Saturday, October 10, 2015

Horror Review #10 - Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993)

Not many good things came out of the 1990's.  Come to think of it, I can't think of a one.  Give me a minute.  Oh, there was...  No.  Hmmmm.  No.  Oh, how about...  Nope.  No, I  got nothin.  Nothing except the greatest Zombie Love Story Ever Told.  And, yes, that includes Warm Bodies.

Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993) is just that. The Greatest Zombie Love Story Ever Told.  But let me sum up.  Curt Reynolds is the teenage son of Colonel Reynolds, a military research scientist involved in the experimentation and containment of 2-4-5 Trioxin.  Any of you who have seen the cult classic Return of the Living Dead (1985) or any of the sequels, know that 2-4-5 Trioxin is the stuff that the military was looking for in the first moxie.  Trioxin (for short) is the gas that, quite simply, reanimates the dead.  Colonel Reynolds is in the midst of an experiment in controlling the reanimated dead when his son Curt and his girlfriend Julie sneak in and find out about the effects of Trioxin on the bodies of the deceased.  Unfortunately, the experiment goes horribly wrong, and ...  yea.  All hell breaks loose.

Let's start with what I love about this movie.  Melinda Clarke's boobs.  Yea, I said it.  It's out there.  Curt's girlfriend Julie (Melinda Clarke) is what we probably think of as a 'Cutter' now.  Basically confusing pain with pleasure, Julie spends her spare time hurting herself, when she's not getting half-naked with Curt.  To say Julie is a little unbalanced is probably understating things, but this is usually the type of girl who I meet in bars and hit it off with, so who am I to judge?  Everyone's special in their own way, and actresses who aren't afraid to get naked in horror movies are a very special breed.

So, minor spoiler, when Julie has a little accident while riding on the back of Curt's bike, is it any surprise that the ever-devoted Curt uses Trioxin gas to bring her back to life?  No, it really isn't, so that's probably not even much of a spoiler is it?  Shit, if she were my girlfriend, I'd have brought her back to life, too.  What is a surprise, is how hard Julie works to stop herself from eating Curt's brains.  From hurting herself worse than she ever did in life, to denying her own unceasing hunger for brains, Julie repeatedly stops herself from eating Curt.  And for a brain-hungry zombie, that's nothing short of miraculous.

Is it any wonder that I call this the Greatest Zombie Love Story Ever Told?  No.  No it isn't.  Sure, Warm Bodies (2013) came a close second, but I chose Warm Bodies second for several reasons.  One, it's not really a Zombie love story.  The male lead in Warm Bodies eventually becomes alive again, so technically, he's not a Zombie.  Nor is his girlfriend (Teresa Palmer) a zombie, though she is incredibly hot.  Teresa's IMDB.com page says she's often mistaken for Kristin Stewart, which I just don't get.  Kristen Stewart is kind of nice looking in a girl-next-door way, whereas Teresa is hot in a Jesus-Christ-I-think-I-just-orgasmed-in-my-jeans way.  Sure, Melinda Clarke may not be as out-and-out pretty as Teresa Palmer, but she makes up for it with undead sensuality.  So Warm Bodies really isn't a Zombie love story, but essentially a romance movie that happens to start post-mortem for one of the two involved.  In Return of the Living Dead 3, I'm pretty sure Curt starts becoming a zombie the minute he turns Julie into one, due to over-exposure to Trioxin.  Also, given such close contact with Julie, I'm almost absolutely certain he would've infected himself in other ways as well.

Now here's one thing that confuses me in Return of the Living Dead 3.  Shooting a zombie in the head is always a universal cure for ending their undeath.  Come to think of it, that's pretty much a universal cure for anything.  Yet, here's Curt and Julie, escaping in a van, and the shopkeeper that's riding in the back of their van is accidentally shot in the head by the police.  Then Julie, feeling a little peckish by this point, feeds on the corpse of the shopkeeper.  Here's where things get confusing.  Despite not being exposed to Trioxin at all, and not having much of a brain left, the shopkeeper is brought back to life by Julie's munching on his brain matter.  How, exactly?  His brains, pretty much splattered out of his head, are the only thing Julie munched on.  If Trioxin (or the Z-virus, or whatever) is transferred by bite, which I think is also pretty much a standard tenet of all zombie flicks, then wouldn't it need a working brain to go ahead and revive the dead tissue?  Sure, this series has reanimated limbs and such, but weren't those limbs reanimated by direct exposure to Trioxin gas?  Well, despite the confusion involved in the reanimation of the shopkeeper, I'm pretty sure the rest of the movie is all good.

To sum up, decent acting for the 90's, though most of the cast is kind of unknown.  I loved Sarah Douglas in the role of bossy Colonel Sinclair, sent to clean up Colonel Reynold's mess and using the opportunity to put forth her own agenda.  Don't mistake the relative anonymity of the cast for a lack of acting skill, because the supporting actors are all veterans of numerous films.  Even Melinda Clarke went on to appear in a number of other TV series and movies, though nothing as remotely popular as Return of the Living Dead 3 (which admittedly, isn't that popular).  This movie is on Crackle.com if you want to watch it.  I've seen it several times, and it hasn't lost any thrill for me over the years.

Bonus Review of Ominous (2015), which was on Syfy tonight.  Ominous is a tale of a bereaved pair of parents who agree to have their son revived from the dead by a mysterious stranger (played by Mark Lindsay Chapman, the only actor I recognize), only to find that their son isn't quite the same as he was when he was alive.  Ominous is your standard anti-christ tale, only so dumbed down with mediocre special effects and bad acting by most of the unknown cast, that it plays like a bad lifetime movie of the week.  I don't know who made it, but if Asylum was responsible (the ones who make most of syfy's flicks), then this is one of their worst efforts yet.  I don't recommend watching it the first time, let alone watching it again.  There's nothing new here, and nothing even remotely interesting.  Ultimately forgettable.

That's all for tonight!  Catch you guys next time.

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