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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 37,449 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?


The character of Tina was originally written as wearing a plastic mini-skirt. Beverly Randolph went through a variety of prissy outfits with skirts and bows and sweaters for her character, but nothing 'felt like Tina'. The white and blue outfit she wound up wearing for the movie was Miguel A. Núñez Jr.'s outfit. See more »


Starting with the scene where Frank and Freddy wake up on the floor of the basement, the water and sweat stains on Frank's shirt change, getting inconsistently larger and smaller. See more »


Casey: Hey, is that Freddy?
Chuck: Where?
Casey: Over there, going into that building.
Chuck: No. That is NOT Freddy.
Casey: How would you know?
Chuck: Because, why would Freddy be going into a mortuary?
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 »


Spoofed in Happy Tree Friends: Remains to Be Seen (2003) See more »


The Trioxin Theme
(Main Title)
Performed by Francis Haines
Composed by Francis Haines
Produced by Simon Heyworth
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Influential Cult Classic!!
20 July 2004 | by (Dartmouth) – See all my reviews

I saw this film when I was around 9 or 10, and I remember loving it back then. Unfortunately, time has not been kind to most of the movies I enjoyed during my youth. Imagine my surprise when I realized that not only was Return of the Living Dead every bit as much fun as when I first saw it, its actually improved!!

First off, this is NOT a serious horror film. It is meant to be viewed as a comedy. Period. Once this perspective is taken, the horror elements are subtly introduced until, towards the end, we almost begin to feel a sense of disgust with ourselves for laughing at these people. I say ALMOST because a few silly decisions here and there (it would have been nice if the movie hadn't ended with recycled footage) turn what could have been the finest, and most disturbing, horror-comedy EVER MADE into a merely excellent one.

Honestly, I challenge anyone to find a "horror-comedy" that delivers laughs, gore, some genuine scares, and combines it with what can only be called the finest acting I've ever seen in a horror-comedy (much less one from the 80's!).

James Karen, Clu Gulager, and Don Calfa absolutely STEAL this movie with their sidesplitting hysterics. Listen to the lines, note the deliveries. These guys are pros! Anyone who could THINK to call their acting "wooden" clearly knows nothing about the traps horror-comedies often fall into. Personally, I was thinking of the OD scene from Pulp Fiction the entire time. The absurdity mixed with tension was eerily similar. Tarantino (an admitted zombie-movie fan) must SURELY have seen this movie upon its initial release. Gulager in particular is just plain brilliant here, he's like a burned out shop teacher fighting zombies!!

This film is a hidden treasure in a genre all too often plagued by mediocrity.

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