Zombies, as we know them today, have mortified movie viewers for the last forty six years. Modern zombies first appeared in George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead in 1968. These zombies were the slow moving, staggering ghouls that one has seen in countless films, but in 1985, Return of the Living Dead featured a new kind of zombie, the first fast moving and talking ghoul. Both Night of the Living dead 1968 and Return of the Living Dead 1985 feature the zombie as its villain, but Return of the living dead’s fast moving, talking zombies are a more modern take on the movie monster.
Fast V.S Slow Zombies
In 1968, the first modern zombies took to the screen; these were the slow moving and lumbering ghouls that have been seen in countless films since. They are known as the “walking dead”, because they are only able to move at a slow pace and stumble about. This version of the zombie has been resurrected in many other George A Romero films. The slow moving pace of the monster makes the Night of the Living Dead a horrifying film, because they are unstoppable and they just keep coming. This builds tension in the film which can be felt by the audience.
In contrast, Return of the Living Dead 1985 features a faster moving more limber zombie. One thinks that this makes the film more horrifying, the way they portray the zombie as an intelligent, almost human like character. When the film begins, the workers at a taxidermy factory are looking at a shipment of chemicals that they got on accident called Troxin. This chemical is released and causes the dead to return to life. The cadaver that they have in a freezer begins to scream and when they open the door it tackles the older employee. This suggest that rigor mortis has no effect on the bodies of the dead. In the Film Night of the Living Dead, the zombies are much different. They move slowly because of rigor mortis and their speed demises as more decay sets in. The more a zombie decays the slower they become until they are completely immobile.
One knows that zombies are basically unable to speak, because their larynx is decayed. Night of the Living Dead follows this story line. George A Romero saw zombies as what they were, the living dead, meaning that they were dead, and dead things cannot talk. Instead, he developed the zombie communication of grunts and groans. These were effective in such a way that it made the film so much more realistic.
In contrast, Return of the Living Dead took artistic license on the zombie model and created the first talking zombie. Director Dan O’Bannon felt that the zombie needed to be updated for the modern times. As a result, even though it has some horrific scenes, the talking zombies added some comic relief to the film. One such comedic scene is the “tar man”. The tar man was the zombie inside the canister of Troxin that was released at the beginning of the film. In the climax of the film when the zombies are coming out of the graves, a group of...