Friday, 21 June 2013

Review - Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993 - Dir. Brian Yuzna)

It was with some trepidation that I watched Return of the Living Dead 3 again. I first saw it when it originally came out and have seen it a few times since, but it has been a while since I last sampled its delights. Would it be as good as I remembered it? Let's take off the rose-coloured glasses and have a look...

Curt Reynolds (J. Trevor Edmond) lives with his dad, Colonel John Reynolds (Farscape's Kent McCord) who is working on dubious experiments designed to use zombies as military super-soldiers. A bit like Captain America but more flaky. Curt and his girlfriend Julie (the ubiquitous Mindy Clarke) witness one of his dad's experiments where he uses Trioxin - supposedly the chemical that caused the zombie uprising in the original Night of the Living Dead - to bring a deady back to life. What Curt doesn't see is the resulting zombie going bonkers and smashing a poor lab technician's head against a window until there is a severe case of brain leak.

After an argument with his dad, Curt takes off with Julie on his motorbike. Whilst he is distracted by Julie rearranging his trousers, ahem, they crash and Julie is killed by coming into contact with a telegraph pole a bit too quickly. You can see where this is going...

I can remember thinking that the special effects were stunning. They're still okay. Not brilliant, but okay. I was disappointed by the first zombie that came lurching out of a vat of Trioxin. Its face looked a bit gormless more than scary. Then the left side of his stupid looking visage sloughs away and the design is properly revealed. Ah, that's better. There is plenty of gore for the entrance fee and self-mutilation galore.

Like The Living Dead Girl, this film deals with a zombie who knows she is dead and is not too happy about the whole affair. She resents Curt for bringing her back in this condition. Maybe this film is one big advert for euthanasia, rather than using modern medicine to prolong a poor quality of life, or maybe, I'm reading too much into it.

Julie finds that pain helps to stave off her hunger cravings. She stabs herself with pins, springs and a shard of glass. (This isn't a comedy like the first film.) Eventually she goes the whole hog and we are treated to the iconic image of her as displayed on the DVD cover. Her reveal is as great today as when I first saw it.

One of my favourite things about this film is the false ending. It all seems to be nicely tied up with a satisfying conclusion. Then all hell breaks loose again. Admittedly the emotional ending borrows heavily from the original Return of the Living Dead but we'll let it off seeing as though it's from the same series. 

So, it's not quite as good as I remember it but it is still very enjoyable. Just don't expect it to be a laugh-a-minute like Return of the Living Dead.

If you like this you could also try:
Return of the Living Dead, Demons, Day of the Dead.


  1. It was nice that they went in a different direction, but the cheesiness is a touch over the top.

    1. It's a good job they did go in a different direction after the first sequel. And yeah, there is a slight whiff of gorgonzola but the gore more than makes up for it, I think.