And so we end October of the Living Dead the same way we started: with Mr. Bill Hinzman. Remember back in Night of the Living Dead when I said to keep him in mind for later on? Well, that time is now! The man who played the first "ghoul" we see made a career out of that appearance, culminating in this film that he wrote, directed, and starred it. It's currently freely streaming on Tubi, so that kind of tells you the quality.
Finally, some good fucking content. After slogging through Night of the Living Dead and The Return of the Living Dead sequels, I set some time aside to watch an actually good movie near the end of October of the Dead (and also a really bad one, but we'll get to that on Halloween proper). Shaun of the Dead is a parody of all the other zombie movies and stands out as a really fun watch. You know what? I keep going back and forth on it, but I think this is officially my favorite zombie movie! Honestly not sure why it took me so long to fully realize that.
And so with what is effectively Return of the Living Dead V, this stupid franchise is over. Return of the Living Dead started off as a horror comedy that veered more towards teen horror in the later sequels. But what if we could have both? What if they made a zombie horror movie that's also a teen comedy? Too bad "teen comedy" in the mid 2000's meant lots of boobs and pot. What else was I expecting for October of the Living Dead...?
Whoops! This one's a little late, but here it is. Anyway, Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis is the fourth movie in the Return of the Living Dead franchise, filmed at the same time as the fifth film, Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave. And they're both certainly movies that exist! They're not good by any stretch of the imagination--none of these movies really are--but they're still marginally better than Return of the Living Dead: Part II. Now I'm imagining that faint praise on a movie poster...
There was a part of me dreading watching the rest of The Return of the Living Dead movies after the second one, Return of the Living Dead: Part II. I mean, Part II was absolutely atrocious and you can fairly safely assume any following sequels are going to be worse. But Return of the Living Dead III was definitely better! It's not all that good, but it's still better than the second one!
Stop me if you've heard this one: a vat of Trioxin leaks, Mr. Thom Mathews and Mr. James Karen get exposed and slowly become zombies, and the gas hits clouds which rains the chemical all over a nearby graveyard. Yes, that is the setup for The Return of the Living Dead, but it's also a good chunk of the setup for the sequel, Return of the Living Dead: Part II. Look, I figured the later sequels I'd watch as part of October of the Living Dead would be bad, but I didn't expect the first sequel to be so repetitive.
Most people don't have perfect memories. Details get blurred, forgotten, or flat out exchanged. For example, the iconic line "We're gonna need a bigger boat," in Jaws was actually, "You're gonna need a bigger boat," and so on. I bring this up today because while most of the Return of the Living Dead series is completely forgettable, one element of it seems to have been associated with Mr. George A Romero's movies and has flavored how the public thinks of zombies. Just little things I've noticed during October of the Living Dead.
Last year for October I watched all the Hellraiser films as part of The Hellbound Halloween. That's 10 movies about Pinhead and his fellow cenobites, with a brief break near the end because holy shit they somehow got progressively worse as time went on. So when I heard that the long-awaited Hellraiser reboot was dropping in October, I knew I had to talk about it. And so here we are on a Saturday while the weekdays are taken up by October of the Living Dead.
Survival of the Dead was Mr. George A Romero's last film he directed before passing in 2017. The man is an absolute legend in the horror genre, effectively creating the zombie subgenre as we know it today. Night of the Living Dead will most likely forever be looked at as a classic. As for all his other movies? Wildly varying quality with Survival being one of his worst. Whoops.
This movie is a bit nostalgic to me. Back near the beginning of Movie Night, we had a friend who supplied us with a plethora of cheap horror DVDs. Shout out to Tim, who I'm not even sure knows this blog exists... Anyway, Diary of the Dead was one of those movies we watched something like over a decade ago, so I only remembered a few details. Forgotten was that this was directly created by Mr. George A Romero, which makes the fact that it's bad found footage all the more sad. Welcome back to October of the Living Dead.