Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988)

I watched Return of the Living Dead Part II hoping for something on par with its gleefully fun predecessor. Let’s see how that worked out, shall we?

Original

Sequel

 

Return of the Living Dead

Return of the Living Dead Part 2 Poster 

  • A cast filled with young adults trying very hard and some genuinely good actors, like Clu Glulager.
  • James Karen, a lot of fun in the original, returns along with Thom Mathews in – confusingly – completely different roles… having a lot less fun. The major role is played by an untalented thirteen year-old – you’ll (futilely) spend the film hoping that zombies will eat him.
  • Campy, clever humour.
  • Cringe-worthy, hokey slapstick, plus a half-decent Michael Jackson “Thriller” gag.
  • Invigorating ‘80s punk soundtrack, featuring The Damned.
  • Awful, generic ‘80s synth pop soundtrack, featuring Robert Palmer.
  • Revolutionary zombie designs – speedy, intelligent zombies plus the best zombie ever, Tarman.
  • Somehow the zombies have gone back to stock designs as brainless shamblers. An inferior version of Tarman does appear, before being unceremoniously pushed off a cliff by the aforementioned thirteen year-old.
  • Ambitious, pushing the limits of its low budget.
  • Uninspired cash-in. Looks like a cheap student film.
  • Fast-paced and original.
  • Sluggish pacing and editing, plus the screenplay recycles plot points wholesale from its precursor.
  • Highly recommended! (Rating: 181/200)
  • …Don’t bother. (Rating: 45/200)

14 thoughts on “Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988)

  1. While the first one is my favorite movie and the sequel isn’t nearly as good, I still think it’s kind of fun and better than a lot of other zombie flicks.

    • I admit, I haven’t actually seen that many zombie films. This isn’t the worst film I’ve ever watched by any means, but it’s just so much worse than the original that I think my high expectations aggravated my disappointment. I think if you take out the child actor and speed up the film a good deal it could have been decent…

  2. Excellent post, man – great format!! This sequel SUCKED but it’s still better than 4 & 5 – whatever you do – DON’T attempt them. They will leave you broken and sad. And maybe even crying in the closet.

    • Haha I don’t think I can take another average zombie movie. I see you left out number 3 there – it’s supposed be okay, right? I’ve heard it’s very different but decent in it’s own right…

    • Oh, and thanks re: the format! It’s actually really difficult to get tables to look half-decent on WordPress (or it was for me, anyway) so I don’t know if I’ll do it again any time soon! Always trying to do something a little different within the constraints of 200 words, though.

    • It’s actually really weird, I think, that the first film was totally exploitation – Quigley nude or half-nude for most of the film, gore everywhere – and then the sequel is really tame and, like, almost a family zombie film, what with the awful pop soundtrack and the terrible child actor. I don’t really understand why they thought people would want something less gory and over-the-top and with no fan-service at all (unless you count the aerobic video scene, I guess). Normally horror sequels are the total opposite, pushing the boundaries of nudity and violence because they can. Weird.

    • Thanks for the comment – not a fan of the original? It’s not the best zombie film I’ve ever seen, certainly (that’s probably Night of the Living Dead – a classic for a reason), but it’s definitely up there for me! Just the right mix of genuine horror and over-the-top ridiculousness.

  3. Pingback: Halloween II (1981) | ccpopculture

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