Tall, Dark, and Dead – 20 – Return of the Living Dead Part III
Title: Return of the Living Dead III
Director: Brian Yuzna
Leads: Mindy Clarke, J. Trevor Edmond
Favorite quote: “Julie, are you eating him? You should stop it.”
Thoughts: I think I’ve identified a lesser rule built into the comprehensive Living/Dead world. In my opinion, both Russo/O’Bannon’s and Romero’s third installments are their best. Further, both of these movies feature prominent zombie heroes. Coincidence? I think not.
That said, I love how in the Return films there’s always at least one messed-up person who’s all DEAD BODIES WHOO LET’S DANCE NAKED AND GO WATCH THE EXPERIMENTS I WANNA PARTY.
Wait…okay. Not going comment on that further. I am the kettle, koo-koo-ca-choo.
ROTLDIII manages to weave together several disparate plot points into the most cohesive example, in my opinion, of the overarching Russo/O’Bannon universe. The military side of things is handled fairly well, and with added malevolence. The character of Julie provides insight into the plight of the recently-reanimated, with just enough detail to make her darkly fascinating and yet, not so emo that she’s annoying. (And hey, she gets to go all Hellraiser at the end, win.)
The self-mutilation aspect is fresh and instinctively understandable, from an undead perspective. There’s even a touch of necrophilia, which is pretty ballsy. And I find the conclusion of the film, including the torture of the zombie test subjects, incredibly disturbing to watch – which means that it’s successful zombie movie-making.