I know, we totally skated by 1984, but I had to get this off my chest. One simple question- Re-Animator or The Return of the Living Dead?
We’ve already established 1985 is, by a wide margin, the most Badass year of the ’80s when it comes to Sci Fi (two films in the top six, four in the top twenty), but which movie deserves the top spot? Not only that, the champion here will reign as (possibly) the greatest science-based zombie movie of all time.
So, what the hell is up with Weird Science? Well, let me regale you with an anecdote.
August 16, 1985: opening day of The Return of the Living Dead. The boys and I knew this. Fangoria told us so.
With summer drawing to a close and another year of high school looming, we loaded into the car and embarked on one last weekend of, um, harmless fun. Supplied with the requisite case of Oly riddle-cap stubbies, we made the 30 mile trek from Black Hawk, Colorado to the closest theater showing TROTLD; the Mann Green Mountain 6 in Lakewood. RJT knows of where I speak.
After arriving way too early for the late show and having some time to kill, we discovered Weird Science (released August 2) was showing soon at the nearby Union Square 6. Taking a one-mile detour to the north, we sat in the parking lot slamming Olys until we could no longer solve the riddles. That’s when things got Weird.
Needless to say, we had a blast. Weird Science (#3 PG/PG-13 Badass Sci Fi movie of the ’80s behind only Ghostbusters and The Abyss) became an instant favorite. You already know; Robert Downey Jr., Michael Berryman, Oingo Boingo, and of course…
With just enough time to slam a few more Olys, we crept along the side streets back to the Green Mountain 6 and experienced (through glassy eyes) horror movie bliss, the perfect zombie, party movie. I’ll get into the details when we pit it against Re-Animator.
Two classic movies. Two demolished theaters. One Badass night. I’d like to say with one hundred percent certainty we proceeded to trash a Motel 6 room and arrive still drunk to our first football practice, but that might have been another night. I can’t remember.
Anyway, on to the main event.
Re-Animator Versus The Return of the Living Dead!
This is pretty much stream of consciousness. I’m making it up as I go along. I still don’t know who will win.
Re-Animator initially received an X rating for violence.
Seriously; The Damned- Dead Beat Dance, The Cramps- Surfin’ Dead, Roky Erickson- Burn the Flames, and Grave 45 with the anthem, Partytime, which is, apart from the chorus, extremely dark and rather inappropriate for this movie.
Tie. I know it’s a cop-out, but I think mood dictates how humorous you find either. Depravity leans toward R-A, but delicious cheese leans toward TROTLD.
Main Protagonist(s) (term used loosely)
Herbert West over Frank and Freddy.
Dr. Carl Hill over the government. I know, blasphemy.
Bert & Ernie, Trash, Suicide, Scuz, Spider, Tina, Casey, and Chuck over Dan, Megan, and Dean Halsey.
The Return of the Living Dead. Tarman and the greatest cinematic zombie tackle ever.
The Return of the Living Dead. Linnea Quigley over Barbara Crampton.
Re-Animator. Just based on my own history.
Alright, let’s tally up! (ten points per category)
What do you know, it’s a tie. This is just like kissing your boss’ daughter with a severed head. The Return of the Living Dead (#6) put up a hell of a fight, but based on current rankings, Re-Animator (#4) retains it’s crown.
Until next time, don’t be a passenger. Hop on board! King Patton demands it.