Friday, April 06, 2007

Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993).

The Scoop:
One would think that this was just another hack-job horror sequel -- and one would be right, up to a point. But his film has a little something extra which makes it stand out from the crowd.

A rebellious teenager (J. Trevor Edmond) gets into a fight with his Army officer father ("Emergency's" Kent McCord) -- who works at a top-secret base studying the gas that turns corpses into the living dead -- and runs away with his girlfriend Julie (Mindy Clarke). They don't get too far before Julie gets fatally injured in a motorcycle accident. Of course, her dunderheaded boyfriend has the brilliant idea of breaking into dad's lab and using the gas to bring her back to life. The results are unique -- she appears to be okay, but slowly begins showing signs of encroaching zombie-ism. There are some great scenes in which Clarke and director Brian Yuzna communicate the poignancy of the ongoing transformation and its effect on the couple's romance. Unfortunately, these alternate with scenes filled with the purest, lamest horror sequel clich├ęs. Imagine two screenwriters -- one an Oscar winner, the other a brain-dead moron -- being asked to write scripts on the same premise, then randomly splicing the two scripts together and allowing all the seams to show. The result would be something like this movie. Still, Clarke is pretty sexy and does a decent job with the "good" material -- plus, the scene where she prepares to kick evil zombie butt by piercing herself with scrap metal has a certain S&M kick to it.

This film also manages to somehow to have three "endings" -- two scenes that would've been perfectly good resolutions to the story, and one which really is the end. If it had closed after the first "ending," the film might arguably be called a sleeper classic. Even if they had finished with the second "ending," the filmmakers could have saved some face. Unfortunately, they let the final act drag out far too long.

Best Bit:
The piercing scene.

Side Note:
Clarke was a regular on "Days of Our Lives" and has made guest appearances on "Seinfeld," "Sliders" and "Xena: Warrior Princess."

Companion Viewing:
George Romero's orginal living dead trilogy -- "Night of the Living Dead" (1968), "Dawn of the Dead" (1979) and "Day of the Dead" (1985) -- as well as the first "Return of the Living Dead" (1985).

Links:
IMDb.
The Flesh Farm.
Robert Llewellyn's Classic Films.

Take a Look:
The trailer:


A fan video cut to Guns 'n' Roses:


A slightly better fan vid with music by Queen:

2 comments:

Fred said...

I've actually never seen any of the Living Dead movies. Overall, worth it?

Eric B. said...

Do you mean the "Return of the Living Dead" series specifically? Stick to numbers 1 and 3.

But if you mean the George Romero series too ("Night of the Living Dead," "Dawn of the Dead," "Day of the Dead")... By all means, see them (in that order). I don't think Romero every properly secure the copyright for the first film, so there are lots of shoddy public domain DVDs of it on the market. If you can, get the 20th Century Fox release with the commentary/riff track by Mike Nelson.

Tom Savini's "Night of the Living Dead" remake is interesting, provided you've seen the original first. Haven't seen the "Dawn of the Dead" remake yet.