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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.

Director:

Dan O'Bannon

Writers:

Rudy Ricci (story), John A. Russo (story) (as John Russo) | 2 more credits »
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2,599 ( 247)
4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clu Gulager ... Burt
James Karen ... Frank
Don Calfa ... Ernie
Thom Mathews ... Freddy
Beverly Randolph ... Tina
John Philbin ... Chuck
Jewel Shepard ... Casey
Miguel A. Núñez Jr. ... Spider (as Miguel Nunez)
Brian Peck ... Scuz
Linnea Quigley ... Trash
Mark Venturini ... Suicide
Jonathan Terry ... Colonel Glover
Cathleen Cordell ... Colonel's Wife
Drew Deighan Drew Deighan ... Paramedic #1
James Dalesandro ... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM | MySpace

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 August 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Return of the Living Dead See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,403,000, 18 August 1985, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$14,237,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hemdale, Fox Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (workprint)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (CFI)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The eye-test poster (seen most clearly after Frank and Freddy run into Burt's office after hearing the first re-animated cadaver) in Burt's office actually reads "Burt is a slave driver and a cheap son of a bitch who's going bald too haha" if you put the letters together (pause the Blu-ray at around 17:29 into the movie for a clear shot). See more »

Goofs

When the Tar man kills Suicide and the Half zombie kills Skuz they do not reanimate like Trash does. See more »

Quotes

Paramedic #1: You have no pulse, your blood pressure's zero-over-zero, you have no pupillary response, no reflexes and your temperature is 70 degrees.
Freddy: Well, what does that mean?
Paramedic #1: Well, it's a puzzle because, technically, you're not alive. Except you're conscious, so we don't know what it means.
Freddy: Are you saying we're dead?
Paramedic #2: Well, let's not jump to conclusions.
Freddy: Are you saying we're dead?
Paramedic #2: No conclusions.
Paramedic #1: Obviously I didn't mean you were really dead. Dead people don't move around and talk.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits play over the hilarious scenes of the movie that involve Frank and Freddy. See more »

Alternate Versions

The edited-for-TV Version cuts out all nudity, gore, swears and curses and (some delete anything like "God damn", but others go even further by deleting "Jesus Christ" or any other name-in-vain type of stuff). Some of the scenes are changed around, slightly. For instance, the part where Casey (Jewel Shepard) say to Chuck (John Philbin): "Oh great here's your friend and mine!" Suicides reply "Hey F**k you, ball-buster!" is changed to "I mean I got somethin' to say, ya know!". See more »

Connections

Referenced in VHS Lives: A Schlockumentary (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Love Under Will
Performed by The Jet Black Berries
Composed by Gary Trainer
Produced by The Jet Black Berries
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Rabid Weasels?
2 November 2003 | by GafkeSee 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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