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Blu-ray Review: Return Of The Living Dead 3 (Vestron Video Collector’s Series)
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Blu-ray Review: Return Of The Living Dead 3 (Vestron Video Collector’s Series)

Return Of The Living Dead 3
Blu-ray (Vestron Video Collector’s Series)
Director: Brian Yuzna
Screenwriter: John Penney
Cast: Melinda Clarke, J. Trevor Edmond, Kent McCord, Basil Wallace, James T. Callahan, Sarah Douglas
Distributor: Lionsgate
Release Date: November 22, 2016

“Julie, are you eating him? You should stop it.”

Directed by Brian Yuzna (Society, Bride of Re-Animator), Return of the Living Dead 3 is coming to limited-edition Blu-ray, thanks to the Vestron Video Collector’s Series. The second sequel to Dan O’Bannon’s classic 1985 film, Yuzna’s movie bears little resemblance to its predecessors, eschewing comedy in favor of a romantic story with sci-fi elements.

When Curt Reynolds (J. Trevor Edmond, Lord of Illusions) snags his dad’s security key card, he and his girlfriend, Julie Walker (Melinda Clarke, Nikita), decide to explore the military base where his father works. Using the card, they sneak into a hangar and observe Curt’s father, Col. John Reynolds (Kent McCord), Col. Peck (James T. Callahan), and Lt. Col. Sinclair (Sarah Douglas) overseeing an experiment with a cadaver.

The body is exposed to 2-4-5 Trioxin gas, which reanimates the corpse into a zombie. The military plans to use Trioxin as a kind of super-soldier serum, transforming servicemen and women into an unstoppable army of cannibalistic killers. The zombies are impossible to control, however, as their hunger for human brains prevents them from following orders.

To tame the zombies, Sinclair wants to graft the reanimated corpses to powered exoskeletons that will immobilize them when not in battle. Reynolds, on the other hand, prefers “paretic infusion,” a chemical injection that paralyzes the zombie — by freezing its brain — until it’s needed. When tested on the zombie in the lab, it’s successful for only a moment before the effect wears off and the zombie breaks free and goes on a rampage, leading to Reynolds’ removal from the top-secret project.

Later, Curt and Julie are involved in a devastating motorcycle accident in which Julie dies. Being the caring and supportive boyfriend he is, Curt brings his dearly departed back to the base and resurrects her using the Trioxin gas, because true love never dies, obviously. Now a zombie, Julie has an insatiable appetite for brains, and Curt — like Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors — must resort to desperate measures to keep her well-fed.

Return of the Living Dead 3 is a really interesting departure from not just the standard zombie movie, but the horror-comedy genre that defined the first two Return of the Living Dead films as well. Clarke gives a bold performance and the special effects by Steve Johnson (A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, Fright Night) and Chris Nelson (Kill Bill, Sin City) are impressive. Keep an eye out for cameos from Brian Peck (“Scuzz” in the original Return of the Living Dead) as a government agent and Anthony Hickox, director of Waxwork and Waxwork II: Lost in Time, who plays a scientist killed by a zombie early on in the film.

As for the disc itself, the limited-edition Blu-ray features an unrated 1080p high definition transfer (16×9 Widescreen 1.85:1) from the original film elements. The original 2.0 Stereo Audio is included, as well as DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Audio. There’s also all-new special features, including an audio commentary with Melinda Clarke and special make-up effects artist Tom Rainone, a conversation with Brian Yuzna and screenwriter John Penney, and interviews with special effects artists Steve Johnson and Chris Nelson as well as editor/post-production supervisor Christopher Roth.

Overall, this is another great release for Lionsgate’s Vestron Video Collector’s Series label. It’s an amazing time to be a fan of VHS horror, with labels like Vestron, Scream Factory, Synapse, and Arrow Video giving cult titles top-notch Blu-ray releases. Return of the Living Dead 3 isn’t a particularly good movie – nowhere near as satisfying as O’Bannon’s original – but the idea of a living dead girl self-mutilating to stop herself from eating people is pretty interesting in itself. It’s certainly worth a look for those searching for a different spin on the zombie movie, and you won’t find a better looking version than the one presented here.

Return of the Living Dead 3 is now available at Amazon. Also available from Vestron Video Collector’s Series: Chopping Mall, Blood Diner, Waxwork and Waxwork II: Lost in Time, and C.H.U.D II: Bud The Chud.

Special Features

— Still Gallery
— Audio Commentary with Brian Yuzna
— Audio Commentary with Melinda Clarke & Tom Rainone
Ashes to Ashes – A Conversation with Brian Yuzna & John Penney
Living Dead Girl – An Interview with Melinda Clarke
Romeo Is Bleeding – An Interview with J. Trevor Edmond
Trimark & Trioxin – Interviews with David Tripet & Chris Roth
The Resurrected Dead – Interviews with Special Effects Designers Steve Johnson & Chris Nelson

Exclusive Video

Special make-up effects artist Chris Nelson breaks down a scene where actor Anthony Hickox has a ‘head banging’ encounter with a zombie in Return Of The Living Dead 3.

Cover Art

Return Of The Living Dead 3 (Vestron Video Collector’s Series) Blu-ray Cover Art

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