Many great things are written about The Return of the Living Dead and it’s sequels thus I intend to watch, and review, the trilogy of the undead starting with the daddy of them all, part one. And ultimately pretending that the fourth and fifth don’t exist. It’s for the best.
The storyline is simple: two bumbling warehouse workers unleash a previously contained toxin which reanimates the dead.
Simple as that.
The movie begins with new kid, Freddy, getting some on the job training from Frank. Meanwhile his rag-tag group of friends (below) are looking to par-tay!
Before you know it, Frank is telling spooky stories, showing Freddy a mysterious military canister then, BOOM! They’re knocked unconscious and a reanimated corpse is stalking them. Not only that, but their boss, Bert, is a tad pissed.
All the while, Freddy’s pals are partying in a local graveyard and, thankfully, they have have Linnea Quigley with them. In seconds flat she has her kit off and is gyrating on a monument to the dead. YAY FOR LINNEA QUIGLEY!
But poor Bert doesn’t want to admit to the cops, or the army, that there’s been a slight ‘accident’, so he has a plan which involves the mortuary across the road who can hopefully burn all the evidence. Which is when the accident becomes a disaster. You see, the smoke from the incineration has caused some rather heavy rainfall, thus, spreading the toxin much further afield (read: it only seemed to rain over the graveyard). Not only that, but the dead dude from within the canister is out and about too! Oh my!
So, now the entire graveyard is up and about. While they’re up and about, poor Freddy and Frank are down and out, they’re now turning in to zombies themselves! Zombies are attacking the mortuary and all hell has broken loose. Things are so serious that Linnea has her clothes back on! GASP!
The mortician captures a bashed up zombie, ties it to a table and questions it about death. There’s something you don’t see every day…
Frank and Freddy are now fully paid up members of the zombie society, the army is informed of the ‘incident’ and I shant spoil the ending.
Don’t mistake tRotLD as a Romero rip-off as it has some features, such as running zombies, that weren’t used until about twenty years later. The special effects are, as you’d expect, rubbery. And all the better for it I say. The initial zombie-in-a-canister-guy is excellent. He actually reminds me of Jason from Friday 13th Part VII (my favourite of the bunch) with his part skeleton face and big beady eyes. Giving him a big tongue was also a stroke of genius. The torso zombie (above) which is strapped to a table is awesome. It’s exposed spinal column wags like a tail, it’s head and eyes move around and it’s jaw is animated enough to make it seem as though it’s talking. The fx team did a grand job on this film.
There’s humour, gore and great special effects… if I HAD to find a fault with tRotLD I’d say that the introduction of Frank, Freddy and his pals was a bit on the long side. I liked it. Bring on part two!