Movie: The Return Of The Living Dead (1985)

Movie Poster: The Return Of The Living Dead (1985)

All the spoilers all the time. 

You have been warned!

Tony Gardner sits with the compnents for his animatronic "Half Corpse" puppet for "The Return of the Living Dead" prior to final assembly.

My Thoughts While Watching

  • I was thinking Romero but I was thinking wrong.
  • Where do they get skeletons with perfect teeth?
  • The half dog!! I completely thought it was Re-Animator that was from!! LOVE LOVE LOVE it!
  • “These things don’t leak do they?” “No, they were made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers!” And that’s when shit goes wrong.
  • Oh yeah, there is a lot of nudity. “I wonder what’s in that rain?!?”
  • 80’s fashion everywhere!
  • OMFG the killing of the naked cadaver!
  • Uneeda Medical Supply is a GREAT business name! Also, Resurrection Funeral Home!
  • There are smart zombies in this film!
The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Interviews & Extra Video

IMDB Synopsis: When two bumbling employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally release a deadly gas into the air, the vapors cause the dead to rise again as zombies.

Photo by Archive Photos – © 2012 Getty Images


Clu GulagerBurt
James KarenFrank
Don CalfaErnie
Thom MathewsFreddy
Beverly RandolphTina
John PhilbinChuck
Jewel ShepardCasey
Miguel A. Núñez Jr.Spider (as Miguel Nunez)
Brian PeckScuz
Linnea QuigleyTrash
Mark VenturiniSuicide
Jonathan TerryColonel Glover
Cathleen CordellColonel’s Wife

Director: Dan O’Bannon

My System Of Scoring

0-19 Levels of: Ugh

20-39 Levels of: Meh (can’t reach the remote)

40-59 Levels of: I don’t hate it?

60-85 Levels of: That was solid.

86-100 Levels of: I Loved It!

I rank this movie: 78

Additional Movie Info

Image result for image rotten tomatoes

Rotten Tomatoes rating is 91% Fresh.  It received a Rotten Tomato audience rating of 79% liking it.  Average Rating: 3.96/5 with a number of User Ratings: 55,238. Click HERE to read more.

Specs:  Release date: 16 August 1985 (USA) / Runtime: 91 min / Budget: $4M

Don Calfa, Tom Fox, and Tony Gardner in The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

iMDB Trivia

  • On the back of Freddy’s jacket, in the theatrical version, the words “Fuck You” are displayed. After realizing that the shot could not be used in case it was ever shown on TV, a second jacket was made that says “Television Version” and can be seen in the TV version of the movie.
  • According to Jewel Shepard (Casey), Dan O’Bannon met her at a strip club where she worked as a stripper. He initially wanted her in the role of Trash, but she was at the time fed up with being naked. She then suggested to Dan O’Bannon that she could audition for the role of Casey – the party girl, since she liked to party.
  • Miguel A. Núñez Jr. was homeless when he was cast in this movie.
  • The lead pipe that Clu Gulager uses in the movie is actually made of rubber. He initially used a real pipe but the crew snuck it away from him and replaced it with a rubber one as Dan O’Bannon was worried about Clu’s frequent angry and sometimes violent outbursts.
  • After the “rabid weasels” are brought into the Resurrection Funeral Home and the tarp is removed, what is actually in the bags are those motorized toy monkeys that have the cymbals. The cymbals were removed for obvious reasons.
  • The eye-test poster (seen most clearly after Frank and Freddy run into Burt’s office after hearing the first re-animated cadaver) in Burt’s office actually reads “Burt is a slave driver and a cheap son of a bitch who’s going bald too haha” if you put the letters together (pause the Blu-ray at around 17:29 into the movie for a clear shot).
  • The executive producers attempted to contact George A. Romero several times in order to offer him the choice of producing the movie, but he never answered.
  • Thom Mathews got his ear pierced for the role of Freddy since the character’s description specifically called for one; he later found out he could’ve had a fake earring attached for the role.
  • There are two versions of the song “Party Time” by the band “45 Grave”. The band recorded the ‘zombie version’ of their song for the movie’s soundtrack, which mentions the events of the film but is not featured in the movie itself. In the cemetery scene following Trash’s dance, the band’s original version of the song, which is about a 5-year-old girl beaten and raped and murdered by her own family, can be clearly heard playing instead.
  • (at around 19 mins) The gravestone to the left of the large one upon which Trash first performs her striptease has the name ‘Archibald Leach’ on it. This is the real name of the actor better known as Cary Grant.
  • The Darrow Chemical Company that manufactured 2-4-5 Trioxin in the film is based on the Dow Chemical Company, which in reality manufactured a chemical defoliant in the 1960s, commonly known as ‘Agent Orange’ (a 50:50 mix of 24d and 245t) and used to strip jungles in the Vietnam War. Agent Orange was sprayed in Vietnam and on the Gagetown Army Base in New Brunswick, Canada. It caused a lot of adverse health effects and is no longer used, although it was used extensively in New Zealand up until the 1980s, where it was manufactured (in New Plymouth) and sold under the name of Tordon Brush Killer. To avoid being sued by the Dow Chemical Company, the makers of Return of the Living Dead created the name “Darrow”, which sounds a lot like Dow when pronounced but wasn’t spelled the same.
  • They had to get approval from Lysol to have Frank spray away the stench of death with their product. “They liked the idea that Lysol would kill any conceivable odor.”
  • The nuclear cannon at the end of the film was actually a WWII German Howitzer.
  • When they bring the cadaver parts into the morgue where Ernie is embalming the corpse, you can see a color caricature of Adolf Hitler and Admiral Räeder hanging on the wall behind him, further reinforcing the possibility Ernie may be an escaped Nazi.
  • In the scene where Frank is telling Freddy about the zombies they have in the warehouse, he mentions that the events that lead to them being there happened in 1969 and inspired the film “Night of the Living Dead”, in spite of the fact that “Night of the Living Dead” was released in 1968.
  • Dan O’Bannon said on the DVD commentary that he decided to film Tina’s lonely walk to the warehouse with long shots and top down angles because he felt that most horror movies filmed the characters from close-up. O’Bannon felt this was tired and clichéd. However, once he had seen the final product, he regretted filming it the way he did. Stating that afterwards he realized that the close-ups and tight shots helped you follow the character and connect with their feelings.
  • Producers “hated the fact that the zombies ran.” They apparently wanted the more traditional lumbering kind. “It’s just so familiar the other way. I wanted to surprise the audience.”
  • John A. Russo receives story credit despite the only similarity to his original treatment being the title. His story was a direct sequel to Night of the Living Dead taking place ten years later and dealing with a trio of sisters being menaced by looters on the countryside when the zombie plague mysteriously begins again.
  • The movie takes place in Louisville, KY. If you freeze the movie when the medical supply sign first appears, you’ll see that the medical supply company is a member of the Louisville Chamber of Congress.
  • The frost on the walls of the freezer room is actually Christmas tree flocking. O’Bannon wishes they had had a budget and could have afforded to actually turn the temperature down in there and see the actors’ breath.
  • There’s no blade in the side shot of the saw, being used to decapitate the corpse.
  • Though the movie is set on July 3rd, 1984, Burt and Frank talk about the July 4th weekend at the beginning of the film. July 3rd fell on a Tuesday in 1984, making preparations for a holiday weekend a bit premature.
  • James Karen came up with the idea for the death scene of his character, originally, Frank was supposed to be completely transformed into a zombie and join the zombie mob, but James Karen did not wish to film any scenes in the cold rain of Los Angeles, so he instead suggested that Frank incinerate himself before said transformation could be completed. O’Bannon agreed to the suggestion.
The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

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