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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Watch your mouth if you like this job!"
"Over the top" doesn't even begin to describe this film. It's a rare movie that works as a satire of a beloved genre (NIGHT & DAWN OF THE DEAD) and stands more or less alone as a credible horror movie on its own. Unlike something like SCARY MOVIE, which has no pretensions of telling a serious story amidst all the humor, this one is a great zombie movie...
Published on March 25 2004 by RMurray847

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3.0 out of 5 stars ROTLD DVD Review
"Return Of The Living Dead" is one of those horror gems that hardcore fans have wanted to see on DVD. A fun old-fashioned horror film that has been out of print on VHS for awhile, "Return" is not related to George Romero's "Dead" series. It is more or less a parody of the Living Dead films before it. Written and directed by Dan O'Bannon, this 1985 cult classic is an...
Published on Aug. 24 2003 by Crazy Jim


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Watch your mouth if you like this job!", March 25 2004
By 
RMurray847 (Albuquerque, NM United States) - See all my reviews
"Over the top" doesn't even begin to describe this film. It's a rare movie that works as a satire of a beloved genre (NIGHT & DAWN OF THE DEAD) and stands more or less alone as a credible horror movie on its own. Unlike something like SCARY MOVIE, which has no pretensions of telling a serious story amidst all the humor, this one is a great zombie movie first, and a gentle parody second.
Set primarily in a medical supply warehouse, a funeral home and a graveyard (how's that for a trifecta of great locations!), we follow the story of what happens when a long hidden government "nerve agent" is released and it turns out it has the power to reanimate the dead. And I don't mean intact corpses. It raises body parts, including, memorably, the remains of a dog that was cut in half (for classroom purposes). The shot of the poor creature, normal on one side and organ's exposed on the other, trying to run, sticks with you. It's disturbing, gross, funny and totally original.
The movie ups the ante with these zombies too. They CAN'T be killed with a shot to the head. In fact, nothing short of totally burning them up in a crematorium does the trick. When warehouse owner Clu Gallagher shows up at the funeral home with a pile of twitching plastic bags, that is a GREAT, grisly moment. Another great touch was having the two characters who breathed in the agent directly (when they were still alive) go straight from being alive to being zombies without all that annoying dieing stuff! The paramedics examine the shivering, but conscious and coherent men, only to discover they have NO heartbeat or blood pressure. Cool idea!
The movie is mostly populated with a bunch of obnoxious teenagers partying at the cemetary. They are the barest caricatures (but funny, because they are caricatures of early '80s teenagers!), and not terribly interesting. The characters we actually care anything about are the older actors. James Karen, as the warehouse manager, is particularly great. His overacting is epic, and yet fits the tone of the film PERFECTLY. It's a comic / horror gem.
The movie features a loud rock score...with some truly terrible songs. And one of the characters, whose name I forget, is a pink haired girl with a death wish, who apparently likes to stip all her clothes off and strut around for hours. So in the midst of all the gore, we also have lengthy full frontal nudity. So if you don't mind your kids seeing crazy zombie violence and brain-eating...you might still shy away from the graphic nudity. I'm not sure the movie could get an "R" anymore these days.
If you haven't seen it, you should probably check out at least NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and DAWN OF THE DEAD first, just so the conventions being poked fun at are fully appreciated. But if you are a fan of those movies, this is the movie for you!
The extras on the DVD are really just a fairly detailed but actually not terribly interesting making-of documentary. I'm sorry, but lovingly telling us about the costume design for this film just doesn't do much for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perversely funny and haunting, June 29 2004
By 
Rocco Dormarunno (Brooklyn, NY) - See all my reviews
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Taking the old zombie/living dead legends and movie treatments, and then standing them on their ears, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD is a perversely funny and, yet, fiercely frightening movie. A combination of "The Night of the Living Dead," "Thriller", and a little bit of "Sid and Nancy", RETURN OF THE LIVING Dead is a great punk horror film. The tag-lines are hysterical. (My favorite: "Hey, guys, how can you kill something that's already dead?" "You know, Frank, the kid's got a good point there")
Some gruesome special effects, especially the make-up, are effective, but they do not overwhelm the film. The cast, playing it up between tongue-in-cheek camp and true terror, is made up mostly of no ones but they are quite up to the task. RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD is a great horror comedy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Not the common Zombie flick", July 14 2004
By 
In this sequel of N.O.T.L.D, a mortician I guess you could say, cremated a Zombie and the smoke from his ashes created acid rain which brought the dead back to life. Like I said it's not the common zombie flick, in this sequel the zombies run and talk, which is kind of a disappointment, but it was something different plus it wasnt a Romero film but it was pretty good. Its worth buying and holding on to. It was pretty cool when they basically interviewed the Head of a zombie to ask why it was killing people, so that was a plus. Pretty good and like I said its definately worth buying.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Return of the Living Dead (1985), May 31 2004
By 
Director: Dan O'Bannon
Cast: Clu Gulager, James Karen, Thom Matthews, John Calfa.
Running Time: 91 minutes.
Rated R for violence, gore, nudity, and language.
Poking fun at George A. Romeo's "Night of the Living Dead" series, this campy-style horror romp is undoubtedly some of the most fun you will have watching a scary movie. Director Dan O'Bannon uses just the right balance of sheer terror and humor, combining elements from Romeo's "Dawn of the Dead" and Sam Raimi's "Evil Dead". "Return of the Living Dead" is a zombie flick for hairbangers, with dead people running around searching for human blood and brains while to the soundtrack of rock music.
A small Virginia town is terrorized by zombies when a chemical spill accidentally resurrects those buried in a nearby cemetary. The blood-crazed zombies are in search of human brains, for it feeds the addiction caused by the unknown chemicals. Clu Gulager and James Karen give good, quirky performances, but Thom Matthews steals the show. Although not a revolutionary film, "Return of the Living Dead" has superb makeup effects, a rocking musical score, and a satiral script that will bring out more than a few chuckles. Spawned two unfortunate sequels.
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4.0 out of 5 stars i'd give it 4 and a half if i could, May 26 2004
By 
what can you say about 'return of the living dead'? it's a zombie movie about punkers partying in a cemetery in kentucky. if you haven't seen it, it's not as lame as that description sounds. i won't go into detail and ruin it all, but truly classic. but sadly, this dvd is not what i remember the movie being. i first saw this in '94 on hbo and it was great. now, i was expecting the same movie, but no...the music is some parts has been changed for example after suicide gets killed, there is no music playing in the background like before, as soon as they run out the music starts but there are no lyrics like before. tarman's voice has been changed to a deeper sound and it doesn't work. one of the zombies asking for more paramedics/cops voice has been changed but thats cool cuz you could barely hear him the first time around. it's a petty gripe, but it matters to me. if you want to hear how the movie originally sounded you have to turn the audio to spanish and hear the original music, it also works the same with the commentary but well...its commentary and you don't hear much of it all.
as for the rest...well the text of the back of the case is pretty wrong because freddy doesn't work at an army surplus store. the tv spots are pretty much the same and alter the details of when the movie is going to be released. you can tell this movie wasn't given the respect it deserved. but still...i give it a 4 instead of a 3 because it's 'return of the living dead' and its actually being released again. i can only hope one day someone will release a copy of the original and add all the cool stuff that was in the work print.
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5.0 out of 5 stars tarman!! BEST LOOKING ZOMBIE EVER, March 18 2004
By 
creatureart (boston mass usa) - See all my reviews
and very well could be one of the best zombie flicks ever made, next to fulci's zombie. everyone talks of romero but lets all be truly honest,day of the dead is his best and the only one of his zombie films that could compare to either fulci's zombie or dan obannon's return of the living dead. that may tic alot of G.R.fans off but the truth hurts dont it.the only reason fulci's zombie is better than return of the living dead is because fulci aint trying to get any laghs,but to someone else laghs might be better. so return may be better to you after all. with that all said lets get to the detail of the movie. first off this is a pretty much perfectly made slapstick scary movie. directing awsome, score was cool, storyline was awsome, the acting was pretty decent and some of it was real good,alot better than the acting in the great(dawn of the dead...bloody and fleshy classic but bad acting and an even worse ending)back to R.O.T.L.D. your going to love the main detailed zombies in this flick,especialy TARMAN he's the one who basicly starts the ball rolling.I am not going to tell you anything about the story, i will only tell you that R.O.T.L.D is funny in all the right places, scary in all the right places, sexy in one really good spot in the movie (you will know what i mean when you get there!!).return of the living dead is by far the best american zombie movie out there,and second best zombie flick ever next to lucio fulci's zombie. get this underated awsome dvd and add it to your horror colection. you can watch it over and over and over and it just gets better,and more funny. this is the first zombie flick that i ever saw i was 6 years old now im 26 and i love the movie more than ever!!!!ps.eat your heart out george romero cause im sticking to the (BRAINS)
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4.0 out of 5 stars NEVER Work Next Door To A Cemetery!, Feb. 28 2004
Frank (James Karen) and Freddy (Thom Mathews) work for the UNEEDA medical supply company. Freddy is new, so Frank has fun showing him the skeletons, split-dogs, and the hanging cadaver in the freezer. Frank simply must show Freddy the strange containers in the basement, containing corpses from a chemical spill. He explains that these drums were mistakenly sent to Uneeda by the military. One of the containers springs a leak, causing the noxious gas within to spray out. Frank and Freddy wake up on the floor, next to a now empty container. Thus begins this little tale of terror. Meanwhile, Freddy's gal Tina and her punker friends are heading to Uneeda in Suicide's (Mark Venturini) beat up cadillac. They decide to hang out in the Resurrection Cemetery next door until Freddy gets off work. Back at Uneeda, Frank and Freddy encounter re-animated split-dogs and a screaming cadaver in the freezer, causing them to call their boss Burt (Clu Gulager) for help. Burt arrives and the three chuckleheads try unsuccessfully to "kill" the screeching, running cadaver. They end up having to cut it into several squirming pieces. This leads Burt to ask a favor of his buddy Ernie, next door at the Resurrection funeral home and crematorium. Outside, Trash (Linnea Quigley) decides to tear her clothes off and dance around the graveyard. Inside the crematory, Ernie burns up the body parts, the smoke of which goes up the chimney and into the clouds above, causing rain. Of course, the rain is full of the chemicals, and seeps into the hundreds of graves in the boneyard. Pretty soon the dead are popping out of the mud like nightcrawlers! RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD is a funny, gory, creepy movie. The zombies are great, especially the one that escaped the container at Uneeda. Watch for him as he jerkily shambles along, looking for a quick snack. Listen for the enhanced crunching sounds as the dead bite into living skulls. This movie is a masterpiece of ghoulish goulash! Oh, and did I mention that Linnea Quigley dances around naked? It was gratuitous, but somehow fitting...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dead Can Dance, Feb. 9 2004
By 
Brian D. Rubendall (Oakton, VA) - See all my reviews
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"Return of the Living Dead" is not meant to be taken seriously as a zombie movie. It is instead a rock and roll comedy that keeps the yuks coming while holding the bloody gore to a relative minimum. Some of the characters may be over-the-top cliches (especially the teenagers), but for the most part the actors do the Leslie Neilson-"The Naked Gun" deadpan well enough to generate laughs. The movie's other strength is the design of the Dead themselves, which were based on real-life mummies and are actually quite chilling to look at. The plot is somewhat silly, of course, but at least it doesn't insult the intelligence. It should also be mention that "ROTLD" originated the famous "Brains!" chant of the zombies that would be so cleverly pariodied on "The Simpsons."
This DVD edition also adds a quite informative "making of" presentation, with latter day interviews with the director and design team that created the movie, along with lots of other goodies for film enthusiasts.
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4.0 out of 5 stars great disk, great movie, lots of quotes, Nov. 24 2003
By 
A. Granger (portland, oregun) - See all my reviews
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so i love zombie movies. it started when i was 15 and saw dawn of the dead. but i can remember being around 11 and watching return of the living dead pt. II, alone on halloween...completely TERRIFIED! since then it's been sort of an addiction. i've seen...well, most of 'em. fulci's, argento's and the troma stuff. of course, nothing can top romero's, but they're all fun.
that said, ROTLD is a great, GREAT dvd! i picked mine up for about 10 clams at a store. this disc is loaded with great stuff: a nice lil' featurette (which was great to learn about the director and his mission with this 80's black-comedy send-up of Romero's earlier work), a decent commentary, trailers/tv spots, etc. not to mention the movie is hilarious. great gore effects, quality acting (which is strange considering the film and others of it's kind), and TURBO ZOMBIES!
ROTLD is a great addition to anyone's library. and for the cost, you can do a hell of a lot worse with other brain-munching send-ups of this growing genre.
just one more thing: SEND MORE PARAMEDICS!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A 7 Course Feast of Brains, with a side-order of Red Sauce!, Oct. 23 2003
Flesh-rending and brain-eating has never been so cool since the glory days of "Return of the Living Dead", Dan O'Bannon's first foray into directing (he wrote the script for "Alien" and later helmed the underrated "The Resurrected") and an homage to Romero's classic zombie films that would come close---very close---to surpassing the works of the Master in their ghoulish, brain-chomping goodness.

Remember that movie they made, years ago, about the living dead wandering about rural Pennsylvania, hungry for human flesh? Well, turns out that's a true story---but according to medical device factory supervisor Frank (played by the immortal James Karen, who sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for being in every cool film ever made), They (you know, the Army, the Pentagon, the CIA, the Scientists, the Guys in Charge) made the filmmakers change names and places around a little. As it turns out, Frank confides in rookie co-worker Freddy (played to the hilt by then-newcomer Thom Mathews), the army transported some of the zombies to a little medical products plant in Louisville, Kentucky---why, the very medical products plant our two heroes are sitting in. The zombies, of course, are downstairs in special sealed containment barrels.
Could you resist? Frank and Freddy can't, and head downstairs for a little face time with the safely entombed zombie. Turns out those old Army Corps of Engineering barrels weren't nearly as fail-safe as Frank thought, and a nasty, greenish, zombifying gas pours out---and it has very specific, re-animating qualities. Seeing as the gas spreads quickly through a building stocked to the gills with cadavers and split-dogs (just see for yourself), this is a very bad thing.
Add to this Frank and Freddy's decision with the help of an eccentric mortician Ernie (was that a Horst Wessel tune playing on his headphones while he was embalming that corpse?) to burn the zombified evidence (smoke spreads the pollutants, guys...to the local cemetery), throw in a pack of punkers who decide to 'hang out' in the aforementioned cemetery, and you have the makings of what I consider to be one of the very best zombie movies *ever* made.
"Return of the Living Dead" is sick, funny, benefits from a great eighties punker score (including songs from The Cramps and SSQ), well-paced, beautifully shot and rippingly directed by O'Bannon: not content to rest on its hysterically funny laurels, the movie ups the ante by really try to scare the bewhooskers out of you. Yes, the "Wee Chapel of the Dawn" is a whimsical and truly funny touch, as is the eviscerated woman's corpse, strapped to a gurney in the mortuary, that howls "brains...brains...BRAINS"---but the gallows humor is tied to the horror, and "Return of the Living Dead", even all these years later, is a terrifying film. The dead here don't amble or lurch, they run---and they talk, yell, taunt and scream, as well ("I love you Tina...and that's why you need to let me EAT YOUR BRAINS").
The special edition DVD is sorely needed, and restores "Return" to all its brain chewing glory. The extras, including a wry and amusing commentary by O'Bannon and conceptual art of the undead, are worth the price of admission alone.

Make sure you've secured all the doors and windows, don that spiked dog-collar, put a cassette of The Cramps in the hopper, and remember to shoot those zombies in the head---and then sit back and enjoy "Return of the Living Dead", one of the finest zombie flicks ever made.
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