Return of the Living Dead
is a parody-cum-sequel spin-off from George Romero's superior Night of the Living Dead
films. A corpse-containing canister gets breached and releases an oily, loose-limbed, brain-eating zombie tatterdemalion and a gas that revives anything dead in the vicinity, even a bisected dog preserved as a vet's teaching specimen and a case of pinned butterflies. The dim-bulb leading characters--earnest Clu Gulager, goofy James Karen and Thom Matthews--burn up a mess of surplus living body parts, but the rains wash the ashes into the earth of a nearby cemetery and a whole crowd of brain-eating zombies claw their way out to terrorise a group of teens who sport the kind of 1985 fashions, hairdos, slang preferences and musical tastes that will never feature in a TV nostalgia programme.
There are plenty of in-jokes at the expense of the Living Dead films (learning that shooting 'em in the brain doesn't work, the appalled Matthews gasps, "You mean the movie lied?"), and director Dan O'Bannon, the writer of Dark Star and Alien, hurries things along through some gruesome action and terror-by-zombie bits until the surprisingly cynical anti-government conclusion. It's not as wittily outrageous as Re-Animator or Braindead, but it has an amiable, drive-in-cum-home video grunge about it. Frequently naked exploitation regular Linnea Quigley makes an impression as the punkette zombie who goes on the rampage wearing nothing but leg-warmers and body make-up.
The frill-free DVD is full-screen (boo hiss!) except for the titles, offers only the trailer and inadequate cast and crew notes as extras, but it looks okay. --Kim Newman
The dead have risen and they need 'Brains!' Dan O'Bannon's cult splatterfest is one of the definitive zombie movies and one of the classic horrors of the 80's.
Blundering medical supplies warehouse workers Frank and his young trainee Freddy unwittingly set off a mysterious U.S. military chemical that brings the dead back to life. And they've got a real hunger for human brains! Enlisting the help of the local crematorium they set off a chain of events that could lead to the end of civilisation.
Can they defeat the growing army of ravenous zombies? 'How do you kill something that is already dead?'. 'It's not a bad question Burt.' Special Features:
Contains Original Soundtrack (PCM 2.0) and 2 Remixed Soundtrack Options (DTS 5.1 & PCM 2.0)
5 hours of bonus features:
More Brains! A Return To The Living Dead:
The definitve 2 hour documentary featuring interviews with cast, writers, producers and many more, as well as previously unseen behind-the-scenes footage, storyboards, conceptual art, publicity materials and archival documents
More Brains! 2 hours of killer bonus features:
A conversation with Dan O'Bannon: The Final Interview
The Won't Stay Dead: A Look at Return of The Living Dead Part 11
Love Beyond The Grave: A Look at Return of The Living Dead 3
Stacey Q Live: Exclusive 'Tonight' music video
Even More Brains: Deleted documentary interviews
Return of The Living Dead in 3 minutes
Resurrected Settings: The Filming Locations Today
The Origins Of Return Of The Living Dead:
with John A. Russo
The FX of the living dead:
with production designer William Stout and FX make-up artists William Munns and Tony Gardner
Exclusive to Blu-ray Steelbook - 'Ernie's Notepad:
A 20 page replica notebook by embalmer Ernie Kaltenbrunner, featuring productions notes, casting information and exclusive artwork