Before I begin, yes, I have done a very brief review of this CD before. However, I was never happy with my previous effort, so this is my new attempt at reviewing it:
So, Return of The Living Dead was a pretty popular mid 80s horror/comedy crossover, which took the Romero/Russo “Dead” universe in a different direction to the “official” sequels. Whereas Romero went darker (albeit with a very black vein of humour buried within the rotting corpses and political commentary), Russo sold his own sequel novel to Hollywood, and after passing through more than a few stages of development hell, a film which bore very little resemblance to the original story emerged from Dan O’Bannon. O’Bannons film tapped into the early to mid 80s L.A. Punk/hardcore aesthetic, and a major part of this was the soundtrack…
The soundtrack kicks off with perhaps the films most recognisable piece of music, The Cramps surf/rockabilly anthem “Surfin’ Dead”. A fan favorite, “Surfin’ Dead” sets the irreverent tone of both the film and it’s musical accompaniment perfectly. The disc swiftly move son to another iconic underground band in the shape of 45 Grave, with the “Zombie version” of perhaps their most well known song “Party Time”. Completely re-written ad recorded for the film, this once again captures the tone of the film perfectly. Following this are tracks by L.A. icons T.S.O.L. and The Flesheaters, before we hit the albums mid point and most unique track “Burn The Flames” by the 13th Floor Elevators mainman Roky Erickson. A 6 minute long goth/psych wig out it somehow feels right at home amongst the punk/hardcore/new wave on display elsewhere on this album. The 2nd half of the album is kicked off with the only British contribution to the soundtrack, with punk legends The Damned contributing “Dead Beat Dance”. Interestingly, this song is now no longer heard in the film due to licensing issues, having been replaced in the most recent releases by some generic sounding punk guitars. The Tall Boys, and New Wavers the Jet Black Berries make their contributions next before the album is rounded off by 2 tracks from SSQ. The first, “Tonight (We’ll Make Love Until We Die)” is the albums sexiest moment, being the soundtrack to Linnea Quigleys famous striptease sequence. Much of the track is referenced in SSQs album closer “Trash’s Theme”, the only instrumental on the disc. An atmospheric soundscape, it closes the album in a distinct and perfect manner.
Overall, there really isn’t a back song on this album, and in my opinion owning it is essential for any discerning horror or punk fan.