Do you ever feel like there are too many movies to choose from? Do you stare paralyzed at your Netflix queue unsure of what's worth your valuable time? Good! Welcome to “You Like That? Then Check This Out!” where we take a look at the stuff you Masterminds already love and help you decide what to check out next.
Zombies have come to dominate the realm of movie horror like no other monster has in recent memory. In the past ten years alone the cineplex has regaled us with tales of slow zombies (Land of the Dead), fast zombies (Dawn of the Dead), silly zombies (Fido), enraged zombies (28 Days Later), British zombies (Shaun of the Dead), and even stripper zombies (Zombie Strippers). Zombie movies have become a lot like the creatures they star: they're inescapable, their numbers are ever growing, and they're ultimately, like, a metaphor for society. Did we just blow your mind?
And yet The Walking Dead TV show and comics feel fresh. Original. Scary. They're probably the two most popular works of zombie fiction since the heyday of Romero, and it's not hard to see why. They explore territory that films, constrained as they are by running times, simply can't. Here's a question for you: have you ever watched a zombie movie with a friend and not immediately followed up said viewing with a discussion of what you would do in a zombie apocalypse? Didn't think so. With the possible exception of the works of Max Brooks, The Walking Dead series and comics are at their best as full a representation of those sorts of late night conversations as is possible.
So, you've devoured The Walking Dead (sorry) and are hungry for more zombie action (sorry again). Well, we here at The MindHut have got just the thing for you to feast on next (seriously, we're so so sorry).
The Return Of The Living Dead
Directed and co-written by Dan O'Bannon (the co-writer of Alien), The Return Of The Living Dead is unlike any other zombie film ever made. While the Romero films and The Walking Dead are somber portrayals of life after the rise of the dead, The Return Of The Living Dead is funny, cartoonish, and downright crazy. It begins by establishing that the movie Night of the Living Dead is just that—a movie. But, it's a movie based on real events, the aftermath of which have left an assortment of undead ghouls sealed in canisters in the basement of a Kentucky medical supply warehouse and adjacent to a cemetery. When warehouse employees Frank (James Karen) and Freddy (Thom Mathews) accidentally open one of the canisters the living dead, well, return. Caught in the action are a gang of punk rock fans, the warehouse's shady owner (Clu Galager), a creepy mortician (Don Calfa), and wave upon wave of visitors to the cemetery/zombie chow.
A big part of what makes this film so lovable is just how weird it is. There are so many different styles and tones in it that logically should cancel each other out, but instead they just enhance each other. The Return of the Living Dead is by turns scary and hilarious, gothic and anarchic, cynical and touching. It's so abundantly clear that everyone involved with it had fun being involved with it, and that joyful energy is completely infectious. If zombie movies were people, The Return of the Living Dead would be your friend The Walking Dead's older brother—the one who loans you his Black Sabbath records and does donuts in the mall parking lot.
Fun fact: The Return of the Living Dead was the movie that introduced the concept of zombies eating brains to zombie lore. That facet of the mythology has been largely abandoned by this point, but when you first see the scene where a skeletal, black tar-covered zombie moans the word "brains" as he shambles towards our less than intrepid heros, it's easy to see why that trope caught on. There's so much confidence behind everything The Return of the Living Dead does that everything from its game changing approach to the genre to its dumb jokes about punk rock fans seem instantly iconic.
Will you watch The Return of the Living Dead?