It’s taken decades for Japan’s time-honored kaiju genre of cinema to properly invade American shores, but with Guillermo del Toro’s futuristic fantasy epic Pacific Rim set to tear the box office limb from limb in July and Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla movie tentatively set for next May the thirst for giant monsters and robots consuming mass quantities of wanton destruction has rarely been greater. Next year’s Godzilla adventure won’t be the first time the scaly radioactive giant lizard first immortalized in 1954’s Gojira (released here two years later as Godzilla: King of the Monsters) has undergone the Hollywood blockbuster treatment…unless you choose to not acknowledge Roland Emmerich’s stillborn 1998 attempt as many of us have already done.
The first major attempt to make an American Godzilla movie took place in the early 1980’s, and had it happened it would have united some of the greatest artists in the fields of feature film special effects, make-up, and conceptual art that the world of fantastic cinema ever birthed into popular culture. In 1982 Steve Miner, best known as the director of Friday the 13th Parts II and III and Halloween: H20, made a deal with Godzilla’s home studio Toho to bring the big G to the U.S. in a grand-scale motion picture as befitting a creature of his stature and cultural impact: Godzilla, King of the Monsters 3-D!
Much like the brain-craving zombies that rise from the grave to torment its main characters, The Return of the Living Dead will never die. The 1985 horror-comedy was spawned from nearly a decade of half-starts, costly lawsuits, and clashing personalities and went on to become one of the most genre films of all time.
For a forthcoming Blu-ray release of the movie in the United Kingdom, DVD distributor Severin Films, the U.S.-based company that has spread its own brand of digital Trioxin over long-buried cult classics such as the original Inglorious Bastards and Richard Stanley’s scorched earth sci-fi horror epic Hardware, has produced a trio of brand new retrospective featurettes looking back at the film’s tortured script development and the creation of its brilliant visual effects and headbanging punk rock soundtrack.