Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Return of the Living Dead Part 2

Return of the Living Dead Part 2

Get that damned screwdriver out of my head!

Jarv’s Rating: 1 Chang of 4

I hate it when this happens. I don’t want to come across as a miserable bastard when I’m doing these reviews (well, more miserable than usual) but this is just such a gigantic let down.

Return of the Living Dead was the film that took Romero outside and then beat him with one of his own shoes. It was a superb, hilarious, irreverent, gross horror comedy that took all the best bits of zombie films and added a few of its own. It was smart without being smug, nasty when necessary and one of the most genuinely enjoyable schlocky horror films of its’ time.

This, however, is not. It does, to be fair, give me a great chance to expand on one of Jarv’s golden rules of schlock horror, but in comparison to its incredible elder sibling and the inventive, shocking and superb second sequel it’s a massive, massive failure.

I can hear the thinking behind this. It sounds exactly like “KA-CHING”. The original was a highly successful little film, so a sequel was always going to be inevitable. To make matters worse, it deliberately sets out to compare itself to the original, and is lacking in every single conceivable way. It’s like Audley Harrison comparing himself to Mohammed Ali- just stupid and outclassed.

It is also as lazy as you can get. Dialogue, location, plot, and actors are all rehashed in a shameless and frankly bone-idle attempt to recreate the magic. To make matters worse, one of the returning cast members even drops a wink to the audience by saying “I’m sure we’ve seen this before”. You don’t say. I don’t ask for a lot from these movies, but please put some fucking effort in.

Not to mention the fact that the town was nuked in the original, and they even gave a route for a sequel that would have made sense. This isn’t so much Part 2 as “Part 1, but gelded”. The original is 18 rated in the UK. This is 15. As soon as you see a drop in rating then you know that it isn’t going to be anywhere near as good as the original.

Plotwise: 3 kids find a barrel of trioxin. Gas gets out, chaos and hilarity fail to ensue, before undead horde are defeated using the brilliant plan of a truck load of beef brains and enough electricity to power Kim Cattrel’s vibrator for 45 seconds. It’s moronic dogshit of the lowest order, stupid without being fun, and any momentary enjoyment is buried under the weight of it’s own self-regard.

The acting is not worthy of mention, and the direction is insipid and uninspired. The writing, on the other hand, is worth a mention- because it’s crap. Imagine the bastard lovechild of Kevin Williamson and Diabolo Cody scrawling on a wall in crayon and I bet they would come up with “zingers” like you get in this film. I can’t physically be arsed to go through them all, and the thought of doing so makes me depressed, but really, crap like “You’ve got a big mouth and no brains” really makes me want to kick the writer. All the characters are poorly thought out stereotypes, the set pieces have as much tension as the skin on a bowl of custard, and it manages to be dull, predictable and frustrating.

So, given all the above, is there any reason on earth to watch this lame rehash? Well, I’ve given it one solitary Chang, and that’s for the zombies themselves, who are hilarious. The brilliant exchange where the zombie tries to persuade the survivors to return to the hospital is very funny, and they are as a rule much more professional than the previous effort. They aren’t a patch on the glorious and hideous monster Julie in the second sequel, but at least the Tarman makes a welcome cameo. If you must inflict this tripe on yourself, they do briefly enliven things (before it slides right back into the crapper with the young couple whinging about something or other).

I know this is from the original, but I couldn't find a good one from this film

And this brings me on to Jarv’s 2nd rule of schlock horror: do not make a child the central character. The reason being, as soon as you do you neuter the film. Only truly vindictive and bad natured films kill children. Schlock is more playful and inept fun- so the presence of a child as the main protagonist automatically means that said child is not going to die (as much as he may deserve it), and if he/she does then it’s a horrible piece of shit that needs avoiding anyhow.  Teenagers are great cannon fodder, but anyone under the age of 16 should not feature in a risk taking capacity at all.

Overall, would I recommend this? No, I most certainly would not. Watch the original for laughs and the third film for genuine horror. This is boring, ill conceived, downright lazy cash in with all the charm of a steaming dog turd on a summer’s day.

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

37 responses to “Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Return of the Living Dead Part 2”

  1. Bartleby says :

    “Imagine the bastard lovechild of Kevin Williamson and Diabolo Cody scrawling on a wall in crayon and I bet they would come up with “zingers” like you get in this film.”

    Trade out feces with crayon, and you are dead on, my friend.

    Great review Jarv. I hated this film as a child. But refresh my memory, which one is it where the zombie chidingly calls out “I know your’e up there! I can smell your brains!” I distinctly remember meeting my wife, and hearing her fire that one off a few hours later and thinking “I might have to marry this girl.

    I realize I’ve just made her sound far more dorky that she really is.

  2. Jarv says :

    First one, I think, but they say variations on it in all of them.

    This one has the absolutely excruciating sequence with the couple in the church and he’s begging her to let him eat her brains. And she does.


    I actually didn’t know how many RotLD films there are- there’s loads of them. If I had the stomach, I’d do an “athon” of them.

  3. just pillow talk says :

    I’ve only seen the original ROTLD….never knew there was so many “sequels”.

  4. lord bronco says :

    Dang-I remember the first one, but get them confused…Was this the one with the medical supply house scene…And part 3 was actually horror? Hmmm-must be getting netflix for research

  5. Jarv says :

    There’s loads of them, I’ve only seen 3 before yesterday, but 3 is superb.

    Inventive, nasty and pretty scary. It does veer a bit close to Torture Porn on occasion, but it’s got one of the truly great monsters in it.

  6. xiphos0311 says :

    Jarv spot on review this movie was a colossal ass raping compared to the original there wasn’t one once of fun to found in this cash in.

  7. Jarv says :

    Part 3 is the one where the army brat douchebag reanimates his goth girlfriend.


  8. Bartleby says :

    that movie was sick. Part 3 I mean. I also don’t remember it being very good. It was released by Trimark or Vidmark or one of those companies. I remember it being released on vhs along with Carnosaur, Dead Alive and Warlock: The Armageddon. I think, as my dad co-owned a video store at the time, we watched them all in a weekend. Needless to say Dead Alive stood the test of time and the others did not. Surprised you like that one Jarv.

  9. Bartleby says :

    when I say along with…I don’t mean as a package. I mean they were all released in the same month or something. It was Christmas vacation, so there was gore aplenty to be watched.

  10. Jarv says :

    I’ve only seen it once and that was a long time ago. It was actually the first of the RotLD films I saw.

    I should probably rewatch it, but it’s got a good rating on IMDB (not that that means anything).

    It is, in hindsight, a piss-poor RotLD film- in that it isn’t funny in the slightest. I’ve always wondered if it was meant to be for another series and they tacked it on to this one.

  11. Bartleby says :

    Quite possible. The company that produced it, Vidmark, was terribly cheap, but in hindsight they gave the world so many crappy but wonderful things. The original Warlock film. Leprechaun. the U.S. release of Brain Dead. I’d love to find a list of Vidmark/Trimark films. They were consistently and constantly releasing shlock. Worst was Corman’s company, New Horizons. They would drop any old ball of crap onto dvd. Running behind them all, as the once champion, was Charles Band’s Full Moon company. Ahh, the nostalgia of schlock.

    The early 90s on video. Having Puppet Master, Shannon Tweed, Jeff Wincott flashbacks. Oh hell.

    • Continentalop says :

      God was Concorde/New Horizon crappy. Remember Black Scorpion or Shadow Dancer? Carnosaur I was ok, but the fucking sequels.

      As for Full Moon, I think they went down the shitter when started to expand with Torchlight. It seemed to be just a downward slide in quality after that (Head of the Family?).

  12. Bartleby says :

    umm..vhs..not dvd

  13. Jarv says :

    Funnily enough, I watched Brain Dead again recently, and it doesn’t hold up as well as I remember it doing.

    Bad Taste on the other hand……

    “Right, you intergalactic arseholes, I’m coming for you”

  14. xiphos0311 says :

    I saw Brain Dead again a couple of years ago and I had the same reaction it wasn’t as good as I remembered it to be. I hate it when that happens.

  15. Jarv says :

    Bits of it are still wonderful- Father McGruder kicks ass for the lord, the baby in the park scene, but the finale with the mother coming back supercharged hasn’t aged well.

  16. Bartleby says :

    funny..I saw it about two years ago and it still seemed pretty insane. Although, Bad Taste I could admire from a low-budget perspective, didn’t interest me much at all. I guess I have the Pete Jackson disease. Kong Syphilis.

    • Jarv says :

      Fuck PJ.

      Seriously. Dude lost me permanently with (to quote noted sage Bodet) Jurassic Kong following on from that snoozefest ROTK.

      • Bartleby says :

        Yea, you either missed or refused to comment on the part from yesterday where I briefly considered Kong for my best of decade. I think that might be the flick upon which you and I most violently disagree.

      • Jarv says :

        Best of the decade?

        What have you been smoking?

        Pull yourself together, man!

        It should be a film about a giant ape running amok- except Jackson thought he was making the worlds weirdest love story.

        For 3 Hours.


  17. Bartleby says :

    I wouldnt say it hasnt aged well..only because it was horribly done even at the time. Remember, that by the time PJ made this film, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Abyss, Terminator 2 (and if you count the time it reached us over here) Jurassic Park had already happened. Even horror films weren’t as terrifyingly cheap as they had been. Lionel’s mum is like a giant latex muppet and I think that’s mostly intentional. It only heightens the absurdity for me. Besides, it comes after that awesome lawnmower scene.”Sorry, party’s over.”

    C’mon. Sumatran rat monkey biting mom. “Your mother ate my dog”. ripping zombies head off with lawn rake and vise. Lionel biting his way through rogue intestine.

  18. Jarv says :

    I actually think the design of her is crap- at the time I thought it was good, but now I look back at it and think “what?”

    Don’t get me wrong, I like it, but it just isn’t as good as I remembered it being.

  19. xiphos0311 says :

    Kong syphilis? one shot of penicillin and two bananas it goes away. Now about the color of the CGI flames in that movie…

  20. ThereWolf says :

    The first one is the one with the punks, right? That was a laugh, but I can’t remember ‘2’ at all. Funny review, I like that conversational style.

    Believe it or not, I also considered King Kong for my ‘Best Of’ but sadly it hasn’t quite made it. I think it’s a terrific piece of work, a credit to the crew, but really could have done without Jack Black and a Giant Ape ice skating.

  21. Jarv says :


    Kong= Bad.

    Needs Giant Robots.

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