Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Return of the Living Dead

With the Halloween season on a full run, I decided to watch Return of the Living Dead. I saw movie in the theater when it first came out with some friends and my dad. He was, shall we say, unimpressed with the need for the undead to eat brains to cull the pain of being dead.

Return of the Living Dead is a sequel in a different vein than Dawn of the Dead of the movies that follow that director's vision of the undead as social commentary. 

Indeed, Return of the Living Dead has many differences in its adaptation of the zombies to the big screen.

1. The zombies in the Return series can still speak. They are far more mobile than those in the standard zombie films with the remake Dawn of the Dead being a clear exception to that rule.

2. The zombies have thinking process. Now mind you, this isn't always the best and they have no sense of self preservation, but since they're incredibly difficult to destroy, that's isn't a problem. Indeed, it leads to some entertaining moments. The point of their intelligence though, comes through when they're using emergency radios to call for more paramedics and send more cops and other such classic lines.

3. The zombies don't have a single point of weakness. This isn't to indicate that they are super strong or that they can accomplish feats of physical prowess beyond humanly possible. They just ignore all injury. A blow to the skull does nothing more than annoy them. They require complete physical destruction. This might be a challenge to rule so in a game.

4. The zombies haven't taken over the world yet.

That latter part might or might not be important because the zombie in say, the Walking Dead, are an omnipresent threat that are everywhere. In Return of the Living Dead, they are a localized one. They might make for an interesting threat in a location that was somehow cut off from the rest of a setting. An island, warded cemetery, or even a demi-plane where something the characters need is trapped with these difficult to destroy undead.

Another part that is tied into the isolation factor, is that everyone who comes into the area, is killed. Paramedics, police, and friends of the employee working at the cemetery, all meet an untimely death at the hands of the zombies.  This can work it's way into a setting as well and provide another reason why characters all called on. Everyone else that the kingdom has sent into this location with the super zombies, has already died and the players are the last hope before the entrance way is sealed forever.

Return of the Living Dead is goofy but it does provide some differences in zombie action to those looking for more than just shamblers that aimlessly get shot, bashed, or stabbed in the brain.