Thursday, November 15, 2012

Return of the Living Dead

Punks Vs. Zombies!!!

I think what makes Return of the Living Dead such a classic that I have to return to every year or so is that, underneath the comedy and the outlandish special effects and all the goofy fun, is a real darkness and cynicism that give it a little extra punch. There's also at least one truly, deeply disturbing idea at the core of the movie: that death hurts and the zombies do what they do because it somehow dulls the pain. The idea of oblivion is scary enough; to imagine that death could some how be agonizing in a very literal, physical way is an intolerable notion. The film is full of strange, thoughtful subtext that gets under my skin, even when I'm laughing my ass off at its shenanigans.

Rating: A

1 comment:

Mr. Subtlety said...

I always thought this one had some of the most disturbing zombies in it of any film of the genre. You got the creepy oil-soaked one at the beginning, sure... but the real ingenuity here comes from the fact that you just can't kill 'em. Don't bother shooting them in the head, don't bother setting them on fire... they will just keep coming. Even if you chop them into bits, the bits keep coming. And if you try to burn the bits... well, you just might end up with some sequels. Ordinarily zombie films rely on the zombies' overwhelming numbers to frighten you, but here they're also physically unstoppable. I wonder why no other movie took note of this twist in zombie myth? I think it may actually be because it means there's literally no hope of stopping them, and hence no possibility of a happy ending.