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The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

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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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Writers:

(story), (story) (as John Russo) | 2 more credits »
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3,101 ( 438)
4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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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 | Sci-Fi

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:

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Workprint Version)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the early 1990s, a longer work print version of the film surfaced that ran 24-minutes longer that the released version. See more »

Goofs

Although the titles and characters mention the setting as Louisville, Kentucky, the skyline of downtown L.A., including the much-photographed dome of City Hall, is clearly visible as the crew cruise toward the warehouse early on in the film. See more »

Quotes

Casey: Chuck, I never did like you. Oh, but God, hold me tight.
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 »

Connections

Featured in More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Surfin' Dead
Performed by The Cramps
Composed by Poison Ivy Rorschach (as Ivy Rorschach), Lux Interior
Produced by The Cramps
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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