Return of the Living Dead, a Review.
It’s Freddy’s first day working alongside Frank at the medical supply warehouse owned by Burt, in an effort to impress Freddy Frank shows him one of the trade secrets, a barrel of a neurotoxin named 245-Trioxin, a weapon developed by the military.
Whilst manhandling the barrel the glass viewing window cracks, flooding Freddy and Frank with the gas which then filters through the buildings air ventilation system and proceeds to infect the cadavers in the warehouse.
Calling Burt, the boys are instructed to take the reanimated cadavers to the next door mortuary where Ernie is working late into the night, a quick word from Burt and Ernie is on team, firing up the incinerator, thinking to burn off every part of the poor reanimated creatures.
As the smoke from the crematory mixes with a high pressure rain system overhead, the ensuing storm pours into the nearby graveyard bringing the residents back from beyond…
Not to be confused with Romero’s “Of the Dead” series (infact the producers of the Romero series tried getting an injunction against the use of Of the Dead in the title), this 80’s classic pays homage to the classics.
The effects are top notch, from fleshing being rendered from limbs down to the “sludge” Zombie out of the fuel drum, they may not pass for life like, but they fit well within the dark setting of the film.
Plot-wise, the story is far from great, but despite logical inconsistencies (Why does Freddy’s friends turn up to his workplace several hours in advance?) the movie is what I would consider “The type of Zombie movie I would want to make”.
Ultimately RotLD isn’t a horror, it’s a comedy with rather graphic Zombie based death scenes.
If you needed any proof of this simple fact, if can be found in three scenes, firstly at a mid-point in the movie after an ambulance has been called and the paramedics eaten by the surrounded dead, one of the night walkers manages to crawl into the cab and call over to dispatch “Send more ambulances”
Secondly, during the initial Trioxin release, the corpse of a dog (well, half a corpse) is bathed in the toxin, the result is a yapping, moving dog zombie with working internal body parts.
Thirdly (and by no means last), after Freddy (whoops, spoilers…) turns Zombie he chases Tina through the mortuary shouting something to the effect of “If you loved me, you’d let me eat your brains”
As I said, the RotLD series (abbreviating due to being lazy and there are 5 movies in the series) are completely separate to the Romero movies, but they do pay a healthy amount of respect, as part of the RotLD lore it is stated that Night of the Living Dead was a movie based on a real event, a government fuck up in the ensuing cover up left a barrel of Trioxin out in the wild.
Otherwise it is good to see that the writers of RotLD tried to make the wtory their own by giving the undead a reason for hunting the living, instead of just being mindless automatons, when captured and questioned one of the undead clearly state that they hunger for brains because it stops the pain of being dead, the dead can fell themselves rotting away.
Now, this movie has its share of kills and laughs, but it has two more points I feel I have to mention, firstly a very attractive Linnea Quigley playing punk rocker Trash, proceeding to strip off and dance naked (who can argue with that?) as the initial outbreak occurs.
Secondly it does have a notable tender moment, as Frank and Freddy become Zombies resulting from their exposure to the Trioxin fumes, though Freddy embraces his new unlife, Frank can not handle knowing what he is becoming, removes his wedding ring he crawls into the crematory furnace and kills himself.
Finally, the movie ends on a.. Well the Zombies are all killed, but then so is everything else, that is the ending, but there are still some missing Trioxin barrels out there…
Boobs, jokes and slaughter, all in all seven braaaaaiiins out of ten braaaaiiins.
Originally written on a previous incarnation of Geekenbrau.
Content remains identical however article titles have been changed.
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