Oh what fond memories this film brought back to me. Watching horror after horror film in the video store where I worked in Aptos, CA. My co-worker Whitney and I would pop into the video player the latest and greatest fright fests. I remember cringing while watching the pencil in the ankle scene in the first “Evil Dead.” Or laughing when Farmer Vincent buried his victims alive up to their necks in his garden and fed them nutrients that would make for better-smoked meat in “Motel Hell.” “It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent fritters.” One night I took home “Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things” for my girlfriend Georgia and some friends to watch. I remember it being just an ok movie, but there was one scene in the film that gave me an idea to play a “joke” on Georgia. While waiting for her to arrive at my parents’ home the following night, I decided it would be funny to lie down in the back of my sister’s pick-up truck and scare her as she walked by. I waited, she walked by, I jumped up, she ran screaming to the porch and burst into tears. Uh huh! What a “brilliant funny idea” that was. I am still in touch with her today, but I believe she has never forgiven me for the incident. It did seem like the right thing to do at the time. Oh the good old days such fondness they bring me.
“Return of the Living Dead” is the bastard sequel of “Night of the Living Dead,” written by “Night”s writer John Russo. It was later re-written by Alien and Dark Star’s writer Dan O’Bannon. Tobe Hooper was originally going to direct, but was replaced by O’Bannon. The story goes like this. It seems that George Romero loosely based “Night of the Living Dead” on true events. The US Military was experimenting with some chemical warfare crap and as rumor has it, the gas was bringing the dead back to life. One downfall to this is that they fed on live fresh human brains. The army contained the problem and sent the remains of the Zombies to the wrong place. They sent it to a small medical supply company in Louisville, Kentucky, where years later two employees, Freddy and Frank accidentally release the gas and the one of the Zombies. This is when the fun really starts to begin.
A zombie is released. Zombie gas brings a cadaver to life. The cadaver is burned and Zombie gas is released into the air, and acid rain follows saturating the graves at the nearby cemetery. The dead rise from the ground and believe you me they’re fucking hungry! This is one of the best Horror Comedies ever made. It’s riddled with laugh out loud situations of sickness and depravity, gruesome shocks, and some legitimate tension-filled terror. The town is being over run by Zombies and there doesn’t seem to be a way to kill the fuckers. They move fast, faster than any Zombie you or I have ever seen, and I have seen lots-o-zombies. They eat brains, as many brains as they can sink their teeth into. When one of the captured Zombies is asked why they eat brains, it responds,” It hurts to be dead”. It seems that it hurts to be dead, it hurts real baddy like, and the only way to make the pain go away is to eat live fresh brains. Who would a thunk it! Freddy’s girlfriend and friends are partying in the cemetery nearby waiting for Freddy to get out of work. Freddy, his fellow workers, his friends, and a an embalmer from the mortuary next door spend the rest of the movie trying to fend off and get as far away from the Zombies as possible. Hard tasks to do since these Zombies are fast, furious and famished for brains.
Ten things in this film that make me smile:
1. Split Dogs are cool!
2. Trash, (Linnea Quigley), dancing naked on top of a Tomb.
3. Rigor Mortis
4. The line: “Tina I know you are in there, I can smell you brains.”
5. Trash, (Linnea Quigley), dancing naked on top of a Tomb. Such a great scene I had to mention it twice.
6. Zombies on the police radio, “Send more cops!”
7. Zombies in general
8. Pick ax to the back of the cadaver’s head.
9. Half of a corpse exclaiming,” It hurts to be dead”
10. My favorite scene:
Burt Wilson: “I thought you said that if we destroyed the brain, it would die”
Frank: “It worked in the movie!”
Burt Wilson: “Well it ain’t working now Frank”
Freddy: “You mean the movie liedr”
This movie is so much fun and finally out on DVD. So sit back with a cold beer and some popcorn, and enjoy the flick that has been OOP for way too long.
Commentary from Director/Writer Dan O’Bannon and Production Designer William Stout
“Designing the Dead” Featurette
Conceptual Art by William Stout
Widescreen letterbox format
Drum roll please…
Dick’s Pick for B movie actor/actress of the week: Linnea Quigley
I had the unfortunate pleasure of watching a few of Linnea’s films recently. One film from the 80’s; “Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama;” and two from the 90’s, “Jack-O” and “Mari Cookie and the Killer Tarantula.” These movies are bad bad bad. With only a few redeeming qualities contained within in them. Linnea looks cute all rough and tumble as a thief trapped in the bowling alley with some sorority babes, three geeks, a janitor and Uncle Impy. An Imp casts a spell on them causing some of them to become homicidal maniacs. Blah blah blah, this movie is blah. We do get to see Brinke Stevens taking a shower and getting spanked, but it still is not really worth watching. Jess Franco’s “Mari Cookie and the Killer Tarantula”… I have know clue why this film was ever made. I am a fan of bad movies, but this one is just plain bad. Lots-o-nudity doth not make for erotic fun. Linnea is barely in it, pun intended, but fully clothed throughout the film, except for the nude commentary in the extras section. It was an extremely agonizing waste of 80 minutes. Jack-O never made it to my house, but the 2.5 rating it received from IMDB says it all. The other two received ratings of 4.1 and 5.2 respectively and they were just plain bad. Using my powers of deductive reasoning, I was able to come to the conclusion that “Jack-O” would not only be just plain bad, but really, really, really bad. There might be better Linnea Quigley films out there, but I don’t think I am the right man for the job to discover them. Though glancing through her filmography there are some that look like they might be kind of fun. Bad movies are an addiction!
Other Linnea films you might enjoy:
1. Creepozoids 1987
2. Nightmare Sisters 1987
3. Hollywood Chainsaw Hooker 1988
4. Vice Academy 1988