Having recently witnessed the horrific results of a top secret project to bring the dead back to life, a distraught youth performs the operation on his girlfriend after she's killed in a motorcycle accident.
James T. Callahan,
There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these bloodthirsty, flesh-eating monsters.
Following an ever-growing epidemic of zombies that have risen from the dead, two Philadelphia S.W.A.T. team members, a traffic reporter, and his television executive girlfriend seek refuge in a secluded shopping mall.
A group of scientists have developed the Resonator, a machine which allows whoever is within range to see beyond normal perceptible reality. But when the experiment succeeds, they are immediately attacked by terrible life forms.
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>
(at around 46mins) When the two paramedics arrive on scene to examine Frank and Freddy, one asks the other about his stethoscope working because he could not find a blood pressure. The second paramedic has the same problem. However, neither are seen with the stethoscopes in their ears. See more »
In fact, it is indeed a freakin' classic, one of the most delightful 80's genre efforts, and a nice modern spin on zombie fare.
A deadly chemical leaks out of misplaced Army canisters and proceeds to infect various unlucky people, including the corpses that had been resting peacefully under the Earth at a nearby cemetery. An unlikely bunch of would be dinners end up having to team up in order to try and survive.
Marking the directorial debut for the late Dan O'Bannon, it injects a wonderfully quirky, comic sensibility into its raucous story, incorporating elements of farce into its mix with ease. It also populates its story with not the usual sex obsessed, personality deficient teenagers but a group of outcasts that is genuinely interesting and engaging. The pacing absolutely never lets up, delivering one riotous scene after another; this is energetic, spirited stuff. Even the zombies themselves - not the typical shambling kind, but relentless, speedy, and quite smart as well - are given a degree of personality. In addition to the movie's most popular zombie in the form of the foul, dripping Tar Man (Allan Trautman), we are treated to a Civil War soldier zombie, a half woman corpse with some of the most striking blue eyes one will ever see, and a midget zombie. The zombies even talk, and from one of them we're even given an explanation why they would crave brains in particular (this movie can take credit for introducing the "eating of the brain" idea into pop culture).
Highly quotable dialogue is another plus, as well as the kick ass soundtrack featuring such cool groups as The Cramps, 45 Grave, Tall Boys, T.S.O.L., and others, and the extremely catchy Trioxin theme (Trioxin being the name of the chemical). The nicely chosen cast all work incredibly well together, including the under-rated veterans Clu Gulager (as the corporate weasel who cares only for saving his business at first but eventually turns into a real take-charge kind of guy), James Karen (delivering a memorable, delicious comic performance as the warehouse supervisor), and Don Calfa (as the mortician with a possible Nazi past). The younger generation is represented by Linnea Quigley, in her break through role as the kinky "Trash", the hilarious Mark Venturini (who unfortunately has also passed on) as Suicide, the "spooky" guy who just feels misunderstood, Thom Mathews as the ill-fated Freddy, cute Beverly Randolph, sexy Jewel Shepard, and Brian Peck, John Philbin, and Miguel Nunez, all of whom are fun to watch.
The makeup effects and gore are excellently done, with some juicy gross 'em out moments. Culminating in an effectively ironic twist, "The Return of the Living Dead" is definitely one of those modern classics that veteran horror fans are sure to proudly display among their movie collection, and which newcomers to the genre really ought to check out. It's too good to miss.
10 out of 10.
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