The Return of the Living Dead Reviews
This film unleashes the now classic notion of toxic gas or waste kick starting a zombie outbreak. The all too cheesy notion of some dumb punks messing with some dangerous looking canisters/drums that leak a weird gas/ooze that somehow awakens/reanimates the dead. This is also the film that gave birth to the classic notion of zombies lurching around hankering for brains to munch on, maybe even letting out the odd 'brains!' line. So yes this film is the original hokey zombie popcorn flick that inspired an entire modern pop culture.
The main course of this silly film is the terrific makeup and puppetry on display throughout the film. The zombies are on top form as they stagger around with limbs and faces flopping off left right and centre. All are really played well by a large cast of extras who really put a lot of effect into their performances.
If you think of 'Thriller' (1983) then you have a good sense of this film basically. Its an extended adult version of 'Thriller' but not quite as good in the makeup and effects department believe it or not. But its clear where the idea came from as a lot of the undead awakening sequences and overall visuals look very similar, a bit of a rip off really.
Still this has some great chuckle moments mainly from Karen and Mathews with their little double acts, whilst Calfa actually brings a sense of realism and believable acting to the fold with his performance. His final scene at the very end is actually quite poignant. Definitely one of the best horror comedies of the 80's with a surprising bonus of good acting to boot.
The Return Of The Living Dead has definitely got a secured place in the zombie genre. The film is a definite must see for zombie fans, and of all the zombie films that I have seen, The Return Of The Living Dead is one of the most memorable films of the genre. This is one hysterical and fun zombie film that you won?t soon forget. The film is filled with dark humour, and the film is solid do to the colorful cast of characters. A solid film from start to finish, The Return Of The Living Dead won't disappoint.
In Return the film Night of the Living Dead is actually a fictionalized account of what happened at a V.A. hospital during a chemical spill. Two medical warehouse employees (James Karen and Thom Matthews) stumble on some barrels containing zombies that have been accidentally delivered to the warehouse. When the seal breaks on the canister we are treated to the terror that can only come with the living dead rising from the grave.
What's great about this film is that where a Romero zombie film is deadly serious, Return doesn't take itself seriously at all. The characters are way over the top, especially the teenagers who are so stereotyped within themselves you'll wonder why they're hanging out together in the first place. Clu Gulager plays the stereotypical boss trying to cover his ass when the tanks are compromised and Don Calfa sealed his cult status by playing the mortician Ernie who carries around a German pistol and smokes a pipe. These are the kind of over the top characters that I'm talking about. Return of the Living Dead is a parody of a genre that long needed one.
I'm not calling Return a masterpiece. It's far from it. But what it represents is a film that not only scares you, but makes you laugh and this formula has been reused time and again (Freddy Krueger's comedic switch, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) but Return is the perfect example of that. Over the top actors and over the top acting with great effects and directorial style make this film a cut above in a genre that has been glutted with pure garbage.
The guys from 'Shaun of the dead' owe a lot to Dan O'Bannon and the good old Tar-man.
I just didn't laugh at most of the humour as intended. None of the characters particularly interested me; I wanted the zombies to eat them.
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.