The DVD Return of Return of the Living Dead
By
Phil Davetas
9/3/2002 12:06:31 PM

The Return of the Living Dead became one of my fave horror pics of the 80’s if not of all time. For one, the zombies were fast and used methodic stratagems to acquire those brains they desperately crave. It was a funny film as it was gory. But most of all it had punks that were portrayed as protagonists. The sequel was of lesser quality and geared more for the younger youth machine and failed because of it. The third was a travesty destroyed by the Yuzna fuck-up team to eliminate the comedic elements of the series by replacing it with gore and cheap effects to create a “serious” zombie flick.

Although the DVD is filled with some good stuff like a 15-minute featurette, numerous TV spots and two trailers (an R and a G trailer), there seems to be technical glitches in the movie itself. One of the great things that makes “ROTLD” is the music. And when the Tall Boys’ “Talk a Walk” and Roky Erickson’s “Burn the Flames” are cut down and muted out from the original cut I felt cheated. But the songs do exist in its full glory during the commentary, the dubbed Spanish and French versions, but lack in the original DVD viewing. The movie is burned on both Standard and Widescreen, but don’t be fooled. The widescreen is the same as the standard—all they did was place black bars on the tops and bottoms of the screen to make it feel like a widescreen presentation. And in retrospect, the commentary is the obligatory reminiscent documentation of what they did to get certain shots and talk very little (if anything) about the creation of the story, theme, etc. Bottom line, is this worth the cash? Well, this movie’s been out of print for 15 years, there are technical problems with the soundtrack fluttering off and on, because the filmmakers cough buttons drown out the soundtrack while the movie’s playing. Let’s just say it’s better than nothing. But don’t spend any of your hard earned cash for the collection. Renting it seems to be the only way to go until MGM figures out a way to release the film again without its fuck-ups.

A Frivolous Note

When I first saw “Return of the Living Dead 3” I was in the Army and I couldn’t help but to laugh hysterically at the uniforms featured in the film. They had rank being used as battalion insignias, name tags slapped on out of Army regulation, hair touching the ears, people who didn’t know the courtesy of saluting and a Deuce and a half with good brakes. Sure, not many people give a shit or would even notice, but when Dan O’Bannon helmed “ROTLD,” why did he get it right?

MGM // 1985 // 91 Minutes // Rated R

 

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