Film / Return of the Living Dead


Return of the Living Dead is a series of zombie films, starting with a 1985 film. The original was a horror-comedy, but later films have varied tonally.

The films are, in order:

This movie series contains the following:

  • Ashes to Crashes: It's a bad idea to Burn the Undead, as more zombies come to life that way.
  • Berserk Board Barricade: The heroes do this in various locations. For the most part it works just fine, with only one failure shown to occur.
  • Brain Food: Ur-Example in regards to zombies. Here, the zombies eat brains because they give off endorphins that kill the pain of decomposition and rigor mortis.
  • Body Horror: The zombies in general, especially the page picture, Tarman, who is seen transforming from a relatively intact looking corpse into, well...Tarman.
  • The Dead Have Eyes: Even the most decayed zombies have functioning eyeballs.
  • Dem Bones: 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.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: Present and accounted for, a lot.
  • Fiction as Cover-Up: The original Night of the Living Dead was meant as a cover-up of a zombie outbreak.
  • Follow the Leader: This movie was unofficially spun off from Night of the Living Dead.
  • It Can Think: 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), stealth (when the paramedics and police arrived at the mortuarium, the zombies usually hid before charging at them) and awareness of their condition (leading to a couple Tear Jerker moments with infected heroes), traits not found in their shambling, mindless cousins from other zombie franchises.
  • Mood Whiplash: The first and second movies are horror-comedies. The third movie completely drops the comedy in favor of being squicky and sad.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Crossed between Artificial Zombies and 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!
  • Zombie Infectee: 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.
  • Zombify the Living: Trioxin can slowly transform someone into a zombie while they're still alive.