Return of the Living Dead / More Brains: Return of the Living Dead

What do zombies eat? Brains!

How do we know this? Return of the Living Dead.

The horror movie channel, Chiller, was good enough to bring us both Return of the Living Dead  and More Brains: Return of the Living Dead, a documentary about the making of the film, this Saturday night.

Romero brought us the slow, stumbling zombies we’ve come to expect from the genre. He established the canon that all subsequent films violate at their peril. Romero’s sequel to Night of the Living Dead was Dawn of the Dead wasn’t the only follow on film. There was also 1985’s Return of the Living Dead (ROTLD), written and directed by Dan O’Bannon.

Stats:

Zombies: slow

Motivation: brains

Cause: chemicals developed by the government

Relationship to Night of the Living dead: Followup to the ‘real’ events that were altered for that film.

But don’t worry, there’s a bright-eyed new-guy working at UNEEDA Medical Supply under the competent tutelage of the warehouse foreman, Frank– and I’m sure they can keep everything under control.

Instigating event: Competent senior employee, Frank, can’t help but show off the old government-issue drums containing the zombies from the first film. Said employee bangs the side of the drum and releases a healthy dose of toxic, zombifying gas.

So we get a few medical supply corpses coming back to life, probably something we can contain. Just make sure that none of the gas that’s permeated their bodies gets released into the atmosphere…

Image

Vents directly into the adjoining cemetery

Between the ineptitude of the living and the single-minded drive of the dead (all of which outclass the live characters in terms of intelligence by at least 30 or 40 IQ points) this film does a great job setting up the conditions for spreading zombies across the world and reeling in the treats for them to eat.

Not as serious as the Romero trilogy, but meant to be gory and entertaining, ROTLD earns a solid 7.2/10 from IMDB and  90% from Rotten Tomatoes.

First watch: Night of the Living Dead (1968 original  AND 1990 remake ), Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead.

Then, after ROTLD, be sure to catch the similarly disjointed ‘sequel’ Zombie2.

But, before all that, watch this live performance of Die, Die My Darling, by the Misfits, played by Glenn Danzig’s band, Samhain. Because the misfits broke up so soon after the release of this single in 1983, it’s particularly hard to find any video of them playing it.

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