[[quoteright:275:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tarman.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:275:Brains!]]

->''"[[GonnaNeedMoreX Send more paramedics.]]"''

'''''The Return of the Living Dead''''' (1985) is a horror-comedy film [[Film/{{Alien}} written by Dan O'Bannon]], starring Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Thom Mathews, Beverly Randolph and Linnea Quigley. ''Return'' is based on the premise that ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead'' was based on actual events, caused when a gas called 2-4-5 Trioxin was released into the morgue in the basement of a VA hospital in UsefulNotes/{{Pittsburgh}}, causing the bodies to jerk around as if they were alive. Unable to contain the undead threat, the military stored the lively corpses in sealed barrels. When the story leaked out, the government allowed ''NightOfTheLivingDead'' to be made, but they ordered the filmmakers to alter the story and claim it was fictional.

However, due to a clerical error, a few such Barrels of Doom were shipped to a warehouse currently employing our intrepid heroes, and stored there for years. As testament to the strength and quality of the barrels, one of them springs a leak as soon as the foreman reassures his new employee of the solid military construction by slapping the side of one of them. The Trioxin gets into the cadaver freezer, animating the contents. The shambling, hungry dead escape, craving their favorite food: Brains...

''The Return of the Living Dead'' was followed by four sequels, one of which featured a tragic romance between [[ABoyAndHisX a boy and his zombified girlfriend.]]

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!! This movie series contains the following:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: General Tropes ]]

* AshesToCrashes: It's a bad idea to BurnTheUndead, as more zombies come to life that way.
* BerserkBoardBarricade: The heroes do this in various locations. For the most part it works just fine, with only one failure shown to occur.
* BrainFood: UrExample in regards to zombies. Here, the zombies eat brains because they give off endorphins that kill the pain of decomposition and rigor mortis.
* BodyHorror: The zombies in general, especially the page picture, Tarman, who is seen transforming from a relatively intact looking corpse into, well...Tarman.
* TheDeadHaveEyes: Even the most decayed zombies have functioning eyeballs.
* DemBones: A couple zombies, including Tarman. One shot of what is blatantly a skeleton with eyes rising is used the first and last times a contaminated cemetary gives up its dead in the first film.
* EverythingsDeaderWithZombies: Present and accounted for, [[ZombieApocalypse a lot.]]
* FictionAsCoverUp: The original ''NightOfTheLivingDead'' was meant as a cover-up of a zombie outbreak.
* FollowTheLeader: This movie was unofficially spun off from ''NightOfTheLivingDead''.
* GallowsHumor: And how.
* GovernmentConspiracy
* ItCanThink: The ''Return'' zombies show clear signs of intelligence, like puzzle-solving (Tarman rigs a chain winch to tear open the doors of a closet a potential meal is hiding in), speech (they know more words than just "Brains", but this one seems to be their favorite), and awareness of their condition (leading to a couple TearJerker moments with infected heroes), traits not found in their shambling, mindless cousins from other zombie franchises.
-->"[[NightmareFuel Send. More. Paramedics.]]"
* LackOfEmpathy / ItsAllAboutMe: The zombies don't care if their actions harm the living as long as they feel better after eating brains.
** Justified to some degree, seeing as the reanimated are suddenly made aware of the countless years of rot they've been forced to experience.
* MadeOfPlasticine
* MoodWhiplash: The first and second movies are horror-comedies. The third movie completely drops the comedy in favor of being [[{{Squick}} squicky]] and [[TearJerker sad]].
* OurZombiesAreDifferent: Crossed between [[ArtificialZombie Artificial Zombies]] and [[FleshEatingZombie Flesh Eating Zombies]].
** As seen in the workprint of the first film, zombie bites can be non-fatal depending on where they're inflicted; a peck on the nose doesn't seem to affect Burt, though he still freaks out over it.
-->'''Burt Wilson''': He bit me, that son of a bitch!
* PacManFever
* RevengeOfTheSequel: ''Return'' was this to ''NightOfTheLivingDead'', despite not being a true sequel to any of Romero's flicks.
* RunningGag: "Send more..."
* SealedEvilInACan: The canisters of Trioxin that also contain zombies.
* SlidingScaleOfComedyAndHorror
* AStormIsComing[=/=]WhenItRainsItPours: Whenever trioxin gas or zombie ash gets into the atmosphere, it immediately starts pouring down raining. It's a rule.
* ThematicSeries: The series is loosely connected as well as being a loose SpinOff of ''Night Of The Living Dead''.
* TheXOfY
* ZombieApocalypse
* ZombieGait: Averted.
* ZombieInfectee: Several people keep their wits about them once infected. They even find ways to stave off the desire to eat flesh well into the transformation phase, so as to not be a danger to friends and loved ones. This, unfortunately, makes them rather attractive to the government.
* ZombifyTheLiving: Trioxin can slowly transform someone into a zombie while they're still alive.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: The Return of the Living Dead ]]

* AdaptationExpansion: Russo's novelization adds a [=KGB=] subplot to flesh out the origin of Trioxin.
* AndIMustScream: The zombies in the canisters are still "alive" and unable to move, trapped in a constant state of rot, unable to die and unable to ease their suffering.
* ArtisticLicenceBiology: Zombies aside, rigor mortis is solely a phenomenon of muscle tissue, hence can't "start in the brain" as the first film claims. ''Livor'' mortis, yes, rigor no.
* AssholeVictim: [[spoiler: Suicide.]]
* BarbieDollAnatomy: The actress playing Trash (LinneaQuigley) was wearing a prosthetic crotch cover, the result of [[ExecutiveMeddling meddling executives]] wishing to avoid an "X" Rating.
* BasedOnAGreatBigLie: An in-universe example, as the military insisted that certain elements of "the original story" be changed.
* BatterUp: Burt decapitates Tarman (The zombie in the page picture) with a baseball bat.
* BeautyIsNeverTarnished: When Trash resurfaces as a naked zombie near the end of the first film, having been (theoretically) eaten by a bunch of zombified old men... one can't help but notice a distinct lack of bite marks.
** Remember that the zombies here are only interested in her brain, and so she should only have head wounds..
* BerserkButton: Tarman does not like having his meals interrupted, nor does Suicide like being called spooky.
* BlackDudeDiesFirst: Averted. Spider, the only black member of the crew, is among the last to die at the end of the film.
* BottomlessMagazines: Averted. Ernie's Walther P38 holds 8 rounds in the magazine and 1 round in the chamber. He fires three shots at the zombie by the ambulance, then four more at the horde trying to break through the front of the mortuary. Later he's seen trying to reload it once all the windows have been boarded up.
* BurnTheUndead: Burt resorts to this when RemovingTheHeadOrDestroyingTheBrain fails to do the job. It doesn't end well.
* CoolOldGuy: Burt kicks more ass than any of the seemingly tough punks.
** Ernie has his moments as well.
* CuteMonsterGirl: Zombie!Trash.
* DeathByIrony: Earlier in the film, Trash says the worst way to die to be eaten by a bunch of old men. [[spoiler:The zombies that eat her are such.]]
* DeathByPragmatism: The characters decide that they can't handle the zombies by themselves, so they call the military. [[spoiler:Helpfully, the military nuke the town. But see DeusExNukina.]]
* DeusExNukina: [[spoiler:Instead of sterilizing the zombie outbreak, the nuclear blast only serves to distribute the Virus widely.]]
** [[{{BFG}} heavy artillery]] ammo, nuclear or not, is never like a one-piece, round-nosed, giant rifle cartridge, it comes in either two parts or more before loading.
* DistractedByTheSexy: Inverted with Suicide. He's too self-absorbed into his BreakingTheFourthWall monologue about his self-image to notice a naked Trash doing a bump-and-gind against him. When he does notice, he shoves her away and says "Show some fucking respect for the dead!"
* DistressCall: Two of the brain-hungry zombies use a fake distress call to request more food: "Send more paramedics", followed by "send more cops" a little later.
* TheDitz: Freddy.
* DrivenToSuicide: Frank commits self-immolation while he's still in control of his own mind after Freddy becomes a zombie.
* DropTheHammer: Spider uses a sledgehammer to try and fend off the zombies.
* DyingAsYourself: Towards the end of the film, Frank immolates himself in the retort, as he has become a zombie and has no other means of ending his agony that would be certain to work.
* TheEighties: Almost a cross-section, too. You have punks, preppies, greasers, and so on all in the same group of kids - complete with EightiesHair, of course.
* {{Fanservice}}: Trash appears naked for most of the first film... and [[FanDisservice continues to be naked after she's zombified]].
* {{Foreshadowing}}: As Burt and Ernie burn the evidence of the Trioxin leaking, Frank sneers, "Some big favor. I can operate that goddamn thing." In one version, Freddy asks in reply, "But who'd want to?" [[spoiler:Frank would, later in the film, to take himself out of the equation before he can eat any brains.]]
** Also at the beginning of the film, once Frank, Freddy, and Burt release the yellow animated cadaver you can clearly see that it charges directly at Burt since [[spoiler:Burt was apparently the only living person in the room while Frank and Freddy after being exposed to Trioxin were either dying otherwise already dead.]]
** Trash's description of her ideal death is exactly how she winds up dying (albeit with ''undead'' old men rather than just the standard type). [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor Turns out she doesn't enjoy it as much as she thought she would.]]
* AFriendInNeed: After escaping the chemical rain into the warehouse, the teenagers hear Tina screaming for help from the Tarman. They ''immediately'' rush to her aid [[spoiler: which results in Suicide's death]].
* FromNobodyToNightmare: Freddy. When he started out he was just a dumb, average morgue worker. When the Trioxin finally turns him, he becomes hell bent on eating his girlfriend's brain.
* GenreSavvy: Good news: Some of the men are aware that ''NightOfTheLivingDead'' was based on true events. Bad news: The movie was ''loosely'' based on actual events, and the "real" zombies are completely different.
* GeorgeLucasAlteredVersion: The voice of the "Send more paramedics!" zombie has been altered and is no longer as funny as the original version.
* GetAHoldOfYourselfMan: At one point Spider starts babbling and Ernie slaps him.
* {{Heroic BSOD}}: Ernie, after encountering his first zombie.
* HorrorDoesntSettleForSimpleTuesday: The first film begins on July 3rd, late afternoon. It's probably safe to assume that by the end, midnight eventually rolled around.
** [[DidIMentionItsChristmas Not that you would be able to tell without the date subtitle]].
* IfYouCanReadThis: There is an eye chart in the background in the first movie that reads, "Burt is a slave driver and a cheap son of a bitch who's got you and me here."
* ImmortalityHurts:
-->'''Ernie:''' Why do you eat people?
-->'''Zombie:''' Not people. Brains.
-->'''Ernie:''' Brains only?
-->'''Zombie:''' Yes.
-->'''Ernie:''' Why?
-->'''Zombie:''' The PAIN!
-->'''Ernie:''' What about the pain?
-->'''Zombie:''' The pain of being DEAD!
-->'''Ernie:''' It hurts... to be dead?
-->'''Zombie:''' I can feel my body rot!
-->'''Ernie:''' Eating brains... How does that make you feel?
-->'''Zombie:''' It makes the pain go away!
* IncongruouslyDressedZombie: Several, including a brain-eating ''priest''. [[spoiler: Trash becomes an Incongruously-''Nude'' Zombie after her cemetery striptease and death.]]
* ItsAllAboutMe: Suicide.
* ItsTheOnlyWayToBeSure: About ten blocks of Louisville are converted to radioactive slag.
** Also, as Burt and Ernie destroy the yellow cadaver:
-->'''Burt''': [Ernie,] you're absolutely certain that this is gonna get rid of everything and do the trick--I mean, nothing left?\\
'''Ernie''': Nothing but a little-bitty pile of ashes.\\
'''Burt''': We don't even want the ''ashes'', Ernie!\\
'''Ernie''': Then I'll turn it up higher, and we'll burn up the ashes, too. ''[slides the yellow cadaver into the retort]'' Dust to dust.
* JerkAss: Suicide.
* KillItWithFire: This ends very, very badly.
* LostInTranslation: The Italian dub translates the film's funniest line, "You mean the movie lied!?", as "Continua a muoversi!"[[labelnote:English translation]]"It's continuing to move!"[[/labelnote]]
* MadeOfIron: Freddie's skull withstands several blows from a hunk of pipe, an 8-pound sledgehammer and a jar of nitric acid, experiencing only minor skin abrasions.
* MercyKill: It's implied that Ernie is getting ready to do this to Tina when Freddy has them both cornered in the attic and is about to break in. He has his pistol pointed at her head, ready to kill her and spare her the pain of Freddy eating her brains. [[spoiler: Of course, the DeusExNukina arrives before he has to do it.]]
* NamesTheSame: O'Bannon swears it's a coincidence that the main heroes of the first film include a man named [[Series/SesameStreet Burt and his old friend Ernie]].
** Not to mention that Clu Gulager and Don Calfa sort of look like that other Burt and Ernie.
* NightmareFetishist: Quite literally in the first movie. When Trash is describing the worst way she can think of to die (namely, [[TemptingFate being eaten by a bunch of old men]]), she is clearly getting turned on, to the point that she tears off all her clothes and does a naked dance in the middle of a cemetery.
* NoodleIncident: "No, we can't, the cops said they'd shoot us if we went back to the park."
* NotAZombie: Averted. The first group to encounter a zombie knew about the chemical, and the first animated corpse they encountered was one they already knew to be dead. The second group encounters a zombie so horrifically rotted, and screaming for brains, that there isn't much question.
* NotUsingTheZWord: Averted. At one point Spider says, "There's zombies all over the cars outside."
* NukeEm: [[spoiler:It only spreads the virus.]]
* {{Phlegmings}}: In the first movie, when Freddy finally succumbs to the zombie hunger he starts foaming at the mouth like he's chewing on Alka-Seltzer.
* PipePain: Burt uses a pipe as a weapon when the zombies try and break into the mortuary.
* RaisingTheSteaks: Several preserved specimens are animated, including half a dog and a number of preserved butterflies.
* RealityEnsues: Inverted. Remember how the zombie infestation in ''Film/NightOfTheLivingDead'' worked the way it would've in real life, with the ending that reveals that the infestation was stopped as easily as it had started? Well, in this movie, it doesn't work that way. "You mean the movie lied!?"
* SecondLawOfMetafictionalThermodynamics: The army has no idea how to get rid of the zombies. They bomb the whole town. This proves to be ill-advised.
* TemptingFate:
-->'''Freddy''': These things don't leak, do they?
-->'''Frank''': Leak? Hell, no! This was built by the Army Corps of Engineers!
-->''(slaps tank, which instantly leaks)''
** Trash's fantasy of being eaten by old men wouldn't have been expressed by someone more GenreSavvy.
* ThoseWackyNazis: Ernie, in the first film, is strongly implied to be one. He listens to a German march on his headphones, uses a pearl-handled Walther P38 handgun, and has an Eva Braun pinup on the wall in one scene.
** His name is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Kaltenbrunner Ernie Kaltenbrunner]].
** On the DVD commentary track, Don Calfa claims that he didn't personally see Ernie as a nazi, but rather someone just "really proud of his heritage".
* TranshumanTreachery: Freddy has an epiphany:
-->'''Freddy:''' [to Tina] See? And now you made me hurt myself again! You made me break my hand completely off this time, Tina! But I don't care, Darlin', because I love you, and you've got to let me EAT YOUR BRAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIINS!
** The workprint footage makes this even creepier as he plays on Tina's love for him.
-->'''Freddy:''' [to Tina] Tina...Tina, listen to me. We always meant so much to each other. So ''please'' open the hatch, it's wrong that you should keep me locked up like this!
* {{Understatement}}: After driving through a throng of brain-hungry zombies: "I think that something is ''not right'' outside!
* UpToEleven: "Then I'll turn [the retort] up higher, and we'll burn up the ashes, too."
* VertigoEffect: When Tina first sees the Tarman.
* WrongGenreSavvy: During the scene where Frank, Freddy, and Burt try and fail to destroy the cadaver on their own by RemovingTheHeadOrDestroyingTheBrain:
-->'''Burt''': I thought you said that if we destroyed the brain, it'd die!\\
'''Frank''': ''It worked in the movie!''\\
'''Burt''': Well, it ain't working now, Frank!\\
'''Freddy''': ''[[CrowningMomentOfFunny You mean the movie lied!?]]''
* ZergRush: How the zombies kill.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Return of the Living Dead Part III ]]

* AbsurdlySpaciousSewer: The Riverman lives in one.
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled: Curt and Julie immolate themselves as lovers rather than let Julie be used as a superweapon.
* BoyMeetsGhoul: The third movie.
* CuteMonsterGirl: Zombie!Julie.
* [[spoiler: DrivenToSuicide / DownerEnding]]: [[spoiler: Julie can't bear existence as a zombie, and Curt can't bear existence without her, so they both allow themselves to die in a fire at the end.]]
** [[spoiler: It goes beyond that. Curt gets bitten by one of the reanimated and thus has no future with or without Julie. Rather than become reanimated or made into a super soldier if the base is ever retaken he opts to burn with her so they can be together in relative peace.]]
* {{Fingore}}: The third movie has two obvious examples: once in the beginning, where a lab tech's fingers are torn off by a zombie, and once about 2/3 of the way through where Julie '''rams a glass shard through her hand'''. She also ends up driving several metal spikes (where is she GETTING all this sharp metal?) through her fingertips in order to have really awkward claws.
* HorrorHunger: In ''ReturnOfTheLivingDead 3'', the hero's (undead) girlfriend develops painful hunger pangs, but none of the snacks that he procures for her will sate her appetite. Her zombie cravings cause her to mutilate herself in order to drown out the hunger... but she feels much better after she munches on a couple of street toughs.
* IKnowYouAreInThereSomeWhereFight: Curt has one with the [[spoiler: Zombiefied Riverman]] near the end of the movie.
* MagicalNegro: The river man.
* ResurrectedRomance
* [[SchrodingersCat Schrodinger's Lipring]]: Throughout the movie, Julie may or may not have one, two, or no liprings. She is never shown adding or removing them.
* TooDumbToLive: Curt causes the deaths of countless people through his adamant efforts to preserve his zombie girlfriend. How he stays alive as long as he does is a mystery.
* VampireRefugee: The love interest in the third movie must keep finding new and unique ways to injure herself to keep from succumbing to her zombie hunger.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis ]]

* CaptainErsatz: Hydra Tech is pretty much [[Franchise/ResidentEvil The Umbrella Corporation]].
* ElectricBoogaloo
* {{Meganekko}}: Becky from ''Necropolis'' ([[UnnecessaryMakeover but not]] ''Rave to the Grave'')
* NinjaPirateZombieRobot: The fourth film had zombies with ''[[{{BFG}} miniguns]] and circular saws for arms.'' Unfortunately, [[spoiler: they were also the main character's parents who died about a year before.]]
* OneOfUs: Perhaps the filmmakers took a cue from Creator/LucioFulci's ''Film/{{Zombi 3D}}'' (which was inspired in part by the first film, mind you) when writing the zombies of this film; in both films, it takes just a few hits to off a walking corpse.
* RaisingTheSteaks: A number of rats are affected.
* VillainDecay: The zombies in this movie and the sequel are nowhere near the invincible juggernauts of films previous; whereas those zombies could only be killed by burning or by electrocution (''[[AshesToCrashes preferably]]'' by electrocution), here it takes just a few hits to kill them.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Return of the Living Dead: Rave from the Grave ]]

* BewareOfHitchhikingGhosts: Played with at the very end; a second Tarman is seen hitchhiking to the rave on a highway. A couple actually stops and screams when they see he's a zombie.
* DeusExNukina: The government actually tries this maneuver ''again''.
** It wasn't nukes, just regular missiles.
* DrugsAreBad: In ''Rave to the Grave'', a bunch of college students cook up a recreational drug based on Trioxin. Three guesses what the side effects are, and the first two don't count.
* ElectricBoogaloo
* VillainDecay: Tarman is subjected to this for the most part.
** All of the zombies are really. Instead of being unstoppable juggernauts, these Trioxin zombies don't even have to be shot in the head to bring them down. A few rounds in the chest will do the job.
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