The Return of the Living Dead

The Return of the Living Dead

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It’s the Linnea Quigley’s breakout role (and what a role it is). And it’s responsible for the idea that zombies eat brains. But when it came to whether this zom-com was a winner or a dud, we were miles apart. We’re rarely this split when discussing a film, so give this episode a listen and tell us what YOU thought of The Return of the Living Dead!

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The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

Episode 51, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Todd:  Hello, and welcome to another episode of 2 Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd. 

Craig:  And I’m Craig. 

Todd:  And Todd, we’re talking about the 1985 film, Return of the Living Dead. This is a movie made it sounds like it’s a sequel to Night of the Living Dead, and it actually is based on a script, that was out there floating around by John Russo who did write the original Night of the Living Dead. But, it was picked up by a different producer and, given to a guy named Dan O’Bannon. Dan O’Bannon is actually one of the screenwriters responsible for Alien, and Total Recall in a couple of those movies, and, this is one of his first directorial efforts. Now, he didn’t really want to shoot a script that was so close to the original. He really just didn’t want to invade on George Romero’s turf because he he, appreciated him so much. So he rewrote most of the script. In fact, from what I read online, the script that you see now with this movie has bears no resemblance really to what, John Russo had come up with, and then directed it.   And so, what you get here, instead of a sequel to Night of the Living Dead, is really more, a spiritual, I suppose, sequel to Night of the Living Dead. It deals with zombies. It takes that name and it references actually the original movie and becomes more of a comedy. It was it was written more as a comedy than a straight horror film and and that really comes through. So, Craig, had you ever seen this movie before? 

Craig:  I had seen it. You know, I don’t remember if I’ve told this story before. I probably have. But, when I was doing my internship fresh out of college, I was in a different city, and, I was only gonna be there for 6 months and and finances were really tight. So, I didn’t get cable. And so my mom gifted me a gift card to movie gallery with, like, $200 on it. And every single day, I would go to movie gallery and rent, a movie usually out of their horror section. And I think that I went through every film that they had available, and this was one of them.   You know, it was one that I had seen on the shelves forever, but these Night of the Living Dead movies had really never really been my cup of tea. I didn’t even see the original until I was an adult. And I I couldn’t remember. I thought that I had seen it, but I couldn’t remember. And when it got started, I was like, okay. Yeah. Yeah. I’ve seen this. 

Todd:  Now I remember seeing the poster for this movie in the theaters. I mean, as a kid, I I I don’t know. We probably wanted to see Ghostbusters or something like that, but, obviously, I never saw this in the theater because I would have been, like, 7 and my parents wouldn’t have taken me to something like this. But, right, the poster and the bot, which is also the box art for the video, is really distinct. You’ve got this tombstone that says return of living dead on it and then these zombified kind of skeletal looking guys, but they’re green and they’re punked out. They’ve got like punk styles and stuff like that And it just was always a very appealing looking movie to me just from the box art alone. And so I can imagine 

Craig:  And it was really colorful. That’s what always stuck out to me. It was really colorful, and that was in such stark contrast to the original, you know, night of the living dead, which was shot and presented in black and white. And so I always just assumed that it was a sequel. In fact, I don’t know, that when the first time I saw it, that I that I I don’t know if I knew that it wasn’t. I I think that I thought that it was. And it wasn’t until I was reading, about it this time around that I found that really it’s it’s not. And it’s actually kind of interesting that the movie is set in a universe where Night of the Living Dead is an existing movie that the characters are aware of and have seen.   And so when things start going down here, you know, they make reference. And, I thought that was, kinda clever, actually. I like that. 

Todd:  Yeah. It’s really a neat idea, and, it works. It works really well, actually, I think. It opens up with a really great disclaimer. 

Craig:  It’s pretty funny. Yeah. It up on the screen and, you know, very, serious lettering. It says, the events portrayed in this film are all true. The names are real names of real people and real organizations. And it presents it, you know, as though they’re being serious, but with all of the emphasis on it’s real, it’s real, it’s real. I mean, you go in knowing this is absolutely not real, and you kinda get a a sense of the tongue and cheek tone just from that going in. 

Todd:  Oh, yeah. Because the very next shot is a shot of a big, sign on a building that is you need a medical supplies. 

Craig:  Yeah. That’s 

Todd:  cool. So you’d know right away that this is gonna be a goofball movie, and it really is, there’s a Frank and Freddie. Frank is the older basically Freddie’s boss. Freddie’s a younger kid. He’s just started this medical supply store and, Frank is there mentoring him on his first day and and Frank is a is an actor that you would totally recognize. He is James Karen. 

Craig:  James Karen? 

Todd:  Yeah. And I mean, you recognized him. Right? I mean, he’s been in a ton of movies, been on TV, all that stuff, especially around this time. 

Craig:  I did. I I couldn’t place him anything particular. I don’t remember if I went and looked at his his credentials or or not, but, he was certainly familiar. Absolutely. 

Todd:  Yeah. He’s one of these guys where the minute you see him, you’re like, oh, I know I’ve seen this guy. I just don’t remember in what, but I know I’ve seen him in a bunch of stuff. Right. And he’s walking Freddie through the process of the job and he’s showing him how to pick up skeletons for order and talking about how they’re real skeletons and how in the world do they get, you know, where do they get these skeletons from. It’s just this jovial kind of laughing about this sort of gruesome job that they have and he he takes them through it, he shows them the the half dogs, which are these these dogs that have been split down the middle, lengthwise for, I guess med school students or veterinarians and, they’re on the shelf and then he just sits them down and at one point, Freddie says to him, he says, so what is the weirdest thing that you’ve ever encountered in your job? And then it gets real serious and mysterious as the camera slowly zooms in on Frank as he relates his story and what he basically says is 

Clip:  Did you see that movie Night of the Living Dead.   Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That’s someone where the corpse started eating the pupil. Right? Sure. What what about it?   Did you know that movie was based on a true case?   That’s not possible. I mean, they showed zombies taking over the world.   Well, they changed it all around. What really happened was, back in 1969 in Pittsburgh at the VA hospital, there was a chemical spill, and all that stuff kinda leaked down into the morgue, and it made all the dead bodies kinda jump around as I was alive. What chemical? 2, 4, 5 triads and it’s called. It was to kinda spray on marijuana or something. And the Darrow Chemical Company was trying to develop it for the army. And they told the guy who made the movie that if he told the true story, they’d just sue his ass off. So he changed all the facts around. 

Todd:  And the army and this army mix up once they had contained the situation, had had contained the bodies. Well, they were gonna send them away and it ended up, the orders getting mixed and they got them there instead at this medical supply place. And, Frank says, you wanna see him? And Freddy’s like, what are you talking about? He’s like, they’re downstairs. And he gives us really goofball like look. And I think that’s what I like the most about this Frank character is, he just he just really hams this guy up, but he never goes so over the top that you don’t believe that this guy could actually exist. He just seems like this goofball guy who just has this really, utterly boring job, but he’s trying to make it sound really interesting, and he’s just happy to have another person along, you know, to keep his evenings and his days for, you know, interesting. I don’t know. He he’s just this old grandfatherly guy who seems to be, happy to show Freddie around and and use all these cornball jokes on him. 

Craig:  Yeah. I have a feeling that you and I are gonna disagree to some extent on this movie because, I I think that most of the acting was very much over the top. Like, you know, some of these characters, this one in particular, the actors really chewing up the scenery in in, in in a lot of these places. And, I think it was probably intentional because I think that they were going for the humor, but, I don’t know. Oh, man. You know, like you said, we’ve seen this guy in so many things. So we know that he’s successful and that he’s talented. So I can only imagine that this over the top thing was a directorial and actor choice that they were making.   And if that’s the case, more power to them. But to me, it came across as pretty darn goofy. 

Todd:  It it is goofy, but I don’t know, man. I feel like I’ve seen guys like this before. You know? And, and, actually, he was my favorite character in in the whole film. I I just I just I couldn’t see enough of this guy on the screen. We’re we’re totally gonna disagree on this, but that is absolutely okay. In the meantime, it’s really cutting for no apparent reason back and forth between them, and this group of basically totally punked out eighties punks, essentially. This ragtag group of people, Tina, who is the straight laced girl who makes reference to Freddie, so you know that they’re dating or something, and and she’s like the Sandra Dee of the group. She’s dressed in all the Girl Next Door attire, and then there’s a guy named Chuck who is maybe the guy who’s kinda like that.   He’s he’s dressed pretty normal, but then you have Casey who’s a girl’s got this big like mohawk and the outfit to match and a guy named Spider, a dude named Suicide who’s totally punked out and he’s in leather and he’s got this goofball chain that goes from his ear to a piercing in his lip. A gal named Trash who is Lenea Quigley, who this was actually Lenea Quigley’s breakout role, and Quigley since here, this has has been in so many of these. People call her America’s scream queen. She’s been in so many of these b movies throughout the eighties nineties, that you’d recognize her instantly. 

Craig:  And Yeah. She has so many credits. You know, I looked her up just because her character was so absurd, and I wondered what she had done after this. And she has so many credits. I mean, she’s she’s been working and is still working steadily, almost exclusively in the genre. But, you know, more power to her. She’s she’s had a really, long and successful career. 

Todd:  Okay. So you’re telling me you didn’t really recognize her? 

Craig:  I didn’t. What would I I I I recognize some of the titles of things that she was in, but even now thinking I can’t I can’t place her. What were some of the other things that she was in? 

Todd:  Oh, man. You know, this is so funny because this just reveals, I think, like, a gap between the the kinds of horror movies that you were into, the kinds of horror movies that I’m into. But then again, we’ve both watched, like, USA Up All Night. Right? 

Craig:  And so many Yeah. 

Todd:  Quigley movies, showed up on USA Up All Night. I mean, I’m thinking of I don’t know why this would immediately comes to mind just maybe because the title so absurd, but like Sorority Babes and the Slimeball Bowl O Rama. She was in even some non, horror movies that were, that just required nudity like vice squad and things like that, that were made kinda by the same type of production houses. But there’s also night of the demons. Have you seen night of 

Craig:  the demons? Yeah. Yes. I have and she not only was she in that but she was also in the remake that’s what I remembered her from. 

Todd:  Yeah. And she has a very memorable role at Night of the Demons. 

Craig:  Yes. Oh, okay. Is she the lipstick girl? 

Todd:  She’s the lipstick girl. Yeah. 

Craig:  Okay. Alright. Then I definitely know who she is. 

Todd:  And I know we’re gonna do that movie on this show one of these days. 

Craig:  Oh, absolutely. 

Todd:  Yeah. So yeah, man. Lilia Quigley is like one of my favorites. But she was first out in this movie, and I guess she had been working as a model before this, and had been slowly encouraged to go out and do film, and this is one of her first films, and this really, after this, she really never went without work again. She has a very memorable role on this one too. Yeah. So, anyway, you 

Craig:  know, you’re talking about this group of students, you know, or kids, whatever they are. That was just something else that I just couldn’t wrap my head around. Like, they were such a hodgepodge group of kids. Like, it didn’t seem to make any sense to me why this group of kids would be hanging out together. You know, like, you’ve got a couple named Suicide and Trash, and then you’ve got this other girl. I don’t remember. You said her name. Tina.   The one who, like yeah. Tina who wears, like, culottes and sweaters. Like, why would these people be hanging out together? It didn’t make any sense to me. But that’s okay because a lot of the movie didn’t make any sense to me. 

Todd:  Well, you’re right. It didn’t make a lot of sense, but I’ll tell you what. You know, this movie totally reminded me of, and that was a trauma film. Like, this movie starts out just like a trauma movie would, and it starts out it has the same kind of characters. You know, if you’ve ever seen like The Toxic Avenger or Surf Nazis Must Die or Troma’s War, any of those films, they always have this punk sensibility to them. And this movie definitely has a punk sensibility from the very beginning and it just goes over the top with it with all these characters and you’re right there every single one of them is playing them to the hilt. 

Clip:  Are we gonna party tonight or what? Yeah. We are gonna party. Well, where? Where we gonna party? 

Craig:  I don’t know. Somewhere. 

Clip:  K. We could go to the park. Oh, no. 

Craig:  We can’t. The cops said they’d shoot us if we go back in the park. Yeah. And I ain’t in no mood to die tonight. 

Clip:  I like death. 

Craig:  I like death with sex. How about you, Casey? You like sex with death? 

Clip:  Yeah. So fuck up and die. 

Craig:  So when we’re gonna party tonight, Tina? 

Clip:  Oh, you guys, that’d be really rad. We’re not supposed meet Freddie when he gets off work. Yeah. Where are you supposed to meet him? At this medical supply warehouse where he’s working. 

Craig:  Oh, no. He got a job. What a dick. Holy shit. 

Clip:  Why did you say so? Why do we all go pick Freddy up? Freddy always knows where there’s a place to party. 

Todd:  You know, I mean, I’m not gonna say it’s realistic, but I’m just, it just occupies a certain place in my heart. A certain charm and aesthetic that I just sometimes wanna pop some popcorn in and sit in front of. It’s like if you took a trauma movie and cast slightly better actors in it, gave it a bigger budget and a more sensible script. 

Craig:  I don’t know that I’ve seen any trauma movies now that you mentioned it. I mean, I’m very familiar with what they are, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen any. We should watch one. But, yeah, I mean, the characters I mean, everybody just plays their part so over the Todd. And and the the oh, Todd. I feel like I hate to be, you know, because I have a feeling that you really appreciate this and I I I always hate to be critical because, you know, taste is so subjective and I don’t want to offend anybody who, like, treasures this as a part of their childhood or something. But, like, the writing is so bad. Like, these kids, they go to, the medical supply store, all these kids, because they’re waiting for Frank to get off.   But they realize when he get they get there that he’s not gonna be off for a couple of hours. So what should we do? Oh, let’s go hang out in this decrepit cemetery right here, and we’ll spend a couple hours there. 

Todd:  Resurrection cemetery. Yeah. 

Craig:  And so they resurrection cemetery. Right? Okay. So then they they go in there and they’re just like hanging out and trash, Linnea Quigley’s character just goes off on this monologue like 

Clip:  Do you ever wonder about all the different ways of dying, you know, violently? And wonder, like, what would be the most horrible way to die? 

Craig:  Try not to think about dying too much. 

Clip:  With me, the worst way would be for a bunch of old men to get around me and start fighting and eating 

Craig:  clothes. Let’s get some light over here. She’s taking off her clothes again. And then just out of nowhere, there’s music playing, and she just starts dancing and just takes off all of her clothes except for except for these stockings, these blue stockings that come up, you know, like, to mid thigh. She’s completely nude. There’s a bunch of people there. And, you know, the people are almost just rolling their eyes like, oh, here she goes again. And she’s dancing on the on this, like, on a big gravestone.   And, one of the things that I did like or or at least appreciated about the movie was that the score was kind of fun. You know, it had this kind of punk metal. It seemed like most, if not all of the songs were written for the movie. I mean, some of them even reference events in the movie and stuff. So I liked that. But, you know, you know, 

Todd:  it it was it’s just so bizarre. 

Craig:  Like, I’m sitting here watching this. What is she doing? And why are people just acting like this is normal for her to take off all her clothes and dance strange? 

Todd:  Dude, I I I thought that was hilarious. I mean, did even when she after she takes off her clothes, you hear in the background, let’s get some light over here. Trash is taking off her clothes again. 

Craig:  Yeah. Oh my gosh. 

Todd:  Dude, I thought it was so funny. And, again, it’s it’s it’s totally trauma. It really is even though Yeah. 

Craig:  And then and then she’s naked for the rest of the movie. And, like, this is, like, this is, like, maybe 15 minutes in that she takes her clothes off. And then she is naked for the rest of the movie. There’s one scene that I noticed that she had kinda like thrown a shirt on or something. But for the rest of the movie, she is just butt naked except for these stockings, which, you know, I guess that appeals to certain audiences. 

Todd:  Man, I I’m sorry. I think it’s so funny. I think her monologue is so funny because you’re right. It’s so over the top and it’s so ridiculous, but it’s I don’t know, man. It’s like so tongue in cheek and and after and I guess this scene actually was a little controversial while they were producing it, while they were making it because they had to go back and reshoot it like 2 or 3 times because first they, you know, of course she’s you’re right. She’s completely nude. And I guess they were showing pubic hair in the beginning which isn’t uncommon Mhmm. For this era.   But one of the producers came on set and said, you can’t do that. You can’t do that. And so they had her shave and then apparently that made it worse. God. I could see more. So then they created this little kind of like flesh colored appliance to go down there, so it kind of covered it up. I guess it was like something that they really went back and forth on, but I watched 

Craig:  Well, it’s, like, I I feel for this act, like, for, you know, first of all, okay, get totally nude. Alright. Alright. Well, we don’t like your bush, so shave. Okay. Then come back. Oh, we don’t like that either, so let us glue some latex onto your labia. And then she had to wear that for the rest of the filming.   I mean, oh, man. I guess, you know, if you want the work, you do what you gotta do. 

Todd:  This poor girl is naked for the rest of the movie. It I don’t know man, and and and when I when I used to watch this, you know, I saw it maybe once on video, and the rest was basically when it would come on cable because this movie does play like on cable TV, but of course most of that stuff even on cable gets cut out. And so Yeah. Actually wasn’t until, you know, we watched we went back and watched it again that I realized just how much nudity was in this film. Mhmm. And it’s all her. It’s all her. 

Craig:  Yeah. I I also read that, at at one of the initial screenings, the director that you mentioned was, surprised to see how many women were in the audience. And he said that if he had known that there would be such a prominent female audience, he would have shown some of the dudes naked too. But, he just wasn’t anticipating that anyway. 

Todd:  That’s great, man. This is Todd totally totally you can tell that director’s sensibility. And remember, this is the guy who wrote Alien. Okay? Just remember. Yeah. That’s crazy. 

Craig:  I I didn’t know that. Honestly, I’ve been sick all day, so I didn’t do as much research as I usually do. So I didn’t know that, and it shocks me. It shocks me that the same man wrote those 2 movies because Alien is, you know, a classic. It’s it’s a masterpiece. You know, this it is what it is. You know, I get it. I get what they were going for, and it is what it is.   So I’m I’m not gonna come down on it too hard. 

Todd:  Unlike a lot of films from this era that are almost unintentionally cheesy or or cheese ball because, they can’t afford to not be, because the acting is just going to be bad and things like this. This has some a couple accomplished actors in it and then, of course, all these people and only really one of them went on to to do a lot of of other stuff, but they’re intentionally playing it up, and the script is intentionally humorous, intentionally tongue in cheek. I mean, it’s it’s meant as a horror comedy, and it’s, I guess it’s just it’s not super smart about it. It just goes for the goofball, in so many ways. And and I just I really like that. I liked it. 

Craig:  I think I would have appreciated it a lot more if I’d had a few drinks. I I think that would have enhanced my experience quite a bit. But, anyway. So we’re introduced to those kids. And like you said, it kinda cuts back and forth, between them and and the store the medical supply store. This medical supply store is, by the way, just like the most bizarre medical supply store I’ve ever seen in my life. Like, they have skeletons. They have those bisected animals like you said.   They’ve got, you know, like, a a board with pins, moths and butterflies. They’ve got a room for cadavers, and the cadavers are just hanging up in this meat locker through spikes in their heads. Like, that surely is not how cadavers are stored for research. And then, you then, the whole idea, Do you want to go down to the basement? We still have them. Like, why? That doesn’t make any sense. Like, if the military accidentally sends you some strange mysterious merchandise, send that stuff back. Like, why would you be hanging on to it? It doesn’t make any sense. 

Todd:  Oh, 

Craig:  but they go down, Frank takes Freddy down there and they look and they’re like these, Todd, I guess, is from the supposedly from the original incident are in like these metal, I don’t know, pods or canisters for lack of a better word. And they’re looking at them and you can see the face of one of the like it looks like a zombie, you know, it’s a decomposed corpse. The the the younger kid, Freddy says, these these things can’t leak, could they? And, Frank goes, no. There there’s these are military grade. There’s no way they leak. And he taps it on the side and, of course, it just it gas explodes out of it. And it it fills the room and knocks them out. And then we cut back to, I think, the scene that we already talked about with the kids in the graveyard and the naked dance and stuff.   And when it comes back, to Freddie and Frank, they wake up, and they go upstairs and they hear barking. And they find what looks like a dog laying on the ground. When they pick it up, they realize it’s one of the bisected dogs that has been reanimated. So they try to kill it, and then they hear pounding from the cadaver room, and they don’t know what to do. And your guy, James Karen, just starts freaking out. Like, there are so many there are so many I don’t know, at least 2 or 3. There comes a point where he just kind of retreats into himself in the second half of the movie. But there are several times in the first half of the movie where he just utterly panics and he’s like screaming and whimpering and freaking out.   And they don’t know what to do. They can’t 

Todd:  He’s a total baby. He’s a total baby. He goes from being this kid in the know boss who just, you know, is, like, so full of himself walking around showing this guy the ropes to being utterly uncapable of even handling his own emotions. 

Craig:  Right. Right. And it’s it’s funny, you know, and and the scene that scene actually plays really funny because, you know, Frank is freaking out. But then as soon as Freddie starts to panic a little bit, Frank, like, drastically calms himself down and, you know, they’re gonna figure out what to do. And, they decide, that they need to call their boss, Bert and bring him in, and and they’ll figure it out from there. 

Todd:  That’s right. And Bert comes, and Bert is, is he’s also hamming it up. He’s almost like that. Man, he’s got a voice to him and a mannerism about him that almost doesn’t even fit this movie. It you know what I mean? It’s like that 

Clip:  Yeah. 

Craig:  I think it works. Like, he kinda plays the straight man. Like, he he kinda just remains calm and everything and takes everything very seriously. 

Clip:  Oh, now listen to me both of you very carefully. Freddy, you gotta open that door. Come here. You stand right over here. Frank, right here, and when it comes out, you brain it with that ax. Oh, Jesus. Now we’re gonna stop it from lying. What’s the matter with you, Frank? Fred, come here.   Get down there. Please, stand by the door. It’s gonna be alright, son. Alright. I don’t think I can do this, Fred. Well, you’re damn well, Betty. You got us into this. 

Craig:  Oh, Jesus. He’s definitely making strong character choices, but his character choices are more about being calm, being rational, trying to think, you know, how rationally are we gonna solve this problem. And I liked him too. You know, he was also, a really familiar actor. I did but I didn’t, really recognize anything that he was from. That part was originally, they they wanted Leslie Nielsen for it, but they couldn’t get him. And and they went through a few other actors before they landed on this guy. But I think, Klug, Gulager, or something like that.   But he’s good. I I agree with you. I would say that he’s one of the stronger parts of the movie. 

Todd:  Could you could you imagine this movie with Leslie Nielsen in there? I mean, wouldn’t that change the tone? Would would you have found the movie a little more acceptable if you went in there knowing that Leslie Nielsen was one of the main guys? 

Craig:  You know, if you’d asked me that a year ago, I would have said yes. But now that we’ve seen Leslie Nielsen in at least one other horror movie where he kinda plays it straight, I could almost see him in this role. I don’t know. You know? Coulda, woulda, shoulda. I don’t know. But this guy’s this guy’s good. 

Todd:  Oh, I could’ve I totally could’ve seen him in this role. I’m just wondering if that wouldn’t have just clued you clued clued, you know, you as an audience memory into the fact that this is gonna be almost like an the naked gun of horror movies in some ways. I mean, it’s not, but it’s in that Right. 

Craig:  Right. You know. Right. Yeah. Message me. 

Todd:  Yeah. It’s really I I think this this this scene is so funny because he’s talking about what to do, and as soon as Freddie opens the door, which is just locked with this, like, combination lock like you’d have on your locker. The Right. The body runs out. It just immediately dives for Bert, Tackles them down. They get him off of him. And then, Frank can’t even do it. Isn’t it Bert who actually swings the pickaxe and gets him down in there? 

Craig:  Yeah. I think that they, Freddy and Frank hold the cadaver down. And another thing that I liked about this movie was that there are varying degrees of decay in the zombies, and I like that. This guy, you know, is is a cadaver that supposedly is for medical research, so he doesn’t really look much like a zombie. Aside from being somewhat discolored. You know, he kinda just looks like a guy, except for the fact that he’s nude and, you know, tackling them and whatnot. But they hold him down, and he, Bert uses the pickaxe and goes straight straight through his brain, but it doesn’t work. And that was something else that I liked about this movie.   Where it is kind of a spiritual sequel, the idea that, yeah, the movie exists, but it was only based on the experience and they changed things so that, you know, the rule in the movie that you just have to destroy their brain, that doesn’t apply here. It doesn’t work. These things, continue to be animated. Bert, says, well, you know, after after that doesn’t work, he says, the guy across the street, who works at the mortuary sometimes, works late. Let me go check and see if he’s over there. And the guy at the mortuary is Ernie, which is I thought, oh my gosh, that’s hilarious, Bert and Ernie. And apparently that was totally a coincidence. The the director didn’t even realize that he had done that.   I thought it had to be intentional. But he says he’s got a crematorium. We’ll we’ll take the guy over there and and burn him up, and that’ll solve it. But they can’t, the, you know, one of them, Freddie or Frank’s like, well, how are we gonna get him over there? So they get, a bone saw and hack him up. And, this was probably the I thought the funniest part of the movie. They go over to Ernie’s mortuary and and, Bert goes in first to kinda, you know, say, you know, chum around with him a little bit before he asks him for a favor. But then he calls Freddie and Frank in, and they come in holding, like, a gurney, with all of these trash bags in it, you know, like a bunch of, tied up trash bags, and all of them are moving. 

Clip:  What the hell is in those bags?   Rabbit weasels. 

Craig:  What? What the hell are you 

Clip:  doing with a bunch of rabbit weasels? I had to   explain it to you, Ernie. You know, they came in as part of a shipment. Of course, they weren’t supposed to be rabbit, you know, but you know how these things happen.   I don’t. How do they happen? Well, watch out, Arteta Ernie. Don’t get bit. 

Craig:  Oh my Todd. Which I just thought was the funniest thing. There were other rabbit weasels. We gotta get rid of them. It’s like And, 

Clip:  you know, 

Craig:  I read you know, it it it’s it’s kinda cool looking, you know, all these things moving underneath, the the plastic. I I read that the way that they accomplished that was they just took a bunch of those wind up monkeys with the cymbals, and they removed the cymbals and then just started them all and put them in those, bags. And so there’s this movement, and it it it was it was kinda cool and creepy. But rabbit weasels, man, that got me. 

Todd:  That’s hilarious. And Ernie’s the other straight guy, and he’s the other one who can kinda stay cool and calm and collected throughout all this. And when they come in, of course, he’s talking about, or Bert is just trying to make small talk with him before he leads him into what he wants him to do, the favor he wants to ask. And, Ernie’s, in the middle of embalming this Todd. He’s talking about rigor mortis and about how rigor mortis starts in the brain, and then it goes down and eventually goes into the muscles. But if you exercise the muscles enough, you can work it back out. That’s just one of those one of those secrets they don’t teach in school, you just learn on the job. And, and, yeah.   Eventually, he, Bert, has to come clean with him as to what these things are because Ernie’s not gonna burn up a bunch of live weasels in his crematorium. And, so they toss all these in the crematorium, and then the smoke, of course, from the crematorium comes out the chimney, and you see it go into the sky, and you think, oh, this can’t be good. Because this kind of mirrors, actually, the earlier scene, after they had tapped the side of the canister and all that gas that was keeping that corpse inside spilled out, you get what was what was the credit sequence. And, you see the gas go through the pipes and you see it go through and then throughout the the site there. And I don’t know about you Craig, but didn’t that title sequence kinda get you going? The music? 

Craig:  Yeah. I thought Yeah. I liked the music throughout. You know, it’s it’s it’s seriously dated. I mean, it totally sets it in the world of the eighties, but I’m cool with that. I love the eighties. Yeah. I yeah.   I like the music a lot, every time they use it. And anytime there is a big action sequence, it was almost always scored, by some sort of rock or punk, song, and I really liked that. 

Todd:  Yeah. 

Craig:  And then I I feel like that happens here too. You know? The the gas comes out of the chimney, and then all of a sudden, the storm rolls in and, the Craig, you know, I guess the gas or whatever chemical is in the gas gets into the Craig, and it starts raining on the cemetery and all these kids who are still there, and they especially trash who is naked says it burns. It burns. It’s like acid rain. So they all get into, suicide’s car and, I guess, are just gonna kinda try to wait it out. But meanwhile, we see that, you know, it’s it’s seeping into the graves and, of course, we know what what’s coming next. 

Todd:  Yeah. And in the meantime, Tina has broken off from the group and she decides she’s gonna go and see what’s keeping, Freddie. Their whole idea was they were gonna go see Freddie because Freddie knows how to party, and he just got this job and and was working late at the medical store. I’m not sure Freddie does know how to party. He’s he’s kind of like the dumb jock of the group, but in any way, Tina’s investigating. So she’s actually back over at the medical supply place, and she manages to get in out of the rain, and she comes across, as she’s walking through, goes downstairs and comes across the first zombie that we see. And I love this scene. It is so 

Craig:  This is my favorite part of the movie. Yeah. My favorite part of the movie is, yes, the scene, but really this creature effect. I love this zombie. It’s it’s it’s exactly, you know, what the zombie of my nightmare would be, you know, just all just barely even human anymore, you know, all wet and and rotten and, you know, big and lumbering. And another difference, you know, that distinguishes this from the actual movies in the Living Dead series is that these zombies talk, and this this zombie down there in the basement just goes, Craig. Live brains. And it’s goofy, but it is scary at the same time because the effect is so Todd.   And, you know, he’s chasing her on the basement. Yeah. I loved it. That was my favorite part of the movie. And I was just kinda giddy anytime that zombie would pop back up. 

Todd:  And and that’s really, like, one of those things that never really showed up in any of the other, like the Night of the Living Dead movies or whatever, but we always say, oh, you know, zombies, brains, you know, they eat brains. That came from this movie. This movie set up that idea that zombies eat Craig, and, and that lie, brains. It it’s so funny, and that that creature’s got like that skeletal face and just a jaw full of teeth as he opens up. He almost looks endearing, doesn’t he? 

Craig:  Oh, I don’t know. I think it’s kinda scary, but yeah. I mean, as as kind of as a yeah. I see what you mean. 

Todd:  He’s got kind of a cuteness Todd. The the Jim Henson, one of Jim Henson’s puppeteers actually, operated him was I was in the suit and whatever. A really cool look. 

Craig:  Oh, it’s really good. Yeah. Another another thing, that we find out, you know, through this sequence is that, these zombies are also not just brainless, you know, walking corpses. You know, they they have thought and reason, because this, she she falls through a broken stair, and then I think she’s, like, under the staircase, and and there’s a door that’s that’s locked, but the the zombie sets up like a winch to get the door open and is successful. Now her friends show up and and get her out of there. But, I I like that Todd. You know, it’s just a little bit different. I like the idea that the zombies talk and that they have motivation and that they can reason and and, you know, are are they’re tricky.   You know, I like they’re really tricky in this movie, and I I I like that. It’s funny. 

Todd:  It’s great. In the meantime, we find over in the store that even though, Bert and Ernie think that they have, fixed the the problem of the bodies, their new problem is that Frank and Freddie are feeling very ill, and they’re looking pretty ghastly themselves. And so, Frank’s wailing about what are we gonna do because Frank’s wailing about himself, And so they call some paramedics over, and the paramedics come, and after they examine them, they’re like, they have no pulse, and they’re really really cold, and they’re conferring about what they’re going to do. In the meantime, this is where we see skeletons and things bursting through the ground in the cemetery. Trash, I guess, she is out and about. The kids, they get out of the car because they can’t start the car. Is that what it is? 

Craig:  I guess so. You know, there’s this big siege, and, again, it’s set, you know, against this great song. It’s like it it’s party time, I think, is the name of the song that’s really funny. They they got the girl out of the basement, some of them, And they kinda got split up, and that was another thing that I couldn’t follow. I couldn’t follow how or why they got split up. And ultimately, it doesn’t really matter. But, suicide gets killed by that cool zombie in the basement, but the other kids get out. And then, yeah, when we see trash in the, cemetery, and it’s, you know, very reminiscent of thriller or or some where lots of different corpses, varying degrees of, decomposition, are coming out.   And, yeah, they, they they take they get trashed, and she’s, apparently dead too. And then the the the thing with the ambulance, I thought it was so funny, and it was a running gag. Like, it was funny the first time, and then they kept doing it. It was so funny. The paramedics came, and they get out, and they’re kinda looking around. And then they are just sieged by these zombies, and they are totally getting eaten. And one of the zombies goes to the to the ambulance and picks up the radio and says 

Clip:  I mean, this dash send 4 of their bitch. 

Craig:  And they do. Several times throughout the movie, I think 2 more sets of paramedics come and they just kinda hide and lay and wait. And then as soon as they get out, they attack them and eat them. And eventually, the police come. They do the same. They get on the the walkie talkie, send more cops. And it’s just it’s so every single time, the cops never catch on. Nobody ever catches on.   They just wait for them to send more, then they just keep eating them. That was so funny to me. 

Todd:  It’s totally unlike any of the other zombie movies where these zombies have, motivations, and they can think, and they can talk, and it allows them to set up these goofball scenarios. It is really funny. Neil, Tina, and Spider end up at the mortuary, and they end up inside there. Ernie lets them in and they quickly spout out, hey, there are a bunch of guys outside, and instantly the mortuary becomes the place where they’re holed up because the zombies are trying to break in. And so they pull out furniture, and they, you know, it’s your typical suddenly they all have hammers and nails and access to wood and are able to have, you know, nail up the the walls and things. But these these zombies, again, are just arms trying to come through the the windows. It’s very reminiscent of night of the of the living dead at this point. Mhmm. 

Craig:  And again, set against a really good song, you know. I I think this song is actually it’s it talks about the living dead. I feel like there’s mention of events from the movie in the song. And just those little, you know, little details, little winks, I I I thought those were fun. 

Todd:  Yeah. Again, I really like the punk music in there because it’s it’s like you can do in a movie like this. You can set it, you can score it with some spooky score to try to amp up the the scariness of it, or they choose to do that use this these punk songs that even have lyrics that reference what’s going on. And it it really adds to that light atmosphere of the movie, you know, that helps you kinda not take it so seriously, but keeps it kind of exciting at the same time. 

Craig:  Mhmm. I mean, I felt like 

Todd:  all of these action sequences were really well filmed and really well staged, and the gore effects are are great. I mean, this isn’t a low budget film in those in those terms at all. It has this like low budget sensibility, but it’s got great effects and obviously has a a pretty, I think, a pretty strong budget behind it. 

Craig:  The one that I remember is that they I I don’t even remember how they got her in there. I don’t remember if they, you know, picked her up when they were running back inside or what, but they get this, female go ahead. 

Todd:  I think she bit spider’s head. I think this is where spider bites it. And, she bites his head, and they are pulling him away, you know, kinda through the window, and they’re pulling him away and she comes out with his head, and it turns out she’s not a whole body at all, but she’s just kind of a half a body of a or they’ve maybe they’ve torn off half her body is what happened in the Right. Pulling her through. 

Craig:  Yeah. She’s almost entirely decomposed. I mean, she’s almost entirely skeleton, and and her spine just kind of ends, you know, like she’s been snapped in half. But they tie her down, and they talk to her. And, like, I thought that and I I, you know, again, I didn’t look into it as much as I should have. So I don’t know if this was some sort of ask, you know, why do you want to eat, ask, you know, why do you want to eat brains? The pain. 

Clip:  What about the pain? The pain of being dead. Hurts to be dead. I can feel myself rot. Eating Craig, how does that make you feel? It makes the pain go away. 

Craig:  Which, again, you know, with zombie movies, it’s not like I’m looking for the zombies to have motivation, but I thought it was kind of an interesting thing to throw in there that, you know, it’s not just violence or or madness for madness’ sake. It’s, you know, they are in pain, and this is the only way they can relieve themselves. And so that, you know, in the context of the movie, it makes sense, and, I I appreciated that too. Plus, I loved that effect. I loved that zombie too. 

Todd:  Oh, it was great. And and it’s just how many zombie movies do you see where they capture a zombie, then they basically trash, who 

Craig:  who died 

Todd:  the way she didn’t wanna die anyway, trash, who who died the way she didn’t wanna die anyway, has come to life and she goes after this homeless guy. And it’s funny because she doesn’t really play a major role like I thought she would in the movie. She just sort of pops in every now and then as part of the crowd. 

Craig:  And they do something with her face. You know, they do some kind of prosthetic with her face or I don’t know what it’s supposed to imply that maybe her jaw got ripped down and broke, but she’s got, like, this big mawing mouth that she can, like, kinda take big bites out of people’s heads and stuff. And, you’re right. She’s she’s just kind of around for the rest of the time. She’s really just kinda one of the horde. But, of course, you always notice her when she’s on screen because she’s completely nude. But, yeah, I I I liked that too. 

Todd:  And Todd be to be fair, in pretty good condition for the fact that she was just beset by a hoard of zombies who were intent on eating. 

Craig:  Right. Right. 

Todd:  They kinda gloss over that fact. 

Craig:  Yeah. Well, I mean, they still wanna see a hot naked girl running around. No. 

Todd:  That’s true. That’s true. I didn’t I didn’t mind that one bit. Let’s see. So basically, Frank and Freddie, we know that they’re I mean, we can see it, and they can see it Todd, that these guys are dead. The gas killed them at some point, but is keeping them alive and reanimated, so you know they’re going to turn. Rigor Mortis is set again, as Ernie is saying. Ernie turns, actually, I thought it was kind of a neat touch when at one point, Ernie turns Freddy over and looks at the bruising underneath his body and says, you see that bruising? That’s where the blood’s pulled up.   You know, obviously, because the heart’s not beating anymore, so they’re totally like dead Todd. And and I thought that honestly, I thought this part of the movie was a little sad. I mean, as goofy as the movie is, I felt these characters just seemed in such pain and agony that I really fell for them. And they know that they’re gone, and all they can do is suffer through this, and nobody takes that moment where they say they’re gonna put them out of their misery or anything like that. And what can you do besides chop them into a bunch of little pieces? 

Craig:  Right. 

Todd:  They eventually Craig them to the chapel of this mortuary, which is kind of funny, but I guess it provided a nice little set piece for them. And Freddy completely turns and he immediately goes after Tina, and again, just like you said, these zombies are pretty fierce, and here is the zombies the zombie in maybe the best condition of all of them is freshly dead, young, sporty jock type character who’s completely going after Tina now. And I love the whole bit of him going after Tina because he he throughout all of the scenes where he’s pursuing her, he’s at once fiercely trying to kill her, and at the same time, kind of trying to sweet talk her. 

Clip:  Buddy. See? And now you made me hurt myself again. You made me break my hand completely off this, Martina. But I don’t care, darling, because I love you. Oh. And you’ve got to let me eat your rum. 

Craig:  Bert Burt rescues the he rescues Tina from Freddy, and they they lock him in, the chapel, but we can tell he’s gonna be getting out. Like, he’s breaking down the door. At some point, Ernie throws acid in Freddie’s face. And then I I think that it was Bert and I don’t remember which one it was. One of the guys. Yeah. 

Clip:  Bert and 

Craig:  Neil. Yeah. They’re they’re just gonna fight their way through the horde and get to, a police car because the the the police car is is still running because because the police had just gotten out and had immediately been eaten. So they do. They run out there, and the dead are everywhere. And, you know, they think that it’s just limited to where they are, but as they drive down street, they see more hoards of dead people coming, and they end up crashing and getting out and running back into the medical supply place, so they didn’t get very far. Meanwhile, back at the mortuary, Frank, I guess, decides that he doesn’t want to be a zombie, so he, cremates himself. He fires up the crematorium and then, crawls in there. 

Todd:  Did you I don’t know, man. 

Craig:  And everybody’s just Yeah. Go ahead. 

Todd:  Did you find that, like, a supremely sad kind of scene, or was it just just too goofy of a movie for you to take it seriously? 

Craig:  Yeah. No. When you said it was kind of a sad part a minute ago, I just let it go because I didn’t think it was sad at all. I didn’t care. I didn’t I didn’t care about any of these characters. I you know? And honestly, the way that the 2 guys, you know, Fred and and Frank, the way that they are agonizing when all this is happening is probably pretty true to life that if you were in that kind of agony, you really would be crying and screaming and moaning in the way that they are. But in the context of the movie, it plays so over the top that, no, I didn’t feel bad for them and I didn’t you know, I I feel like we were supposed to feel bad for, Frank in this moment or or see what he’s doing as some sort of noble thing, taking himself out. But, no.   I didn’t. You know? It was it’s just too goofy for me to have any kind of real feeling in in that way. 

Todd:  Alright. Fair enough. Alright. 

Craig:  At this point, they’re really just kind of all stuck. Yeah. Ernie and Tina? Is that Ernie? Yeah. Ernie and Tina have gone up into the attic, but, Freddie knows they’re there, and it’s just a matter before he’s gonna get up there. And there’s even a moment where it looks like Ernie is if Freddie’s gonna get up there, he’s going to shoot Tina to keep her from, being torn apart, I guess, which I I thought was kind of an interesting touch. They didn’t really go very far with it. But Bert finally calls the number on the, side of those canisters that the bodies were in. And and he calls, and the military is like, oh, thank you.   Thank you for, for for alerting us. We we have a contingency plan. And Bert gets off the phone, and he’s like, oh, it’s okay. They have a contingency plan. But I I can’t imagine that they would have expected what the contingency plan was. 

Todd:  Yeah. There’s a colonel who just has this very short bid in here, and it’s it’s pretty goofball. But the the notion is is that there’s almost like a whole guy whose sole job is to be up 247 and come home, and he has he has communication equipment and stuff at home, secret army military stuff, just expecting for the call, about these missing corpses that from this 800 number that’s on the side of the 

Craig:  canister. Right. 

Todd:  In case of emergency, call 1800 blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. And he basically calls in the nukes. Yeah. There’s this whole sequence, and they nuke they nuke, Louisville, Kentucky. 

Craig:  And they’re like And that’s just it. End end of movie, except for that we see that from the rubble, you know, so all of the characters are dead. You know, the whole town has been nuked. But from the rubble, we see the gas rising and the rain falling again, and we see it again dripping down into graves. So, I guess the, the premise is that this is not over. It’s only just begun, and it’s just gonna continue to spread. And I guess that it must have because there were, at least 2 sequels, to this movie that I’m aware of. 

Todd:  Oh, man. I I got to say, Craig, we we’re so polar opposites about this film. I love this movie to death, and every time I see it, I love it even more. And I would even say that the first time I saw it, I was like, what the hell is this? And but I was I was so much younger, and I don’t know now through the filter of so many of these horror comedies, I look at this movie and I go, jeez, this is just refreshingly different, you know, even for its time, even for today. It’s just it’s goofball, but it’s got great special effects. It has a neat and interesting plot, like I was never bored throughout the entire movie. It never feels like they’re just trying to chew through time. There’s always something exciting going on.   It seems like there’s some cool gore effect or some cool zombie, to see just around the corner every time, And then there are these just laugh out loud moments, like the San Mor police, San Mor paramedics, the guys getting ambushed, and even the absurdity of of interviewing this half zombie woman to ask her why she wants Craig so much. It’s just, I don’t know, man. It just had me laughing so much and, and appreciating it on that level and also appreciating it on a strict horror level of, not that it was scary, but that, just the gore effects and and I don’t know, man. I I just really like this movie. I just enjoy it so much. 

Craig:  Well, kudos for you, but you’re right. We totally disagree. I don’t like it at all. It it was kinda one of those movies where I was sitting there kind of angry that I had to watch it because I could have thought of a 1000000 better things to do with my time. Now some of the things that you said I did appreciate, I appreciated the creature effects. I did like those. I did like some of those clever moments with the ambulance drivers and and the, the half zombie that they interview. I did appreciate some of those things.   I just thought that the writing was bad. I I I didn’t think it was funny at all. I like I I don’t recall laughing once. I thought that the acting, whether it was intentional or unintentional, was bad, and I I didn’t care for any of the characters. I felt like there were too many characters. I couldn’t keep track of who they were or what their relationships were, and I didn’t care. Ultimately, you know and one of the things that I another thing that I appreciated about it was how it bent the conventions of the typical zombie film. And I did like that, because really with these zombie films, most of the time if you’ve seen one, you’ve kinda seen them all.   And this one is different and I do appreciate that. But overall, this is not one that I would recommend to somebody unless they really were just kind of a horror completest, in which case I would say, yeah. It’s worth seeing for that reason. But again, you know, taste is so subjective. I’m I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I’m sure that 

Clip:  there are listeners of ours out there who would enjoy it too. So don’t 

Craig:  take my word for it, folks. Todd it a shot. I mean, it’s it’s worth a shot, but, it’s you’re not gonna get a strong recommendation from this guy. 

Todd:  Fair enough, man. Fair enough. Alright. Well, thank you for listening to another episode. If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it with a friend. You can find us on iTunes and on Stitcher. You can also find us on social media. Check out our Facebook page, like us there and leave us a comment, and let us know what you thought of the episode, what you think of this movie, if you’re on if you’re in team Craig or you’re in team Todd.   And and also, ask for some other movies that we’d like, that you’d like us to review in the future. Until that time, I’m Cotton 

Craig:  And I’m Craig. 

Todd:  With 2 Guys and a Chainsaw.

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