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1 review, 18 user ratings

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Return of the Living Dead 3
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by iF Magazine

"If this is the sort of thing you like, then you'll LOVE this."
3 stars

If RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3 serves any useful function to society, it can stand as a warning: teenagers, please listen to me—if your parents happen to be involved in government experiments designed to raise the dead in order to use them as weapons, DO NOT sneak into your dad’s government facility to spy on him! I cannot emphasize that enough. It will only lead to trouble.

I have to confess that I have not seen either RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD or RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 2, but after reading some reviews of each it doesn’t sound like I’m missing much. I therefore sat down to watch RETURN 3 with trepidation. The movie starts off with master thespian Kent McCord (of ADAM-12) overseeing an experiment to see if a flesh-eating zombie left over from RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 2 can be successfully revived from the dead, then shot in the head with a special gun and rendered harmless.

Sitting glumly behind him during this procedure is Sarah Douglas as Lt. Colonel Sinclair. HER brilliant idea is to use complicated mechanical exoskeletons to control the living dead and turn them into shambling robotic warriors, and she spends most of the movie sitting off to the side eyeing McCord’s experiments with distaste because obviously her idea is SO much cooler than his.

Of course, there wouldn’t be a movie if things didn’t go terribly wrong, and two things do. First of all, McCord’s thrill-crazed teenaged son Kurt (J. Trevor Edmond) and his even more thrill-crazed girlfriend Julie (Mindy Clarke) manage to sneak into the high-security compound and check out the corpse-reviving zombie action. And secondly, those pesky dead zombies just won’t stay dead. As we all know from our public education, when a flesh-eating zombie bites a living person, whether the zombie kills the human or not, that human is doomed to turn into a flesh-eating zombie himself.

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3 follows in the footsteps of dozens of zero-budget horror flicks in which characters are imprisoned in enclosed institutions which always wind up looking like warehouses, where they are picked off one by one by zombies, vampires, werewolves, rubber dinosaurs or carnivorous aliens. Since 99% of these movies are mind-numbingly boring my finger was carefully poised on the fast-forward button as I got into the movie. But thanks to director Brian Yuzna and makeup supervisor Steve Johnson, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3 turns out to be a lot more entertaining than expected. Surprisingly, the action quickly moves outside the military compound as Kurt and Julie escape, but after a brief encounter with Kurt’s disapproving dad Julie’s out-of-control sensuality proves her undoing as she accidentally massages Kurt into a motorcycle accident.

Now Julie’s dead, but Kurt can’t help thinking about those crazy raising-the-dead experiments back at the government lab. He sneaks back with his girlfriend’s corpse and winds up reviving her, but Julie’s broken neck keeps bothering her, and as if that weren’t bad enough, she winds up getting bitten by one of the still-hungry zombies. As Kurt and Julie escape into the night, Julie’s hunger for human flesh (particularly those yummy brains that all zombies crave) keeps growing. She tries eating tons of junk food but only human flesh will do.

Eventually the pair run afoul of a gang of Hispanic toughs who chase them into L.A.’s abandoned sewer system, where Julie transforms into a multi-pierced queen of the dead—which is bad news for all concerned.

RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3 works for several reasons. First of all, on the simple level of splatterfest horror it delivers a wide variety of disturbing, corpse-rending gore effects, from cruelly distorted zombies to guys walking around with the tops of their heads blown off, to a man’s head and spine yanked out of his shoulders and just about everything else you can think of involving severed appendages. Secondly, Brian Yuzna is something of a visual stylist whose movies (like BRIDE OF THE RE-ANIMATOR) always feature characters transformed into horrendous yet visually striking human pincushions. Julie’s ultimate transformation plays compellingly to both actress Mindy Clarke’s striking, erotic beauty and the Grand Guignol monstrosity of body piercing taken to its logical extreme.

Best of all, Yuzna understands that horror is often about characters driven to do unspeakable things in order to help the ones they love, and most of this movie’s plot involves young Kurt’s increasingly desperate attempts to keep his girlfriend alive and prevent her from doing the one thing she MUST do—namely, eat people. It’s a game Kurt can’t win, so there’s a tragic element to the story that’s rather compelling. Unfortunately, the weak link here is Kurt himself—pretty boy J. Trevor Edmond is just too lightweight and unconvincing in the role for the good of the movie. I mean, even C. Thomas Howell would have been an improvement. Ditto Kent McCord, who’s worn the same facial expression since his days on ADAM-12 in 1968. The film is also largely a waste of the great Sarah Douglas, who hasn’t had a good role since SUPERMAN II. Her character pays off at the film’s inevitable zombie hoedown conclusion, but otherwise she’s a glorified extra.

Those quibbles aside, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3 should satisfy horror fans and red-blooded American males should find Mindy Clarke’s fair amount of nudity a bonus as well. As they say: if you like this sort of thing, than this is the sort of thing you will like.-- JEFF BOND

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=2677&reviewer=119
originally posted: 02/24/01 01:23:33
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User Comments

12/15/16 mr.mike Best of the series 4 stars
11/03/10 Chris badmovelvr everyone keeps saying Sarah Douglas was nude, it was Melinda Clarke you goobers. 4 stars
7/04/06 Jambi Better than 2...and yet this has a lower rating. 3 stars
6/12/06 room42more Humorous, gory, and well written script, give it a try. 4 stars
11/11/05 Garret Anowski Minday Clark and J. Trevor Edmond were AMAZING!! 5 stars
3/28/04 true review - correct review everytime better than original, but not as humorous or fun, better than dawn of the dead 4 stars
3/17/04 Dustin Brumagin Sarah Douglas IS HOT! no second doubt 5 stars
1/26/04 Eric A serious zombie movie.I liked it but it was sad at the end. 5 stars
11/01/03 American Slasher Goddess More serious then previous two, but still very well done. 4 stars
4/05/03 y2mckay Dismally tedious piece of crap, made tolerable by Sarah Douglas's semi-nude body piercing 2 stars
11/23/02 Charles Tatum Totally taken 4 stars
10/30/02 Joe Victim Monster fx are top notch, the acting ain't bad, and it has an admirably downbeat ending 4 stars
9/21/02 Morally Sound A very good ending to the Return of the Living Dead series. 5 stars
2/01/02 Andrew Carden A Tasteless and Boring Triquil. Very Unwanted Gore At Times. 1 stars
8/13/01 Steven Feldman One of my favorite films 5 stars
7/21/01 Zombee FAN.. Well it could have been better. It's a nice horror with a bit of romance good ending. 4 stars
2/28/00 Ken Krysa Brian Yuzna is one hell of a movie maker. Great effects, Dark and Bloody! 4 stars
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  02-Oct-1993 (R)



Directed by
  Brian Yuzna

Written by
  John Penney

  Sarah Douglas
  James T. Callahan
  Kent McCord

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