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The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

R  |   |  Comedy, Horror  |  16 August 1985 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 37,423 users  
Reviews: 294 user | 193 critic

When two bumbling employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally release a deadly gas into the air, the vapors cause the dead to rise again as zombies.



(story), (story) (as John Russo) , 2 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Spider (as Miguel Nunez)
Mark Venturini ...
Cathleen Cordell ...
Colonel's Wife
Drew Deighan ...
Paramedic #1
Paramedic #2


When a bumbling pair of employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally release a deadly gas into the air, the vapors cause the dead to re-animate as they go on a rampage through Louisville, Kentucky seeking their favorite food, brains. Written by Todd A. Bobenrieth <TAB146@PSUVM.EDU>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They're Back From The Grave and Ready To Party!


Comedy | Horror


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

16 August 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Return of the Living Dead  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Workprint Version)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


A book entitled 'The Complete History of the Return of the Living Dead' by authors Christian Sellers and Gary Smart was released in 2010. The book includes hundreds of previously unseen images, exclusive interviews with various cast and crew and charts the rise and fall of the franchise. See more »


(at around 59 mins) When the zombies break in for the second time at the back store room, Scuz is attacked and killed by the half woman corpse. As Burt separates Scuz from the zombie, you can see a single black string coming from the zombie's head attached to the ceiling. See more »


Burt Wilson: If that is a re-animated body, we're gonna have to kill it.
Freddy: How do you kill something that's already dead?
Burt Wilson: How do I know, Fred? Let me think!
Frank: It's not a bad question, Burt.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The following phony disclaimer precedes the movie: "The events portrayed in this film are all true. The names are real names of real people and real organizations." See more »


Featured in Party Time (2012) See more »


Take a Walk
Performed by Tall Boys
Composed by Nigel Lewis, Mark Robertson
Produced by Mr. Fenstein
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Genius from the co-creator of Alien
30 August 2004 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

ROTLD is one of the rare cases where horror meets comedy to good effect. With some classic lines like "you gotta hit the brain" and "watch your mouth kid if you like this job", this film works because it doesn't rely solely on gore or stupidity; the script is very well written.

ROTLD pays homage to George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead" but veers away from the slow lumbering zombies of the '68 classic, and instead gives us "the original" super zombies (ie before 28 days later or Dawn of the Dead remake) that are not so easily dealt with! This proves to be an interesting problem for the script to resolve which I think it does with style by the end of the movie.

The characters are a little predictable and one dimensional except for the lead pair who are introduced at the start of the movie, but that's perhaps the only flaw. What I really like about this movie is that, whilst not entirely a gorefest, it still manages to kick-ass because of the flawless plot. By this I mean that there a few scenarios where you find yourself saying "that's just dumb" or "they'd never do that" etc, which is very rare nowadays in the horror/sci-fi genre. Dramas & thrillers etc get an easy job of it because all they have to do is convince us that their reality is real-life. Horror on the other hand needs to convince that the unreality it portrays is what is real-life, and that's not always an easy task.

ROTLD is funny, sick, clever and above all entertaining if you can stomache some pretty twisted content. Personally, I love it.

51 of 57 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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