Watch The Return of the Living Dead Online

The Return of the Living Dead

Where to Watch The Return of the Living Dead


The Return of the Living Dead is a classically revered 1985 zombie horror film peppered with a healthy dose of dark humor, under the astute direction of Dan O'Bannon. It stars a talented cast ensemble of Clu Gulager, James Karen, and Don Calfa, and has since become an iconic cult classic in the genre.

The film opens in July of 1984, where we meet Frank (played by James Karen) and his new apprentice, Freddy (Thom Mathews), working in a medical supply warehouse in Louisville, Kentucky. Frank decides an ideal initiation for his rookie would be to impress him with something chilling - leading to a revelation of military drums containing the remains of reanimated corpses, the fallout of a military experiment gone awry. However, inadvertently, they end up releasing a toxic gas from one of the barrels, reanimating a cadaver stored nearby, thus setting a terrifying chain of events into motion.

Clu Gulager, in a memorable performance as Burt Wilson, owns the warehouse. When the ill-fated duo conveys the situation, Burt tries to send the revived cadaver into oblivion without alerting authorities, resulting in far-reaching absurd yet horrifying consequences.

This narrative is intertwined with the portrayal of a group of rebellious punk friends led by Freddy's girlfriend, Tina (Beverly Randolph). Planning to party in a cemetery while waiting for Freddy to finish work, they end up right in the epicenter of the unfolding disaster.

A stand-out figure in this rogue bunch is Linnea Quigley's character, Trash, noteworthy for her bizarre monologue about her fears of being eaten alive by the old and decrepit. Their lives take an eerie turn when the rain, contaminated by the deadly gas leaking from the medical warehouse and cemetery corpses, begins to seep into the ground, invoking the macabre return of the living dead.

Roping in Ernie (Don Calfa), a mortician with a shady past running a morgue, this unlikely band together grapples with their unfolding nightmare, discovering that the undead here have an insatiable appetite for brains, a novel concept introduced by this movie.

The Return of the Living Dead is unique in its way of deftly mixing the boundaries between horror and comedy. It's not slapstick humor; rather, it's a carefully crafted dark humor that draws more from the absurdity of the situations the characters find themselves in rather than scripted gags. This fine balance between horror and humor makes it as enjoyable as it is terrifying.

From a technical viewpoint, the film is adorned with stellar practical effects and truly unnerving visuals of the resurrected dead. Tom Ebel’s special effects, for instance, breathe life into the ghoulish zombies, making them formidable and terror inducing. The film’s memorable punk rock soundtrack further adds a unique charm to the plot, tying in perfectly with the ethos of the rebellious youths portrayed within the narrative.

Furthermore, the characters in the movie are not just zombie fodder. They're well-rounded individuals, each with their distinctive strengths and weaknesses. This facet is particularly highlighted by the eccentric, yet resourceful Burt; the panic-stricken Frank trying to come to terms with his impending doom; and the loyal Freddy, whose love for Tina is evident even under dire circumstances.

The programming of these zombies was also a remarkable departure from zombie axiom as was known back then, being intelligent and able to speak and strategize. This innovative approach added a new layer of horror to the film.

Overall, The Return of the Living Dead is a genre-blending spectacle, an unmissable masterpiece that offers a unique treat that is as entertaining as it is terrifying. It dips its toes into the pool of horror while firmly grounding itself in the realm of satirical humor, creating an enduring film that has not only stood the test of time but has fundamentally influenced the genre. The 1985 film's appeal lies in its distinct ability to make its audience reel between laughter and screams, often at the same time. Its innovative take on zombie behavior, amalgamated with the brilliant performances by its cast, makes it a must-watch for any horror film aficionado.

The Return of the Living Dead is a Horror, Comedy movie released in 1985. It has a runtime of 91 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.3. It also holds a MetaScore of 66.

How to Watch The Return of the Living Dead

Where can I stream The Return of the Living Dead movie online? The Return of the Living Dead is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, MGM+, FuboTV, The Roku Channel Free, Pluto TV, Kanopy, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, EPIX NOW. Some platforms allow you to rent The Return of the Living Dead for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Dan OBannon
Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Thom Mathews, Miguel A. Nez, Jr., Linnea Quigley, Beverly Randolph
Also directed by Dan O'Bannon
The Return of the Living Dead is available on .