Pet Sematary and Night of the Living Dead meet Romeo and Juliet, with the Shangri-Las somewhere in the background, in this wonderfully trashy horror film. Director Brian Yuzna is best known for cult and critical favourite Society, which starred Baywatch boy-toy Billy Zane as a kid who discovered his parents were weird aliens made largely out of latex with a tendency to stick their heads out of their asses. Although Return of the Living Dead 3 seems a more generic horror picture, this 1993 movie is packed with invention and carries its own unique aesthetic.

At first you'll think you've seen it all before - Curt's your basic teen rebel biker type, and his dad works for the military on a top secret research project. Being a second sequel, the government has by now worked out that zombies are pretty neat and if they could only tap into their secret powers of resilience they could make soldiers who would never die because they were already undead, and were unlikely to be homosexual or conshies either. Remember, this is the same US military who believed a shoulder-launched nuclear bazooka was a good thing. And because they've probably not actually seen the first two films, the army possibly hasn't sussed that resurrecting the dead is a really bad idea that always ends in 90 minutes. And in horrendous bloodshed, of course. Still, they'll learn their lesson.

Early on, Curt and his girlfriend Julie manage to sneak into the research labs and see what's going on: how the scientists are using some gloopy stuff to bring back the dead, but Curt and Julie are conveniently interrupted and somehow fail to notice that the dead then turn into psychotic maniacs. Then our hero has a big fight with his father, zooms off up the road on his motorbike and smack, the girl is deceased.

So, blinded by love, and obviously not having read Pet Sematary (or anything else, one would guess), he returns to the research lab and restores Julie, if not to life, then to very mobile undeadness. Julie seems all right at first, but soon she's got a yearning for the consumption of human flesh, just like all her zombie brethren. She staves off the pangs for a while by sticking lots of spikes and nails into her flesh (that bit's for fetish freaks), but soon it's apparent even to them that she won't be wearing taffeta any time soon. There's a nasty climax with zombies and soldiers, and a suitably romantic yet doom-laden ending. Watch and see.

Yuzna's direction is excellent, with the same sure eye for a good image you see in Society, and some of the acting, notably Mindy Clarke as Julie, is far better than might be expected in the sequel to the sequel to a film most people have never heard of. Probably the best film with a 3 in the title, and I include Three Men and a Baby, Return of the Living Dead 3 is at once a top party film for drunk mates, an emotionally charged hangover movie with those nausea-inducing properties you need, and a dark romance with plenty of material for sensitive Goths to write up on Diaryland. If you like mutilation or love stories, you will love this movie. If you like both, could you wear a sign or something?

Principal Cast (Actor - role)

Kent McCord - Col. John Reynolds
James T. Callahan - Colonel Peck
Sarah Douglas - Lt. Col. Sinclair
Mindy Clarke (aka Melinda Clarke) - Julie Walker
Abigail Lenz - Mindy
J. Trevor Edmond - Curt Reynolds
Jill Andre - Chief Scientist
Michael Decker - Science Technician
Billy Kane - Sentry
Mike Moroff - Santos
Fabio Urena - Mogo
Pía Reyes - Alicia
Sal Lopez - Felipe

Director - Brian Yuzna
Screenplay - John Penney
Produced by - Gary Schmoeller, Brian Yuzna
Cinematography - Gerry Lively
Editor - Christopher Roth
Original music - Barry Goldberg
Production Design - Anthony Tremblay

Alternative title - Return of the Living Dead, Part III

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