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.
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 flesh eating monsters.
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,
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>
The Darrow Chemical Company that manufactured 2-4-5 Trioxin in the film is based on the Dow Chemical Company, which in reality manufactured a chemical defoliant in the 1960's called 2-4-5 dioxin, more commonly known as 'Agent Orange' and used to strip jungles in the Vietnam War. Agent Orange was sprayed in Vietnam and on the Gagetown Army Base in New Brunswick, Canada. It caused a lot of adverse health effects and is no longer used. To avoid being sued by the Dow Chemical Company, the makers of Return of the Living Dead created the name "Darrow", which sounds a lot like Dow when pronounced but wasn't spelled the same. See more »
Clu Gulager's character name is spelled as 'Burt' in both the credits and on the 'eye test' poster in Frank and Freddy's office. However, the note on the door leading into the warehouse Office (which reads "No Cash in Safe After 5:00PM!") is signed by 'Bert'. See more »
Young, Fast Iranians
Performed by Straw Dogs, aka The FUs
Composed by Steve Grimes, Wayne Maestri
Produced by Steve Barry, and Straw Dogs
(Used in Hemdale's 1991 Release in lieu of Dead Beat Dance) See more »
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.
123 of 130 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?