Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The Return of the Living Dead
Director: Dan O'Bannon
Writer: Ban O'Bannon, Rudy Ricci
Genre: Horror: Zombies
I've circled around this film for years without ever giving it a chance. For some reason, despite growing up loving zombie films I felt I couldn't watch this one. It seemed like it was going to tapdance on the tomb of the more "serious" zombie movies I'd seen. I never really wanted to see my favorite films made a mockery of. But then Shaun of the Dead, Dance of the Dead, and Zombieland came out and made me change my thought process. Now, films like Dead Alive are the ones I'm madly in love with. Still, I couldn't get over my silly fear of watching this film until recently.
Having finally watched the film I can tell you it's a great time. The start of the story is with a guy who's just taken up a job and is learning the ropes. The job is one of supplying medical schools with various dead things from the warehouse as well as other teaching implements. The story goes that deep in the basement of the warehouse are old dead bodies that had come to life due to some crazy military experimentation (something like that anyway). Stupidly, the man showing the new guy around smacks a dead body bin, the toxic fumes escape, and well I'm sure you can guess that something happens. Oh, and did I mention that this building is right across the street from a graveyard? Yep.
I really like the humor in this film. It's a lot sharper than one might expect from an 80s film and for that I applaud it. It also takes a keen eye to have put together a more lighthearted zombie film when there weren't many on the market currently. Night of the Creeps came out a year later. Either way, it's a fun way to turn the genre on its head and it still manages to keep you on the edge of your seat at times.