"The events portrayed in this film are all true. The names are real names of real people and real organizations."
Last week, while I was pawing over Children of the Corn for stills of shirtless boys making gay face, something stuck in my head. That boy with the smeared blood on his chest looked familiar and not in the way that all tall, pale, skinny brunettes are familiarly my favorite husbands to have - rather, I could swear that I knew him from someplace! Oh well. I filed it away as another transcendental memory from a past life.
I also went to see The Crazies remake last week. I had a great time with the colors and the set pieces and my large coke zero. This brings us to today when I was at my day job, staring at Taylor Lautner's head. He was wearing an awful lot of hair gel and it suddenly clicked... The Crazies was just a flat, humorless retelling of The Return of the Living Dead (1985)! The Return of the Living Dead prominently features that shirtless boy from the cornfields. Oh my gosh, y'all!
The Return of the Living Dead was among the first in a never-ending heap of films to explore what happens when the government, ubiquitous in its tinkering with biohazards in pursuit of chemical warfare, irresponsibly leaves behind a tank of mysterious chemicals to make flesh-eating zombies of the dead. Picture it: it's the 4th of July weekend. It's the eighties so everyone's hair has volume and a group of fashion forward teens in Kentucky are looking to party. They have a car but nowhere to go! Their bestie, Freddy, is off working his new day job at the Uneeda Medical Supply Company (which just so happens to house a tank of inadvertently abandoned government-grade zombie left over from the incidents of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead). The teens go off to wait for Freddy in the nearby cemetery where they wax poetic on the nature of life and death.
"Frankly, Burt, I think you acted precipitously in cutting up that corpse."
Freddy's new boss, Frank, is a riot. He can't wait to show Freddy the ropes of the medical supply business and his collection of top secret canister zombies. While he may be a terrific boss, Frank is a bit clumsy in his enthusiasm. The next thing you know, the canisters are broken and our heroes are stuck dicing and incinerating military issued zombie parts in the neighboring crematorium! If that weren't enough, the smoke from those government canisters has unleashed a noxious gas into the air that gets caught in the rain and seeps into the ground in the cemetery causing the dead to rise from their graves! The very same cemetery where the kids are having their party... can you see where this is going???
The Crazies has the same plot as this movie, replacing a sheriff and his deputy for Frank and Freddy. The Crazies has the same final scene. What The Crazies does not have on its side is the eighties. The Return of the Living Dead is unabashedly a horror film while also managing to be one of the funniest movies ever made. That just isn't done anymore. The Return of the Living Dead has scream queen Linnea Quigley doing a completely naked dance on a tombstone while her friends hold up flares and blare music from a boombox! Like its soundtrack and its unparalleled fashions, this movie is pure rock and roll - spitting in the face of convention and elevating the art form to previously unforeseen heights.
I rarely ask anything of you, dolls - far be it for me to impose on your busy days and your even busier nights! I am, however, making an exception this once. If you have not seen The Return of the Living Dead, for whatever ungodly reason, do so immediately. It's a game changer.