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The Return of the Living Dead

Early on here, one character asks another if he's seen the original Night of the Living Dead, then goes on to explain that the 1968 film altered the facts concerning a real-life zombie attack on the local populace.

Early on here, one character asks another if he’s seen the original Night of the Living Dead, then goes on to explain that the 1968 film altered the facts concerning a real-life zombie attack on the local populace.

Virtually the entire action of the rather threadbare production [from a story by Rudy Ricci, John Russo and Russell Streiner] shuttles among three locations – a medical supply warehouse, where numerous zombies have been sent by the Army; a nearby mortuary; and an adjacent cemetery, where a bunch of punks frolic before being chased out by corpses risen from their graves.

From then on, it’s the same old story, as unusually vigorous, athletic zombies besiege the motley bunch of human beings holed up in the vicinity and eat the brains of anyone they get their hands on.

Director Dan O’Bannon deserves considerable credit for creating a terrifically funny first half-hour of exposition, something in which he is greatly aided by the goofball performance of James Karen as a medical supply know-it-all.

The Return of the Living Dead

  • Production: Hemdale/Fox. Director Dan O'Bannon; Producer Tom Fox; Screenplay Dan O'Bannon; Camera Jules Brenner; Editor Robert Gordon; Music Matt Clifford; Art Director William Stout
  • Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1985. Running time: 90 MIN.
  • With: Clu Gulager James Karen Don Calfa Thom Mathews Beverly Randolph John Philbin
  • Music By: