Film Review: Return of the Living Dead 3 (1993)

Also known as: Battalion 3 (Japan), Mortal Zombie (Spain)
Release Date: June 5th, 1993 (Italy – Dylan Dog Horror Fest)
Directed by: Brian Yuzna
Written by: John Penney
Music by: Barry Goldberg
Cast: Melinda Clarke, J. Trevor Edmond, Kent McCord, Basil Wallace, Sarah Douglas, James T. Callahan

Bandai Visual Company, Ozla Productions, Trimark Pictures, 97 Minutes

Review:

“How could you… eat that man?” – Curt Reynolds

This is probably my least favorite Brian Yuzna movie. It’s also my least favorite of the Return of the Living Dead series of films. Well, at least the theatrical ones, as I never saw the made-for-TV sequels that came out more than a decade after this one.

As a kid, I loved the Return of the Living Dead series and still do. But for whatever reason, the box art for this movie’s VHS tape never did anything for me. Plus, friends of mine told me it sucked and that it didn’t have any humor in it, which is what made the previous two installments so excellent.

Back in 1993 or so, I wasn’t really keen on who Brian Yuzna was, even though I was really into Re-Animator. It probably wouldn’t have mattered whether or not I knew there was an association, as this is just a crappy film regardless of it being made by a really talented horror filmmaker, who is great at utilizing real, practical special effects.

The plot does introduce an interesting take on zombies, in that an infected person that puts themselves in immense pain can stave off the hunger for human brains and flesh. However, it’s really just used to make the zombie chick star of the film look super badass and hot. She’s still undead though, which is gross. Plus, she’s covered in sharp, stabby shit that would just hurt if you wanted to fool around with her.

It is the star that is the best thing in the film, though, as Melinda Clarke was absolutely gorgeous and even if I disliked this movie, I was crushing on her hard when I first saw this in my teen years.

I also really like that Sarah Douglas is in this, as I’ve dug the hell out of her since first seeing her in the first two Christopher Reeve Superman movies.

The problem with this picture for me, is that it looks terrible. In spite of Yuzna being a horror effects maestro, I mostly hate the look of the zombies and the film in general. The sets are cheap and terrible and the special effects look half-assed, if I’m being completely honest. And I say that because I’ve seen much superior looking monsters in Yuzna’s films that predate this.

Also, from a visual standpoint, the film is just overly bronze and orange. I’m not sure if it was a camera filter or the way the film was lit but it looks awful and makes the film visually drab. It also doesn’t help the creature effects.

Man, I just don’t like this movie; it’s hard to look at, audibly shrill and it wrecks the spirit of this film series by trying to be overly serious and edgy while wasting an interesting and fresh concept for zombie cinema.

Rating: 4/10
Pairs well with: other Brian Yuzna films, most of which are better.