Ever since George A. Romero’s masterpiece Night of the Living Dead was unleashed in 1968, everyone wanted to do their own version of it. Some were really good, others not so much. One of the very best ones is iconic writer/director Dan O’Bannon’s 1985 Return of the Living Dead, which remains one of the bleakest, funniest, but also unexpectedly sad horror flicks of all-time.
Clu Gulager, James Karen, Thom Matthews, Beverly Randolph, Miguel Nunez, Don Calfa, and the great Linnea Quigley, among others star in this ingenious parody of zombie films, while injecting its own flavor, dark humor, and even actual heart into the mix.
Even the most seasoned horror fanatic knows the plot, two klutzes in a army surplus store/morgue (Matthews and Karen) accidentally set off nerve gas from a secret U.S. military container, which brings the dead back to life and craving for brains, and lucky for them, there are partying teens (including Quigley) nearby just asking to be next on the menu.
On the surface, it seems like just another zombie flick, but make no mistake, this is an entirely different take on the undead. For the first time, we hears zombies speak (“send more ambulances”) and even more disturbing: the disembodied body of a female zombie answers the day old question “Why do the dead always feast on the living?” with “to stop the pain”, which is profoundly unsettling. Basically, it hurts to be dead just as much as it does to be alive. And for those who love their copious amounts of nudity, Quigley definitely delivers, especially when her character Trash dances topless on top of a crypt.
Joining Scream Factory’s 4K UHD slate, it doesn’t have any brand new special features, but the vintage ones are still stacked and just as viable. They include the four commentaries: 1) Gary Smart (Co-author of The Complete History of The Return Of The Living Dead) and Chris Griffiths 2) actors Mathews, John Philbin and make-up effects artist Tony Gardner 3) director O’Bannon and production designer William Stout 4) other cast and crew featuring Stout and actors Don Calfa, Quigley, Beverly Randolph, and Allan Trautman. There’s also The Decade of Darkness – featurette on ’80s horror films; workprint version (with 20 minutes of additional footage); More Brains – the definitive making of documentary; featurettes on the FX, music, and origins of the film; theatrical trailers; TV spots; and much, much more.
If you don’t already own this one-of-a-kind undead successor to Romero or simply want an upgrade, then this is definitely an edition to add to your collection.
Cure (Criterion): A wave of gruesome murders takes over Tokyo. A detective and psychologist are called into investigate. An odd young man is arrested near the scene of the latest murder, and has a strange effect on everyone. The detective determines to find the connections between the young man and the killings.
La Llorona (Criterion): Alma (María Mercedes Coroy) is murdered with her children during a genocide in Guatamala. Thirty years later, the general who oversaw the event is found not guilty, which causes Alma’s spirit to come back into the form of his new housekeeper, who is determined to settle the score that the trial could not.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (40th Anniversary Edition): The 1982 Steven Spielberg masterpiece joins 4K UHD for the first time ever. Enough said.
Bodies Bodies Bodies: A group of rich 20-somethings plan a hurricane party at a remote family mansion, which turns deadly for everyone involved.
American Movie: A now classic 1999 documentary about Mark Borchardt and his attempts to direct a low-budget horror film called “Coven.”