Okay. The 1986 flick Raiders of the Living Dead has nothing to do with Indiana Jones, but I imagine the title was probably inspired by it—and Return of the Living Dead, obviously.
In terms of bad 80s horror flix, Raiders of the Living Dead has a lot going for it. It’s got Scott Schwartz, who got his tongue stuck to a pole in A Christmas Story and then eventually went on to do porn flicks. Here, he’s still a kid—who creates a laser shooting laser disc player.
This is a bizarre hybrid of classic zombie moments a la Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things and family horror fun a la The Monster Squad. Seriously. It begins with an amazing 80s AOR song called “The Dead Are After Me.” Another song I’d like to add to my Halloween playlist.
After that, the bad eighties background soundtrack score is what prevents the movie from having any really creepy moments. There are some great grainy, dark zombie scenes, but the music is just so cheesy it sucks out all the life (and death).
After a seemingly unrelated prologue involving a hostage situation, a reporter comes to a small community in search of a story and ends up uncovering a zombie epidemic. He goes to buy a gun for protection and we get some liberal-bashing dialogue in a gun store.
At the same time, young Scott Schwartz tries to fix his grandfather’s laser disc player…the one that starts shooting lasers. His grandfather is a doctor and eventually the reporter gets hurt enough to pay him a visit. They join forces to go a prison where evil experiments were once done on inmates. At this point, the movie starts to feel like an episode of Scooby Doo.
80s movie. Awesome theme song. Cool zombie footage set to bad soundtrack. Pole licker Scott Schwartz. A shooting laser disc player. A Scooby Doo ending. What’s not to love?