Title: The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Runtime: 91 minutes
Director: Dan O’Bannon

This is a perfect example of 80s craziness at its finest. From the over-the-top acting to the gore, music, and crazy naked woman, there’s a lot to enjoy about this horror romp.

The zombie outbreak in Return happens thanks to a couple of idiotic medical supply employees. They travel down to the basement to follow up some rumors they heard of corpses being kept down there. They accidently let loose a gas that makes it way out of the facility, up the chimney, and out into the air, turning everyone in the area into bloodthirsty zombies.

The special effects are great, and these are some of the grosser zombies I’ve seen (but if you follow my reviews you’ll see that statement repeated and elaborated upon in my next review of Day of the Dead). Each zombie is so unique from the next that they have a life of their own. The only thing that was strange about these zombies was that they could talk and not just single words, but full sentences. It was definitely unique to this film.

The acting left a lot to be desired. James Karen as Frank gives the single most over-the-top performance I have ever seen, bar none. Some of the characters are quite good – Don Calfa especially – but the performances are very hit or miss.

The story is as thin as one would expect it to be in a zombie film, but it’s no better or worse than the others out there. This won’t go down as a personal favorite, but it’s a great example of 80s horror cinema, and even with its problems is still recommended.

Original Uncut DVD

Branden Chowen
Editor-in-Chief at Cinefessions
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn't until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor's and master's degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.