The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

35mm film, colour. 1.85:1
mono, English

An American comedy horror film written and directed by Dan O'Bannon.


Directed by: Dan O'Bannon
© 1984 A Greenberg Brothers Partnership
Hemdale Film Corporation presents a Fox Films, Ltd. production
Executive Producers: John Daly, Derek Gibson
Produced by: Tom Fox
Screenplay by: Dan O'Bannon
Story by: Rudy Dicci & John Russo & Russell Streiner
Director of Photography: Jules Brenner
Film Editor: Robert Gordon
Music Composed by: Matt Clifford
Sound Mixer: Ronald Judkins
Key Make Up Artist: Robin L. Neal
Hairdresser/Make Up Assistant: Wendy Hogan
Special Make Up Effects: Bill Munns
Special Effects Supervisor: Robert E. McCarthy
Production Designer: William Stout

Clu Gulager (Burt)
James Karen (Frank)
Don Calfa (Ernie)
Thom Mathews (Freddy)
Linnea Quigley (Trash)
Miguel Nunez (Spider)
Beverly Randolph (Tina)
Brian Peck (Scuz)
Jewel Shepard (Casey)
John Philbin (Chuck)
Mark Venturini (Suicide)
Jonathan Terry (Colonel Glover)
Cathleen Cordell (colonel's wife)
David Bond (radio corpse #2)
Drew Deighan (paramedic #1)
Derrick Brice (gunnery sergeant)
Leigh Drake (dispatcher)
Paul Cloud (cop #2)
John Durbin (radio corpse #1)
Michael Crabtree (riot cop #2)

Return of the Living Dead II (1987)
Return of the Living Dead III (1993)


Films and Filming no.378 (March 1986) p.40
Where Romero's original walking corpses were gaunt and miserable, O'Bannon's are a cheerful crowd, mobbing their victims with the shrieking enthusiasm of fans at a pop-concert and gleefully summoning fresh supplies of food (“More brains!” they burble) over a convenient police-car radio. And although the second half of the film finds itself rather trapped in the clichés of the genre – a group under siege barricades the doors and windows as the neighbours get nasty outside – the first half allows itself a carefully detailed escalation in panic […] O'Bannon's directing debut is both quirky and authoritative enough to offer the prospect of improved horrors to come. – from an illustrated review by Philip Strick



  • Films and Filming no.378 (March 1986) p.40 – illustrated credits, review (by Philip Strick)
  • Shock Xpress no.4 (May-June 1986) pp.1, 14 – illustrated review (Emasculating horror by Stefan Jaworzyn)


  • Back from the Dead: Remakes of the Romero Zombie Films a Markers of Their Times by Kevin J. Wetmore Jr pp.154-168 – article
  • Comedy-Horror Films: A Chronological History, 1914-2008 by Bruce G. Hallenbeck pp.139-142; 220 – review; credits
  • The Films of the Eighties by Robert A. Nowlan and Gwendolyn Wright Nowlan p.475
  • Horror Films of the 1980s by John Kenneth Muir pp.465-469 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • The Mammoth Book of Slasher Movies: An A-Z Guide to Over Sixty Years of Blood and Guts by Peter Normanton pp.366-368
  • The Pocket Essential: George A. Romero by Tom Fallows and Curtis Owen pp.130-132 – article
  • Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Film Sequels, Series, and Remakes by Kim R. Holston and Tom Winchester pp.350-351
  • Terror Tracks: Music, Sound and Horror Cinema by Philip Hayward (ed) p.191
  • Zombie by Allan Bryce (ed) pp.56-63 – illustrated article (Sometimes they come back… again: Return of the Living Dead trilogy by Maitland McDonagh)