The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Did you know Night of the Living Dead was based on a true story? Or that George Romero lied to us through film about how to destroy zombies? Until tonight, me neither. Somehow I’d never got around to seeing this, though I’m sure I fully intended to at some point; tonight wound up being the night, and I’m pleased to report that it was good. Kind of cheap and cheerful, obviously, and so 80s it’s almost painful (those clothes! those hairstyles! that music! those KIDS!), but it happily wastes little time getting down to brass tacks and works well around its limitations; plus I’m pleased to see a bit of intelligence used on small details like the mounted butterflies coming back to life. I think the only seriously muffed thing was, unfortunately, the ending, which seemed more abrupt than it should’ve been, and I was a bit annoyed to successfully guess it; I’m looking at the time tick over on the DVD counter, thinking to myself “Hmm, there’s only about ten minutes left and not much of an end in sight, I can only think of one way they can end this… no, that’s too silly”… and, well, I was right. Still, an entertaining way to pass the end of Saturday night. Also, in much the same way that Blood for Dracula made me wonder if the people who complain about the vegetarian vampire in Twilight had seen his predecessor in the Morrissey film, I wonder what the people who bitch about the running zombies in the Dawn of the Dead remake and elsewhere make of the rather sprightly dead in this one…

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