The 1980’s – heyday of neon colors, trickle-down economics, synthesizer music, and the golden age of the horror-comedy. In this episode of The Rotten Horror Picture Show, Clay and Amanda dig up arguably the most underrated horror-comedy of all time, 1985’s Return of the Living Dead! Released the same year as fellow horror-comedy all-time great Re-Animator, and written and directed by the author of Alien, Dan O’Bannon, Return of the Living Dead offers a brilliant spin on the zombie genre that pays tribute to its roots while also turning everything you thought you knew about zombie movies on its head!
When foreman Frank (James Karen) shows new employee Freddy (Thom Mathews) a secret military experiment in a supply warehouse, the two klutzes accidentally release a gas that reanimates corpses into flesh-eating zombies. As the epidemic spreads throughout Louisville, Ky., and the creatures satisfy their hunger in gory and outlandish ways, Frank and Freddy fight to survive with the help of their boss (Clu Gulager) and a mysterious mortician (Don Calfa).
Join Clay and Amanda as they get into the finer points of rabid weasels, Indian skeleton farms, bald merkins, punk as a way of life, unkillable zombies, half-dogs, tarmen, middle-age-dad heroes, secret nazis, and of course, questionable parenting (but it’s a stretch!).
After the success of Night of the Living Dead in 1968, a rights dispute split up who could use what title on their movies – George Romero got “of the Dead,” and John Russo got “the Living Dead.” It took almost 20 years for him to capitalize on the copyright, but when he did, the result was a horror/comedy classic from a first-time director with a fiercely sharp wit that celebrates and also sends up the genre, setting it apart from many other films before or since. So get ready to get naked and dance on some tombstones and join us this episode as we dive into 1985’s Return of the Living Dead…if you DARE!
Find all of our content at The Pensky File