Return of the Living Dead (1985)

I just watched this movie and this was so unbelievably refreshing. Recently there’s been a resurgence of zombies that has been such a snooze fest to me. If I have to hear about one more zombie survival plan I might hurt myself, but fuck was this movie good. Not only was it hilarious and campy, it added a whole level of story and intellect to zombies that I had not previously experienced. Nowadays it’s usually some virus outbreak that infects the dead and then zombies shuffle around and attack people. In this one the zombies run, scream, talk, and plot, and frankly it’s fuckin awesome. On top of new zombies, the movie has a bumpin soundtrack, incredible special effects, unnecessary nudity, and an incredible twist on horror movie characters. This movie, in my opinion, is a must watch for anyone who enjoys horror movies that don’t take themselves too seriously.

(*semi spoilers*) One of the best parts of this movie was that the characters are losing their goddamn minds throughout the entire thing. Usually in horror movies the characters are bizarrely calm about the situation their in and face their attackers with quiet fear and the strength to get the job done. In Return of the Living Dead, however, we have some characters who scream their way through scenes or start bawling when something particularly horrific happens to them. It’s incredibly refreshing to see characters who react the way any normal person would in these terrible circumstances.

(I’d say spoilers past here, probably)

This movie had an incredible soundtrack, not only the punk and metal songs but the score as well. The score that plays throughout really makes the movie. The punk songs seem to connect the teenage characters to the audience since we are listening to the music that they are literally listening to in the film. There are also awesome correlations between what’s happening on screen and the music, like the first scene where the zombies come out of the ground and “It’s party time!” is playing. Things like this happen a lot in this film where the music perfectly syncs with the action of the scene.

This movie does a cool job of explaining why zombies act the way they do, which is awesome. There’s a scene where the characters have tied down an undead and she explains that she is in constant pain because she’s dead and that eating brains gets rid of the pain, if only momentarily. This gives zombies a whole depth that I’m honestly not used to seeing. It also gave them a more interesting backstory than just “a virus”. They are really some government-based chemical spill that revived veterans in a VA hospital. Instead of being sent to the government base after being contained they’re sent to a medical supply warehouse? Sure. Why not? And instead of calling the number on the side of the bins they just leave them in the basement for decades? Of course. When the main character bumps the bin and gas bursts out that’s when the real fun begins.

We go on a wild ride from the moment that canister is disturbed. A corpse in the warehouse comes alive and the characters rush to destroy it, believing that destroying the brain would kill it. This doesn’t work out too well, however, and they end up burning the zombie in a crematorium across the street in the center of the graveyard. Meanwhile there are a group of teens running around in the cemetery. The ashes of the corpse spread through the sky, rain starts to fall, then all hell breaks loose. The teens and the guys from the warehouse are now trapped in the cemetery with the hordes of undead. From there on out it’s pretty much just a shit show of humor, horror, and the dead.

The ending of this was ingenious, honestly. A few of the characters manage to get back to the warehouse and are trapped in the basement where the cases containing the first zombies were and call the government number. They believe they’ll be saved when they hear the whistle of a bomb, but really an atomic bomb is being dropped on the city. The government officials say it goes off without a hitch and that the rain will get rid of all the ashes. It ends with rain pouring over most of the country, which we as an audience knows means they’re fucked.

Return of the Living Dead was an absolute treat to watch and I highly recommend it.

 

4/5

Body Bags (1993)

Since I watched it tonight, the first movie I’ll post about will be John Carpenter’s Body Bags. This was honestly kind of a disappointment, especially considering how much I’ve loved some of John Carpenter’s other works (The Fog, The Thing, They Live, etc.) and considering how fun other horror anthologies have been. It certainly was campy as all hell which was fun and was full of great cameos from classic horror stars. Getting to see John Carpenter as the Crypt Keeper-esque host was pretty awesome, though it was pretty clear that he is not an actor. All in all he did a great job as the humorous go between in the middle of the segments.

The first two segments of the anthology were just okay, the first of which being a typical girl-alone-with-a-killer story. (*semi spoilers here*) It’s charmingly predictable from the very beginning, with a woman coming to work the night shift at a gas station and there being a radio broadcast about a “psycho killer” on the loose. The trend continues with the other attendant telling her that the booth locks from the outside and to carry the key on her if she leaves as well as the classic Carpenter music setting the tone for something sudden and scary to happen. This segment features an excellent cameo from Wes Craven (RIP) as well as Sam Raimi. (*SPOILERS*) The killer actually being Bill (well, not really Bill) was a semi-interesting twist and I suppose the best they could do with the limited time frame. Killing him under the car gave us some awesome blood effects. Over all though, this was a story I’ve seen done before and done better.

(*semi spoilers*) The second of the segments was a little slow but it did make me squirm. You can tell something is going to go horrifically wrong when Stacy Keach – a balding man – goes to some vaguely shady company to get his hair to grow (also we get a cameo from the legendary Debby Harry here which was awesome). The thing about it is that you don’t know what’s going to happen. Is he going to grow hair endlessly and turn into Cousin It? Is he going to turn into some kind of creature? Is he going to revert back in time to when he had hair until he goes pre-birth? (*SPOILERS*) So when he starts to cough a lot and have a sore throat I was cringing a ton, then when the hairs begin to move on the salon floor I started to squirm, and finally when I saw the snake thing at the back of his throat I freaked out a bit. Then he wakes up with these crazy sores and all this hair and I’m dying laughing over how ridiculous it is. THEN he goes back to the vaguely shady company and their some kind of aliens? They do a classic “stupid earthlings” moment before Stacy Keach’s character is brain dead or maybe just in shock or maybe dead? This was a pretty good segment but, as I said, was rather slow and didn’t really keep my interest.

Okay so the third section was actually pretty awesome. It includes Mark Hamill and Twiggy as the stars and has cameos from the horror world like the LEGENDARY Roger Corman as well as the wonderful John Agar. (*semi spoilers*) Hamill plays a baseball player possibly about to go major when he gets in a car accident and loses his right eye. Thanks to John Agar, however, Hamill has an experimental surgery to get a donor eye. This leads to something being vaguely wrong to sudden violent flashbacks. (*SPOILERS*) He begins to see hacked up blondes in all kinds of places which comes to a climax (pun kinda intended) when he’s getting busy with his wife. This leads to a jarring sex scene where you see a little more than his ass and from there on out it’s an incredible shit show. We find out his eye is from a serial killer that killed several blondes, raped their dead bodies, dismembered them, etc. etc. gory fucked up stuff. He decides to go full ham with it and gives in to his eye, tying up his (pregnant) wife by her (blonde) hair and attacks her with the killers signature weapon, a garden shear. She calms him by showing him their bible (this one had a lot of religious motifs) and it ends with him plunging the garden shear into his bad eye.

This was a pretty fun movie but was mostly something I’d seen before and not entirely interesting. The best part by far were all the cameos.

Rating: 2/5

First things first

This blog is all about horror movies! And also my opinions on said horror movies. I’ve seen an obscene amount of movies and I watch more every week, so I figured I’d share. “Horror” to me as a genre is anything supernatural, paranormal, or generally spooky. Honestly I’m kind of a scaredy cat, so if you’re expecting anything on super creepy horror movies you should probably check out another blog. I’ll be doing posts on everything from b-horror from the 80’s to campy sci-fi from the 50’s. I don’t really watch any modern horror movies, they just don’t float my boat.

Occasionally I’m gonna write on non-horror movies, but hey, I can do whatever I want, it’s my blog. I hope you enjoy the blog!