The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Directed by Dan O'Bannon
Frank shows the ropes to the new guy Freddy when working late at a medical supply store. Recounting some of the crazy stuff he's seen, Frank mentions that the Night of the Living Dead movie was based on a true story, and the evidence just happened to be in the basement! They go down to take a look at some military barrels that contain some spooky looking corpses, and Freddy nervously asks if they are safe to be around. Freddy answers of course, as he slaps one of them with his hand. Uh oh - the gas shoots out of the barrel, choking and rendering the two men unconscious. When they wake up and panic sets in, they call the store owner, Burt for help. Together they must face a cadaver in the meat locker that has become a zombie from the leaked gas. They let it out and finally manage to pin its head to the floor with a pick axe, but it won't die. In desperation, avoiding the authorities at all costs, they make a really dumb move and take the zombie in pieces to the mortuary across the street. They cremate the parts in order to destroy all evidence, but the fumes saturate the air outside, and the rain mixes with the zombie gas and turns the surrounding cemetery into a seething mass of zombies! Freddy's girlfriend and his other pals just happen to be partying in the cemetery when the rain comes down, and soon find themselves fleeing the zombies. The rest of the flick is non stop action and fun - every time the survivors call for help, the help becomes the zombie's next meal. The zombies join in too, using the ambulance and police radios to ask for reinforcements! In the end, Burt and a few of the punks find themselves barricaded in the medical store basement next to the military containers. Finally admitting he has no other recourse, Burt calls the number on one of the barrels and recounts the night's events to Colonel Glover over the phone. The colonel calmly takes down all the information, and then orders a strike. Burt and friends hear the whistle of an incoming missile and boom! Zombie problem solved.
This is a funny zombie movie - even the zombie attacks crack you up. Take Romero's Night of the Living Dead and replace all the characters with idiots and you get Return of the Living Dead! Rather than report a walking corpse to the authorities when an emergency number is clearly printed on the container, Burt tries to save his ass by chopping it up to pieces and disposing it himself. The lack of extreme gore is made up for by an entertaining story and comedic zombies. We even get some insight into what makes these zombies tick - a captured zombie explains that being undead is agony, and only by eating living brains can they ease the pain.
|Zombie Source||chemical leaked from a military canister in Burt's warehouse basement|
Brains!!! The zombies are insane for the brain, instinctively repeating the word every time they see a human. Not only do these zombies seem to have excellent control of their motor skills, they can think, talk and even radio in for more cops and paramedics to eat!
Best Zombie Kill
Suicide hears Tina crying for help in the basement. He gets halfway down the stairs and wonders what the F is going on as a taut chain tied to the handles an a locked supply cabinet strains to pry it open! Tina is inside, but Suicide has no idea why. He pulls back a sheet that obscures his view of what's pulling the chain and the tar zombie lunges at him (moaning Brains!!!!). Suicide has no time to react before the zombie chomps into his skull causing a fountain of blood to spurt from the wound! With no thoughts to save their friend, the rest of the gang bolt out of the basement.
Best Zombie Death
The creepy tar zombie from the basement has been barricaded inside for the entire movie, but Burt needs to get down there to use the last good phone. Spider pries off the wooden planks that he nailed the door shut with earlier and opens the door. Batter up! The zombie emerges only to get its head knocked off with a bat!
The first zombie encounter in the film is a crack up. A cadaver meant for medical study hanging in the cold storage room gets contaminated by the chemical leak in the basement becomes a zombie. As it beats on the door and moans over and over, Burt, Frank and Freddie discuss that in the movie (Night of the Living Dead) you had to destroy the brain. So Burt tells Freddy to open the door and Frank to whack it with a pick axe. Burt then conveniently moves out of the way, but when the door opens the walking corpse comes running straight at him! The three men wrestle with it and finally one of them pins it's head to the floor with the axe. But the thing keeps kicking and screaming - obviously freaking the men out! Burt then severs the head with a saw, but the thing just keeps on ticking.