I love movies, especially horror films. Some of my favorites are the ones about zombies. Tonight I re-watched an old favorite, Return of the Living Dead. Have you seen it? It’s not especially good, so don’t go telling people that I said it was. It is, however, the perfect mix of creepy and funny. It also does a good job of laughing in the face of the familiar zombie flick rules that we are all familiar with.
The first zombie rule this film does away with is the familiar “destroy the brain, destroy the ghoul” one that has become zombie folklore. Doesn’t work. Our heroes find this out the hard way pretty early on. They put a pick axe right through an undead head and decapitate it, only to have the headless body come after them.xplains that they do not eat “people,” only brains because doing so “helps to ease the pain of being dead.”
So, how do you kill these buggers? The short answer is that you can’t for the most part. They do manage to get rid of one using a crematorium, but that’s not very practical when there’s a horde of them.
Another zombie trope that doesn’t count for much here is the “deadness” of the zombies. These ghouls are able to speak just fine and it is one nearly skeletal female zombie who explains that they do not eat people, only brains. Doing so “helps to ease the pain of being dead.” These zombies also don’t really go around infecting others. There is one victim who reanimates after death, the perfect tits Linnea Quigley, but that may be because she was naked in the rain when the reanimating shit was spread all over the local cemetery.
These zombies are also able to function more or less like people. We see one have a conversation over an ambulance radio, asking the dispatcher to “Send more paramedics.” Another makes a similar request of the police. Mostly, however, the zombies just chant, “brains…”
So we’ve got a cemetery’s worth of virtually unkillable zombies snacking on the domes of our punk rocker heroes, What do they do to get rid of them? They call the army to report that there’s been an issue. It was an army fuck up that unleashed this shit in the first place. Apparently they have a contingency plan. The army then (and this is a spoiler alert for a thirty year old movie) nukes Louisville, Kentucky. It’s okay though. Apparently they only killed some 4,000 people. Hey, it was the Reagan era. The rain will even take care of the resulting fires. No harm, no foul.
Of course, it was the rain that spread the undead shit around in the first place…
Join me next time when I talk about another favorite bad film… maybe Yoga Hosers.