October 1st: The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Cast and Crew: Clu Gulager, James Karen, Don Calfa, Thom Matthews, Miguel A. Nunez Jr., Linnea Quigley

What It’s About: Bumbling medical supply warehouse workers break the seal on a barrel containing the chemical which created zombies in the 1960s, which were fictionalized in George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. When the gas is released every dead thing around them-including body parts-becomes animated and tries to kill them, quite a problem when one works in a medical supply warehouse. The boneheaded moves keep coming, and soon the remnants of a gang of punks, the warehouse owner, and the rest of Louisville, Kentucky, are battling the Living Dead…

Why Watch it Today?: Night of the Living Dead was released today in 1968. The film helped revolutionize and modernize the horror film in the late 1960s, taking horror out of the Gothic tomb that it resided in through the 1960s and bringing it to the present day and then burning issues: Vietnam, protests, riots, and the tumult of the times. What’s more, Romero completely changed the way zombies were depicted on film, moving away from their Haitian folklore origins and turning them into what they are known as today: cannibalistic flesh eaters.

Flash forward to the 1980s, when writer/director Dan O’Bannon took the novel former Romero collaborator John A. Russo wrote and turned it into a pitch perfect horror comedy, with plenty of laughs and scares. The Return of the Living Dead was post modern before Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson made it fashionable again with Scream and featured running zombies before 28 Days Later.

Where to Get It: Netflix

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