The Return of the Living Dead (1985) Review
Written by: BlackTequilaKiss
I have sinned. The Return of the Living Dead has been sitting in my DVD collection now for over a year and prior to this review I had refused to watch it. Now I have dusted off the cobwebs and taken it out of it's resting spot, I have watched it and I have only thought on my mind: Why the hell did I not watch this sooner?!
It starts off slowly yes and takes a while to get to build up but the time between that and what occurs is worth it. The banter between Freddie, Ernie and Burt is rather refreshing. Usual clichés I have come to expect in a movie are not actually present in this and that was a nice surprise for me.
At times my attention wondered but just from what I learned from this film, I know it will grow fond on my heart and in due time will become a movie I love and enjoy.
The Movie: Two employees at a medical supply warehouse decide to check out the basement after one of the employees tells the other a story that garners the other's interest. However whilst down there they accidentally release a deadly gas into the air, the vapours cause a dead body to reanimate. Burning it dust is released into the air and sprinkles into the ground across a cemetery. Suddenly a load of bodies are rising from their graves, on a rampage with one sole purpose in mind, to eat their favourite food, brains...
I have seen a fair few zombie movies and really was under the impression I knew what to expect. This gal is not ashamed to admit she was wrong and glad too. It is not your usual offering. Characters are not the same typical bunch I expected but actually unique, different and with enough redemption that I actually cared for them. Plus some of the name's for the characters was awesome!
Another aspect to this movie that really struck me was the friends of Freddie who waited for him. It was a rather eclectic, unique group. With names like Scuz, Trash and Suicide I should have been prepared but really was not. Some tripped out in very dark clothing that was proper head banger’s attire, then there was a nerd and equally a girl who was quite refined among them. A mixture that actually had heart to it and worked.
I have to get this out of the way now. Linnea Quigley (Trash) stripping and dancing naked on the tomb? Holy moly! I am sorry but that was hot! I expected a lot of the movie but not that and was definitely a welcome distraction :D, a very pleasant surprise.
I rarely have trouble doing individual profiles on the actors but with this movie I do. Everyone performed fantastically, the jokes were dark and humorous and all kept a sense of realism despite the absurdness of the plot.
Cinematography- The graveyard looks really nice. Creepy, atmospheric and gloomy. Add the strange mix of friends, some interesting music and candlelight (don't forget the nudity! lol), it all merges together in a nice tandem of difference.
However I think I might be slightly disturbed...
One scene in the movie is when the group of friends go into the medical supply centre in search of Tina and Freddie and after hearing a scream run to the basement. Once down there they see one of the reanimated pulling the door Tina is hiding behind, open. The way that zombie said 'brains' was so adorable. I should have been reviled, I ought to have been scared but he said that word in such a cute way I wanted to hug him even if it meant death. Told ya I am disturbed! I absolutely adored that scene.
I actually liked this score. Using the best of synthesized piano keys and other instruments, it created a rather ominous overtone that kept pace throughout the movie. Unconventional, different and key to the movie. It worked.
Fantasy II Film Effects, Makeup Effects Laboratories and
Wizards all had an hand in the visual / practical effects of this movie and all did a cracking job. The zombies looked messy, creepy and in some instances, ridiculous. Grained feel of the main location stopped it feeling overly glossed and more down to earth and the ending with the missile to eradicate the zombies, the flash of light to indicate it was awesome. I need to add that I loved the fact that in this movie we actually see a zombie talking. Too often they bumble and groan but it is not very often we see them talk and that was a nice change of pace overall. But loved the effects! Really, really did.
Oh I have talked a lot of this movie. The dark humour, 'Rabid Weasels' hehe, that still makes me laugh, people I actually liked a lot, zombies and gore o' plenty this was an awesome ride. The ending? Wow!! I expected something different but even I was taken off guard unexpectedly. It's a tension climbing end that completely shocks you. Be prepared.
However this is zombie goodness done right. How I regret not watching this sooner... But I am glad I've finally done so. This is a thing of pure insane enjoyment. Want a break from the norm? Want a taste of something different? You have to watch this.
A much loved addition to my collection and a worthwhile buy to any fan of the zombie genre. You are in for a treat! Enjoy!