Greetings, and welcome back to Horror Business. We have one awesome episode in store for you guys because we’re talking 1985’s RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD and 1988’s RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD II.
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We start by talking about some of the stuff involving horror recently. Liam talks about watching the ‘80s classic The Gate for a CINE-WEEN piece, we talk about the newest Mike Flanagan series Midnight Mass and go on a brief tangent about the phenomenon of modern Christianity commodifying pop culture horror elements to try and teach scripture.(Hey friends, Liam here, during my discussion of the Vox article I didn’t enjoy I misgendered the author by mistake! I am very sorry for that, I should have paid more attention to who the author was and I skipped over that entirely. I know that with the vitriol and hate Trans folks are facing everywhere Cis folks like myself need to be that much more attentive to folks gender, and I honestly didn’t even bother to read who the author was. It was not malicious but it was insensitive and sloppy, and I apologize to them and to any trans and non-binary listeners who my ignorance may have hurt.) Liam talks about seeing the newest entry in the V/H/S series V/H/S/94. Justin talks about seeing Venom: Let There Be Carnage.
We start with Return Of The Living Dead. We briefly talk about the history of the production of the film, including the genesis of the differences between Romero’s …Of The Dead films and John Russo’s …Of The Living Dead films.
We then talk about how despite George Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead being what is popularly seen as the archetypical zombie film it is the ROTLD style zombies chanting ‘brains!’ that has seeped deepest into the zeitgeist. Liam postulates that this is possibly because of The Simpsons using brain eating zombies in one of their Treehouse Of Horror episodes early on.
We discuss the self-awareness the film has which put it above typical ‘80s horror fare, and how it has a few rather “heavy” moments, including the motivation for the zombies to consume brains and how that’s what Liam calls the “Dan O’Bannon factor”. We talk about how the film, despite having a somewhat stereotypical of punk culture, dives somewhat deep into actual punk music to create an iconic soundtrack. We discuss some of the more upsetting moments, including Linea Quigley’s initial transformation into a zombie and the actual design of her as a zombie, James Karen’s characters death, and the way the zombies are clearly aware of what they’re doing by consuming people.
Liam talks about how the film asks us both to have fun with it while letting us know it will make us uncomfortable, and Justin talks about certain scenes that have always upset him. We talk about the character of Tarman, and how despite it becoming something of a loveable mascot for the series later on their initial introduction in the first film it is extremely upsetting.
We examine the idea of how the film because it relies upon zombies that are re-animated chemically, cannot be killed by the traditional Romero way of destroying the brain and a headless body will simply keep attacking.
Up next is Return Of The Living Dead II. We begin by giving a summary of the film, with Justin giving a short list of the things he likes about it. Liam postulates that the film has two main ideas: better looking zombies than the first film and involving kids, but only actually succeeds in the first film.
We talk about how the movie really really tries to be funny but largely fails. Liam brings up the concept of a sequel just recreating the first film fails every time except for Evil Dead II.
We talk about how this is Liam’s first viewing of the film and how due to a lack of nostalgia for the film it feels very clunky and hard to watch.
Justin brings up that in a very basic sense this film doesn’t take the idea of the first film seriously at all and thus misinterprets the first film.
We talk about how the film has almost zero likeable characters that are relatable and how this film does what many people fear remakes do to the legacies of the original films.
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