BRAAAAAAIIIIIINNNNNSSSS!!! The Return of the Living Dead Series. Part 1: Jarv looks back at Return of the Living Dead 1-3.
Next up on my quest through horror movie series is the incomparable Return of the Living Dead. The original Return of the Living Dead (here on referred to as ROTLD)was one of my first Vault reviews from way back in the Summer of 2009, and to be honest, it doesn’t read anywhere near as well now as I thought it did. I followed this with ROTLD 2 in November 2009, and again, it’s not my most sophisticated piece of criticism ever. I finally took on ROTLD 3 last year, as part of my quest to watch every Brian Yuzna film ever made, and the review is a bit better. But what is Return of the Living Dead, I hear you ask?
You hear that? That’s the optimistic sound of a brand new series starting!
Yes, we talk a fair amount about killer animals films here, and one species in particular has managed to savage himself a certain notoriety in cinema: The Killer Dog. There are hundreds of these movies out there, and due to Stephen King’s iconic Cujo they are somewhat of a mainstay of the killer animal genre. Admittedly, most of them are absolute shit on a stick, but there are enough juicy ones to keep the tail wagging.
Anyhow, first up is Brian Yuzna’s 2004 effort Rottweiler. I am promised unstoppable killer cyborg dogs in a mixed up dystopian future, and as Yuzna is directing, then there should be buckets of gore and more tits than a bird sanctuary. Read More…
I think that baby is normal, but Craig is crazy.
Jarv’s Rating: 2 Changs out of 4. Not what it’s billed as, thankfully.
I have to say that I did approach this effort of Yuzna’s with some trepidation. Space Rape films aren’t really my thing, being more in Wolf’s territory than anything else (Inseminoid, Xtro et al). Furthermore, the later Yuzna films have marked a severe decline in quality from the late 80’s/ early 90’s heyday. Still, 100% completion is something to aspire to, so with a mild sense of trepidation, I put it on. I would like to use this chance to express my absolute gratitude that this isn’t as billed- being more of a psychological thriller than anything else. Albeit one with a touch of tentacle molestation. You know, Yuzna had to throw in something to keep his fanbase happy. Read More…
I am the pornography that gets you hot!
Jarv’s Rating: Yup, it gets the Ramirez of Insanity. This is a fundamentally terrible film, however it’s also one written by an angry posse of Manic Depressives who’ve been off the lithium for a while. Seriously, the climax of this film features a black mass/ orgy where a woman gives birth to a snake which is then fellated by a restrained guy smeared in that clay stuff that posh spas flog to credulous rich women as Facemask for £900 a tub before a giant penis demon appears and watches our villain have grubby S&M sex with our heroine while a guy in a terrible demon costume watches and cries for a while. Nuts. Completely and utterly nuts.
As I near the summit of Mount Yuzna, I have to say that for the most part it’s been a very pleasurable experience. The majority of the films on this list have been cheerful schlocky garbage, with a few legitimately underrated gems in there. Unfortunately, something seemed to go wrong for the big fella Post-Bride of Re-Animator, and with the exception of Beyond Re-Animator, the rest of them have been, well, pretty terrible. Entertaining as all hell, don’t get me wrong, but I’m starting to think that Society and the Re-Animator films are the exception rather than the rule. Take Faust: Love of the Damned, for example. I’m reliably informed that this mess is based on a funny book (oh dear), and I’m also reliably informed that it’s an “adult” funnybook. Now, when I hear that expression I automatically think of Hentai and Japanese schoolgirls being molested by giant Tentacle penis monsters from Dimension X (or whatever). Which really doesn’t bode well for the film. Read More…
I don’t know what’s happening to me, I’m not alive, I’m not dead, I’m just so lonely.
Jarv’s Rating: Two and a half Changs out of four. This film is unfairly maligned. There are serious problems to it, and tonally it’s way off, but overall this is a solid zombie movie with a fucking spectacular central monster. Seriously spectacular, actually.
My apologies for this run of incessant schlock. Ordinarily, I do try to mix it up a wee bit, but I’m on a quest to 100% both Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna films before I come to the hideous Birthday Series. I say hideous, because I watched 3 minutes of Xanadu earlier and aside from being horrified that it had Gene Kelly in it, I was forced to turn it off. In the meantime, in order to prepare myself for the forthcoming awfulness, I’m stocking up on my Schlock reserves so I’ve got fun films to think about while my brain is melting.
We’re just one big happy family – except for a little incest and psychosis
Jarv’s Rating: 3 Changs out of 4. A savage social satire masquerading as a truly disgusting monster movie. It may be a tad unsubtle but, nevertheless, the final scene simply has to be seen to be believed. Honestly, I’m a bit traumatised now.
The late 80’s were arguably the most soulless time in history. Evil over hair-gelled bastards had proclaimed themselves as the Masters of the Universe and all completely missed the point of Wall Street and secretly really wanted to be Gordon Gecko. At the same time, the true evil of the “Hit Factory” was foisting manufactured bubblegum music on the world (we’re still suffering from the legacy of that), and this period represented the absolute apex of the Randian inspired cult of the individual. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that this was the most selfish and self-interested time that I’ve witnessed and not one that I feel particularly nostalgic for. At the same time, however, Brian Yuzna was also disgusted at what he saw, but luckily for the world he had both the experience and a platform to properly voice his disgust. The result? 1989’s scabrous satire Society- a film with a blazingly unsubtle message, but a hugely entertaining look at the rich as another kind of animal altogether.
That 3 Years I spent in solitary…. I did some of my very best work!
Jarv’s Rating: Two and a Half Changs out of Four. While the law of diminishing returns is definitely kicking in with the Re-Animator series, there’s still much more to like here than dislike.
I’m feeling both extremely pleased and extremely cross with myself. Pleased because as of this morning I have now completed the Re-Animator series and am approaching completion in both 100% Stuart Gordon (and brilliantly now also 100% Brian Yuzna), which is, let’s face it, a billion times better than the 100% PWS Anderson that I accidentally managed last month. However, I’m cross with myself because this is easily the best non-Evil Dead horror trilogy that I’ve seen and I should have epic reviewed it in Frank and Droid style. Moreover, I’m actually cross with the world in general, because there isn’t a Re-Animator Box Set available. Why the fuck not? I really want to buy it, and I think it would sit proudly on my shelf with the Pot of Gore, Attack Pack and Evil Dead collections. Read More…
It ate him… bit off his head… like a gingerbread man!
Jarv’s Rating: 3 Changs out of 4. Considering that this is based on H.P. Lovecraft, it really is a fantastic monster movie with a splendid beast, boob, gore and general giggles. And I thought that it couldn’t be done.
I feel a bit silly now. In the Re-Animator review the other day, I said that it wasn’t possible to adapt Lovecraft to the big screen, and that Re-Animator was the closest anyone could get and only managed it by taking enormous liberties with the source material. In my defence, I hadn’t seen From Beyond at the time, and I wasn’t even aware that it was a Lovecraft Adaptation. Still, ignorance is no excuse, and I would like to say that I’ve learnt a valuable lesson from this, but that would be a flagrant lie. I clearly haven’t.
This morbid doodling with human body parts… is this what it’s all about? Is this what all our great work has led to?
Jarv’s Rating: 3 Changs out of 4. This is how you fucking do it: completely loopy, rock-solid slice of deep-fried gold that mashes classical horror references in with some of the most gleefully demented insanity in any horror sequel.
Let’s be absolutely crystal clear from the word go: Bride of Re-Animator has about as much to do with H.P. Lovecraft as Silvio Berlusconi has to do with chastity and honesty. There was plenty of room at the end of the original classic Re-Animator to totally justify a sequel, and in 1990 Brian Yuzna took up the reins and returned with the full surviving cast (and a few undead ones) to Stuart Gordon’s finest hour. Except this time, the decision was made to go for a full-blown comedy. Actually, the film this most reminds me of is Frankenhooker, it’s got the same gleeful sense of stupidity as that film and it could quite easily have been made by Henenlotter- it’s got his sensibilities running right through it. Bride of Re-Animator is, simply put, an absolutely stupendous piece of schlock, a gore filled gigglefest that even the most po-faced gorehound could find some enjoyment in. Oh, and it features notorious decapitated undead cunt Dr. Hill- except this time it features Dr. Hill 2.0: with added cuntishness and bat wings. Read More…