Playing it straight, sans humor, Return of the Living Dead III departs from the first two films of the horror series that began in 1985. In an effort to capture the youth market, this B-pic emphasizes a love story gone awry at the expense of constructing a scary plot.
Tale begins with two attractive lovebirds, Curt (J. Trevor Edmond) and Julie (Mindy Clarke), sneaking into his father’s army research lab, where experiments are conducted with Trioxin, a chemical capable of bringing the dead back to life, which was introduced in the series’ first installment. When Julie dies in a tragic motorcycle accident, the heartbroken Curt is determined to keep her alive by exposing her to the ‘magical’ chemical.
Serving as background is the yarn of Curt’s insensitive father (Kent McCord), about to be relieved from his top-ranking position by the Pentagon’s new female chief (Sarah Douglas). Most of the pic consists of special effects that include piercing, vampirism and cannibalism.
Pic boasts the dubious achievement of using five different special effects experts – the superior Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness reportedly held the previous record of a four-memeber crew. This may be why, after the story reaches its climax and resolution, pic goes on for another act, entirely composed of special effects.