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Film / Return of the Living Dead 3

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Return of the Living Dead 3 is a 1993 horror film and the second sequel to The Return of the Living Dead, directed by Brian Yuzna.

When Curt's girlfriend Julie (Melinda Clarke) is killed in a motorcycle accident, he uses a secret zombie gas withheld by the military to re-animate Julie. She retains her sentience, but feels compelled to eat brains, trying to stave off her hunger while running with Curt from their pursuers.

This film has the examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Riverman lives in one. It's wide enough for a whole group of people to stand in.
  • Asshole Victim: The group of Mexicans that go after Curt and Julie.
  • Attractive Zombie: Julie remains as attractive as when she was alive (albeit turning more "dominatrix-like") as the love story is crucial to the plot. Even prompting a rape attempt from one of the villains.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Curt and Julie immolate themselves as lovers rather than let Julie be used as a superweapon.
  • Body Horror: All over the place. On top of Julie's self-mutilation, there's also what happens to the River Man, the Mexican whose head Julie pulled out with his spine still attached to his body and a particularly gruesome zombie that appears to be partially melted.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul: There's a romance between a boy and his zombified girlfriend, whom he resurrected with the Trioxin after she died in a motorcycle accident.
  • Came Back Wrong: Julie gets "resurrected" with Trioxin... as a zombie. She's far from mindless after that, but Horror Hunger and struggles to retain her humanity quickly ensue.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Zombie Julie still looks pretty cute even after she impales most of her body with metal spikes and glass shards to stave off the hunger for brains.
  • Darker and Edgier: This film is not only much more serious than the more light-hearted, comedic second film but also drops the Black Comedy the original had, replacing it with tragedy.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: A rare gender flip version; Colonel McCord (Curt's father) does not see Julie as a good influence on his son and Curt is not pleased to hear that his family is moving again. Therefore, he runs away to be with Julie...only for her to die in an accident.
  • Decapitation Presentation: After one of the Mexican hoodlums tries to rape zombie Julie offscreen, she comes back dragging his nearly severed head back to his friends, though his spine still seems to be attached to his head and torso.
  • Downer Ending: Curt gets infected, and rather than spend their lives as zombies, he decides to kill himself and Julie for good. He leads her into the incinerator and when she asks pleadingly "Where are we?" he replies "Where we're meant to be" and they take one another in their arms as the doors close.
  • Driven to Suicide: Julie can't bear existence as a zombie, and Curt can't bear existence without her, so they both allow themselves to die in a fire at the end.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The whole movie takes place over the course of a single night.
  • Facial Horror: One of the gang members after turning has his face burned off by a broken steam pipe, and spends the rest of the movie with his face being an unrecognizable mess of gore.
  • Fan Disservice: Julie is topless for the last portion of the film. But as she continues to zombify, she proceeds to cut rather deep into her body with broken shards of glass, ends up getting covered in blood, and inserts rusty old nails into several parts of her body. Not to mention the fact that she also kills a few people along the way. Although she is still fairly attractive.
  • Fingore:
    • In the beginning, a lab tech's fingers are torn off by a zombie.
    • About 2/3 of the way through the film, Julie rams a glass shard through her hand. She ends up driving several metal spikes (where is she GETTING all this sharp metal?) through her fingertips in order to have really awkward claws.
  • Horror Hunger: The hero's (undead) girlfriend develops painful hunger pangs, but none of the snacks that he procures for her will sate her appetite. Her zombie cravings cause her to mutilate herself in order to drown out the hunger... but she feels much better after she munches on a couple of street toughs. As the film goes on, even mutilating herself starts to fail to stave off the hunger. It gets so bad that at one point, she even attacks Curt.
  • Human Pincushion: Julie becomes one after impaling herself with numerous spikes and blades to stave off the hunger.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Curt has one with the Zombiefied Riverman near the end of the movie.
  • Immune to Bullets: Julie soaks up several gunshots from one of the thugs.
  • Kick the Morality Pet: At one point, when zombie Julie gets really really hungry, she attacks Curt, who is forced to fight her back.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: Curt probably wouldn't have caused all hell to break loose (twice in fact), plus not have died himself in the end, if he hadn't loved Julie as much as he did.
  • Magical Negro: The river man.
  • Ms. Fanservice : Before becoming zombified, the lovely Julie has a naked sex scene.
  • Mugging the Monster: When the leader of the Mexican gang sees zombie Julie, he takes her to another room where it's implied he was going to rape her. Predictably, he quickly loses his head.
  • Mythology Gag: Brian Peck makes his third appearance in the series, this time as one of the men in hazmat suits testing on the dead body at the beginning. Unlike his other appearances, he doesn’t die this time.
  • Our Zombies Are Different:
    • Reanimated corpses don't necessarily lose their sentience, as seen with Julie.
    • Cut off body parts moving on their own. It doesn't happen too often in the genre.
  • Resurrected Romance: A teenager uses a chemical to bring his dead girlfriend back to "life" as a zombie.
  • Revision:
    • In the previous two installments, it was implied that that the Trioxin chemical, through acid rain or pure gas form, was the real factor in creating the zombies in the first place, hence why none of the zombie-bitten victims are ever shown reanimating without the presence of the Trioxin gas/rain. However, this movie blatantly shows multiple Trioxin zombies spreading the infection through bites.
    • Return of the Living Dead Part II suggests that high-voltage electricity is a good alternative for killing the zombies. However, the military in this installment admits it has no way of safely destroying the Trioxin zombies and sticks to burning the zombies to the crisp while taking precautions to prevent the Trioxin-filled smoke from leaking into the ventilation, implying that the electrocution method isn't a viable solution. It's downplayed as this follows the logic of the original movie, which shows that the Trioxin zombies have to be reduced to ashes to properly die, and the Trioxin zombies in the second film are merely burnt by the electricity with one zombie even waking up. Electricity also produces smoke, so it runs into the same issues as the fire method.
    • The explanation for why the Trioxin eat brains is slightly altered. The original states that the zombies aren't hungry; rather, they eat brains to ease the pain of being dead. Here, Julie gets hunger pangs after returning undead, which results in her piercing herself to ignore the hunger through pain. That said, Julie isn't a rotting corpse yet, so there is at least some justification for why she has a different reason for eating brains.
  • Self-Harm: Zombie Julie keeps inflicting pain to her own body to try to mitigate her Horror Hunger. With diminishing returns...
  • Together in Death: Curt gets bitten by one of the reanimated and thus has no future with or without Julie. Rather than become reanimated or made into a super soldier if the base is ever retaken he opts to burn with her so they can be together in the afterlife.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Curt causes the deaths of countless people through his adamant efforts to preserve his zombie girlfriend. How he stays alive as long as he does is a mystery.
    • Julie grabs Curt's crotch...on a motorcycle that's moving on a highway...which causes Curt to swerve to avoid being hit by a truck, flinging Julie off the bike and breaking her neck.
  • Vampire Refugee: Julie must keep finding new and unique ways to injure herself to keep from succumbing to her zombie hunger.