What if George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead was based on real happenings, but was covered up to protect the government? After seeing movies like The Crazies or Quarantine, a zombie cover-up doesn't seem like too much of a stretch. Still, it seems impossible to believe that something as monumental as a zombie uprising could be kept quiet for too long, especially when confined zombies are lost in transit.

If that doesn’t sound like a must-see horror film, you need to check your pulse. The Return of the Living Dead, however, isn’t about the quest for lost zombies, instead it’s about what happens when these cursed souls are disturbed. Beginning fourteen years after the initial government-designed zombie snafu, Frank (James Karen Wallstreet, Mulhollond Dr.) tells his nephew Freddy (Thom Mathews Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI) about the secret zombie-filled containers kept in the basement of the medical supply warehouse where they work.

Frank, trying to convince Freddy of the zombies’ past existence, takes Freddy down and shows him the containers. While examining them, Frank and Freddy accidentally unleash the undead melee that’s trapped beneath glass and steel. Meanwhile, Freddy’s punk posse is wreaking a bit of havoc of their own in the Resurrection cemetery across the street. It’s not long before there are some undead party crashers who want a piece of the action.

One may be enticed by the movie’s title, thinking it a Romero zombie film, but don’t be fooled by the name. While writer/ director Dan O’Bannon attempted to include Romero as a producer on the film, he just couldn’t rouse him. Just watching the film will make you realize that Romero had no part in the movie, aside from inspiring it with Night of the Living Dead. O’Bannon’s take on zombies is purposely different. Where Romero was serious and scary, O’Bannon’s zombie film is campy and fun.

More importantly though, The Return of the Living Dead has some different “rules” than your usual Romero-esque zombie film. Romero’s slow moving zombies may only want your body, but O’Bannon’s wants you for your brain. These new rules give The Return of the Living Dead something that separates it from other zombie movies and really takes the story line to a new level. While the viewer may be cracking up at the slapstick humor and awesome mid-eighties music, we are also being educated on the zombies’ thought process. The zombies, being much more sentient than we are used to seeing, can communicate giving some well needed answers to the questions we all have; like: why do they want our brains?

O’Bannon’s The Return of the Living Dead might not be as highbrow as a Romero film, but anything coming from the script writer for Alien can’t be too bad, right? If you’re in the mood for a fun zombie movie that’s smart and innovative but doesn’t make you lose sleep at night, this is definitely one for you.