This month I am treating you lovely lot to a double ‘Retro Review’ feature as we quickly followed up our first-time watch of the 1968 film Night of the Living Dead with the 1985 film, Return of the Living Dead.
Director: Dan O’Bannon
Starring: Thom Mathews, Beverly Randolph, Don Calfa, James Karen, Clu Gulager
Awards: Saturn Award nominations for Best Horror Film, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Make-Up
Acting as a sort of sequel to, and parody of, George A Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, RotLD sees the dead rise once again after a mishap in a medical supplies warehouse releases a deadly gas into the air.
So this is probably the first film within my ‘Retro Review’ feature that I’ve not overly enjoyed, although I don’t believe this is really down to any fundamental flaws within the story-telling, it’s just that, for me, it hasn’t seemed to stand the test of time very well.
Although I can appreciate how elements like the make-up and costume may have been cutting edge at the time of original release, now they are a little cringe-worthy. However, if you view the film as a parody, the somewhat embarrassing effects add to the comedy of the film. Maybe that’s the effect they were going for, what do I know…?
That being said, the film wasn’t a complete write-off and there were some things that I did enjoy. The fact that director Dan O’Bannon didn’t just go down the typical mindless zombie route, but actually tried to offer an explanation to why they like to eat brains, was particularly good. Similarly, it was fascinating to see the zombie hordes thinking tactically and working together to ambush their prey.
So, while I definitely won’t rush to watch this film again, I am glad that I can cross another retro film off of my ever-expanding must-watch list.
Until next time…. x