We have come to the final entry in the Return Of The Living Dead series. The movie was filmed right after Return Of The Living Dead: Necropolis and debuted on Sci-fi the same night as Necropolis. Now when this debuted on Sci-Fi, I actually did not manage to see it that night and it would actually wind up being several years later before I got a chance to watch it. So let’s see how this series ends with today’s movie, Return Of The Living Dead: Rave To The Grave.
The plot: One year after the events from the previous film, Charles Garrison meets up with some Russian government officials at a mortuary with the intent of selling one of the drums of Trioxin to them. The Russians want to test the Trioxin first and have Charles take the drum inside the mortuary, where the mortician has three bodies available. Charles attaches a hose and releases the gas onto one of the bodies but when it doesn’t appear to the work, one of the Russians thinks Charles is trying to trick them and uses the gas on the other bodies. As the bodies start to come to life, Charles is killed, along with the mortician and one of the agents, while the other two agents kill the zombies and leave. Julian, now a freshman at college, gets word of Charles’ death and heads to his uncle’s house to start cleaning out some of the stuff when he discovers a hidden room in the attic just as his girlfriend Jenny shows up. They enter the room and discover the two remaining drums of Trioxin and try to figure out what it is. They grab one of the drums and head over to a party that Jenny’s brother Jeremy to find Cody to get his help in figuring out what is inside. Meanwhile, the two Russians, who are actually Interpol Agents Aldo and Gino, break into Charles’ house and find the other drum but when they notice that there was another drum stored there that is now missing. Back at the college, Cody examines the liquid from the drum and says it’s chemical make-up is similar to ecstasy. Hearing that, Jeremy decides to dip his finger in the liquid and try some and Julian, Jenny, Cody, and Shelby watch as he starts to seize, then go into a catatonic state before quickly coming out of it. Julian tells Cody to disconnect the drum as he plans to get rid of it since they don’t know what that stuff is and Cody says he will in the morning as it is after 4am. When Julian and Jenny leave, Cody, Jeremy, and Shelby work on extracting more of the liquid and placing it in pills, which they then sell to Skeet, the local drug dealer, who begins selling them across campus. Cody and Julian see someone acting like Jeremy did when he tried the liquid and realize that Cody lied to them so they head back to the chemistry lab and chastise Cody for his recklessness. Julian takes the drum to the genetics lab, where Jenny plans on running some test on the liquid. That night, two frat boys that bought some of the drugs, take too many pills and end up turning into zombies, then chase their fried through campus. Along the way, they end up scratching Becky as she is getting in the car with her boyfriend Artie and she ends up turning and killing her boyfriend as they are parked by a lake. As the two zombies continue to chase their friend, he is starting to feel the effects of the drugs himself and ends up running into a room where a band is practicing. The zombies kill the guitarist but the drummer stabs through the eyes with his drum sticks while the other kid decapitates the other zombie with a guitar. Aldo and Gino arrive at the crime scene and then go question Julian about Charles’ death and his house. Julian says he doesn’t know anything and closes the door but Aldo believes Julian is hiding something and tells Gino they will follow him. Julian leaves with Jeremy to help him set up for his rave that night and Jenny heads to the genetics lab to run tests on the liquid. At the rave site, Jeremy is complaining about a cough and Cody suggests seeing if Skeet has anything. They see him tripping nearby when suddenly a zombie Becky and Artie show up and try to attack him. The two are restrained by Jeremy and Cody and they have two stoners drive them to the emergency room. As they are driving along the highway, Becky and Artie get free and attack the stoners and Aldo and Gino use a bazooka to blow them up. Back at the genetics lab, Jenny places some of the liquid inside the water bottles for the lab rats, despite the objections of Brett, who ends up getting bit by his pet rat Mr. Sticky. While Jenny goes to her study group, Brett tries to open the canister but notices his bite looking infected so he leaves, not realizing the canister opens after he leaves. Brett goes to his dorm, where some friends are there and ends up attacking them, then the four students begin attacking some other students but Aldo and Gino arrive and begin shooting them. Meanwhile, Jenny returns to the lab to find the canister opened and calls Julian and Cody, who show up. When they see that the rats have all escaped, they work on finding them when Julian sees some zombies approaching. The three manage to kill the zombies but notice Tarman at the top of the stairs when Aldo and Gino show up and begin shooting at him, driving him off. When Cody admits to making using the liquid to make a drug to sell to Skeet, they all head to the rave to try and stop people from taking more Z and becoming zombies. Jenny heads up to the DJ booth to find Jeremy but he has already turned and tries attacking her but ends up falling out of the booth. As more people start turning and attacking people, Cody manages to save Shelby but he ends up getting killed by Skeet. Julian saves Jenny and she is forced to kill Jeremy when he attacks them. Aldo and Gino find the remaining pills on Skeet’s body, then call in reinforcements. As a helicopter arrives and begins firing into the crowd to kill the zombies, a missile is fired which kills everyone in the crowd. Julian and Jenny manage to get to safety before the missile hit and as they look around, they see Aldo, who suggests they leave before the military arrives. Meanwhile, Tarman is seen on the side of the highway with a sign reading “Rave or Bust” and when nobody picks him up, he begins walking along the highway towards where the rave is located, calling out “Brains” as he walks.
I am little conflicted regarding this movie. On the one hand, it felt like they tried to go back to some of the slapstick humor that made the first movie so much fun, but on the other hand, some of their attempts at humor just felt stupid. The acting was ok but John Keefe (Julian) still just felt to weak to be the male lead. The story was good and a pretty interesting way to showcase a new way of becoming zombies. The special effects were pretty decent and the comedy was good at times, with Claudiu Bleont (Aldo) and Sorin Cocis (Gino) making for some good comedy relief. Not the best way to end a series but it is a decent zombie movie to watch.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5