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The Return of the Living Dead

USA 1984
produced by
Tom Fox, John Daly (executive), Derek Gibson (executive) for Cinema '84, Hemdale Film Corporation, Fox Films
directed by Dan O'Bannon
starring Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Thom Mathews, Beverly Randolph, John Philbin, Jewel Shepard, Miguel A. Núnez jr, Linnea Quigley, Mark Venturini, Jonathan Terry, Cathleen Cordell, Drew Deighan, James Dalesandro, Brian Peck, John Durbin, David Bond, Bob Libman
screenplay by Dan O'Bannon, based on a story by Rudolph J.Ricci, John Russo, Russ Steiner, music by Matt Clifford, Francis Haines, Robert Randles

Return of the Living Dead

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Frank (James Karen) & Freddy (Thom Mathews) work at a warehouse that specializes in storing dead bodies, of humans & animals alike, to scientific institutions around the globe. But to scare his young colleague a bit, Frank has the not-so-good idea of showing him a crate containing a real-life (real-dead ?) zombie the army has mislaid in the warehouse some 15 years ago. Unfortunately though, the crate has grown a bit old & rusty & soon enough releases some gas that re-awakens all the dead bodies in the warehouse - and infects Frank & Freddy, who seem to look deader by the minute.

Soon their boss Burt (Clu Gulagher) has to come, help them put the bodies out of action (by sawing them into little pieces) and persuade his friend Ernie (Don Calfa) from the next door mortuary to burn the bodypieces in his incinerator. Which in itself is a not-so-good idea, since that night it rains, & the smoke which is supposed to go up up and away, pours down on the next-door cemetary, & with it the zombie gas.

... & on the next-door cemetary, Freddy's girlfriend Tina (Beverly Randolph) & her friends (including Linnea Quigley, who fortunately spends most of her brief screentime in the nude) are partying ... but soon ahve to notice that the regular tenants of the place have unexpectedly woken up ... not all of them make it out of the cemetary & into the mortuary alive.

In the mortuary though, it is not all that much better, as mortuaries traditionally do accomodate corpses, & then there are Frank & Freddy, who at one point really turn into zombies wanting to eat brains (that's what the zombies do in this movie) ...

After much havoc & more deaths, much deads come back to life & more brains eaten, somehow army general Glover (Jonathan Terry) has fianlly gotten wind of the situation & orders the cemetary, the mortuary, the warehouse & the whole village they are in to be nuked from the surface of the earth ... which turns into a raving success, with less than 4.000 casualities - but then, rain starts to go down somehwere else ...

 

George A.Romero's Dawn of the Dead & Lucio Fulci's Zombie Flesh Eaters caused the zombie boom in the late 1970's, but it came into full swing in the early 1980's, partly due to the advent of home-video. In 1984, when this movie was produced though, the zombie boom had considerably lost momentum ... & yet this is one of the best zombie films of its era.

In fact, Return of the Living Dead succeeds in not so much being an inventive genre film but a loving parody/hommage to the genre that somehow manages to find the ironic aspects of genre mainstays, takes some bizarre ideas of the genre to the extreme, but at the same time manages not to insult zombie-fans ... & that's quite a feat in itself.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD