The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Originally intended as a sequel to George A. Romero’s 1968 classic “Night of the Living Dead,” director Dan O’Bannon’s gruesome entry in the zombie genre sparked its own franchise and became a bona-fide genre classic in its own right. It’s easy to see why, as the movie nails a midnight-movie atmosphere and aesthetic that distinguishes it from other similar movies, not to mention a tremendous use of music, from its instantly recognizable score to a variety of entertaining songs overheard throughout the movie. The movie starts out somewhere between fun and campy, before gradually becoming genuinely frightening and oppressive, up to a downright nihilistic ending. Watch for a memorable performance by Z-horror queen Linnea Quiqley as Trash.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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