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Return of the Living Dead 3 Movie Review

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TITLE: Return of the Living Dead 3
LIONSGATE
DIRECTOR: Brian Yuzna
WRITER: John Penney
CAST: Melinda Clarke, J. Trevor Edmond, Kent McCord, Sarah Douglas, Basil Wallace, Anthony Hickox
RATED: Unrated (Gore, Violence, Nudity)
RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio Commentary with Director Brian Yuzna; Audio Commentary with Actress Melinda Clarke and Special Make-Up Effects Artist Tom Rainone; “Ashes to Ashes” – A Conversation with Director Brian Yuzna and Screenwriter John Penney; “Living Dead Girl” – Interview with Actress Melinda Clarke; “Romeo is Bleeding” – Interview with Actor J. Trevor Edmond; “Trimark & Trioxin” – Interviews with Production Executive David Tripet and Editor Chris Roth; “The Resurrected Dead” – Interviews with Special Effects Designers Steve Johnson and Chris Nelson; Still Gallery
Available November 22

Curt (J. Trevor Edmond; Beverly Hills 90210) is an army brat whose dad Colonel John Reynolds ( Kent McCord; Farscape) always up and moves just when Curt starts to make friends. This time Curt has met the love of his life, Julie (Melinda Clarke; The O.C.).Julie convinces Curt to steal his dad’s passkey to the secret base where the government is conducting experiments. They sneak in and watch as a dead transient gets brought back to life with the use of a drug called Trioxin and the reanimated corpse becomes a killing machine. After an experiment goes sour, the Colonel tells Curt they’re moving again. Not wanting to be torn away from his one true love, they jump on Curts motorbike planning on running away to Seattle. Unfortunately they get into a little accident that winds up getting Julie killed. Not wanting to accept her death, Curt takes her body back to the government laboratory and reanimates Julie with the Trioxin. All seems well until Julie gets an insatiable hunger…for human flesh and brains. The only way she can curb her bloodlust is with extreme body modification. There are only so many places on her body to pierce, and the pain doesn’t distract her for long.

THE GOOD: Director Brian Yuzna says it best that this is a stand alone film that doesn’t need the Return of the Living Dead title. It’s a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, but with a higher body count and without the sappy ending of Warm Bodies.  This was shot in 1992/1993 where body modification was a mainstream thing. Julie’s extreme body piercing wouldn’t get much of a reaction with today’s crowd, but the practical effects were well done.

THE BAD: Much of the practical effects don’t translate well to today.  There’s an awesome effect where a skull seperates from the rotting flesh of a zombie, but by today’s standards looks laughably bad. In the commentary, Melinda Clarke said that effect scared her during shooting. The commentary with Melinda Clarke and Make-Up Effects Artist Tom Rainone were poorly paired because they both had interesting things to say and kept interrupting each other. I thought the story could do without the latino gang that follows the lovers into the sewers after getting in their way during a robbery. Was your pride hurt that bad to chase a couple into a homeless dude’s den? The filmmakers then allowed them to say the most cliche dialogue possible to remind the audience that they’re hispanic and they’re bad dudes; it was borderline offensive.

If you’re a fan of somewhat hokey horror films, then I would recommend purchasing the Blu Ray. It has lots of special features to make it worth your while. While it wasn’t necessarily a bad film, you watch it for the visual effects.  I thought it was especially awesome that Director Brian Yuzna rallied to have the special effects team listed first once the credits rolled. Without them you wouldn’t have a film.

ACTING: C
STORY: C
TECHNICAL: B
TOTAL RATING: C
REVIEWED BY: JM Willis

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