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The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

R  |   |  Comedy, Horror  |  16 August 1985 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 36,190 users  
Reviews: 292 user | 180 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.

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(story), (story) (as John Russo) , 2 more credits »
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Title: The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

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Retrospective documentary in which various cast members talk about acting in the horror comedy cult classic "The Return of the Living Dead."

Stars: Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Jewel Shepard ...
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Spider (as Miguel Nunez)
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Mark Venturini ...
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Cathleen Cordell ...
Colonel's Wife
Drew Deighan ...
Paramedic #1
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Paramedic #2
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 August 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Return of the Living Dead  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Comedian Doug Benson stated on the Talking Dead that he played several zombies in this film, during his time when he was a frequent extra on movie sets. See more »

Goofs

As Ernie is about to hit the first reanimated body with the fire ax, the body moves, in the next shot, as he hits it, it's completely frozen. See more »

Quotes

Burt Wilson: What about the bones Ernie?
Ernie Kaltenbrunner: Bones are no problem. Hardest thing to burn is the heart.
Burt Wilson: A heart, why?
Ernie Kaltenbrunner: 'cause it's just one big tough muscle.
Burt Wilson: Yeah, but Ernie, I mean, c'mon, we don't want the heart sticking around!
Ernie Kaltenbrunner: Then I'll turn it up hotter for the heart.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits play over the hilarious scenes of the movie that involve Frank and Freddy. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dance of the Dead (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Burn the Flames
Performed by Roky Erickson
Composed by Roky Erickson
Produced by Duane Aslaksen
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Rabid Weasels?
2 November 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is one of those very rare films that combines good black humor with bloody, messy gore and does it perfectly. Where `Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things' fails miserably, `Return of the Living Dead' succeeds triumphantly. It takes a tired plot (zombies eat teenagers) and makes it new again. The teenagers here are not faceless, stupid, oversexed victims at all. They are misfits and outsiders, the kind of kids who probably go to horror movies every day and make fun of the faceless, stupid, oversexed victims who populated the majority of the slasher films made in the 1980s. The nihilistic punk rock teens can identify with the zombies, and even though it is their ultimate fate to be consumed by them, you like them, you want them to survive and you're sorry to see them go even though the zombies are every bit as cool.

Long before `28 Days Later' appeared, `Return of the Living Dead' presented us with FAST zombies, zombies who could run, jump and work together like a football team, tackling people and making it a group effort to tear their victims apart. There are very few slow, shuffling monsters here; these are zombies to contend with. They talk, they think, they problem solve. Who could ever forget the Tar Man (my personal favorite) rigging up a device to tear down the metal closet doors, behind which our heroine has locked herself?

The adult characters in this film are no less interesting than the teenagers. James Karen is absolutely hysterical in his role as a medical warehouse manager, whose bumbling irresponsibility leads to the zombies being unleashed. Clu Gulager is a stressed out corporate jerk who will do anything to save the name and reputation of the warehouse he owns. And Don Calfa is excellent as the slightly shady mortician who may or may not be an ex-Nazi. The mismatched cast really comes together and forms a bond here, fighting back and growing more desperate as the zombies grow stronger. This film never lets up, not for one minute. There are no long explanation scenes, no boring set-up, just in-your-face excitement from the very first scene. It is the perfect homage to the Romero films; there is no happy ending here, only an ironic twist which will make even the most cynical doomsayer grin. This film is already a cult classic and deserves its status. It's as close to flawless as you can get.


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