Return of The Living Dead 3 is the last good film in the franchise. There, I’ve said it upfront. You don’t have to read on to find out if I like it, but you can read on to see why…
Years after the “Incident in 1969”, and subsequent ones, the US Military is still messing with Trioxin. Only now, it wants to harness the power of the chemical to create undead, un-killable super soldiers. After witnessing a failed experiment headed by his father, Curt and his girlfriend Julie are involved in a motorcycle crash. Upon discovering that Julie is dead, Curt decides to use the Trioxin to bring her back to life. Unfortunately for Curt, the Julie that comes back isn’t the same as the one that died.
Consumed by a desire to eat human brains, Julie must be hidden and protected by Curt, unless he wants to lose her all over again. But with gang-bangers and the military looking for them, that won’t be an easy task…
Return Of The Living Dead 3 strikes a very different tone to the first two entries in the series. Whilst they played for laughs, this film is a straight up horror movie. Director Brian Yuzna brings the vibe from his H.P. Lovecraft films, and zeros in on the gore.
With effects from genre legend “Screaming Mad” George, you know the gore will be good. And it is. We get emaciated zombies, an all new “Tarman”, and most significantly Zombie Julie. Zombie Julie was what the entire films marketing campaign was built around. A vision of S&M industrial sex taken to the extreme, Zombie Julie is the films piece de resistance.
Of course the films plot is actually quite decent, being a bit of a riff on the age old Romeo & Juliet “star crossed lovers” angle. As the viewer you want Curt & Julie to have the “happy ever after” ending, but you know it just isn’t to be. The lead actors acquit themselves well, once more proving that low budget doesn’t have to mean low quality. Both Curt & Julie come off as likeable characters, if a little cliched. The films villains are enjoyable, with the gang-bangers offering a traditional threat, and the military offering something a bit more cold and unfeeling.
And the film looks pretty good. The 1080p transfer is fairly well done, with just about the right level of grain visible. Yes, the increased detail does show a few of the films rough edges, but that can be forgiven when you remember that this is low budget, not Hollywood glamour. Audio is more than acceptable, being in the films original 2.0 stereo.
Unlike some others in the Vestron Video Collectors Series, the extras are a bit thin on the ground here:
- AUDIO COMMENTARY with Director Brian Yuzna, Actress Melinda Clarke, Make-Up Effects Supervisor Tom Rainone.
- A CONVERSATION with Director Brian Yuzna and Screenwriter John Penney.
- INTERVIEWS with Special Effects Artists Steve Johnson and Chris Nelson.
- INTERVIEWS with Production Executive David Tripet and Editor/Post-Production Supervisor Christopher Roth.
- THEATRICAL TRAILERS.
- STILL GALLERY.
Still, slight as they may be compared to some, the quality is great.
Return Of The Living Dead 3 Verdict
Overall, this is an excellent addition to the franchise. Yes, it doesn’t have the humour of parts 1 & 2, but it is leagues ahead of parts 4&5 in every respect.
4.5/5 Fiends. Would have been 5 if there were more comprehensive behind the scenes material.
Buy ROTLD 3 at Amazon: HERE
ROTLD 2 review: HERE
ROTLD Review: HERE
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