I don’t want to live in the world presented on “Return of the Living Dead”. Not because of the zombies. Because zombies, man… they scare me. But because people are stupid in the world of ROTLD. Really stupid. There’s a big rave and no one can notice people being attacked, or getting their scalps torn from the roots while undead people feast on the gooey insides because–hey, it’s a party, anything can happen. Let me tell you, I can notice when someone has burnt themselves with a cigarette (which is usually funny within itself) in a crowded street, so I think I’d notice someone having their head torn open by someone’s teeth, even in a crowded room with blaring music on a constant loop, but then again this is an extremely low-budget set of sequels to a classic zombie series. Sheesh, Ellory Elkayem, you were so good at comedy in “Eight Legged Freaks”–what happened?!
In this world, medical students can use a top secret toxic canister for experiments and not be questioned, in this world people can be attacked and devoured during a rave and no one will stop dancing, in this world a cheerleader can get her ass bitten off and not cause a stir among everyone, in this world a missile can blast a party to smithereens, fashioning a humongous crater and no one asks questions, nothing is reported, and its survivors aren’t hushed. In this world, people deserve to die for being so brainless (pun not intended). However, you can take consolation in the simple fact that this kind of bad film gives you perfect opportunity to improvise mocking. The line I used that had my family in tears was “Waiter, there’s a hair in my brain”, so that’s a plus.
There are so many things to laugh at here, you just have to take the good with the bad. Zombies that spout “Brains” without real conviction, the tar man hitchhiking on the road with a sign, a pizza man zombie who is still holding pizzas, and a cheerleader who gets her ass bitten off. It’s all here for a funny individual to use for their gain and score points with improvised jokes. Upon Tar Man’s entrance I declared “In his past life he was an accountant”; you had to be there. If anything it should make the movie just zoom by. The movie sucks, which basically goes without saying, and it should; you just know by the opening that this movie will suck. Peter Coyote bites it, two stalwarts from “Reservoir Dogs” with some sort of foreign accent shoot the room dead, and decide it’s their mission to stop the zombie invasion before it gets too out of hand.
They have cumbersome ammo, non-stop weapons of destruction, always appear on a scene at the right time, and always know when a zombie is near. How? Who cares, these characters are hilarious and as you’d expect, they’re played for laughs. The entire movie is, which sucks. The first two were played as dark comedy, the second horror drama, and these two are just played for horror comedy. How else to explain the one-liner spouted by one of the characters after killing the zombie pizza man: “You guys are always late.” My one-liner was funnier, but hey, I’m not the one starring in a movie. Either way, you can argue a movie like this shouldn’t be taken seriously, but how else could I have enjoyed the misery?
The zombies don’t run like hell anymore, a bullet to the head takes them down, they eat flesh as well as brains (After twenty years wouldn’t you be sick of it, too?), and their transformation takes fluctuations depending on plot convenience. A person taking one pill of Z turns quickly, a character that takes at least seven doesn’t turn until the climax. At least be consistent, is all I’m asking. The “Dawn of the Dead” remake may not have been a masterpiece but it was slightly consistent. So, the kids taking these drugs extracted from the dead gas (Notice the drug is called Z? High-larious). So, much of the film is a trifecta of vapid sub-plots. Our main character is trying to find out the source of the dead gas, the Tarantino stalwarts loom around campus killing the zombies, and the zombies scattered around the campus, walk around bumping in to and eating people.
And tar man makes an appearance and for the remainder of his cameo he is standing by the side of a road trying to be picked up by drivers. The only logical scene in this movie is that he isn’t picked up because people are frightened by his appearance. And then the movie is capped off with not a laugh but a disgusted scoff as in the end tar man drops the sign and walks off angrily down the road screaming “Brains!” as cars pass by. Damn, I feel like punching in my screen just describing that last scene. Try sitting through it. “Waiter, there’s a hair in my brain”, oh how I crack myself up. Anyway, what can I say that I already haven’t? Peter Coyote needs work, zombies scream “Brains!” and really eat flesh, bad extras dance during a really bad party, and I wasted time to serve you. You owe me.