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The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Trailer
2:44 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Dan O'Bannon

Writers:

Rudy Ricci (story), John A. Russo (story) (as John Russo) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
1,502 ( 215)
4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clu Gulager ... Burt
James Karen ... Frank
Don Calfa ... Ernie
Thom Mathews ... Freddy
Beverly Randolph ... Tina
John Philbin ... Chuck
Jewel Shepard ... Casey
Miguel A. Núñez Jr. ... Spider (as Miguel Nunez)
Brian Peck ... Scuz
Linnea Quigley ... Trash
Mark Venturini ... Suicide
Jonathan Terry ... Colonel Glover
Cathleen Cordell ... Colonel's Wife
Drew Deighan Drew Deighan ... Paramedic #1
James Dalesandro ... Paramedic #2
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Storyline

When a bumbling pair of employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally release a deadly gas into the air, the vapors cause the dead to re-animate as they go on a rampage through Louisville, Kentucky seeking their favorite food, brains. Written by Todd A. Bobenrieth <TAB146@PSUVM.EDU>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They're Back From The Grave and Ready To Party!

Genres:

Comedy | Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM | MySpace

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 August 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Return of the Living Dead See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,403,169, 18 August 1985

Gross USA:

$14,237,880

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,237,880
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hemdale, Fox Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (workprint)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (CFI)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The "Tarman" zombie is performed by actor and puppeteer Allan Trautman, who is best known for his work with Jim Henson and The Muppets. See more »

Goofs

After Frank and Freddie are gassed my the faulty barrel and wake up, Frank closes the barrel lid before they go upstairs. Later when Burt comes down to get the phone number from the barrel he closes the lid a second time. See more »

Quotes

Burt Wilson: If that is a re-animated body, we're gonna have to kill it.
Freddy: How do you kill something that's already dead?
Burt Wilson: How do I know, Fred? Let me think!
Frank: It's not a bad question, Burt.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits play over the hilarious scenes of the movie that involve Frank and Freddy. See more »

Alternate Versions

2002 DVD release (MGM DVD) appears to restore much of the music to its original design. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Return of the Living Dead: The Dead Have Risen (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Take a Walk
Performed by Tall Boys
Composed by Nigel Lewis, Mark Robertson
Produced by Mr. Fenstein
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Influential Cult Classic!!
20 July 2004 | by JimmyLoneWolfSee all my reviews

I saw this film when I was around 9 or 10, and I remember loving it back then. Unfortunately, time has not been kind to most of the movies I enjoyed during my youth. Imagine my surprise when I realized that not only was Return of the Living Dead every bit as much fun as when I first saw it, its actually improved!!

First off, this is NOT a serious horror film. It is meant to be viewed as a comedy. Period. Once this perspective is taken, the horror elements are subtly introduced until, towards the end, we almost begin to feel a sense of disgust with ourselves for laughing at these people. I say ALMOST because a few silly decisions here and there (it would have been nice if the movie hadn't ended with recycled footage) turn what could have been the finest, and most disturbing, horror-comedy EVER MADE into a merely excellent one.

Honestly, I challenge anyone to find a "horror-comedy" that delivers laughs, gore, some genuine scares, and combines it with what can only be called the finest acting I've ever seen in a horror-comedy (much less one from the 80's!).

James Karen, Clu Gulager, and Don Calfa absolutely STEAL this movie with their sidesplitting hysterics. Listen to the lines, note the deliveries. These guys are pros! Anyone who could THINK to call their acting "wooden" clearly knows nothing about the traps horror-comedies often fall into. Personally, I was thinking of the OD scene from Pulp Fiction the entire time. The absurdity mixed with tension was eerily similar. Tarantino (an admitted zombie-movie fan) must SURELY have seen this movie upon its initial release. Gulager in particular is just plain brilliant here, he's like a burned out shop teacher fighting zombies!!

This film is a hidden treasure in a genre all too often plagued by mediocrity.


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