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Friday, September 30, 2011

Return of the Living Dead: Part 2 (1987) - Ken Weiderhorn



Return of the Living Dead Part 2, much like the original, does little to frighten you and more to make your roll your eyes. This parody of 80's Z Movies is so full of slapstick comedy and corny over-the-top acting that you can hardly take this movie seriously at all. Perhaps that is the point. The movie does little to add to the Z mythos that is floating around Hollywood. Instead, it lifts most of the plot points from the previous film. It looks like a higher budget and more thought out version of the original movie. It even brings back two actors from the first movie that sort of reprise their roles in this one.

This movie follows the young Jesse Wilson, a young kid that lives in a newly developed housing project. While grab-assing with the local hooligans he finds a familiar looking barrel that is shrouded in mystery. While left in the protection of the local hooligans, the barrel is opened and zombie gas seeps out. Now Jesse, his sister, the cable-repair boy, and some holdovers from the first movie have to survive and find their way out of the city that is in quarantine!

Doesn't that sound a little familiar? I can't really blame the director here, there is only one available main plot for Z movies. The only thing that the director/writers can do are hire new actors and tweak the subplot points. The main story is still going to be the same. Zombies are attacking en masse (is that right?) and a few people have to survive; two of those people trying to survive already died in the last movie, and they even reference the fact that they are back in this movie, relating to their previous encounter with Zombies as nothing but a dream.


This movie is corny and un-creative but overall qualifies to be a quite an amazing b-movie of the era. Is this movie better than its original? No. However, it is on a different plane. This movie is as watchable as any dark comedy from the 80's and should be celebrated as such. I can watch this movie back to back with a classic like Better Off Dead.

This movie is full of gore including creative deaths and floods of blood. It actually surprised me a bit to see the gore. They really saved the money gained from the first movie and put it into the effects for this one. I guess that is a plus. I suggest watching this movie if you are a fan of 80's horror. This movie is incredibly nostalgic. Even the soundtrack takes you back.


Director: Ken Weiderhorn
Country: USA

Did ya know...
There is a Michael Jackson zombie in Thriller gear that pops up. Thom Matthews and James Karen both, nearly, reprise their roles from the first movie. Even going as far as to repeat a few of their lines. The director wanted to get out of the horror business and purposefully made this movie in a more comedic way to try to gain more comedic scripts. He still, almost exclusively, receives horror scripts.


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