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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 37,432 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.



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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?


Some of the zombie extras were paid more to eat real calf brains in the film. Dan O'Bannon didn't want the actors to do anything he wasn't willing to do and ate some raw calf brains first in front of them. See more »


The skeleton woman who is chopped in half in the foyer of the morgue after being pulled though the barricade. As she is held in place by Spider on the floor we see a large prop, plywood or cardboard, fall and cover her completely. The shot cuts away very briefly. When it cuts back the prop has moved. See more »


Freddy: [to Tina] Tian, it was wrong of you to lock me up. I had to hurt myself to get out. But I forgive you darlin' and I know you're here, because I can smell your brains.
Freddy: [Tina is crying and screaming] Go away!
Freddy: I'm comming up tian!
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 »


Referenced in Tromeo and Juliet (1996) See more »


Tonight (We'll Make Love Until We Die)
Performed by SSQ
Composed by Jon St. James, Stacey Swain
Produced by Jon St. James for Formula One Music Productions
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the best horror films of all time!
27 March 2001 | by (Staffordsville, Kentucky) – See all my reviews

"The Return of the Living Dead" has held a special place in my heart for a very long time. This satirical take on Romero's classic (if you don't know which one, you shouldn't be reading this) is one of the greatest horror films ever made and is also one of the most respected. The direction by Dan O'Bannon, writer of "Alien" (also one of the greatest), is superb and Jules Brenner's cinematography is stunning for a film not shot in a widescreen aspect ratio (it was shot 1.37:1 full frame to save money). The scene with the rising of the zombies is best described as hauntingly beautiful yet chilling. The cast gives great performances and the special effects are astounding, as is Matt Clifford's rousing score. The nasty going-ons is highlighted by a powerful metal soundtrack featuring The Cramps and Billy Idol.

The plot concerns some nasty chemical that has the ability to bring the dead back to life. When a barrel of the stuff is accidentally opened, all hell breaks loose: the cast is forced to do battle with scores of zombies (this time hungry for brains). Twists and turns abound as the cast is trapped at Ground Zero-the epicenter of the plague, if you will. All of the characters are likely even though they are mostly sleazy and corrupt. Linnea Quigley is great as Trash as is Clu Gulager as the corrupt warehouse owner. The zombies themselves are fun to watch; be warned, however, that they are not the usual slow, shuffling stiffs we've all come to love.

All in all, "The Return of the Living Dead" is an amazing thrill ride that will remain in your mind long after it's over. Do yourself a favor and seek out this cult classic. You won't regret it!

90 of 103 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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