The Quirky Queue: RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD

By at October 4, 2009 | 8:45 pm | Print

Norm’s Note: I’m happy to introduce a new feature here at the Lobby, The Quirky Queue, written by our latest contributor, Scott David. Scott likes to keep an eclectic Netflix queue — trashy horror, depraved cult stuff, tacky wacky 80s goodies — and has offered to review them as they come in. Welcome Scott! Dig in!

by Scott David, posted 10.04.09
4 / 5 stars

Return of the Living Dead Movie PosterNetflix has been a wonderful toy for me. It’s quite enjoyable to flip through forgotten films or shows, jumping from genre to genre. So without further ado, here’s my first review of the latest forgotten DVD in my queue.

A few weeks ago, while watching the Zombieland trailer, I began thinking about some of older, tongue-in-cheek horror films. Suddenly, I thought of Return of the Living Dead. I had seen the 1985 film years ago, but couldn’t remember whether it would hold up for a current audience. After all, I was only a teenager when I watched the movie. So, I kicked it to the top of my queue and took a second look.

The immortal Clu Gulager (and dad to Feast director John Gulager) plays the owner of a medical supply company, where the manager (headstone-moving, Pathmark spokesman James Karen) and new assistant Freddy (Thom Mathews) unwittingly release a U.S. military-made gas which makes the dead rise from the grave. This occurs while Freddy’s punker friends are partying in the graveyard just outside, waiting for him to get off work.

James Karen in Return of the Living DeadThe real humor of the movie is that it proposes Romero’s Night of the Living Dead was based on a true story. When decapitation fails to eliminate the zombies, Freddy cries, “The movie lied!”

With a quality performance by Don Calfa as a mortician who joins the fight, as well as “Queen of the Screams” Linnea Quigley doing what she does best (slinking around wearing nothing but boots), Return of the Living Dead is just as fun as when it was first released. Quality makeup, some inspired camera work, the occasional scare, and enough laughs make this movie worth checking out this month. It’s certainly a welcome break from the perennial Halloween films so often viewed. The vintage 80s clothes, hairstyles and music just add to the fun!

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