and constant use of the word ‘Rad’, The Return of the Living Dead is a pure piece of 80’s horror and it’s all the more entertaining because of it.
Black comedy abounds in the opening, with the movie showing its slightly more serious side in the slow progressive deterioration of the infected characters and their sadly inevitable transformation. The great cast gleefully yell, scream and panic as the ever growing undead army chases them from building to building, picking them off one by one without an end or sign of escape in sight.
Perhaps not the most innovative movie except in its self-referentialism, what it lacks in original ideas it more than makes up with in blood and guts.
Revelling in its own trashiness, the film is packed full of random nudity, great gore and nasty effects with the story moving forward as the evil situation escalates and the zombie army increases.
Crammed full of awesome extras Second Sight truly deliver the total package in their reissue, with the original and remixed soundtrack, over two hours of bonus features as well as the full documentary More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead which contains cast and crew interviews with all involved.
If you like your movies full of fun, fear and 80’s style and your zombies covered in gore and begging for brains, then The Return of the Living Dead is the movie for you.
Read our exclusive interviews with the cast with Part One right Here.