One of these days, I am really going to need to find that list again and see how many of the movies on it I don’t own. Anyways, today’s movie is yet another zombie movie that was mentioned in that list I read years ago. So what made this movie stand out enough where I decided to buy it, you ask? Quite simply it was the fact that the movie description said a kid makes a laser from a laserdisc player. How could I not buy it just to see something that ridiculous. Now the only real question is how good, or bad, is today’s movie, Raiders Of The Living Dead.
The plot: A tanker truck carrying radioactive materials is driving through a town but when it is stopped at a light, an armed man sneaks up and carjacks it, forcing the driver to go where he wants. When the police learn about the carjacking, they give chase but as the tanker drives through a forest, a dump truck ends up blocking the police from pursuing when it seemingly breaks down and the tanker drives off down the freeway. Meanwhile, a hostage situation occurs at a nuclear power plant and reporter Morgan Randall calls in to his boss about what is going on. Inside, a SWAT team member shoots the terrorist with a taser rifle, incapacitating him so that another officer can disable the bomb and free the hostages. The terrorist manages to pull out the barbs and kill the officer, then knocks down the sniper when he tries to stop him. The sniper chases after him and as they make their way through the plant, the sniper uses some cables to trip the terrorist, causing him to fall into a electrical relay and electrocute himself but later at the morgue, someone injects the body with a serum, seemingly bringing him back to life. Elsewhere, Jonathan is staying with his grandfather, Dr. Carstairs, while his father is away working on a project and when his grandfather complains about his laserdisc player not working, Jonathan offers to take a look at it. Jonathan takes the player apart and as he is messing around with it, he accidentally kills his hamster Felix with the laser and his friend Michelle shows up and he asks for her help in getting rid of the evidence . That night, Morgan and Karen head towards a suspicious farm, since the last person that went there never came back. Leaving Karen in the car, Morgan snoops around and sees two zombies, one of them being the dead terrorist, and escapes the building only to be attacked by another zombie in the woods. Morgan sets that zombie on fire and tries to escape with Karen but when the car won’t start, they are forced to run on foot but the dead terrorist attacks Morgan and renders him unconscious before chasing after Karen. The next morning, Morgan is stumbling along the road in the rain trying to flag down a car when he is clipped by a car and Shelly Godwin, who saw what happened, picks him up and takes him to her house. After fixing him some food, Shelly drives Morgan into town, where he buys a sawed-off shotgun and rents a room to stay in. Meanwhile, Jonathan works on using the laser from the disc player to make a laser gun and uses it to save Michelle, who was being harassed by some guys as she was walking towards Jonathan’s house. That night, after taking Shelly to a movie as thanks for helping him, Morgan returns to his room but is attacked by a zombie and forced to run after he kills it. Wandering along the street, he runs into Dr. Carstairs, who takes him to his house and gives him some coffee while listening to his story. Back at Morgan’s lodging, Shelly is called in by Detective Kruger, who asks her some questions about Morgan and shows her the body of the zombie. Back at his house, Dr. Carstairs introduces Morgan to Jonathan and then tells Morgan to stay their for the night but he should probably leave town in the morning. The next day, Morgan calls Shelly to let her know that he is ok but when he doesn’t tell her where he is, she decides to go looking for him, eventually finding him in a theater. The two talk and Morgan shows her a scrap of fabric he got from the farm and Shelly says it looks like a scrap from a uniform and suggests the historical society might know what the initials R.C.I. stand for. When Morgan refuses to let her come with him and leaves, Shelly heads back to where Morgan was staying but is attacked by two zombies and a man in black appears in the doorway and has the zombies carry her away. After having a nightmare about Shelly being tortured, Morgan goes to check on her and finds her house empty. Heading to the historical society, Morgan learns that R.C.I. stands for the abandoned Rockford Correctional Institution and also learns about it’s dark history. Meanwhile, Jonathan had overheard what Morgan and his grandfather had talked about and decides to investigate with Michelle. They see the dead terrorist do something that causes a zombie to rise from it’s grave but when Jonathan tries to use his laser gun on it, it malfunctions and they are forced to run. They tell Dr. Carstairs what happened, just as Morgan calls him and tells him what he learned and that he is heading there to see if they have Shelly. Dr. Carstairs calls a friend of his who works security at the prison and tells him to keep an eye out for Morgan and help him look for Shelly. The guard decides to look around the prison but ends up being attacked and killed by a group of zombies. Morgan arrives at the prison and starts looking around, eventually making his way inside, where he finds Shelly but the bells suddenly start ringing, causing the zombies to start moving. Dr. Carstairs, Jonathan, and Michelle show up at the prison and split up to try and find Morgan and Shelly. Shelly tells Morgan that Dr. Kapek, the morgue’s doctor, is behind all this and Dr. Kapek appears, with the dead terrorist at his side. Kapek admits that he was the prison doctor and has the terrorist lead them away but Jonathan sees them and uses his laser to save them. Jonathan, Michelle, and Carstairs begin killing all of the zombies, with Jonathan and Michelle using laser guns that Jonathan made whiel Carstairs uses a bow and arrow. Morgan grabs Michelle’s laser and kills the remaining zombies, including the terrorist. Meanwhile, Kapek catches up to Shelly and tries to take her hostage but Carstairs grabs the gun from him and holds him captive as Morgan, Jonathan, and Michelle join them and they all leave the prison.
There are several reasons to enjoy the ridiculousness of this movie, just as there are many reasons to hate this movie. Personally, I am about 50/50 on how I feel regarding this movie. The acting was ok, with nobody really doing anything spectacular to stand out. The story was honestly a little confusing to follow as they never really explain some of the stuff that happens, like the carjacking in the beginning of the movie, and stuff seems to happen out of sequence, jumping from day to night at random but the events were supposed to happen at roughly the same time. The part with Jonathan making a laser gun and using it on the zombies was absolutely, fantastically ridiculous and I still can’t help but laugh at it, almost as much as I laughed/got annoyed over Carstairs shooting zombies in the chest with an arrow and it killing them. The special effects in general were pretty weak in regards to the laser but I will say that they did a decent job with the zombie make-up. In a slew of forgettable zombie movies from the 80’s, the only thing keeping this movie from joining that pile is a homemade laser gun.
Rating: 2 out of 5