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Untold Tales of Hollywood #86

My first intensely negative encounter on The Return of the Living Dead with the work of make-up man Bill Munns came after he showed me his version of First Corpse, the first zombie to burst from its grave.

It seems pretty clear to me from my drawings just what I wanted the First Corpse to look like. I thought Bill was just showing me his zombie’s mechanics. That this was what he considered camera ready “finished art” was the farthest thing from my mind.

On the day of the shoot I discovered to my horror that what Bill showed me Bill thought was done. A lot of Bill’s First Corpse was perfectly pristine and clean — with few signs that this thing had just erupted from its grave. Many of the bones of its skeleton were pure, clean white. I was pissed at the lack of thinking that went into Bill’s version of the First Corpse — so angry that I didn’t even think of smearing some damn mud all over the thing. My bad.

As you’ll see, it got worse.

2 thoughts on “Untold Tales of Hollywood #86

  1. Bill,

    I need to ask, because I’ve been reluctant to watch the film in spite of you involvement: how much of your influence is actually seen in the film? I know you’re proud of the work you did to get this film made. I just want to know if the film made you feel like your work is discernible in the final product?

    Rick

  2. The Return of the Living Dead has become a gigantic cult film, Richard — and deservedly so. I consider it one of the best and most influential zombie movies ever made. Jon Stewart used to quote lines from the film on a weekly basis on The Daily Show.

    Although my experience working on the film was one of the most brutal times I ever had working on a movie, our little ($1.5 million) zombie film has stood the test of time. Whenever there’s a screening in Los Angeles, it sells out in minutes. Not for little kids, though, due to Linnea’s infamous dance scene.

    Watch it and let me know what you think!

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