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The Return of the Living Dead (1985 - 2007)

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The Return of the Living Dead (1985 - 2007) - 12/8/2012 6:49:24 AM   

Posts: 654
Joined: 3/4/2012
The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

The first and probably the best of the 'Return' horror comedies depending on your opinion of course but I think most would agree the special effects and makeup do look the best and most stickiest in this first one. Plenty of great atmosphere in misty dank graveyards, being trapped in a single building, a small town being slowly overrun and taken over plus a great ending with no survivors which is quite unique.

Of course the main course of this silly film is the terrific makeup and puppetry on display throughout the film. The zombies are on top form as they stagger around with limbs and faces flopping off left right and centre, all are really played well by a large extras cast and really put a lot of effect into their performances. If you think of 'Thriller' (1983) then you have this film basically, its an extended 'Thriller' but not quite as good in the makeup and effects department but its clear where the idea came from as a lot of the undead awakenings sequence and designs look very similar, a bit of a rip off really.

Still this has some great chuckle moments mainly from Karen and Mathews in their little double act whilst Calfa actually adds a sense of realism and decent acting to the fold with his performance, his final scene at the very end is actually quite poignant. Definitely has the best mix of comedy and horror with a taste of good acting to boot.

Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988)

The sequel follows on from the first with its very very basic and silly plot but this time it goes for the throat with full comedy over horror and gory effects. The makeup and effects are again excellent and show what can be done with real hands on skills instead of just using CGI, but in this follow up its not as bloody and in your face as the first but more slapstick horror with oozing icky green/brown pus over flowing red blood.

The odd thing in this sequel is they clearly follow through with the plot but use Karen and Mathews again for virtually the same type of roles. Same humour and even same dialog which is kinda funny but makes the first two films more like short stories or episodes.
This film is pretty good and more light hearted than the first but its also sillier and heading more towards spoof every minute it continues. A nice 'Thriller' moment at the end typifies this which is quite amusing I must admit. At the end of the day it still a horror comedy and doesn't take itself seriously plus its still decent, still one of the best in the genre.

Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993)

The third outing in this undead franchise is still just about hanging in there in terms of a decent film that will keep you hooked. This film unfortunately has taken the plunge into the deep dark realms of the 'straight to video/DVD' which does give you a bad feeling but fear not as despite the mawkish plot, bad acting and obvious reused sets the second half of the film gets back on track with plenty of zombie action. It is important to note that this is the first film in the series that takes itself seriously and becomes more of an outright horror leaving out the comedy aspect plus it moves away from the first two films and tries to be a stand alone feature. Whether that's the right way to go I'm not so sure as the horror comedy was the best part of the original films.

Effects by the wizard Steve Johnson saves this film from the abyss of crapola with some of the best creepy looking undead makeup in the whole franchise. The imagination and gross factor is high as Johnson really gets to create anything he can think of, think of 'Evil Dead: Army of Darkness' and you will get an idea of what the crazy undead hordes look like. In short this film isn't great until the last 30min when everything breaks loose.

Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis (2005)

Necropolis...a great name for film title but I'm afraid the franchise has lost its impetus with this next installation. Again naughty people are trying to use the deadly toxic gas to reanimate the dead and use for military weapons but once again it all goes wrong and the undead run amok.

We are now firmly in B-movie land with this one, the acting is quite terrible from all members including Peter Coyote and the plot is just a rehash against a different backdrop. The only thing going for this is the well done makeup which is just as good as the previous films and makes the film better than it deserves. Nice idea and design for the undead terminator style soldiers, a small plus point in a sinking film.

Return of the Living Dead: Rave from the Grave (2007)

The final film? well who knows but this isn't as bad as I've read and its certainly no worse than the fourth film ('Necropolis'). Basically the same plot lay out with the deadly toxic gas again being mistreated and lost, although this time its turned into a drug which was an interesting twist.

The story does follow on from the last film and has the same surviving cast members which is good but for some reason they don't seem to know what the gas is or what it can do as if the last film never happened. Yet this film does follow on from the last for sure as the characters all have the same names. I suppose they may not have seen the canisters in the last film but its still a bit odd, never the less the film plays out much the same as before with people going down one by one as we head towards the rave finale. The makeup is spot on just like the previous films and looks nice n slimy, nothing too new looking but it all works and does the job plus the classic 'Tarman' zombie (or another version) is back and looking sweet hehe.

I think this film also gets back to the humour aspect of the original two films which is good and in my opinion makes it worthwhile and a fitting addition to the series.
Post #: 1
RE: The Return of the Living Dead (1985 - 2007) - 14/8/2012 1:23:30 PM   

Posts: 15
Joined: 14/8/2012
From: Liverpool
Great movies man. A perfect blend of horror and comedy, and so often unfortunately overlooked! Criminal.


The Mission is never over...

(in reply to Phubbs)
Post #: 2
RE: The Return of the Living Dead (1985 - 2007) - 14/8/2012 1:30:08 PM   

Posts: 9369
Joined: 6/10/2005
Picked up the first one blu recently, been a while since i watched it. Wished they would also release part 2 on blu as i really love that one too. Part 3 is a bit depressing though!


Pack your bags, we're going on a guilt trip!

(in reply to pseudocreme)
Post #: 3
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