Thursday, November 17, 2016


I have loved George Romero's living dead world since catching NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD on TV one Halloween, it had quite a profound effect on me. DAWN OF THE DEAD, the first sequel, even more so. In 1985 Romero released his third dead film, but it flopped, but there was another dead film that was connected to NOTLD through a direct reference in the film and by one of the writers. John Russo had co-wrote NOTLD and co-wrote the story of 1985's DOTD competitor, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, with Rudy Ricci and Russell Streiner (who also produced NOTLD)(Dan O'Bannon, who wrote Alien, wrote the screenplay and directed after Tobe Hooper backed out to make LIFEFORCE.) Though it came out a little prior to my full immersion into horror, I remember the trailer and thought it looked awesome. I begged to see it and the answer was a flat 'no, shut up.'

By the time 1993's RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3; ZOMBIE PUNK appeared on the cover of Fangoria, the first two ROTLD were well loved favorites of mine. Pre-internet, most of my horror movie news came from either Fangoria or Siskel and Ebert. So finding the new issue of Fango with Julie Walker (Mindy Clarke) on the cover with the glass and spikes sticking through her skin and looking like some kind of goth punk queen made my heart go all a'flutter.

Directed by Brian Yuzna (BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR, SOCIETY, FAUST), RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD 3 continued from the first two films with the military continuing to experiment with the compound that reanimates the dead. A military kid and his girlfriend accidentally witness one of the zombies being revived. Later, after having an argument with his dad, the boy and girl take off on his motorcycle and then get into an accident. The girl gets killed and the boy sneaks her back into the military compound and bring her back to life. Wackiness ensues.

If you know Yuzna, you know he makes amazing, over the top, gory films. Unfortunately, the rated version of the film is a mess (as it often is). It appears to have been edited for content by a butcher, so it's important to get the unrated version. ROTLD3 ups the comic book zaniness over the two previous films and makes Julie an amazing living dead anti-heroine. Aesthetically, Julie is one of the most interesting zombie characters ever to grace the screen and I wish she could have been spun off into her own series of films, or comics at least.

The newly re-animated Vestron Video is re-releasing ROTLD3 and giving the Blu Ray the red carpet treatment with audio commentary from Clarke and plenty of interviews. It's one of those must owns for me.

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