HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Return of the Living Dead 3
HTS Overall Score:72
“Return of the Living Dead” was one of the few zombie movies that terrified me as a young boy. I grew up watching George Romero’s zombie flicks ever since I was old enough to know better than my parents and watch over my older brother’s shoulders when I was supposed to be in bed. Strangely enough I loved every second of them but never got scared. “Return of the Living” dead was the one movie that had me up at night with horrible dreams and a VERY ticked off set of parents. Fast forward 31 years later and “Return” is still a classic zombie flick. The two sequel, not nearly so much, but I love the twisted fun of brain eating zombies as much as the next horror fanatic. “Return of the Living Dead 3” is the 4th release from Lionsgate’s revitalized Vestron Video lineup, and a worthy one at that. The twisted tale of brains and munching on human flesh is just a veneer for a “Romeo and Juliette” story that is hilariously bad in a way that could only happen in the early 90s.
We all know how the zombies came to be. Some dummy opened up a drum of toxic gases that accidentally raised the dead. Those dead were hungry for human flesh, brains in particular, and almost destroyed the world. However, things are under control. The U.S. government has locked away the undying corpses in toxic waste barrels for all eternity. Or so we though. It seems that the military just HAVE to mess with undead things that could turn on us and destroy the world. It’s pretty much a staple in the horror universe. Now Colonel John Reynold (Kent McCord, best known for playing John Crichton’s father in “Farscape”) is in charge of weaponizing the undead for warfare. They had decided to just raise the dead with the Trioxin gas, but Colonel has come up with an ingenious weapon that completely freezes them and sends the zombies into hibernation when hit. That way they can unleash the undead horde on their enemies and then roll up behind them, pop them with a little freeze gun and pack the corpses away. Easy peasy, pudding and pie, right? Wrong.
Like usual, things get a little out of hand. Colonel Reynold’s son, Curt (J. Trevor Edmond) sneaks his gothic girlfriend Julie (Melinda Clarke) into the top secret military facility where they’re testing the new zombies. Julie is completely enamored with the experiments, but Curt is NOT exactly a fan. However, this experiment is the first thing he turns to when a tragic motorcycle accident takes her life away. Sneaking BACK into the facility Curt exposes her to the gas and brings his girlfriend back to life. The problem is, she’s not exactly the same old Julie. While her human mind is still intact, there’s a craving for brains underneath that cute exterior. Desperate to save his girlfriend, Curt refuses to see the obvious. That he’s going to lose Julie to this insatiable hunger if he doesn’t do something soon.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=84858[/img]“Return of the Living Dead 3” is one of the greatest piles of 90s schlock ever created. I haven’t laughed this hard in quite some time, and rightfully so. The 80s were the KING of action movies and horror movies (in my personal opinion of course), but the 90s had some great gems too. The first “Return” film was a gory horror comedy (light on comedy, heavy on horror), but the sequel kind of went over the rails a bit. The THIRD film in the franchise decided to change directions completely and made the flick a horror/romance. Something you honestly don’t see every day. The comparisons to “Romeo and Juliette” are plain as the nose on your face, and they even have the famous morbid ending from the play included (complete with romantic music playing in the background). While I objectively have to say that “Return of the Living Dead 3” is a pile of cinematic over acting and 90s prosthetics, it is a complete blast to watch. It’s gory, ooey gooey and full of cheesy 90s humor to boot. The romantic angle is so hilariously 90s bad that you can’t help but revel in the Velveeta cheese like schlock.
Acting wise. Yeah, this is a 90s budget horror flick. I wouldn’t be expecting much. The best acting comes from the supporting cast like veteran Kent McCord as the Colonel, and Sarah Douglass as the exoskeleton crazed replacement brass. The rest of the main cast is relegated to B-level actors who over act the entire time (although that is definitely part of the charm). I can’t say that “Return of the Living Dead 3” will win any academy awards, but it is an awesome addition to Vestron Video’s ever expanding category of lost horror movies behind the very heavy vault doors of Lionsgate.
Rated R for horror violence and gore, and for language and sexuality
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=84866[/img]“Return of the Living Dead 3” is presented on Blu-ray with a VERY nice upgraded 1.85:1 AVC encode image. The old Tri-Mark DVD was a grungy looking film that really didn’t do the format justice even back so many years ago. This disc is a bit soft and has that look of an old master taken from troubled elements, but it is still a HUGE improvement over the DVD. Colors are bright and warmer, and the fine detail is much more apparent in foreground and background objects. There’s some optical effects used to blend in the prosthetics here and there that look a tad soft, but it’s an overall pleasant looking transfer. Colors are a bit muted at times, but the blacks are dep and inky with minimal crush to mar the image.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=84874[/img]The audio track is much the same quality as the video encode is. The film has replicated the theatrical 2.0 Stereo track on Blu-ray with a very nice sounding lossless mix. The 2.0 stereo track doesn’t give us a whole lot to work with, considering the budget involved, but the vocals are crisp and clean and there’s minimal quality issues in the track. I did notice a few scratching and coarse sounding static that flickered up in the alleyway with the military saving the cop’s life, but that was only for a few seconds and vanished, never to be heard from the rest of the movie. LFE is clean and deep, but fairly limited with a stereo track, and the main channels are just a TAD boxy. Still, the front two channels get some good activity with the moaning and screaming of the undead, and the 90s score creates a nicely energetic feel to the experience.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=84882[/img]• Audio Commentary with Director Brian Yuzna
• Audio Commentary with Actress Melinda Clarke and Special Make-Up Effects Artist Tom Rainone
• “Ashes to Ashes” - A Conversation with Director Brian Yuzna and Screenwriter John Penney
• “Living Dead Girl” – An Interview with Actress Melinda Clarke
• “Romeo Is Bleeding” – An Interview with Actor J. Trevor Edmond
• “Trimark & Trioxin” – Interviews with Production Excecutive David Tripet and Editor Chris Roth
• “The Resurrected Dead” – Interviews with Special Effects Designers Steve Johnson and Chris Nelson
• Still Gallery
“Return of the Living Dead 3” is LONG overdue for a good special edition disc. The old DVD just looks nasty and is fairly limited on the special features. The Vestron Video edition here is far from that (although it still suffers from an older master from poorer that ideal source elements) and not only does the disc have the 2 commentaries from the old DVD, but a whole HOST of other features made specifically for this release. The audio and video scores are solid, and while not perfect, show definite improvement from the old DVD era one that I have stuck in a box somewhere. I’ve been SUPER excited about these Vestron Video releases from Lionsgate and this is just another cap in their feather. Not to mention there are a handful of ones coming out in the next few months to tease the rest of your horror fanatics. Definitely worth a watch for the gorehounds.
Starring: Kent McCord, James T. Callahan, Sarah Douglass
Directed by: Brian Yuzna
Written by: John Penney
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 2.0
Runtime: 97 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: November 22nd 2016
Buy Return of the Living Dead 3 On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Fun Watch
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