Another day, another zombie movie. Now today’s movie is one that I had actually chanced upon on cable back in the day, and honestly didn’t know that a third movie had come out in the series. I only got to watch a little bit of it at the time but I was curious enough to rent it so I could watch the whole thing. So let’s see if today’s movie was as entertaining as I remember as I watch Return Of The Living Dead 3.
The plot: At a top secret army facility, Colonel John Reynolds is escorting a corpse that is being carried to a secured room when he meets up with Colonel Peck, who introduces him to Col. Sinclair. Reynolds says he heard about Sinclair’s research involving an exoskeleton to contain the corpses and make them more effective in combat but feels his approach is still better. As they reach the room, Reynolds must use one of the soldier’s key cards as he apparently misplaced his at home. Meanwhile, Julie Walker is hanging out at the beach with her friend Mindy and some other friends when her boyfriend Curt Reynolds shows up. When Julie asks about it, Curt reveals that he stole his dad’s key card and heard that a big test was occurring that day so they decide to head to the base. After getting on base, they sneak inside the building his dad works in and make their way up on top of some containers, which they notice are sealed up to be air tight. After seeing a man burning body parts in a furnace, they head over to another container and see Curt’s father overseeing an experiment. A corpse is strapped into a suspension harness and then a hose is attached to a drum containing a zombie, which allows them to release the Trioxin gas from the drum and reanimate the corpse. The scientists then shoot the zombie with a special round containing a paralytic agent, successfully rendering the zombie immobile. Curt and Julie are shocked at what they saw and when they accidentally attract the attention of a patrolling guard, they quickly leave before they get caught. Meanwhile, the scientists place the zombie on a tabe and start to examine it when it suddenly bites the fingers off of one of the scientist, then proceeds to bash his head against the glass of the control room, eventually killing him. The other two scientist shoot it again and manage to strap it onto the table, but the scientist that was bitten suddenly turns and crawls over to the table and bites one of the other scientists. Reynolds orders the room to be sealed as Peck demands to know what happened. Sinclair says she will make the call to Washington, as she told the general that she would give her opinion on the project. At his house, Curt and Julie are having sex but Julie can’t stop talking about what they saw. When Reynolds comes home, he tells Curt they need to talk and has him come into his office. Reynolds tells Curt that he is being reassigned to Oklahoma City and they leave in a week but Curt refuses to go, saying he wants to stay with Julie. As the two argue even more about it, Curt storms off and tells Julie they are leaving. As the two are riding on Curt’s motorcycle, Julie is teasing Curt and making him lose control of the bike and when he swerves to avoid hitting a semi, they end up wrecking and Julie is thrown into a telephone pole. When Curt goes to check on Julie, he discovers that she is dead and he calls out for help but there is nobody around. Grief stricken, Curt heads back to the facility and makes his way inside to the room where they saw the experiment. Putting on a biosuit, Curt tries to hook the hose up to the drum to release the gas but when that doesn’t work, he simply pries off the lid of the drum. The gas revives Julie and as Curt explains what happens, they hear something and discover that the zombie that was inside the drum has revived and tries to attack them. They manage to get away but as they are leaving, a guard sees them but he is attacked and killed and Julie asks if that is what she is going to become. As they watch the video footage of what happened, Peck tells Reynolds that he put a state wide APB out on Curt and Julie, and they have a containment team standing by. They theorize that due to the strong bond between Curt and Julie, Julie won’t attack Curt yet but that could change when her brain shuts down. Meanwhile, Curt and Julie are trying to leave town but Julie has Curt stop so she can get some food. Heading inside a market, Julie starts grabbing some food items and eating them but quickly spits them out. As Curt tries to get Julie to stop, he accidentally pisses off a group of thugs that were playing a game at the back of the store. As the store owner goes to ensure no fighting occurs, one of the thugs hops the counter and starts emptying the cash register. When the owner pulls a gun out to stop them, the thugs manage to shoot the owner with his gun. As they are leaving, Julie bites one of the thugs in the arm so they shoot Curt’s bike before they leave. Hearing sirens on the way, Curt and Julie go to leave but when they see his bike is ruined, they get in the store owner’s van. The owner appears and asks that they drive him to the hospital and Curt agrees, just as the police arrive and start shooting at them. As they drive off, the police follow and keep shooting at them, killing the store owner when he tries to get them to stop. Curt manages to lose the police but when he turns around, he sees Julie eating the brains of the store owner and he gets her to stop. The police eventually find the van and approach it and end up attacked by the store owner, who kills one of the cops. Reynolds and the containment team show up and manage to stun the store owner before he kills the second cop but they find no sign of Julie or Curt. Curt and Julie are making their way through the sewers and Julie starts stabbing and cutting herself, saying the pain helps her feel better. Curt and Julie argue and Julie moves to jump off the rail of a bridge and Curt apologizes for what he said but Julie says that he shouldn’t have brought her back, then jumps off the bridge into the water below. Meanwhile, the thugs that were at the store go looking for Curt and Julie, as the man that Julie bit is getting sicker. At the same time, Sinclair shows up, having managed to push ahead her taking over of the project and orders no discrimination when it comes to containment but Reynolds defies her orders and goes looking for Curt. Curt makes his way down to the river and encounters a homeless man called Riverman, who saw what happened. and as they search the river, they find Julie’s body. Just then, the gang shows up and Riverman leads Curt and Julie into the sewers and has them hide in his home. As Julie lies down, Riverman asks Curt what is going on and Curt tells him that the gang shot someone and is now after them. Riverman goes to keep watch and when Curt asks how he can repay him, Riverman hands him a coin and says that if he sees someone in need, he should help them, then give them the coin, always paying it forward. Julie and Curt have sex and afterwards, Julie begins shoving nails and other items through her body, making it so that the constant pain will help keep her in control. Meanwhile, the gang find Riverman and begin torturing him to find out where Curt and Julie are. Curt goes out to help them but they overpower him. Just then, Julie emerges and Curt is shocked at what she has done to herself. Julie seduces Santos, the gangs leader, and ends up killing him, then kills another gang member, while the female gang member is killed by the gang member that Julie bit. As the gang members come back as zombies, Riverman, Julie, and Curt take shelter in Riverman’s home, then Curt and Riverman work on barricading the door. When the zombies star to come through, Curt tells Riverman to take Julie and leave while he holds them off but when he meets up with them, he finds that Julie has killed Riverman. As the zombies start to attack them, Reynolds and his team show up and manage to subdue the zombies, then Reynolds tells Curt to move so they can shoot Julie and he reluctantly does, then holds her as the paralysis kicks in. At the facility, Reynolds attempts to come up with some sort of reconciliation with Curt but is unable to answer when Curt asks about Julie, saying she is part of Sinclair’s project now. As they are leaving, they are stopped by Peck and Sinclair, who ask Reynolds not submit his report on Julie, though Reynolds argues with them that Julie shows they are able to retain their memories. As Curt wanders through the facility, he comes to the room where Julie and the other zombies are being kept. When the scientist says they are going to be turned into bioweapons, Curt goes to free Julie, knocking out the scientist in the process and attracting the attention of Sinclair and two other scientists, who are working on placing Riverman in an exoskeleton. The distraction allows Riverman to go free and he begins attacking the scientists and Sinclair, eventually causing the other zombies to be released. Curt manages to get through to Riverman and has him help them escape the room but as they try to get out of the facility, a zombie manages to bite Curt. As the whole building undergoes lockdown, Curt and Julie see Reynolds, who is trying to keep a door open so Curt can escape. Curt tells his dad that he can’t leave as the door shuts and Peck drags Reynolds away before he is trapped inside the building. Curt and Julie head to the furnace room and Curt activates the furnace, then they both step inside, with Curt saying they are where they belong as they kiss one last time before being burned.
Return Of The Living Dead 3 met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 44% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics that liked it said it was a fun bit of “schlock comedy” while the ones that didn’t like it called it boring and inept. According to director Brian Yuzna’s commentary, the studio did not require the movie to use the same actors or have the same comedic effect but the did want the zombies to eat brains. The movie only got a limited release in theaters, where it ended up flopping, only earning $54,207 of a $2 million budget.
Yeh, I honestly don’t know what to think of this movie. There were some good parts and some bad parts to this thing. The acting was ok, with Melinda Clarke (Julie) and J. Trevor Edmond (Curt) doing a good job in their roles. I also liked Sarah Douglas (Sinclair), but wish that she had a larger part than she did. The story was interesting, having some elements from the previous two movies, primarily the involvement of Trioxin and the zombies desiring brains, but unlike the previous movies, this time the bites would turn people into zombies. The main plot line of Curt and Julie’s relationship made for an interesting driving force for the movie but did get a bit overly sappy at times. The special effects were pretty good, as was the makeup for Julie when she turned herself into a zombie pincushion. There are better zombie movies out there, but at least this was better than the second movie.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5