* 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.
* HellIsThatNoise: Near the end of the movie, when the zombies mad dash to the barracade, there is a sound that they make that's so loud it's drowning out the phone call the Police Chief and Burt who was just trying to warn them about the approaching Zombies.
* 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 ''Nightmare 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.
* UncannyValley: When they finally call the military number on the Trioxin Barrels in the first film. The main guy took it surprisingly well even though the people were responsible doomed an entire town. [[spoiler: Subverted since the military was planning on dropping an A-bomb on them civilian and zombie alike.]]