Lingerers

Lingerers

At first, I thought lingerers were kind of rare in zombie lore, but the more I look around the more I think they are basically the norm. Lingerers are zombies who retain something of their old selves. They remember something, either an ingrained skill or maybe even all their memory.

In the Romero movies many of the zombies slowly began regaining their human skills and memories over time. In Return of the Living Dead they were basically just angry versions of themselves.

Regardless of the film series, these are some of the most common zombies around.

lingerers

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Eternals

Eternals

Eternals just won’t die. No matter what you do, cut them to bits, blow them up, even destroy the brain, these guys just won’t stay down. Think of the scene in Return of the living dead where the zombie takes a pickax to the head but still keeps going. In fact, as we saw in that film, the individual pieces keep on coming even after they are separated from the body. Disembodied hands, and feet, eternally coming after us and they absolutely will not stop.

In ROTLD the only way to stop them was to incinerate them, burn up every bit so there are no more moving parts to do harm.

That, to me, is scary AF.
eternals

Love Beyond the Grave: A Look at Return of the Living Dead III

Julie WalkerEarlier this week I did a quick review of Return of the Living Dead Part Three. (Click here for more of that.) As I believe I said in that review, it’s not exactly my favorite zombie movie but still holds sweet place in my heart because of when it came out and when I first saw it.

If you’re interested, and you like seeing some of the behind the scenes things that I’ve shared earlier, this is another little peek behind the scenes of the making of Return 3.

So have fun with that!

Check it out by clicking here.

Return of the Living Dead Part 3

As much as I rag on how bad the sequels to Return of the Living Dead are, I have to admit to rely liking this one when it came out. That was in part because I was pretty similar to the main protagonist, same hairstyle and clothes, a dad in the military and I’d just broken up with my girlfriend who looked just like the girl in this movie.

So although I don’t think it’s a particularly good movie, I figured it was time to sit down and bang out a review of Return of the Living Dead part 3.

Return_of_the_living_dead_3The Poster:
This is actually the DVD cover but it says everything. Julie Walker is THE central character of the movie. Not much else about the movie really matters and as such there’s not much to the poster.  It’s actually disappointingly simple; blood red backdrop with a full moon and the silhouette of a crappy tree. it doesn’t look like a poster for a real movie so much as a kids Halloween party.

The Good:
This story plays out like Romeo and Juliet where Romeo is the son of the military commander in charge of doing experiments with trioxin gas and Juliet, Julie, is his recently deceased girlfriend. I don’t mean to give anything away but you can probably guess that like Romeo and Juliet this is going to turn into tragedy.

And just in case you forgot trioxin gas is the gas the military used which went haywire and caused the corpses of the dead to reanimate and come back seeking the brains of the living.

The best part of the movie really is the performance given by Melinda Clarke, who plays Julie. She’s basically a recent returned girl who is struggling with the fact that she’s aware that she’s dead, doesn’t want to be, and is trying to avoid hurting the people around her that she cares about. It’s the first time in one of these movies we really get to follow how it feels to become a zombie from the zombie’s point of view. We got a little bit of that in the first two Return movies, more so in the first than the second, but this one goes much deeper into the emotions of the person who’s turning. And in order to play that without coming across as silly or comical it really took a lot of effort on the part of the actress and I can’t say she did a bad job.

One other thing this movie did right was getting away from the humor of the second film.

The Bad:
Like a lot of B movies from this time there is a level of realism they get up to that is just believable within the movie but never really rises to the level of total believability. The characters are mostly archetypes and don’t feel like fully realized individuals.

Many of the effects, although gory and awesome, seem designed only to shock. That is, they’re just obvious gimmicks. One zombie that had rotted in a tank for a long time comes out with its head, arm and shoulder fused. Yeah, it looks pretty nasty, but it looks like the effects people through it in there just for the sake of having another nasty monster, not because it fit the story or was particularly believable.

Counter that zombie with the super skinny zombie who’s being experimented on in the lab. This guy looks fantastic. It’s an actor in simple makeup who really is incredibly skinny, his zombie character builds the story, scares the hell out of us, and looks incredible. That is an incredible zombie. Counter that against the gang boss who walks around with his spine sticking out with his head on top like some kind of zombie giraffe. It’s just laughable.

The Beautiful:
Whenever I do these reviews I always have the good the bad and the ugly. But I’m making a slight change in this case, because Melinda Clarke as Julie really is incredibly beautiful. She’s one of the most memorable female zombies out there. So even though this movie ranks pretty low on my list, her zombie character stands out as one of the top most memorable zombies I’ve seen.

I even  illustrated her one time. Just click here to check out that image. 

Return of the Living Dead 2

This is a movie review I’ve been dreading doing for some time. Partly because it would mean sitting down to watch this movie again and partly because I’ve already mentioned quite a bit about it in other posts. Bottom line, this is a TERRIBLE sequel to a BRILLIANT first movie.

returnofthelivingdead2
THE POSTER: 
The only thing that comes to mind here is Falcor from the never ending story.

falcor chunkSee what I mean.

It’s meant to remind us of the smoky amazing ending to the first movie, a brilliant piece of horror fiction but trips so hard it’s actually an accurate foreshadowing of how bad this and the rest of the movies in this series are going to be. It’s also kind of crazy in that this movie completely ignores the events of the first movie’s ending which are hinted at in the poster.

And before I go any farther, let me say this: This movie shits on the grave of the original in more ways than are easily counted.

THE GOOD: 
If you haven’t seen the original, do so.
You can read my review here.
Everything good about this movie is in the original.

THE BAD:
Where to begin?!  I think I’ll go with a light cinema sins style review and just list up the crap points.

– Crappy narration sets a “this is a goofy horror movie” mood instead of a “this is a story you’ll care about” mood.
– “Typical Army screw up” cliche used to explain the loss of deadly zombie-filled canisters.
– Movie seems to completely gloss over the ending of the first film (mentioned above.)
– Sequel introduces a kid protagonist and “bully” antagonists who are about as realistic as Manakin Skywalker. He’s also unimaginably calm and collected in the face of what for any normal kid would be mind blowing crazy run-ins with the face of horror.

return of the living dead 2 kid– The music is terrible. SOOOOO terrible.

– Tarman, who was killed off in the first film kind of sort of comes back in this movie. It’s actually a totally different zombie but looks the same.

– Lots of screwy points of logic. For example two canisters of highly toxic material held out in the open being checked by guys in hazmat suits taking great care about how they handle the canisters. However they are being guard by totally unprotected MP’s only a few feet away.

– Apparently you can punch a zombie in the face to kill them?

– Apparently electrocution kills zombies? Also keep an eye out for the Michael Jackson zombie near the end of the movie. It’s almost neat.
Michael Jackson zombie

THE UGLY:
If this were just a straight horror comedy it would be great. But coming on the heels of the first film and reusing so many of the same actors just doesn’t come across as all that funny.  This lead to a lot of confusion on the part of the audience as they weren’t sure what to make of it. Was it meant to be a reboot? A direct sequel? An alternate universe? Even the characters comment on this as they feel as if they’ve done all this before.

giving in

giving in
On the surface, most people don’t like the idea of giving in. We love our suffering heroes and we don’t have respect for quitters. Yet we all give in to tiny things all the time, cheating on our diets or sneaking out of work a little early. We give in to the pressure our friends put on us to go out or to do something we KNOW is stupid. We give up on our dreams.

Giving in to the inevitable horror is usually only done at the very end when nothing more can be done. This might happen heroically like in Aliens when the Aliens are crawling through the air vents and Vasquez is hurt. She and Burke end up sharing a grenade that also takes out the Aliens around them.

When I did this illustration I was thinking of a scene in the second Return of the Living Dead film. The girlfriend of one of the zombies who has turned after being sick most of the movie decides to give in and let him eat her brain. This also happens in a few other movies like in Dellamorte Dellamore when the girlfriend of one the lead biker boy lets his zombie corpse eat her. She even goes so far as to say, “Leave him alone. He’s only eating me!”

What a horror love can be. That it would let us do crazy things like that. So giving in here also lets us think of love and the doors it opens and closes for us.

Yellow Cadaver

Yellow Cadaver
Return of the Living Dead introduced a lot of new ideas to the world of horror and one of those was the unstoppable zombie. Early in the movie a cadaver meant for a medical school gets exposed to the deadly zomibifying trioxin gas from the basement of the building and starts running amok. He has to be dealt with so the survivors let him out and drive a pickax through his head. After all, that’s what they did in “that movie.” They destroyed the brain to kill the creature.

Problem is, it doesn’t work.

In fact the zombies in these films are so powerful and indestructible that nothing short of total incineration will stop them. Cut off a hand and the hand keeps coming. Cut off the head and the body will keep running around while the head bites at you from the ground. It’s a horrifying idea that nothing you do will ever work and it first came to us in this brilliant scene with the incredible yellow cadaver.