The Return of the Living Dead


The Return of the Living Dead is probably one of the few really successful horror comedies (An American Werewolf in London and the original Fright Night spring to mind).  Don’t even say Shaun of the Dead as that is a comedy which has zombies in it, alright?  It is not a horror film.

At a medical supplies warehouse, two stupid co-workers accidentally open a container containing reanimating gas.  When their boss, Burt turns up, all hell is breaking loose as the body in the freezer has come alive as well as other dead items.  So they go and get the local funeral guy, Ernie (Burt and Ernie, geddit?) to dispose of the evidence.  As the smoke from the burning corpses spread into the graveyard, the dead rise looking for bbbbrains!!!!

I can’t believe this film is nearly thirty years old, the make up effects on the whole still stand up and the performances generally all round are top notch.  Stand outs are obviously Clu Gulager, James Karen and Thom Mathews.  There is however great support from Linnea Quigley and the Tar Man zombie, who is probably the second best zombie ever.  (First place goes to ‘Bub’ in Day of the Dead).  Biggest thumbs up goes to Don Calfa as Ernie who plays the role completely straight even when he working on a corpse and listening to German marching music.

It’s still as funny (and scary in parts) as it was back in the 80’s.  Director Dan O’Bannon has created an almost timeless piece of horror cinema.  The fashions do date the picture somewhat, but who cares if the film is as good as this.  Lets not forget the kick ass soundtrack featuring The Cramps as well.  All in all, first rate entertainment and not at all tarnished by the crappy sequels (although Brian Yuzna’s Part 3 was excellent).

The new Special Edition is a stunning package with a new HD print, remastered sound and an obscene amount of extras.  It’s also not that expensive so there is simply no excuse not to buy it.

  • Starring Clu Gulager  Don Calfa  James Karen  
  • Director Dan O’Bannon
  • Distributor Second Sight