Sunday, July 12, 2015
30 Years of "Return of the Living Dead"
In a month's time, it will mark the 30th anniversary of a true favorite of the horror genre: "Return of the Living Dead". Those relatively unfamiliar with the film may know it as "that zombie movie with the punks and the super sexy naked zombie chick"...and you'd be right. The original "Return of the Living Dead" is one of the most fun and enjoyable zombie films ever made, and thirty years later, it's still as enjoyable as it was back then.
Based on the novel by John Russo, who had co-created "Night of the Living Dead" with George Romero, "Return of the Living Dead" is written and directed by the great, late Dan O' Bannon, who had written the original "Alien" among many other notable sci-fi/horror works. The story is simple: two idiots accidentally re-animate a whole graveyard full of brain-hungry corpses, while a bunch of punk kids are caught in the crossfire. Before you can say "send more paramedics", the tone of the film shifts from hilarious, to scary, to downright chilling.
For me personally, "Return of the Living Dead" has a special place in my heart. This was one of the first zombie films I ever saw in my youth (and I actually saw its first sequel, "Return of the Living Dead II" first) and left quite an impression on me. Maybe most of that was due to seeing scream queen Linnea Quigley dancing around butt ass naked in a graveyard, but I digress. This was one of the first movies I remember seeing that I genuinely laughed at and was slightly scared by. After re-discovering it years later with the advent of DVD, I fell back in love with it all over again.
The film was followed by numerous sequels, all ranging in terms of quality. "Return of the Living Dead II" took the focus off the horror and was put more on the comedic elements, while "Re-Animator" and "Society" maestro Brian Yuzna was behind the surprisingly good "Return of the Living Dead 3", which threw out the comedy and was straight up, no holds barred, super fucking gory zombie horror that is well worth your time. There were a pair of made for the Sci-Fi Channel films as well, which are the equivalent of cinematic abortions, but you probably already knew that.
If you've never seen the original "Return of the Living Dead", you've been missing out. Go remedy that immediately. Also it goes without saying that you'll be madly in love with Linnea Quigley after viewing the film, and trust me when I say it, but that is a love that never dies...just like the love for this wonderful piece of trash as a whole.