The Return of the Living Dead

1985, Horror/Comedy, 1h 31m

46 Reviews 50,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

A punk take on the zombie genre, The Return of the Living Dead injects a healthy dose of '80s silliness to the flesh-consuming. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

When foreman Frank (James Karen) shows new employee Freddy (Thom Mathews) a secret military experiment in a supply warehouse, the two klutzes accidentally release a gas that reanimates corpses into flesh-eating zombies. As the epidemic spreads throughout Louisville, Ky., and the creatures satisfy their hunger in gory and outlandish ways, Frank and Freddy fight to survive with the help of their boss (Clu Gulager) and a mysterious mortician (Don Calfa).

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for The Return of the Living Dead

Audience Reviews for The Return of the Living Dead

  • Jul 01, 2020
    Return of the Living Dead is a refreshing twist on the genre while respecting Night of the Living Dead. The story of Russo and Romero is quite well known to fans so it was nice to see a linkage shown to that earlier film. Dan O'Bannon ultimately didn't use Russo's novel as the direct adaptation and I feel Return of the Living Dead would've been just another shallow copycat. The film as it stands is quite funny and daring. The dead are more lethal and harder to kill. This film should've been a one film only as the sequels rob the ending of this film. The film plays with the formula of zombies a little different and that's why Return of the Living Dead is a nice companion to Romero's work. The film is definitely in the cult status arena, so it won't appeal to everyone, but overall I thought it was fun and offered something different for the sub genre. 01/07/2020
    Brendan O Super Reviewer
  • Dec 11, 2017
    Return of the Living Dead is zany, gross and really quite messy throughout. A madcap, punk-fest of a zombie flick that isn't afraid to gross out it's audience and fling guts out of every corner of the screen wherever it can. Return of the Living Dead interesting coined the phrase, "braaaaains" associated with the zombie genre and is memorable not just because of this, but also because of it's cast of dedicated actors who go above and beyond to deliver some of the cheesiest yet enthusiastic performances seen in any mid-eighties horror film. It's almost a love letter to punk and Dan O'Bannon was just that in his attempt to make a zombie film that would stand the test of time. It's dated by today's standards, but the humour involved is timeless.
    Harry W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 17, 2015
    So. Much. Damn. Fun. The Return of the Living Dead always takes me back to being a teenager. In a good way. Trash is taking off her clothes again.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 27, 2013
    The movie that introduced brain-eating zombies is a self-aware parody of the genre with plenty of randomness and awkward humor aplenty. Throw some cool gore and disgusting effects into the mix and you got an instant success.
    Francisco G Super Reviewer

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