RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD (1985) - Dan O' Bannon This spin-off of the Living Dead series came from sharing of copyright between George Romero and co-writer John Russo. While Romero went to continue the narrative with Dawn and Day of the Dead, both bleak social satire/horrors, Russo undertook a humorous and far more chaotic reprise of the original story. In a plot that nods to both Night of the Living Dead (which here is hilariously referred to as a fictionalized account of a true story) and The Crazies, the dead are raised by accidental exposure to chemicals that convert them to brain-slurping zombies. The action is initially centered on a motley band of protagonists including the morgue employees, an undertaker and a group of teen punks, later bringing in the police and the military. Writer/director Dan O’ Bannon pulls out all the stops for a gut-busting entertainer. The story begins with a bang and from then on moves at a dizzying pace piled on by the minute with increasingly outrageous events. From a strip tease in a graveyard to a massive showdown between the zombies and the law, and a way-over-the-top climax, this movie is a pinnacle of pitch-black zany humor. Unlike Romero’s zombies the ones in RoTLD move fast and can speak (they use police radios, like a takeout service, to call for more reinforcements). Head shots don’t do them in any more, since even their severed body parts can move and grasp at prey. Thankfully they’re not just good make-up effects, but also have distinct personalities that add tremendously to the film’s fun value. The film is chock-full of good humor and tongue-in-cheek genre touches (like the graveyard being named as ‘Resurrection Cemetry’). The people behind this movie seemed to have had a great time making it and I sure had a great time watching this one. If you have any liking for the horror genre, you owe it to yourself to get this one and keep a big box of popcorn handy.