Movie of the Week: Return of the Living Dead (1985)

In the Summer of 1985 I turned 16, and Return of the Living Dead came to theaters. My two friends and I gained admission to the film without adult chaperones, a sizable victory for boys our age. We sat behind three girls. As the film started, one girl whispered something in her friend's ear. The friend turned around and gave me a cursory once-over, then turned back and said, clearly, "his hair is too long". And I sat there, beaming, "someone almost liked me."

The TV spot used the song Partytime by 45 Grave. 

Not a good song in retrospect, but it inspired me to buy the soundtrack LP, which shifted my interest from heavy metal to punk rock in a matter of weeks. From there it was the Repo Man soundtrack (the ultimate 80's punk primer), then Black Flag's Damaged album, then the Dead Kennedys and the Cramps, beginning a lifelong pursuit of authenticity and originality in music. And then I shaved my long hair down to a buzz cut.


Lance Ehlers said...

Easily the most consistently fun zombie film I've ever seen. Tons of great lines and creative weirdness (the midget/amputee zombie and the split dog immediately come to mind).

"I'm gonna bust it in the damn head!"

stexe said...

It could be the first meta-horror film, in that it opens with the characters referencing "Night of the Living Dead" as just a movie, not a prequel, and the accompanying familiarity of zombie movie tropes (like if you get them in the head they die instantly) being cast aside in favor of something more horrific. It's a very unique and creative film. And the ending is such a perfect encapsulation of the 80's zeitgeist.

It would be interesting to read the original script, done by the guy who wrote the original "Night of the Living Dead". Dan O'Bannon read it, decided he didn't want to do a straightforward sequel (since Romero was doing those already) so he rewrote it as a satire.