The government is working on resurrecting the dead for military purposes. One night when the son of a Colonel, Curt, and his girlfriend, Julie, decide to sneak into the building where experiments are performed, they witness something truly horrifying in one of the cells, and it has gotten out. In a tragic motorcycle accident a while later, Julie dies. Curt recalls the experiment within the base and brings her body there to get her back. Julie comes back, but with a lust for brains. The only thing that calms her down is self-mutilation. Curt tries to protect her from the army by running away with her.
I always considered the "Return of the Living Dead" series as the rebellious zombie series, where Romero's movies were laying the path for a much more serious apocalypse. In the first "Return of the Living Dead" it's easy to spot the differences - not only through the characters that literally were rebels, but the way they used zombies and comedy. The biggest change in zombies from here on out was that zombies suddenly had a hunger for brains. The comedy aspect was different but not entirely new, with movies like "Re-Animator" popping up as well. In the sequel they turned up the comedy so heavily that it feels more like a child horror movie, even though it's quite a bit too grotesque for that. While this one didn't change the style that much, it just went over-the-top with everything the first one had going on. By the third, they certainly changed the element completely, making it a romantic movie about the tragic death of a girl, the boy who resurrects her because he loves her so much, and most importantly: her love from him still existed in her otherwise dead body, and she learns to control her hunger by self-mutilation. Let's ignore the sequels after the third, they're a waste of time. I happily review this flick on here because it's one I have always enjoyed, but that seems very overlooked, and underrated.
Curt is the son of Colonel Reynolds, and his father is currently part of a research to resurrect the dead to use as bio-weapons in war against terrorists. Curt and the love of his life, Julie, sneak into the army base to get a glimpse of the experiments. This later results in a fight between father and son, and when Curt and Julie leaves on his motorcycle they're in a terrible accident, and Julie doesn't make it. He takes her back to the army base... What follows is equally a story of love, as it is a unique breed of zombie horror. The love between the two is so strong that Julie can keep away from eating Curt, and to make that possible she realizes that self-mutilation helps. Little by little, she becomes more and more filled with shards of glass, metal piercings and deep wounds.
There is no doubt: this is a Brian Yuzna flick. Few people can mix elements and create a new type of horror as well as Brian Yuzna. His debut feature "Society" proves it, his newer-ish film "Rottweiler" proves it. I absolutely love the man's work, even though he has made stinkers too (remember "Silent Night, Deadly Night 4"?). Let's not forget all the awesome movies he has been a producer of. There's no surprise that this entry to the "Return of the Living Dead" series would be pushing towards a different direction, and I'm glad it did. I don't think trying to make another similar styled zombie comedy would've worked as well, and I know for sure it wouldn't have stood out as much as this one did. Because let's face it, there's not that much comedy here at all. So while it keeps many of the previous elements, it still gives it a completely new, personal style.
One thing that was always important about this series was the zombie that came out of the container in each entry: simply named Tarman. The one in the first movie is perfect and there's no improving his slimey, charming persona. The third has a great take on it as well, though. Here it's less slimey, but much more grotesque and bizarre. Half of his face is stuck on his shoulder, from having been in a Trioxin tank for so long, so when he stands to stand up proper, with her chin up, the skin rips and the face is stuck on the shoulder. And his left arm is stuck on his chest. It's original, it's gnarly, and it's perfect for "Return of the Living Dead 3".
The main reason most people watched this movie was because of Julie being on the cover in her full zombie wardrobe. Shards of glass sticking out of her face and shoulders, piercings in her nipples and lips, metal spikes coming out of her finger tips, metal spirals stuck into various places on her body, and deep wounds gracing her chest. Let's not forget the trashy clothing, with low-low jeans shorts, and showing most of her upper-body. Yeah, you remember now why you first wanted to watch this as a teenager? I certainly do, and over 10 years later I am still going back to the movie for the same reasons.
"Return of the Living Dead 3" is not an excellent movie. It's really entertaining, but I probably couldn't call it "great" even. You should watch the movie, though, because it's as different as it is. It's really creative with many of the zombies and kills, and it has molded the zombie genre into something interesting, semi-sci-fi. I think this is a very important zombie movie to check out because of how much it distances itself from other ones, but still being very true to the genre. Have fun with it! I'm sure that's all that Brian Yuzna was aiming at anyway, and that's usually the reason you should watch a zombie movie.