Daily Archives: April 12, 2015

Return of the Living Dead III (1993)


*. Things get off to a promising start here, just with seeing Brian Yuzna’s name in the credits. No, he’s not a horror auteur, but he knows how to direct a comic-book entertainment. Which this is.
*. Unfortunately, after a solid opening the film loses energy quickly. Despite all the talk of breaches in containment the zombies never get out of hand. And watching Julie’s achingly slow transformation is a drag. We’re just not that interested in her or Curt as characters. Or Basil Wallace as Riverman. I don’t understand what the point of having him in this picture is at all.
*. Then at the end there’s an uptick and we get some more excitement (and special zombie effects, which are absent throughout the entire middle part of the film). But by then I had already seen enough.
*. If the zombie virus spreads through saliva (as we’re told at the beginning), why doesn’t Curt get it from all the sloppy kissing he does with zombie Julie?


*. I’m not sure how well thought out any of this is. The first zombie to come out of the barrel looks like its skin has melted together in odd ways that skin doesn’t melt. And why does it attack Julie right away if she’s already dead? Why would the Mexican gang lug their poor suffering friend through the viaducts with them? Why would zombies in mechanical body armour be good soldiers? How would they be controlled? How does Santos’s head get stuck back on? And so on.
*. I found it very odd that after Colonel Reynolds is relieved of command he orders a bunch of soldiers to follow him into the viaduct system. Isn’t this mutiny?
*. Is there some rule in zombie films that there absolutely has to be a scene where you see arms breaking through a barricaded window or door? I was just thinking how unlikely it was going to be for them to work that into this one when — presto! — there it was.
*. I liked all Julie’s piercings, but thought they could have done more with the bondage angle. Those forceps gags and red suspenders were pretty hot. I wanted to see more of Julie walking around in that outfit. Alas.
*. It’s not a great movie, but after the disastrously bad Part II it gave the franchise a jolt of new creative life. It also marked a slight change in direction. The first two films were very similar in being rock-n-roll horror comedies. Both the comedy and the music are toned down considerably here and the teen romance angle is emphasized instead.
*. If they had stuck with the military plot I think they would have had a much better film. The long detour into the viaducts kills it though, and it was an epic box office failure. Nevertheless, you can’t keep a good zombie down and the series would continue.