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Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993)

by on November 8, 2010
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I thought I might go a little more mainstream with this week’s edition of The Schlock Vault, so instead of going to the dark recesses to find a quality schlocky treat, I only travel back in time to 1993.

“Return of the Living Dead 3” is by far one of the poorest examples of a horror movie. Bad acting, atrocious dialogue, lackluster special effects and a kinda-zombie love story. Which is why it’s a perfect fit for The Schlock Vault.

Curt (J. Trevor Edmond) and his badass girlfriend Julie (Melinda Clarke) are looking for some kicks and decide to sneak onto the military base which his father (Kent McCord) works at. Obviously gaining access to a top-secret military facility entails cruising up on your motorcycle with your chick in tow and with a quick nod being allowed to pass. Ah, those were the days.

Using his father’s keycard, the twosome enters the facility and witnesses an experiment in which the military is taking the dead and turning them into disposable soldiers. Just a little mist from a vacuum cleaner hose and voila instant brain-craving zombie. Unfortunately, this zombie has a problem with an authority and begins to have a little snack.

When the entire experience goes wrong, Curt’s father is reassigned and Curt is told he’ll have to tell his hottie girlfriend goodbye, but the hormone charged youths decides to strike out on their own. While the duo relish in their newfound freedom, Julie gets a little too affectionate and causes Curt to wreck his motorcycle killing her.

And forgetting the lessons “Pet Semetary” taught us about bringing back loved ones from the dead, Curt goes back to the base to breath live back into his chick because it obviously worked so well on the subject they watched. He does, she turns — kinda — and pisses off a group of Hispanic males along the way. Plausible?

Now with the group after them, they flee and his now less than hot girlfriend informs Curt that “the pain” helps curb her appetite. After they hook up with a man in the sewers for sanctuary, the men find them and we are introduced to the new glam rock, masochist Julie with shards of glass and nails protruding throughout her body. And like any good boyfriend, Curt still sees the good in her.

That changes when a member of the gang follows a seductive Julie behind closed doors and exits looking like a toothpick with an orange on top. That’s right, Julie ate his next away, leaving just the spinal column and his head. And yes, it’s as amusing as it sounds, folks.

As the movie chugs slowly to its end, father and son reconcile — a little, Curt accidentally allows the undead to escape their 55-gallon drum prisons and ultimately becomes one of them himself.

The end is noble, but totally unbelievable. Before you bring it to my attention, yes, I know we’re talking about the undead roaming the earth in search of brains, but still a movie needs to have a resemblance of believability to work. “Return of the Living Dead 3” doesn’t have it.

The biggest problem with the third installment of the “Return of the Living Dead” franchise is its departure from its predecessors. The comedy that marked the first two films is completely gone and a silly love story was intended to take its place.

While some special effects are outstanding, on the whole the movie lacks big time. Whether it’s a guys sticking his head through a wall to make it look like it’s atop a new military exoskeleton or the head on top the spine, the effects are cheap and unfortunately not that well done.

Shoddy special effects are what make Schlock films the best, but this movie didn’t put any love behind it. If a flick is poorly made with horrible special effect, but the love of the filmmaker shines through, it ranks highly on my list. When a film, such as “Return 3”, doesn’t possess that, it’s easy to file it under nice try and forget about it.

Schlock Verdict: It’s no surprise this is the lowest grossing installment of the franchise. You might get all the schlock ingredients such as cheap special effects, nudity and sub-par dialogue, but “Return of the Living Dead 3” is a movie that has no place in the Schlock Vault. It takes itself too seriously and forgot what made the first two films such joys — a sense of fun.

2 out of 5 Yaps