Return of the Living Dead

Return of the Living Dead

Growing up as a teenage horror fan in the eighties was a world of gory eye candy. A mixture of seeking out the allusive forbidden fruits of the 'video nasty' (mainly Italian gory shockers) or checking out the hot new horror flicks coming from the States. One of those new flicks that made a great impression on many teen horror fans was Dan O'Bannon's 'Return of the Living Dead'

'Return of the Living Dead' begins when two hapless workers at a medical supplys warehouse, accidentally crack open an old army cannister containing a corpse and some strange toxic gases. When these are both unleashed there surely has to be trouble in the air (especially when the warehouse is located next door to a graveyard full of the restless dead!) And in true Scooby Doo stylee things escalate beyond control, more so when a crowd of punk teens arrive on the scene and zombie mayhem ensues!

Pure comic book gory fun all the way in this highly entertaining tribute (or should I say ropey follow up) to George Romero's original 'Night of the Living Dead'. And 'fun' is a key element to this movie, zombie films up till this point where in the main quite straight faced and 'Return' really was out to pamper the then teen punk cinema-going audience. The film moves along at lightning pace, conscious of never losing the viewer. The leads wailing there way through the plot like an eighties Laurel and Hardy, and brains and gore are merrily thrown around the screen to everyone's great pleasure! And lest we forget the influence of Linnea Quigley's naked tombstone dance and the effect that it had over thousands of young horror loving teen boys hormones!

Gore, laughs and a kick-ass rocking soundtrack! And though the excellent finale is screaming out for an epic sequel (of 'Dawn of the Dead' proportions), fans of the film were to be highly disapointed with it's poor sequel which went throught the motions from the first film again. This first film though is great fun and will bring a wry smile to even the most jaded of horror fans memorys.

Well, it seems Tartan Terror are the first off the block to release this much revered horror classic, and congratulations to them for this one. The disc delivered really is a bare bones package, you have the film, a trailer and some biographies. But no one really cares what's here though because most folk are just happy to see this classic movie get a long overdue DVD release!

The film print used on the disc will be the subject of some debate amongst the more anal retentive among film fans purely due to the inevitable screen ratio obsessions. Me, I'm lost for opinion on this one. You see, there had been comments about previous releases on VHS of the film where the image had seemingly been masked for a widescreen image. Confusion entered the debate when after it was noted to be in fact a full screen movie, viewers like myself at cinema screenings of the film noticed that when shown in this ratio you get the delight of boom mikes dangling over the actors heads at points throughout the film.

So, should the film be masked or not? And what of the print used here? Well, this to me didn't seem to be either. As promised, we get what is the original full screen ratio. But at the same, none of the dangling boom mike moments noticeable from cinema screenings were that evident on this print. Whilst the print is sharp enough, the source print shows some signs of age. Slightly washed out but good enough to sate the many fans of the movie. The source for this version obviously comes from a US master for either a previous Laser or VHS release. Both the 'R' rating and the Vestron Video logo at the end of the film easily give this away. Whilst personally I would have loved to have seen them use the lovely UK cinema print that's available, this release will indeed keep 'Returns' brain hungry hordes more than happy!

One of the classics of the eighties and a must have for fans of the zombie genre. Get some beers in, throw your brain out and have a whale of a time ! Check it out now!

Directed by Dan O'Bannon
Released by Tartan Terror
Region '0' PAL - Rated 18
Ratio - fullscreen
Running time : approx 87 mins
Extras :
Original Theatrical Trailer