On his first
day on the job at an army surplus store, poor Freddy unwittingly releases
nerve gas from a secret U.S. military canister, unleashing an unbelievable
terror. The gas re-animates an army of corpses, who arise from their
graves with a ravenous hunger... for human brains! And luckily for
those carnivorous cadavers, there is a group of partying teens nearby,
just waiting to be eaten!
"But I don't care darling, because I love you, and you've got to let me eat your brains."
Having seen this
movie dozens of times to actually know what the hell I'm talking about,
there's absolutely no debate of whether or not this film is actually any
good. Let's be honest, it simply is. What I believe The Return of the
Living Dead did for fans was it broke new ground on zombies that caught
most of us off guard to what we have seen in the Romero movies. It's actually
somewhat of a relief knowing that those 'typical' zombies Romero created
have now turned into a much more exciting journey of transformation in
which the zombies can now run and talk. With it's perfectly great blend
of teenage humor and buckets full of gore, The Return of the Living
Dead is by far one of the best in it's kind and will forever be remembered
for it's outrageous originality.
First of all,
I can't figure out what people hate about this film. And when they do hate
it, they have no legitimate response to back up their ridiculous claim.
To be honest, I believe the film had all of it's natural elements to make
a good horror movie, but in this case it's somewhat of a wild comedy on
occasions. You have an amazing score that adds the word 'genius' to the
film, and a good set of believable characters for a horror flick. To top
it all off to a realistic concept, the entire movie practically took setting
in a morgue and a place called 'resurrection' cemetery. No pun intended.
Seriously, I grew up with this movie. I watched it multiple times a week
to the extent of the entire script to be encrypted in my head and never
got tired of it. The performances by the actors were a step up from a lot
of horror films back during the day, and to call them crappy... you should
be ashamed of yourself. I loved the character of Frank played by James
Karen, he passes off as a great uncle to Freddy. Freddy played by Thom
Mathhews, was my favorite character. He's the newly employed stock-boy
and plays his scared character phenomenally, and Burt played by Clu Gulager,
did another great performance to add onto his accomplishments as a veteran
actor. I think Dan O'Bannon, wherever he is, should still and always be
recognized for creating such an entertaining movie.
of the Living Dead surfaced in the cinema shortly around 1984, 85-ish,
and made below-average in the box-office. As I recall, from what I've read,
I think it made back it's own budget but sadly didn't leave any lasting
impressions. That doesn't mean anything. And it shouldn't matter, because
as with time such as now, ROTLD now makes a bigger impact through
home entertainment that it now gains it's 'cult classic' title we the fans
were all hoping for. So if you're a fan of the movie and you have yet to
purchase the DVD, please do. It's an awesome transfer for the time being.
Unfortunately, the DVD release was a huge let-down to a lot of major fans
as it lacked any real depth into the film-making process. Besides the director's
commentary there really wasn't much on the DVD that pleased anyone. Word
from the underground says that they're a lot of features (stuff) that are
present in some places (unknown archives) that may someday make it's way
into another hopeful SE release. Let's cross our fingers on that then shall
of the Living Dead may have the unbalanced mixture of horror and comedy,
but that's what's great about it. It works so well.
Hooper was originally slated to direct "Return of the Living Dead."
of the Living Dead was supposed to be filmed in 3-D.
Shepard originally took the role of "Trash", but declined the part after
she found out what the wardrobe (or lack there of!) consisted of, so the
role was assumed by Linnea Quigley, who became a B-Flick "Scream Queen"
mostly because of this movie.
O'Bannon purposely named the Clu Gulager (Burt) and Don Calfa (Ernie) characters
after the Sesame Street characters of the same name.
nuclear cannon at the end of the film was actually a WWII German Howitzer.
eye-test poster (seen most clearly after Frank and Freddy run into Burt's
office after hearing the first re-animated cadaver) in Burt's office actually
reads "Burt is a slave driver and a cheap son of a bitch who's got you
and me here" if you put the letters together.
- Director Dan O'Bannon was originally supposed
to play Frank and he wrote the part with himself in mind but when James
Karen came in to read for another part, O'Bannon was simply blown away
and hired him on the spot.
- The executive producers attempted to contact
George A. Romero several times in order to offer him the choice of producing
the movie but he never answered.
- John A. Russo wrote a script called The
Return of the Living Dead at the same time that George Romero was doing Dawn
of the Dead. An independent producer, Tom Fox, bought Russo's script.
He set up production and gave the script to Dan O'Bannon. O'Bannon refused
to direct it as it was written. He felt that it was too much of a serious
attempt at making a sequel to Night of the Living Dead, and did
not want to "...intrude so directly on Romero's turf". It was re-written
with more humor.
- Some of the Zombie Extras were paid more
to eat real calf brains in the film.
- The cemetery in the film is called "Resurrection
- Richard Rubinstein of Laurel Entertainment
didn't want people to think this film was part of Romero's Living Dead series. Rubinstein even got an injunction trying to stop them from using
"Living Dead" in the title. But the MPAA arbitrators ruled in favor of
the movies producers.
- The combination to the lock on the freezer
door is 22(right)-4(left)-10(right).