Homecoming is a 2005 horror film, directed by Joe Dante. It is part of the Masters of Horror series and served as the sixth episode of the first season. It was loosely based on the short story, Death & Suffrage by Dale Bailey. During the presidential elections in the US, speech writer of the Republican candidate, David Munch express the ill-considered wish for his brother, a soldier who allegedly died in Vietnam, return from the grave, so he can express his pride in have died for his country and would vote for his candidate. Surprisingly, he gets his wish granted in a way, as soldiers who died in Iraq, returned from the grave with only one goal... Vote!
The film begins with Jane Cleaver and David Murch, driving on a remote road. When they see a man, using a stool, crossing the road, David is about to hit the bricks but Jane takes over, screaming it is "one of them". She forces David to run the man over, decapitated the man in the process and eventually crashes the car. The head on the wind screen, is still alive however and screams before it is thrown off by the wipers, confirming her suspicion that it was a zombie. When an army truck arrives, it unloads more zombies, to which the two run towards the car. Jane starts to arm herself once she realizes that they can't get away. She starts shooting the zombies, slowing them down but unable to stop them. David start to ramble, about how sorry he is for everything, ignoring her insulting words toward him as he loads his own gun. He aims the weapon on the back on her head, and with a last apology, he fires.
The movie cuts back to four weeks earlier, as narrated by David. On Marty Clark show, David met Jane Cleaver and the films starts again during this meeting. During the talk show, one of the talking points is a protest of anti-war activists, who were arrested for causing disorder. While, David addresses the point fairly and balanced, Jane starts to insult these protesters, claiming that Marty Clark shouldn't give them airtime to begin with. The next talking point is about a mother who heckled the president, with the question: "Why did my son die?", a question that was left unresolved. She explains that her son died because of the lies about WMD's and safety and that at the very least, she and others have the right why their family members had to die. David addresses this point, by telling the story of his brother, who allegedly died in Vietnam. He continues by expressing the wish that her son could return. That he could return and tell everyone how proud he was, to have died for his country, protecting its people. This display of prwar propaganda shocks the mother but she is cut off, before she can react.
After the show, Jane and David go out for some drinks, where she expresses her amusement and surprise by his speech. She mocks the sincerity of his words, while relevating her own actions as "it is all game". They make clear that neither of them believes that the audience are really intellegent and sees them as easily manipulated. David continues by teaching her some of his tricks, where she shows signs of nymphomanic traits. They continue their evening with an BDSM session in David's hotel room. During the session, he gets called by Kurt Rand, who complemented him for his speech and inform him that they want to use the speech for the president's campaign. The only catch is, that they want to frame it like the president came up with this phrase and he only repeated it. He agrees, as Jane continues the session, by dripping hot wax on him.
Later, they watch the speech of the Republican president candidate on the television. In the speech, he repeats the wish uttered by David but unlike with David, he gets his wish granted. Within 48 hours, the first soldiers actually starts returning! As new caskets are brought in, one of the soldiers guarding them, has to take care of a journalists, who wants to take pictures of the coffins. When he is reported to be inside, the second soldier goes to investigate and is spooked by noises. These noises are soon revealed to come from inside the coffins and shortly after, the first soldiers start to rise again, cornering their living colleague, who in shock, tries to shoot them. As they are dead, this has no effect. The second soldier turns up and in an attempt to save his friend, he accidently kills him instead. Just as this soldier reloads, one of the zombie soldiers tells to "be at ease, soldier," before passing him.
David is driving with his mother next to him, when he is called by the news, but he refuses to go on the air again. He drives his mother to the cemetary, where he learns about the zombies firsthand. As he sees a man digging a hole on the cemetary, he believes it to be a vandal, but quickly learns it is an undead soldier and soon, more come to them. Surrounding them... Believing them to be hostile, he drives off as one of them grabbed him. They escapes the cemetary, accidently ripping off the arm of the soldier, only to discover that this has become very common. He is called to see one of these zombies, which is strapped to a stretcher in a lab. It is shown that the zombies can't be killed, as Kurt demonstrates in the lab but it is clear that they can feel the pain. He also explains that severed limbs can act autonomous as the soldier's leg kicked a doctor, after amputation. Kurt believes that they returned due to a supernatural cause. Kurt starts to dream of using these undead soldiers in the army. David asks Kurt what he thinks they want, why he thinks they return. This becomes clear the next day, if one of the soldiers, Robert Bundy enters the voting booth and makes it clear he wants to vote. Using his dog tag as identification. After he voted, Robert collapses on the floor, lifeless as before. This leads the President's team to use this in their propaganda, claiming that the zombies have returned to vote for their president. Jane Cleaver spins the story as proof of an Omen of God, proving that God is on the side of the president. The rest of the team is impressed by how Jane handles the situation and they already can taste the victory. David is so sure about this and as his narration continues, he reveals that is indeed not the case.
As Jane and he are eating take-away chinese, he's called. It is revealed that one of the zombies is a "talker" and currently giving an tv interview. And to their horror, his words aren't in favor of the war. Claiming that people died for a lie, the zombie sergeant makes his intentions clear, namely that they would vote for everyone who wants to stop the war. With this reveal, the discourse chances completely. Where the resurrection of the soldiers was hailed as a sign of Heaven at first, it is now described as a curse from Hell, with the message that their right should be revoked, under the guise of public health. Jane, who was in favor of them voting earlier on, now claims that they shouldn't be allowed to vote and even go so far to call them turncoats. She continues by calling forth a witch hunt. But the zombies didn't go, and people started to become supportive to their cause and understand their pain. It does however also scare people, who don't trust the undead. Searching for an excuse to round the undead up, Kurt Rand gets crazy but Jane doesn't see the problem. Kurt continues by claiming that their numbers are dropping the polls. When David mocks the situation, Kurt makes clear that it would heavily impact their campaign, as the undead are getting to the living. When asked why none of the soldiers that returned support the war, David makes the statement that the ones who supported war are at peace and have no reason to return. The whole situation leads to a confrontation between David and Kurt, as both see only their side of the story, one against the war they started and the other still in support. When the discussion reaches his boiling point, David gives Kurt the idea to find a soldier who is in support.
They go to the prison camp where they held the zombies and get the deceased soldier Gordon, whose mother heckled the president all those months ago. Kurt sees her as the cause of this all and her son as the ideal solution. Trying to blackmail the soldier, they forces him to agree with a scripted letter, namely by holding his mother at gunpoint. Instead of signing the paper however, he attacks Kurt, grabs his head and bashes his head against the table, killing him. David blames himself for what the returns of the soldiers, while Jane makes it clear that she wants to move up in life. With Kurt dead, he will be replaced by a woman named Kathy, leading to be replaced as well. As the support of the zombies increases, David tries to make clear to the Republicans are in favor of the zombies voting. Marty confronts him however with an article on a Liberal blog when the latter started about his veteran brother, Philip who died in Vietnam. The name of this brother lacks on the memorial, and no matter how David squirmed, it is revealed that his brother didn't die in the war and was even discharged from the army, after Vietnam... David, being sure that his brother died in the war, visits his mother for answer. She reveals to him that she and his father lied to him and that Philip was completely changed when he returned. It is revealed through a flashback that Philip was suicidal and almost killed himself before a young David came to ask him to help their mother with the groceries. Young David did find the gun however and accidentally shot his brother, thoughting it all to be a game. But with reality catching up with David, he realizes that he was in fact the murderer. As his mother expresses her desires to see Philip again, David realizes that he made hundreds of Philips with their lies.
As the dead are voting against their President, the Republican campaign leader, Kathy, makes clear that if they want to win, they have to cheat. By doing this, they managed to win the Presidential elections. At the party that follows, Jane reveals that she will replace David but before anyone can react, a loud noise deafens them. This last lie have enraged the deceased so badly that they all are returning from the dead. The deceased of all wars: World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War... All have come back for revenge. The movie cuts back to the where the intro left off, namely with Jane shooting at the zombies and David making his excuses. He aims his gun and kills her as he is surrounded by the zombies. Too late does he realize that he has no bullets left to commit suicide. One of the zombies confronts him, revealing himself to be a Talker and tell him that they are disappointed by his inaction and his false promises. When David asks them to do what they are planning to do, the Talker as him to join their cause. It is revealed that amonst the zombies, is his brother Philip. After the Zombie Philip breaks David's neck, David join their cause and together they have taken over Washington, forcing the new president and his administration into exile.
- Thea Gill as Jane Cleaver
- Jon Tenney as David Murch
- Terry David Mulligan as Marty Clark
- Beverley Breuer as Janet Hofstadter
- Robert Picardo as Kurt Rand
- Dexter Bell as Marine Guard #1
- Jason Diablo as Marine Guard #2
- Karen Austin as Mom
- Daniel Wesley as Bobby Earl Beeler
- Penelope Corrin as Registrar
- J. Winston Carroll as Rev. Clayton Poole
- Wanda Cannon as Kathy Hobart
- Nathaniel DeVeaux as Mr. Baker
- Candus Churchill as Mrs. Baker
- Jason Emanuel as Michael
- Sean Carey as Gordon Hofstadter
- Ryan McDonell as Philip Murch
- Charles Zuckermann as 'Join Us' Soldier
- Emy Aneke as Principal
- Connor Christopher Levins as Young David
- Jeff Sanca as Soldier #1
List of deathsEdit
List of deaths in the film, Homecoming
|Name||Cause of Death||Killer||On Screen||Notes|
|War Veterans||Various||War||No||They return as zombies in the film|
|Jane Cleaver||Severe Brain Damage: Shot in the back of her head with a pistol||David Murch||Yes||To save her from the fate that would befell her when the undead got to her.|
|Marine Guard #1||Exsanguination/Organ Damage: Shot several times||Marine Guard #2||Yes||Killed by accident, ironically in an attempt to save his life, from the zombies.|
|Kurt Rand||Severe Brain Damage: Got his head smashed into a table, until it was a bloody pulp.||Gordon Hofstader (zombie)||Yes||Revenge for causing his death with his lies about war and trying to blackmail him and his mother.|
|Philip Murch||Organ Damage: shot in stomach and chest||Young David Murch||Yes||Accident, the child thought it was a game.|
|David Murch||Cervical Trauma: having his neck broken with bare hands||Philip Murch (Zombie)||Yes||Recruitment into the army of zombies|
DVD and Blu-RayEdit
The DVD was released on July 18, 2006, by Anchor Bay Entertainment. Despite the fact it was the sixth episode to be broadcasted, it was the seventh film to be released on DVD. It was later released on Blu-ray, in the fourth volume of compilation series of the Masters of Horror.
- Homecoming is the only episode of Masters of Horror that is a political satire, as it criticize the Iraq War started by the then-president George Bush.
- In the final scene, where all the soldiers who have died in war, rise again, on several tombstones are the names of famous zombie film directors written:
- Jacques Tournet, known for I Walked with a Zombie (1943).
- George A. Romero, known for the Living Dead Series.
- Jean Yarbrough, known for King of Zombies (1941)
- Delbert "Del" Tenney, known for The Curse of Living Corpse (1964).