Sunday, 6 May 2012

23/04/2012: The Return of the Living Dead III [1993]

One thing to notice about both The Return of the Living Dead series and Romero's Dead series is that both have been spread out over almost 4 decades now. So there has been some major shifts in the series overtime. While The Return of the Living Dead II had brought nothing fresh nor improved over the original, the 3rd film was definitely a worthy sequel, if it was a different beast. 

One of the biggest reasons for the success of The Return of the Living Dead was it was a fresh and inventive horror comedy at the time. While the second failed to improve upon that, Brian Yuzna stepped up to direct the 3rd one and took it in a different direction. First, let me mention that this is the third Yuzna film I have watched in the last week, the others being: Bride of Re-Animator and Beyond Re-Animator. While in the first, Yuzna kept the series comedic aspect, in the 3rd installment, he let up a little on the comedy. That is the exact move Yuzna had done in between those two films, in The Return of the Living Dead III, and let just say that it worked both times in my opinion.

TROTLD III, loses much of the comedy aspects of the first one. Instead he gives us much more of a development in terms of story and characters than anyone would expect in the 3rd sequel of a cheesy horror comedy series, not previously watched for it's story. In TROTLD III, we get a dark love story, filled with elements of horror and plenty of gore. It was a true return to the basic horror movie, before the genre became a spoof and parody of itself (not that we mind that).

Riverman clearly came up with the Pay It Forward concept 7 years prior to that movie.
So it is clear to me that in the eyes of many, TROTLD III surpassed even the original, and is easily superior to the rest of the series. While I agree that III is definitely on par with the first, they both have their merits, and are really quite different. However, it is the story that allows the third to shine so brightly, mainly because, well, it has a story. A real, thought out story, where characters, and relationships develop and you actually care what happens. Well more than your average low-budget horror movie.

Now, don't judge this movie in the first thirty minutes, it takes a while to realize exactly what it is and turn into its full potential. However, at about halfway through you will realize you can't exactly nail down the formula, and you don't even really notice, you just want to see what happens. I read a review that compared this movie to Ginger Snaps in terms of story and character development. I would tend to agree with this, and so if you're looking for something similar check it out.

Ever wonder why Bullseye from Daredevil was so messed up? He was already dead.
So I have already praised TROTLD III to high heaven, which surprised even me, so time to get around to what it is about. Simply put, Curt and Julie are two madly in love teenagers, and when they sneak into the military lab Curt's dad works at they discover the military's secret weapon, 2-4-5 Trioxin. Later when, Julie and Curt suffer a horrible motorcycle accident and Julie dies, Curt does the foolish thing, only a teenager in love will do, he brings her back from the dead. Can their love overcome Julie's desire for brains? Surprisingly you will become rather invested in whether or not it does.

TROTLD III does of course break a couple of the rules from the previous films, but we won't hold it against it, it is still a refreshing and interesting change, after the first failed sequel.The special effects are rather excellent, as you will see in the screenshot below, and really get under your skin. The cast is, decent, and while Curt was a little weak, Melinda Clarke, makes up for it as Julie. I didn't recognize her in the movie, but later did from her numerous T.V. show appearances. Let's face it, she didn't really look like below when I saw her on T.V.

We're getting all Tetsuo: The Iron Man up in here.
So if you've watched The Return of the Living Dead, and liked it enough to carry on to the sequel, I advise you not to simply stop there. Skip it by all means, but The Return of the Living Dead III, is a very worthy sequel, and a great movie in its own right, if it could use some improvement in the name department. Just remember, it is not a horror comedy and you should be very pleased at what you get.

The Return of the Living Dead III IMDb

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