* BestKnownForTheFanservice: The first thing that comes up if you Google ''The Return of the Living Dead'' are shots of Linnea Quigley dancing naked on a tomb.
* [[SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic Crowning Music Of Awesome]]: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ep9sZTm70gs Trioxin]]. Doubles as a BootstrappedTheme.
** The first film is notable for its entirely punk-rock soundtrack, particularly Music/TheCramps' punk/surf rock-pastiche "Surfin' Dead", and for its clever and haunting use of Roky Erickson's "Burn The Flames"; see MurderByCremation.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Tarman, who could be considered the mascot for the series as a whole. He is also the only character to have a toy made of him.
* EthnicScrappy: The antagonists in the third movie consist of a group of offensive Mexican stereotypes.
** Averted with Waterman, however. While, yes, he's a homeless black man, he's also genuinely compassionate, to the point that [[spoiler: he can resist the hunger with effort, something only one other zombie in the franchise has done. What makes him more special than Frank is that Frank was converted from a living human, while Waterman was bitten to death by Julie before being reanimated, meaning he would probably be in worse pain.]]
* FirstInstallmentWins: The first movie is by far more well known than the other four.
* MemeticMutation: Zombie movies changed after ''Return''. Number one: zombies want '''''braaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiins'''''.
* NewerThanTheyThink: This franchise started the BrainFood thing.
* OlderThanTheyThink: This series had fast zombies before fast zombies were cool. In fact, while not technically the first (the first zombie in ''NightOfTheLivingDead'' actually moves fairly quickly, and a film made five years before the first ''Return'', called ''Wicked City'' also had running zombies), it's arguably the first to really expose horror fans to running zombies.
** Furthermore, while some zombies were shown using very simple tools in ''Night'' (one zombie uses a rock to smash in Barbara's car window, another uses a rock to smash the lights on Ben's car, Karen uses a trowel to stab someone to death), ''Return'' was the first big zombie film to depict zombies with logic skills, problem-solving skills and the ability to use sophisticated tools (see: Tarman using a chain and winch combination to rip the doors off of a cupboard to get Tina), predating ''DayOfTheDead''.
* {{Sequelitis}}: The first is generally viewed as good, the second is viewed as a step down but an overall enjoyable movie, and the third is viewed as a good movie in the wrong series entirely. The fourth and fifth... they're SciFiChannel original movies.
* {{Squick}}: The third movie. ESPECIALLY the unrated version, where things such as Julie ramming a glass shard through her palm are shown in horrific, unflinching detail.