Saturday, November 7, 2009

Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988)

I must say, I was quite surprised to find the second Return of the Living Dead movie inside of an envelope from Blockbuster yesterday when I went out to check the mail because the last time I looked at my rental queue online it said the movie had a very long wait. Unfortunately the excitement of finally being able to watch this movie was dampened once I realized that it was going to fall far short of the bar set by the first Return of the Living Dead. That said, it is still a fun film to watch, though one I recommend seeing with friends who enjoy such horror comedies rather than by yourself (these ‘so bad there good’ movies always seem more enjoyable with friends). Also, don’t be alarmed if you see a few familiar faces amongst the living.

It was these familiar faces that made me realize why I was so confused several months ago when I watched the first Return of the Living Dead on TV one night after not having seen it for nearly ten years. The first time I saw Return of the Living Dead was on Joe Bob Brigg’s Monster Vision and he had been showing several of the Return movies back to back. As usual, however, I fell asleep during the show (this always happened even though I loved Monster Vision) and only caught bits and pieces of the second movie. Because of this, and because they used two of the same actors in the second movie, actors who had different names but experienced the same horrific moments, I blended the two together, and then, when watching the first one a few months ago, thought scenes were missing. For one, I was almost positive that there was a scene with the tar-man zombie in a sewer type location (the beginning of part 2), and I was certain that there was a moment when Frank held up a severed zombie head and had his fingers bitten (again, part two, and this time his name was Ed). I also mixed in several of the chase scenes through the town, though it was easier for me to realize I might have accidentally taken those from another zombie movie when watching the first one since those types of scenes are naturally similar in most movies.

Now, one thing I didn’t really understand in this movie was how much time had passed between the moment the zombie container fell off the army truck and landed in the river to the time it was opened by the dumb kids in the sewer area? When the kids go to open the container it seems like a lot of time has passed since it is covered in dried guck, and somehow made its way into the very back of that elevated sewer system, one that seemed to only have the opening in the front (I may be wrong about that though). However, whenever we cut back to the army scenes it looks like they set up a perimeter around the town shortly after the container was lost from the truck. So, did I miss something? I know the kid called the army to report the container, but it seems like even then they already had a perimeter set up. If not, then they did one hell of a nice job evacuating that town in such a short time period, while also doing a nice job of missing the areas closest to where the container ended up even though they could have just followed the river.

Oh well. Like I said earlier, this is a fun film to watch with friends but one that falls far short of the first Return of the Living Dead and will be disappointing if you’re hoping for something on par with that first movie. Also, I kind of feel like they tried way to hard to make this movie funny, which turned it into more a zombie spoof than anything else. Sure, the first movie had its comedic moments, but they came second to the scares, which was the main focus of the movie. With this one it seemed like the comedy was the main focus and they didn’t even really try to frighten us.

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