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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 18.84%
Average: 2.9%
Pretty Bad: 2.9%
Total Crap: 14.49%

3 reviews, 51 user ratings

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Return of the Living Dead
[] Buy posters from this movie
by the Grinch

"Dan O'Bannon, wherefore art thou?"
5 stars

Ok, this little gem - along with A Nightmare on Elm Street and Night of the Living Dead - actually scared me as a yute...and any movie that had that kind of effect on my psyche definitely gets the highest honors!

First, let me say that Dan O'Bannon is an unsung genius. If you
liked the films ALIEN, DARK STAR, LIFEFORCE, HEAVY METAL, THE RESURRECTED, and TOTAL RECALL, then odds are you like Dan O'Bannon.

It's with 'Return of the Living Dead' that O'Bannon makes a playful horror romp that's essentially an ode to George Romero's zombie flicks. However, the antagonists in this film aren't lumbering ghouls straight out of a "Teen Beat" public appearance. These zombies are bloodlust crazed ghouls that are fast, ruthless, and out for brains, Brains, BRAINS! These aren't unconscious, primal creatures...these are conscious corpses capable of speech, intelligence, and with a complete lack of conscience in their pursuit of the one human organ that can relieve them of "the pain of being dead"! Leave it to Danny O to take things to the next level!

And this film goes over the top at all the right moments. Midget zombies for chrissakes! The zombie resurrection scene during a bunch of punk rockers' graveyard bash has to be seen to be believed! I'll bet when they said "Dead Kennedys concert", they didn't expect THIS!

Probably the biggest reason this movie scared me back into training diapers as a kid was the brilliant disclaimer Obannon decided to put at the beginning, essentially claiming that "The events and places contained herein are REAL, the names of people and places have been changed..." etc etc. The only other movie that I've seen that's taken this approach is Tobe Hooper's classic 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre'. Genius!

The cast puts forth some of the greatest BAD acting I've ever encountered...The punk rockers are colorful and hilarious, particularly the characters Suicide and Trash (scream-queen Linea Quigley). Quigley could easily be one of those punk kids you see taking it all WAY too seriously! Clu Galager is the quintessential smart ass. James Karen and Thom Matthews are like the Chris Farley and David Spade of the horror world.

The script is just so UberOBannon. Absolutely seething with cheesiness, sick/wry humor, and tons of gore. The only downfall is the somewhat rushed ending, but the epilogue more than makes up for it. The story takes an interesting twist on the Night of the Living Dead seems that NOTLD was based on real events, that the army was experimenting with a chemical that had the nasty little side effect of resurrecting corpses! And, whaddaya know, there seem to be a few cannisters of the stuff that's unaccounted for! And, OH, what shenanigans ensue!
A great conceptual idea by Obannon and a brilliant homage to Romero and paranoid horror films everywhere.

If you happen to see the soundtrack for sale, grab it. Don't make the same mistake I did and assume it's going to be sitting in the dollar bin the next time you come by. It's not the easiest to find, but it's a must-have for any fan of psychobilly and punk rock. Superbly fun tracks by The Cramps, TSOL, and others.

Reviewer's note 06/24/02: There's a new DVD of ROTLD slated for release in August of this year! This should prove to be superior to the now out of print Tartan dvd release which had next to no extras and (so I've read) a poor anamorphic transfer. It also appears that MGM has been listening to fan demands for a special edition release, as their new release of 'Return' on DVD will feature a commentary track with director/writer Dan O'Bannon! This is one Dead DVD I'll definitely be picking up and reviewing as time permits!

A kinetic rollercoaster of a horror flick! They just don't make them like this any more. If only everyone would stop ripping off Scream (which is redundancy at it's worst) and actually get jiggy with it. If you like flicks like Evil Dead, Reanimator, etc, you OWE it to yourself to see this one!

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 02/17/00 13:31:26
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User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell fun and scary zombies and the ending works what other choice did they have 4 stars
9/25/12 roscoe fun, vut zombies took too long to come. The ending was terrible too and sudden. a cop-out. 4 stars
11/16/11 Golden J. Williams Jr. SOO GOOD, Linnea Quigley dancing nude on the crypt; oh yes! 5 stars
10/09/11 KingNeutron Still a classic, and some good performances - serious homage 4 stars
1/11/10 art A GREAT HORROR FLICK! V 3 stars
12/29/09 Chad Dillon Cooper Perfect blend of horror and comedy with attitude. 5 stars
1/20/09 Camilo Espinoza Fun, fun, fun 5 stars
1/17/09 Shaun Wallner Scary Film! 5 stars
4/01/08 Justin One of the best of the horror-comedies 5 stars
6/10/07 Blizz Tarman is the best-looking zombie to ever grace the silver screen. See it for him alone!!! 4 stars
5/02/07 fattyjoe37 Best zombie movie ever. Hilarious and horrifying at the same time. 5 stars
12/28/06 David Pollastrini good gore. 4 stars
11/27/05 cr a campy zombie movie with wild teenagers , goofy story, acting was decent, bad ending 2 stars
10/26/05 chris an ok movie but the comedy spoilt it 3 stars
8/23/05 ES If you like zombies that shuffle around and eat people, look no farther, fairly good 4 stars
8/04/05 Gobledygook LONG LIVE TARMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
6/26/05 DennyRoss The zombie standard in the 80's. Full of gore, humor & plausibility. Great flick 5 stars
12/30/04 Gray sucked 1 stars
12/24/04 Anne-Marie A riot! Good unclean zombie fun 5 stars
9/25/04 Sugarfoot Thom Mathews was great in this movie, what happened to this guy's career? 4 stars
5/01/04 dead next door I LOVE THIS MOVIE. 5 stars
4/18/04 lee simpson utterly fantastic, kitsch and kookie - loved it! 5 stars
3/29/04 true review - correct review everytime weak story but great execution, much better than dawn of the dead which has no plot at all 4 stars
3/28/04 HorrorScribbler A hoot from start to finish. Send more cops! Send more paramedics! 5 stars
2/07/04 KMG what a great film! 5 stars
1/26/04 Eric Matthews and the old dude make it great. their the 2 stooges of horror. A great team 4 stars
12/21/03 Amsterdam I love 5 stars
11/02/03 American Slasher Goddess One of the great horror comedies of the 80's. 5 stars
10/19/03 dead motherf**ker kicked ass! 5 stars
10/18/03 Samuel Justus Corny brain-munching zombies...I LOVE IT!!! 5 stars
5/13/03 zombiemeister mmmm.brains.(yawn) 5 stars
4/05/03 y2mckay Clever and funny zombie parody, Linnea Quigleys tits amazing, call it "Romero Lite" 4 stars
3/13/03 kelley jewell great movie 4 stars
3/12/03 The Talking Elbow " BraiNz!!!!!! " that's some funny shit, but at the end l was scratching my head, wtf? 2 stars
12/28/02 KMG WHAT A PIECE OF SHIT 1 stars
11/22/02 Charles Tatum Top 20? No. 4 stars
11/22/02 Kyle Great horror comedy. 5 stars
11/22/02 dead i love it 5 stars
10/12/02 Djfunkmasterg New Life into an old subject. 5 stars
9/22/02 Morally Sound Nude cemetery dancing, What more can one say? 5 stars
9/08/02 Film Dude Andrew, why the hell did you rate this 3 times? 5 stars
9/03/02 Shannon Best movie EVER! Love the dvd, but they dubbed the best zombies!I love this movie above all 5 stars
5/21/02 the Grinch ROTLD is out of print....Look on Ebay, it's there all the time...VHS around $30..DVD more $ 5 stars
4/05/02 Tracy My favorite movie. Braiiiiiiiiiiins!!! Cannot find it though on sale anywhere 5 stars
2/17/02 Clarance eah... thanks 1 stars
2/02/02 Apocalypstick Oi! Rubbed me the right way 5 stars
10/24/01 C. Phelps In a word: Brilliant. 5 stars
10/15/01 ElephantShoes BRAINS! BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINS!! 5 stars
3/21/01 John A Masterpiece 5 stars
2/19/00 Vlad_M animated split dogs! 4 stars
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  02-Mar-1985 (R)



Directed by
  Dan O'Bannon

Written by
  Dan O'Bannon

  Clu Gulager
  James Karen
  Linnea Quigley
  Don Calfa
  Thom Mathews

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