Headscratchers / Return of the Living Dead

  • How on earth is that completely skeletal zombie (Not Tarman, the one that rises out of the grave) even able to move?
    • The same way a headless one can move. This random irregularity is a large reason why the Return films are generally regarded as worse than the ____ Of The Dead films by Romero.
      • The first one is well-loved among zombie fans, it's the sequels that are considered either disappointing or outright awful.
      • George Romero has nothing to do in any way with the Return of the Living Dead series. They were made by someone else entirely exploiting the fact that Night of the Living Dead (1968) was public domain.
      • To be fair that someone was co-writer of the original NOTLD John Russo, who yes since ROTLD has produced a lot of god-awful cash-ins but back then had the sense to hire Tobe Hooper, and when he dropped out agreed to replacement Dan O'Bannon's request to let him rewrite it to make it more distinct.
      • Also, there's one factor that most people miss: the film isn't meant to be a legit zombie movie. It was meant to be a parody of the zombie film, which is why its more comedic than horrific in comparison to Romero's Night of the Living Dead, at Dan O'Bannon's insistence because he didn't want to tread onto Romero's classic, with a visual style that would typically be seen in a Heavy Metal magazine.
  • How are the skeletal zombies even able to move? For that matter, is there even any bit of a brain left for the Trioxin gas to affect? And how is it that zombies without lips (Tarman, Lady Torso Zombie) are able to to make "M," "B" and "P" sounds when they speak?
    • From watching the first movie, it's inferred that the Trioxin effects the brain and the nervous system. This explains why Freddy, despite having no internal temperature, pulse or blood pressure, feels pain when his muscles move due to rigor mortis when they sit him up. The skeletal zombies still have some flesh and tendons remaining (at least in the first movie, )which implies that some nerves also remain. Since their brains were inside their skulls, which were undamaged, there was enough of it left for the skeletal zombies to reanimate. The film implies corpses have to have part of their brain remaining when exposed to the Trioxin to reanimate (for example, the split dogs still had half their brain left). The nervous system explanation also explains why corpses who've had their brains eaten don't reanimate as zombies, why each part of the body can function even when severed (albeit without direction) and why in the second film electricity kills them.
    • Regarding pronouncing certain letters, it is possible to make sounds that are similar to "M", "B" and "P" without lips. It's just very difficult and one has to use their throat as well (even then it's unlikely to sound as clear as it did in the movie). The point about the nervous system above also explains how zombies with little to no lungs left can speak.
  • In the fourth film, why did they make a "minimum security area" for zombies?
    • Why do zombies seeking brains go after horny teenagers in a horror movie?
      • Because the endorphins, adrenaline, and other "feel-good" chemicals that the brains produce would probably be overflowing in the brains of horny and drugged-out teenagers. The zombies are in constant pain from rotting, and only human grey matter can ease their suffering. If you were in constant pain, wouldn't you want the best pain-killers that you could get your hands on? Not only that, they're so easy to obtain!
  • Exactly how is it that rotting zombie teeth can bite clean through a person's skull?
    • Because it's a zombie movie. It is a zombie movie that is glorying in being a deliberately cheesy, exaggerated, trope-laden zombie movie. It's not in any way trying to be logical, realistic, or anything else, and frankly some of us are pretty grateful for that.
  • So Freddy has broken out of the chapel and making his way to the embalming room. Spider and Burt decide the best course of action is to make a break for it? They were armed with fairly effective weapons and Freddy was blinded by Ernie with the nitric acid, why didn't they just go find him, bludgeon him until his head was destroyed and then toss his headless body out the embalming room door? It was the safest room in the mortuary. Or why didn't they just break his limbs so he was nothing more than an immobile stump?
    • Because their overriding, overwhelming, all-consuming thought is "I want to get the hell out of here!", not "Time to kick some zombie ass!"
    • Even if they did beat Freddy to the point of total immobility, then what? How does that make their overall situation any better? They're still stuck with no phone, no food, hundreds of zombies surrounding them and wanting in, and their barricades aren't going to last forever.
      • They were trying to defend themselves when they beat him. He was attacking them and the only way to stop him was with force. Their main thought was to escape, but Freddy was an immediate threat and obstacle to that plan. If they focused just on trying to escape he would've chased them. They tried to stun him and lock him in the chapel to contain him. He could also use his other senses to track them (he states he knows where Tina is because he can smell Tina), not to mention that the half-zombie in the room where Ernie and Tina were hiding could've tipped Freddy off.
  • Why didn't the paramedics come back as zombies? After watching Return of the Living Dead on Chiller, I noticed that at least one of the attacked cops come back but the the paramedics just stayed dead.
    • I don't recall any zombie cops (though there was a confederate soldier). I think you only come back if you either inhale the trioxin while you're alive, or your body is absolutely drenched in trioxin-infused water, which would also explain why Suicide never came back, but Trash did.
    • Maybe they were just picked over too thoroughly? Maybe it takes longer for some people to come back?
      • You know the "they were just picked over too thoroughly" theory makes sense. After all the brain of the paramedic right next to the paramedic truck was seen being eaten by a couple of zombies in different scenes (like the send more paramedics one). Though it does make me wonder why they didn't pick the cops thoroughly now.
      • Apparently there's no obvious times table for when resurrection will occur. Maybe a few minutes, maybe a few hours. I also think that with the trioxin being diluted in the rainwater, that might explain certain discrepancies.
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