Return of the Living Dead [1985]

"Do ya wanna party?" challenges the soundtrack to this freaky and funny reworking of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Paced to the beat of a pounding rock score, this comic flesh feast delivers both laughs and outlandish gore. No longer lumbering, moaning creatures, these lithe, feral, and cunning undead claw their way out of the cemetery and into the skulls of a human smorgasbord. They even master the art of home delivery: "Send more cops," croaks a corpse into a patrol car radio. Director Dan O'Bannon even takes pains to explain their motivation between the tributes to the granddaddy of zombie horrors ("Well, it worked in the movie!" screams James Karen when a pickax to the skull hardly phases a lively cadaver). Not that it really matters amid the gore and gallows humor, but it does add a kick to the cynically sinister climax. --Sean Axmaker

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