With Halloween just ten days away I've decided to do count down of my favorite ten movies to play on Halloween. These will be in no particular order, but I did try to pick at least one movie from each decade starting with the 1930's. First up is number ten on the list: Return of the Living Dead (1985).
John Russo, who wrote The Night of the Living Dead in 1968, retained the rights to use 'Living Dead' in a movie title and wrote a screenplay he wanted for the sequel. Tobe Hooper (Texas Chain Saw Massacre) was to direct it as a 3D film, but backed out to make Lifeforce. Dan O'Bannon (who wrote and starred in John Carpenter's Dark Star and lots of other great stuff) was brought in to polish the script, and when Hooper left O'Bannon was asked to direct it. He said he would if the producers did one thing: junk the original script and let him write a new one. They agreed and the rest is zombie history.
From the start it pay homage to George A. Romero's first film, but blazes it own path with talking zombies and incredible zombies like the Tarman zombie played by Muppet puppeteer Allan Trautman.
I first saw this when my parents brought it home from Cheap John's Video when it was release on VHS, but I had known about it from Fangoria and other horror magazine I read at the time. Most of the articles I read concentrated on the zombie effects and Linnea Quigley's (man did I have a horror geek crush on her) famous zombie strip tease.
What I didn't expect was the humor, which found just the right balance with the thrills and chills. I remember being a little mad that my mom and dad were going to watch it with me, thinking they wouldn't appreciate it, but we had a great time being scared and laughing it up. It was like a little party. To this day I love sitting down with a group of people to watch this, especially if they haven't seen it before.
Until Next Time, Stay Insane!