It's hard to choose just one scene in The Return of the Living Dead to single out as a favorite as the whole movie is comprised of funny bits of smart-ass gallows humor. If writer/director Dan O'Bannon hadn't scripted Alien before this, I'd like to think he'd be most famous for Return of the Living Dead, though co-scripting Dark Star would also be acceptable. Return of the Living Dead is so cynical, so hip and so mean-spirited to its characters. It refuses them a safe way out of their dilemma at every turn, scoffing at the very idea of applying logic or a set of rules in dispatching a flesh-eating corpse, something that should not logically exist.
If I had to choose, I guess the scene that best epitomizes the movie's sense of humor is the one where bumbling warehouse employees Fred and Frank (Thom Matthew and James Karen) and their boss Burt (Clu Gulager) first realize that there's no good way to kill these things. At least, not one they know of. Return of the Living Dead takes place in a universe where Night of the Living Dead exists but is rumored to be based on real events. As Frank tells Freddy, the filmmaker of Night of the Living Dead, who is never mentioned by name in the film, had to falsify certain facts. One of those facts, as we'll soon learn, is how to kill a zombie.