Return of the Living Dead

Dir: Dan O'Bannon
Starring: Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Thom Matthews

Ah, the 80's. Few movies sum up the era better than this slice of new wave horror, which consciously stays away from Romero territory and is all the better for it. A bunch of misdirected zombie corpses end up in the basement of a Kentucky medical supply-house; one gets out, but is dismembered and incinerated...only for a fortuitous thunderstorm to send the ashes falling onto the conveniently-located cemetery next door. Not that it's been exactly Merchant-Ivory up to this point, but from there on, it's a roller-coaster ride of chills, laffs and gore until an ending which is just perfect.

Okay, few of the characters get past the level of crude stereotypes, yet the relentless pace and ghoulish humour make this much less of an issue than it might be. Just as Re-Animator does for Lovecraft, so this proves a highly successful attempt to capture the spirit of EC Comics. The hairstyles - rarely have I seen hair so feathered - soundtrack and fashions mark it irrevocably as a child of its time, and some of the effects are creaking at the seams (did it really come out after The Thing?). Still, it boasts among the best pickaxe-through-the-head shots in cinema history, Linnea Quigley playing a character called Trash, and lines such as the immortal, "Ssssend... more... paramedics..." Now, where did I put those Duran Duran LPs?


See also... [Index] [Next] [Previous] [TC Home Page]