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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield


Dir. Dan O'Bannon

Reviewer. Dan Cook

19 years before Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg lovingly lampooned George Romero’s zombie movies with SHAUN OF THE DEAD, ALIEN co-author Dan ‘O Bannon paid his own affectionate tribute to the father of the sub-genre with 1985’s RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, an uproariously entertaining horror comedy that revels in outrageous gore, shameless nudity and shameful 80’s fashion. (ed - Also extremely ironic that Wright isn't a fan of this film for it paved the way for his.) Starring Clu Gulager, James Karen and Don Calfa as well as a host of recognisable character actors such as Miguel Nunez and scream Queen Linnea Quigley, the film sees a small Kentucky town being completely overrun by a hoarde of resurrected corpses after a freak chemical accident causes the deceased to rise out of their graves to ravenously feast on the pulsing brains of its inhabitants.

One of the first films to feature fast moving undead and the originator of the now traditional brain-eating zombie, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD unintentionally ended up being just as influential to the genre as the Romero pictures it was poking fun at and with some enjoyably gruesome set pieces of cannibalistic carnage, a rocking soundtrack of 80’s punk, some very funny one-liners, an eye-popping dance scene from Miss Quigley and a great overall reinvention of the zombie mythos, this cult classic is an absolutely riotous gem that will most definitely appeal to anyone who loves a healthy dose of man-munching mayhem.

(ed - The Cult Classics documentary, MORE BRAINS! A RETURN TO THE LIVING DEAD, is a fantastic companion piece that explores the making of and subsequent cult status the film has received)

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