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The Return Of The Living Dead 4K UHD Review

“The Return Of The Living Dead” is a classic zombie movie.

Written and directed by Dan O’Bannon (best known as the writer of “Alien”), “The Return Of The Living Dead” begins at a medical supply warehouse where a new employee (Freddy) and his boss (Frank) accidentally release a gas that reanimates the dead and affects their own health. The situation only worsens when Freddy’s 7 punk rock pals wind up at the cemetery next door to the warehouse waiting to pick him up after work. As you can probably guess, the friends find themselves under attack by brain craving zombies that are crawling up out of their graves. Can the zombies be stopped?

Outside of the George A. Romero zombie films (which will always be the gold standard in my book), “The Return Of The Living Dead” is in the upper echelon of zombie films. It’s punk-rock, it’s comedic, it has the sexy Scream Queen Linnea Quigley and it features one of the best zombie characters in cinema history with the gruesome Tarman (not to mention other fun zombie creations). The film also has the distinction of having one of the story creators (John Russo) that worked on “Night Of The Living Dead” (which is even referenced near the beginning). There’s certainly a bit of a ‘Night’ vibe here too with the minimal locations.

One of the most compelling aspects of ‘Return’ is that it features zombies in a different light (back in 1985 that is). These zombies eat brains, talk, and run. They even set traps for the authorities in order to get “food.” It’s easy to see just how influential this horror cult classic is now looking back on it all these years later. 

In terms of the script, it admittedly has its flaws. There’s a lack of characterization, a slim plot and a plot element that is addressed by still seems ridiculous (the warehouse never contacting the military about their body containers).

The acting is certainly suspect at times, but there are notable performances by character actor Clu Gulager (Burt), Linnea Quigley (Trash), Jonathan Terry (Colonel Glover), and 80’s horror favorite Thom Matthews (Freddy).


Presentation: 1.85:1 2160p. How does it look? This 4K disc (and the Blu-ray disc) contain a new 4K scan of the original camera negative. Scream Factory really knocked this out of the park as the print is nothing short of stunning. The image clarity and rich colors really are truly noteworthy.

Audio Track: Original Mono 2.0 DTS-HD MA and 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How do they sound? The 2.0 track is clean while the 5.1 track has a bit more depth (especially with the music). Note: Optional zombie subtitles are included. 

* A whopping 4 commentary tracks on the 4K and Blu-ray. One by author and “The Return Of The Living Dead” expert Gary Smart and Chris Griffiths, one by actors Thom Matthews and John Philbin and make-up effects artist Tony Gardner, one by director Dan O’Bannon and production designer William Stout and a cast and crew track featuring Linnea Quigley, William Stout, Don Calfa, Allan Troutman, Brian Peck and Beverly Randolph.
* Theatrical trailers and TV spots
* 2 still galleries- one for posters, lobby cards, movie stills and behind-the-scenes photos and one for behind-the-scenes photos from special make-up effects artist Kenny Myers.
* “The Decade Of Darkness”- A featurette on 80’s horror films.
* Featurettes on the FX, production design, and music of “The Return Of The Living Dead.”
* “A Conversation With Dan O’Bannon”
* A workprint of the film.
* “The Origins Of The Return Of The Living Dead”- An interview with co-writer John Russo
* “The Return Of The Living Dead: The Dead Have Risen”- A 20 minute featurette with interviews and discussions about the production.
* “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds”- Sean Clark takes viewers on a guide to ‘Return’ shooting locations.
* “More Brains: A Return To The Living Dead”- A fun making of featurette 


October 17, 2022 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , ,

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