Sep 30, 2008

The Return of the Living Dead

Over the years, my “love” for the horror genre has waned. I find my stomach turning when I hear that an old classic is being remade or another sequel is in the works. One of my all time favorite horror films of the 1980s is the classic Return of the Living Dead. The film, of course, has an abundance of horrible and banal sequels that always trick horror fans into watching them. I guess it is just hard to deal with the fact that none of the many sequels can come even close to “living” up to the original.

I listen to the song Party Time by 45 Grave anytime that I want to reflect on the film without actually watching it. Death-rock and the horror film is a splendid match made in hell. Return of the Living Dead has one of the best soundtracks to ever compliment a horror film. The Cramps, The Damned, The Flesh Eaters, and T.S.O.L. (unfortunately not the original line-up) add a certain fun eerie sound to an already competent horror flick. The punk rockers featured in Return of the Living Dead, for once, actually have music that compliments their aesthetic.

She also experiences her fantasy of being ripped apart by a bunch of old (and dead) men. When Trash comes back as a zombie, she is easily the most erotic zombie to ever grace the scratched silver screen. A homeless man learns the hard way when he becomes hypnotized by the newly rotting beauty. Why can’t the recent flood of mediocre and worthless zombie films feature such salacious zombies?

I never thought that featuring slapstick humor in a zombie film would actually be successful. There is nothing I hate more than the horror comedy, but Return of the Living Dead does is solidly. Over the years, the one liners of zombies have stuck in my mind and I can’t complain. After all demanding “MORE BRAINS!!” is something you expect to hear from a zombie and the tarman zombie says it well. The torso of a rotten and topless blonde lets the audience know her fancy is, "not people, BRAINS!” This zombie has always had a close place in my heart.

Night of the Living Dead author John Russo was able to keep the “living dead” dead for his future cinema ventures, while director George S. Romero has to come up with different names for his sequels. Although Return of the Living Dead isn’t an official sequel to Night of the Living Dead, it is a nice comedic and reflexive companion piece to the first film. I would even go as far as saying that I find Return of the Living Dead to be more entertaining than Romero’s sequel Dawn of the Dead. Return of the Living Dead has aged elegantly whereas Dawn of the Dead has just aged.

-Ty E


Anonymous said...

Hi. I agree. "The Return Of The Living Dead" is a fun comedy/horror classic. There is no telling how many times I've watched it over the years, and I always have a blast. In my opinion, however, I don't think I'd rank it up there with "Dawn". Thanks for finding me on MySpace.

Fred [The Wolf] said...

I fuckin' love this movie! I own it on DVD and watch it at least twice a year. The soundtrack is awesome [my favorite being SSQ's "Tonight We'll Make Love Till We Die"] and Tar-Man is one of the best zombies ever. Trash is obviously my favorite character in the film. That speech about her death fantasy is absolutely hilarious and ironic. She is definitely the most erotic zombie ever on film. I wouldn't mind her biting and eating my brains. Great review and definitely one of the best zombie flicks of all time.

my name is luka...i live on the second floor said...

i`ve always thought this film to be slightly over-rated, return of the living dead 3 (or romeo and juliet meets george a. romero, as it came to be known) is easily the best of the 5 films in this series so far, and (as i`ve said before on this site) mindy clarke is the most breathtaking zombie chick of all time, even greater than linnea quigley.