George Gordon Reviews the Return of the Living Dead Soundtrack

By George Gordon, Hoff’s Horrorfest co-producer

Cult status is defined as something that wasn’t popular when it first came out but later gains many fans. The Return of the Living Dead has the unique distinction of having cult status and being popular. The film, released in 1985, was a critical and a moderate financial success grossing $14 million against a budget of $4 million. The film will forever be the gold standard for the horror punk genre, if that’s even a thing.

The one thing that is undeniably great is the soundtrack. A perfect mashup of some of LA’s and southern California’s finest punk bands mixed in with some English pub rockers (The Damned) and one of Texas’s finest (Roky Erickson).

One of the album’s highlights is “Partytime (Zombie Version)” by 45 Grave. Although not initially on the soundtrack but featured in the film, “Partytime” seems to be written exclusively for this film genre, the aforementioned “Horror Punk.” 45 Grave was led by lead singer Dinah Cancer formerly of Bags and guitarist Rob Ritter, formerly of the Gun Club, two mainstays of the LA punk scene. Sadly, 45 Grave broke up before the release of the film and even though they broke up you can still hear their influence on one of the more popular bands to come out of LA, Jane’s Addiction. “Been Caught Stealing,” anyone?

Another standout from the soundtrack is from little-known rock band Jet Black Berries. The song “Love Under Will” has one foot in psychedelia and the other in ’80s excess. Across the pond, Billy Idol had to be thinking, “Woah, I like that.” “Love Under Will” sounds like Depeche Mode ditching synth for crunchy goth-like guitar solos.

A lot of love, rightfully so, has been given to the LA ’80s punk scene on this soundtrack. Whether it’s The Cramps being their absolute campiest on “Surfin’ Dead” or The Flesh Eaters going for it on “Eyes Without a Face,” LA is all over this record. But we can’t end this without talking about the contributions of The Tall Boys, The Damned, and Roky Erickson. The Tall Boys’s “Take a Walk” makes me wonder if pyschobilly was a genre invented by The Tall Boys or is psychobilly something we needed to describe The Tall Boys. Either way, The Tall Boys sound as if Jerry Lee Lewis decided to live in Bakersfield after selling his soul to the devil.

No horror punk soundtrack is complete without The Damned, the English rockers who gave birth to Gothic rock, and Roky Erickson, whose album The Evil One seems to be made for this movie. I’m pretty sure the producers were sitting in a room going, “You know what would round this soundtrack out? Roky Erickson and The Damned!” And those songs delivered.

So, has this album reached the level of cult status like the film? No, but every year it gets pretty darn close.

10/6: Hoff’s Public Domain Horrorfest: The City of the Dead

On Wednesday, October 6th, your favorite live comedy show and horror film screening series Hoff’s Public Domain Horrorfest celebrates the Halloween season with The City of the Dead (1960), an eerie tale of New England witchcraft starring Christopher Lee: https://youtu.be/EE6nTTXhpFU Hosted by Hoff Matthews (Comedy Central) and co-produced by Andrei Alupului (Come Ova, UCB), Mary Bess Pritchett (An Inconvenient Talk Show), and George Gordon (Laugh Track Festival, Your Good Friend). 9pm EST on YouTube!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel, follow us on all your favorite social media platforms, and learn more about upcoming screenings and events via our website, http://www.hoffshorrorfest.com. Tune in, sit back, and laugh until you scream!

10/26: Hoff’s Horrorfest Presents The Return of the Living Dead LIVE at Littlefield!

This Halloween season, your favorite comedy show and horror movie screening series Hoff’s Horrorfest presents The Return of the Living Dead LIVE at littlefield! In the grand tradition of Elvira and Dr. Shock, host Hoff Matthews (Comedy Central) and producers Andrei Alupului (Come Ova, UCB), George Gordon (Laugh Track Festival, Your Good Friend) and Mary Bess Pritchett (Generous Laughs, An Inconvenient Talk Show) bring you a full screening of the 1985 zombie horror classic complete with skits, bits, special guests, and audience participation games on Tuesday October 26th at 8:00 PM EST. Join in, sit back, and laugh until you scream! Tickets available now: https://littlefieldnyc.com/event/?wfea_eb_id=165029486637

Subscribe to our YouTube channel, follow us on all your favorite social media platforms, and learn more about upcoming screenings and events via our website, http://www.hoffshorrorfest.com.

8/25: Hoff’s Public Domain Horrorfest: Plan 9 From Outer Space

On Wednesday, August 25th, your favorite live comedy show and horror film screening series Hoff’s Public Domain Horrorfest is proud to present Plan 9 From Outer Space, Ed Wood’s legendary 1957 alien zombie vampire extravaganza: https://youtu.be/Rug-pwyRlW8 Hosted by Hoff Matthews (Comedy Central) and co-produced by Andrei Alupului (Come Ova, UCB), Mary Bess Pritchett (An Inconvenient Talk Show), and George Gordon (Laugh Track Festival, Your Good Friend). 9pm EST on YouTube!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel, follow us on all your favorite social media platforms, and learn more about upcoming screenings and events via our website, http://www.hoffshorrorfest.com. Tune in, sit back, and laugh until you scream!

7/21: Hoff’s Public Domain Horrorfest: Creature From the Haunted Sea

On Wednesday, July 21st, your favorite live comedy show and horror film screening series Hoff’s Public Domain Horrorfest is proud to present Creature From the Haunted Sea, Roger Corman’s 1961 beach flick about a sea monster pursuing gangsters and soldiers in the wake of the Cuban Revolution: https://youtu.be/lRRaqK6Q8pc Hosted by Hoff Matthews (Comedy Central) and co-produced by Andrei Alupului (Come Ova, UCB), Marybess Pritchett (An Inconvenient Talk Show), and George Gordon (Laugh Track Festival, Your Good Friend). 9pm EST on YouTube!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel, follow us on all your favorite social media platforms, and learn more about upcoming screenings and events via our website, http://www.hoffshorrorfest.com. Tune in, sit back, and laugh until you scream!

6/16: Hoff’s Public Domain Horrorfest: The Most Dangerous Game

Your favorite live comedy show and horror film screening series Hoff’s Public Domain Horrorfest is proud to present The Most Dangerous Game (1932) on Wednesday, June 16th at 9:00pm EST via YouTube: https://youtu.be/V7W7S1E1fsA Join host Hoff Matthews (Comedy Central) and co-producers Andrei Alupului (Come Ova, UCB), Marybess Pritchett (An Inconvenient Talk Show), and George Gordon (Laugh Track Festival, Your Good Friend) for the story of a shipwrecked big game hunter who finds that–wouldn’t you know it–he’s become the hunted! Plus brand new segments from the Horrorfest scream team!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel, follow us on all your favorite social media platforms, and learn more about upcoming screenings and events via our website, http://www.hoffshorrorfest.com. Tune in, sit back, and laugh until you scream!

5/12: Hoff’s Public Domain Horrorfest: The Werewolf of Washington

Your favorite live comedy show and horror film screening series Hoff’s Public Domain Horrorfest is proud to present the 1973 horror satire The Werewolf of Washington on Wednesday, May 12th at 9:00pm EST via YouTube: https://youtu.be/QtSVM_Ngcg4 Join host Hoff Matthews (Comedy Central) and co-producers Andrei Alupului (Come Ova, UCB), Marybess Pritchett (An Inconvenient Talk Show), and George Gordon (Laugh Track Festival, Your Good Friend) for the chilling tale of a White House press secretary turned werewolf, plus brand new segments from the Horrorfest scream team! Politics is back, baby! It’s good again! Awoouu (werewolf howl)!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel, follow us on all your favorite social media platforms, and learn more about upcoming screenings and events via our website, http://www.hoffshorrorfest.com. Tune in, sit back, and laugh until you scream!

4/14: Hoff’s Public Domain Horrorfest: Invisible Ghost

Your favorite live comedy show and horror film screening series Hoff’s Public Domain Horrorfest is proud to present this month’s screening, the eerie 1941 Bela Lugosi chiller Invisible Ghost, on Wednesday, April 14th at 9:00pm EST via YouTube: https://youtu.be/6mu-SyUK_YY Join host Hoff Matthews (Comedy Central) and co-producers Andrei Alupului (Come Ova, UCB), Marybess Pritchett (An Inconvenient Talk Show), and George Gordon (Laugh Track Festival, Your Good Friend) for a dark and stormy night in a wealthy household plagued by mysterious murders, plus brand new segments from the Horrorfest scream team!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel, follow us on all your favorite social media platforms, and learn more about upcoming screenings and events via our website, http://www.hoffshorrorfest.com. Tune in, sit back, and laugh until you scream!

3/17: Hoff’s Public Domain Horrorfest: Dementia 13

Happy St. Patty’s Day, boils and ghouls!

Your favorite live comedy show and horror film screening series Hoff’s Public Domain Horrorfest is proud to present this month’s screening, Francis Ford Coppola’s 1963 slasher mystery Dementia 13, on Wednesday, March 17th at 9:00pm EST via YouTube: https://youtu.be/51CNTA4Kr-I Join host Hoff Matthews (Comedy Central) and co-producers Andrei Alupului (Come Ova, UCB), Marybess Pritchett (An Inconvenient Talk Show), and George Gordon (Laugh Track Festival, Your Good Friend) for a terrifying tale of murder, lies, and unsettled spirits, starring William Campbell and Luana Anders! Coppola’s first non-pornographic feature, “Dementia 13” follows a young woman’s efforts to secure her husband’s family fortune by covering up his death and faking a haunting at his ancestral castle in Ireland. Unfortunately, a very real axe murderer happens to be stalking the grounds as well. Get ready for a Blarney Stone bludgeoning with drinking games and brand new segments from the Horrorfest scream team!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel, follow us on all your favorite social media platforms, and learn more about upcoming screenings and events via our website, http://www.hoffshorrorfest.com. Tune in, sit back, and laugh until you scream!

2/10: Hoff’s Public Domain Horrorfest: Horror Express

Tired of being cooped up this winter? Join your favorite live comedy show and horror film screening series Hoff’s Public Domain Horrorfest for a virtual ride on the Horror Express: https://youtu.be/olbBaSK2CGA

Horror icons Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing star in this chilling 1972 sci-fi tale of an ancient evil unearthed in Manchuria and wreaking havoc on a snow-swept Trans-Siberian train ride. Monsters, murders, explosions, Telly Savalas–this movie truly has it all, and host Hoff Matthews will be unpacking its many frenzied virtues with help from his co-producers Andrei Alupului, George Gordon and Marybess Pritchett. 9:00pm EST on YouTube, Wednesday, February 10th!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on all your favorite social media platforms. Tune in, sit back, and laugh until you scream!