Plot: What’s it about?
Col. John Reynolds (Kent McCord) is the head of a top secret military project, which involves research into a new, very unusual method of warfare. A special chemical that was to be used in the war on drugs has been found to have other uses, ones that pertain to the dead. Reynolds and his team have used the chemical to re-animate the corpses, which of course make excellent soldiers, as they simply cannot be killed, at least not by conventional means. He has now figured out how to control them to an extent and on this night, he is to make a presentation to show his work, with a lot of pressure involved. As he demonstrates his project, his son Curt (J. Trevor Edmond) and his girlfriend Julie (Mindy Clarke) sneak inside the lab to watch, unknown to anyone else. The presentation starts off well and a corpse is returned to life, then stunned into paralysis, but when it comes back and attacks the guards, all hell breaks loose. Curt is later informed he must move with his father to a new town, which results in he and Julie leaving in a rush, to start a life of their own. But then an accident happens and Julie is smashed into a telephone pole, leaving her totally lifeless. This shatters Curt and since he remembers what he saw at the lab, he decides to use his stolen pass to go back and re-animate his deceased lover…
I must have rented this movie a million times for weekend horror parties, but it never lost an ounce of appeal, at least to me. I know sequels (especially horror sequels) are not held in the brightest of lights, but this Brian Yuzna helmed picture breaks the sequel mold. This film not only supplies the expected goods like zombies, blood, and tons of gore, but it also puts a new twist or two on the story, which in this case, is quite welcome. Of course, the real draw is the splashy special effects and in that respect, this one more than delivers. Some of the goo is lost in this release however, as Trimark has issued the R rated cut, for unknown reasons. Even so, there is plenty of blood gushing, brain drilling, self piercing, and grey matter gobbling to keep the gorehounds pleased. This is a cool movie with a good treatment here, but the lack of unrated edition is a let down, without a doubt. But this flick still work well in this R rated version and has a lot of gore, so until we see an unrated release, I still recommend this one to fans, as I know the wait will be a rough one.
The main force behind Return of the Living Dead 3 is Mindy Clarke, who is awesome in the lead role and sets the new standard for female zombies, without a doubt. Of course, a few scenes will stand out to viewers more than others, but on the whole, Clarke is a lot of fun to watch here and seems very energetic in her role, which is good news. In horror movies, we sometimes see the female performers in unusual situations and they seem to rush their work, but Clarke never seems to taper off, very impressive stuff. No, this is not the kind of performance one wins drama awards for, but Clarke’s effort still deserves some praise, I think. You can also see Clarke in such films as Return to Two Moon Junction, Spawn, Young Goodman Brown, Out for Blood, and Mulholland Falls. The cast also includes J. Trevor Edmond (Meatballs 4, Higher Learning), Kent McCord (Predator 2, Nashville Beat), and Sarah Douglas (Superman, Solarbabies).
Video: How does it look?
Return of the Living Dead 3 is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is a superb presentation in all respects, but it all starts with the source print, which looks clean and very sharp on the whole. This means the other elements aren’t held down and it shows, as colors look bold and true, while flesh tones are natural at all times. This is a rather dark movie, but the contrast holds up very well, with sharp black levels and no visible detail loss. In the end, this is an excellent visual effort and fans should be pleased, to say the least.
Audio: How does it sound?
Not much to discuss on this end, with a basic, but effective Dolby Digital stereo option on deck. The audio is well presented in all respects, but due to the material and format limits, don’t expect too much in this case. The music sounds loud and clear though, while sound effects are on the mark, just not always as immersive as I would like. No issues with dialogue either, as all vocals are clean and well balanced, as they should be. Perhaps not an off the charts audio experience, but the included track handles the material, which is what counts. This disc also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes the film’s video trailer, as well as two audio commentary tracks, both well worth a listen. The first session features director Brian Yuzna, who shares his thoughts on the film and how it was made, going back to the very start, which is cool. I was surprised by how serious Yuzna was with his comments, but he still let loose some cool information, which is all we can ask for, I think. The second track is more upbeat and humorous, but as a result, contains less overall insight. This time around, we have star Mindy Clarke and special effects man Tom Rainone, both of whom seem to have fun watching the flick again, which means lots of laughs and candid comments, very cool indeed.