Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993)
Director: Brian Yuzna
J. Trevor Edmund/Kurt
Sarah Douglas/Lt Sinclair
Julie (Clark) dies in a disastrous motorcycle accident and her love struck boyfriend (Edmund) brings her back to life using gas from those damn military “zombie” canisters. Our dear Julie cheats the grave and returns with a nasty body-piercing fetish and a strong craving for brains. Isn’t love grand?
After the juvenile "Return of the Living Dead 2" I didn’t expect much from this sequel. Well, leave it to Brian Yuzna to pick up the franchise and slap it back on its two un-dead feet. Where the first film had a dark humorous tone, the second had childish sight gags, this one goes for the straight up serious and it works. Yuzna is on top of this one like Rob Lowe on an underage teen girl. Thank you, my good man!
"Return of the Living Dead 3" is more than just a Zombie flick filled with blood and body parts. At the core of it all is a very strong and developed love story. Fortunately for us, the well-written love angle is backed by two strong leads actors (Edmond and Clark). Now I don’t know if I’m being overly-perceptive but I even managed to pick up on Kurt’s (Edmund) selfishness in regards to his beloved: “he didn’t do what he did for her, he did it for himself”. I appreciated that subtle, realistic and negative light on Kurt and that made him so much more layered and believable to me. In real life, love is flawed and it can be self-serving. I caught echoes of that here.
Now fear not because there’s obviously more to this flick than just a “lovey-dovey” thang. The flick slaps all kinds of crazy zombies our way and constantly tries to top itself creatively. I really dug the idea of physical pain stopping Julie’s hunger for grey matter. That gives way to a very unique “S&M”-like zombie piercing get-up that winds up looking scary but dead sexy at the same time. Now that’s what I like to see in a horror movie! Courage! This film goes for the gold. The flick also takes the elements established in the first one and takes them one step further. We understand why the Zombies need to eat brains and we also find out what the military’s intentions are in regards to the un-dead gas (sick fucks).
Now this beeyatch isn’t perfect, I did have a few problems with some of the weaker special effects (see gore section) but my main beef is with the mid-section of the movie. Once the set-up is done, the bulk of the action moves to a pretty bland location: the sewers. They could’ve thought of a more interesting location in which to un-ravel the story. I was expecting a Ninja Turtle to pop out at any moment! KAWABUNGA! Of course the sewer location brought with it the freaking rats. We get to meet Riverman (Wallace), the most over-the-top street bum you’ll ever meet and a gang of Spanish hoodlums who act like stereotypical putas. The film was doing so well in the “novel” department, I didn’t need these clichéd buffoons stepping in. The tunnel sequence also brought with it a huge plot hole that I couldn’t swallow. SPOILERS “You’re trying to tell me that Santos, seeing the state that Julie was in would be interested in nailing her?” No way! What’s wrong with this guy? The screenwriter could’ve thought of a better way of luring Santos to his demise. Way too convenient. END SPOILERS.
But "Return of the Living Dead Part 3" snatched me right back into the bloody game with its over the top (loved the robo-zombie), poignant (was that a tear in the corner of my eye?) and gore-filled cap off. Wow! Talk about crazy, fun, horror times! The mess that was "Return of the Living Dead Part 2" is forgotten (but not forgiven). THE DEAD CAN WALK WITH THEIR HEADS UP HIGH AGAIN!
Unlucky me...I saw the R-rated version. So I missed out on that ripped chin effect…damn! Having said that, this R-rated version still had enough nasty Zombie bites, brain guzzling, weird ass un-deads and gory body piercing segments to please any gore hound. On a negative note, the effects don’t always measure up to the ideas behind them. Some of the zombies are obvious dummies (the Chinese Zombie comes to mind) and that took me out of the action sometimes.
Mindy Clark (Julie) is simply amazing. I bought every second of her performance. This must have been a tough part to play but she manages to convey her character’s varied emotional moments perfectly. She looks great too! J. Trevor Edmund (Kurt) also holds his own. He’s very focused. Both actors have wonderful chemistry together. Perfect casting. Kent McCord ( John) does fine as the military father. Sarah Douglas (Lt Sinclair) is the lesser actor here. I found her unconvincing in some parts. Basil Wallace (Riverman) should’ve played it subtler. His sometimes overboard show annoyed the shite out of me. Mike Moroff (Santos) and Sal Lopez (Felipe) are both very credible as slime balls. The parts are too “stereotypically” written though.
T & A
Mindy Clark reveals her breasts on more than one occasion and the ladies get J. Trevor Edmund shirtless…everybody’s happy.
Yuzna is in fine form, offering us many zany shots, a tight pace and a couple of tense moments. The man should try directing a drama or a love story because he handled the “softer” elements in this film like a champ.
A decent score that backs the action appropriately.
You've got to admire ambition and this sequel is filled with it. Be it in regards to its characters, its effects or its storyline. What do you get when you mix “Romeo and Juliet” with “Return of the Living Dead"? You get this little ditty. I think I’m in love…BRING ON RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD: PART 4!!!!
Pia Reyes who plays the annoying female gangbanger was the November 1988 Playboy Playmate of the Month.
Mindy Clark turned down the role of Tatum in “Scream" because she didn’t want to be typecast as a “Scream Queen”. She also turned down the role of Zena in "Xena: Warrior Princess".
Mindy has a daughter named Kathryn Grace.