My big brother was lucky enough to see Return Of The Living Dead in theaters. I was 12 years old at the time and obsessed with renting R-Rated zombie flicks, but hadn’t made the crossover of sneaking into films for the over 17 crowd. I do remember hanging on his every word as he raced me through the story. Brain eating zombies? Punk rock music?? The dead can talk??? This movie had to be awesome. And when I finally saw it on VHS, my notion was confirmed – it was totally awesome. Now after 30 years, it feels just as fresh as Tina’s brains.
Now I would never say that ROTLD was better than Romero’s trilogy. Romero’s films sit firmly on a shelf in my head as the Living Dead Bible. But, director Dan O’Bannon does give the Romero-verse a swift kick in the pants and turns the whole genre upside down. First of all – to many horror fans ire – it made the undead fast moving! In a post 28 Days Later world that seems like old hat, but at the tail end of the flesh eating zeitgeist in the mid 80s, it was very different. O’Bannon also had clever zombies, who could talk. And in one of horror film’s greatest moments, we hear a zombie describe the pain of being dead and reveal its only cure – to eat brains. It is not a coincidence that she tells this to a mortician who is stunned at this revelation. That is one of the many clever moments in O’Bannon’s script, which delicately balances crazy action, gross out scares and slapstick comedy. Tonally, the film is pure 80s, kick-ass rock & roll from start to finish. It has killer make-up effects, great looking zombies and snappy writing scene after scene that keeps the story moving at a fast-spreading virus pace. Some may brush off the humor as a low brow attempt to appeal to less sophisticated horror fans, but I disagree. The film’s humor only adds to the fun and keeps you hooked from start to finish. And the incredible cast brings it all to life.
[Via] Movieclips Trailer Vault
Now Scream Factory has brought us the best version of this movie ever released. I’ve owned several copies over the years, and this Blu-ray looks and sounds fantastic. The 2 disc set packs the extras in for the most ravenous fans. Not only included are features from the previous 2 DVD releases, it oozes with new commentaries and interviews. And of course, my favorite part of these Blu-rays is Sean Clark and his Horror’s Hallowed Grounds video tours of the shooting locations. He does another excellent job, albeit short due to a small amount of locations. But for anyone living in Los Angeles, it’s fun to see how so much of downtown LA has changed since 1985. And even with the massive overhaul of the city center, Clarke manages to still find what’s left of the ROTLD world.
So, what are you waiting for, it’s party time! Get on the radio, order the Blu-ray, and tell them to SEND MORE PARAMEDICS! Return of the Living Dead is available now!