Return of the Living Dead part 3

rotld-3-poster“Julie, are you eating him? You should stop it.”

The Scoop: 1993 R, directed by Brian Yuzna and starring Kent McCord, Melinda Clarke, and J. Trevor Edmond

Tagline: She’s To Die For.

Summary Capsule: Sneaking into military installations nets you an undead girlfriend. Happy now?

Justin’s Rating: When the blood hits your eye like a last undead sigh, that’s amore

Justin’s Review: We’ve all had bad dates. Girls who declared their undying love for you by date two and became a bonafide stalker by date four. Guys who fell into manholes because they couldn’t stop staring at your chest. Aliens who kept trying to deep probe you. Heck, it’s a near-universal shared experience. But I think that there aren’t too many of us who can say, even in their darkest hour, that the person they were dating turned out to be dead.

Return of the Living Dead 3 only has the most tenuous of connections to the first two horror-zombie-comedies: the military is still fiddling around with a dangerous drug called Trioxin that brings the dead to life and turns the living into zombies. Other than that, you can pretty much scrap any notion of the goofy, slapstick undead antics, because ROTLD3 is the grown-up 90’s version of this series that takes a step in a pretty original direction, becoming a novel romantic drama of sorts.

Don’t worry, there’s plenty of blood. And shuffling corpses. As if you were worried.

Curt (J. Trevor Edmond) is the son of a military mad scientist who’s trying to use Trioxin to make zombie soldiers. After Curt and his girlfriend Julie (Melinda Clarke) discover the hideous truth of what goes on inside the lowest budget military facility you’ll ever see, Julie promptly dies in a motorcycle accident and Curt revives her with the Trioxin. Not… a smart move, but understandable for a grieving boyfriend. They end up on the run from the military and a gang of Latinos while Julie learns all the ins and outs of being one of the exclusive undead club.

For the first time that I can remember seeing on screen, a zombie becomes one of our key protagonists, instead of just a walking set of teeth and growls. Julie spends the film seesawing between being physically unstable (she IS undergoing rigor mortis, after all) and struggling against her base zombie desires (eating brains and giving herself gross body piercings). While it might have all the makings of a doomed Romeo and Juliet love story, Curt nonetheless sticks by Julie’s side and keeps her from going completely bonkers. They don’t get too schmaltzy with the whole “I love you even though you’re technically rotting” subplot, but it’s there and unusual enough to differentiate itself from traditional zombie flicks.

It is a shame that the filmmakers declined to throw in any overt humor (although some of the zombies and situations are nigh on ridiculous), but they do carry on the ROTLD tradition of going all out with zombie designs and clever undead incarnations. The metal exoskeleton zombie had a nifty look, as did Julie when she went all out with her wildly extreme piercings. In fact, this entire series is just ripe (or overripe?) for a line of kid-friendly action figures. Kind of like the Garbage Pail Kids, only with a tad bit more cannibalism.

Side thought: is it cannibalism when zombies eat human flesh? Or are they different enough in species to be considered just carnivorous?

So there you have it. Long before Shaun of the Dead, we already had a RomZomCom (romantic zombie comedy), with far more romance and far, far less comedy. I’m going to head out to my pet semetary to think on this some more.

"Welcome to Hot Topic. May I service you?"

“Welcome to Hot Topic. May I service you?”

Intermission!

  • So I guess Curt gets a free pass to go wherever he wants in this top secret installation, huh?
  • Government lab cards are easy to swipe
  • Trioxin — it’ll do you right!
  • Is this military base made of Rubbermaid?
  • The zombie jock strap
  • So zombies need brains for the electricity. Huh. Learn something new every day.
  • Not a very user-friendly gun there.
  • Talking about zombies during sex is not sexy
  • Wait, was he wearing jeans during sex? How does that even work?
  • Zombies breathe and have a heartbeat
  • The canister zombie is way cool
  • Why doesn’t the zombie recognize Julie as one of them and leave her alone?
  • If you like body piercing, you’ll LOVE this movie
  • Crazy sewer guy is fun

Groovy Quotes

Curt: Julie, are you eating him? You should stop it.

Curt: I liked you when you were… the way you were before.

Curt: How could you… eat that man?

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