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Return of the Living Dead, The (1985)
Movie Review by The Gravedigger

Return of the Living Dead, The (1985) I must have seen this movie over twenty times in the past 26 years and I never get tired of it, finding it as funny and creepy as the very first time I watched it in a theater. For those of you who haven't seen this (shame on you), it's about Freddy (Tom Mathews) who has begun a new job at the Oneida Medical Supply Company. His boss, Frank (James Karen of FRANKENSTEIN VS. THE SPACE MONSTER) tells him a story about how canisters of zombies are stored down in the basement. Freddy doesn't believe him, until he's shown the containers and sees the corpse within. However, it leaks and sprays gas in their face. The mist escapes into other parts of the building and reanimates the dead butterflies and the cadaver in the freezer. When Frank wakes up and sees all of this, ill, he calls his boss Burt (Clu Gulager) about the mishap and they decide to burn the cadaver at a nearby funeral home. Only the smoke interacts with the clouds and it begins to rain down that same chemical. Then, we go to Freddy's punked out friends who are on their way to meet him after work. They decide to kill some time in the nearby graveyard and one of them (Linnea Quigley) dances around naked while fantasizing about being devoured by old men (a foreshadowing, for sure!). While there, it begins to rain and the corpses start reanimating.

There are lots of over-the-top performances, particularly by James Karen and Tom Mathews (who sort of reprise these roles in RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD PART II), some decent special effects such as a half-hag corpse that explains she needs to eat brains in order to make the pain of death go away. And, of course, there's the "Tar Man", the creature that came from that first unlocked container.

I believe this is the very first time we're introduced to "fast zombies", which really weren't used again in a movie until 28 DAYS LATER and Zack Snyder's DAWN OF THE DEAD remake. RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD also started the whole thing with zombies wanting to eat brains...and the sub-genre has never been the same.

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