Lorimar are probably better known as the name behind some of the cheesiest US TV productions so anyone expecting their presentation of the sequel to the teen punk horror classic Return of the Living Dead to be anything but dross really had something coming…
The film opens with a convoy of army trucks transporting the now infamous chemical waste (as seen in part 1) from a to b, whilst crossing a bridge en route some stoner soldiers listening to Julian Cope don't notice a canister fall from truck into river below. The scene cuts to some small kids larking about in local cemetery who stumble onto said canister (which has somehow found its way into a sewer duct there) and promptly freak on sight of the corpse contained inside. Cue grave robbing comedy duo James Karen and Thom Mathews (who both seem to have completely disregarded the fact that they were clearly killed off in the first movie) who arrive on the scene to plunder the cemetery for whatever ghoulish goodies they can find. Now if you need to be told where this movies heading then perhaps this is just the movie for you…ok then (for the less than insightful)…canister opens…zombie onslaught ensues…
Now, I have to say…I love zombie films, truly love them - but why is it I think that ROTLD part 2 truly stinks? Well, the crunch of the matter is that it is quite simply a lackluster and insipid turd of a movie. In fact I would rate this as one of the worst zombie movies out there if not for the fact that the crown of the truly worst is firmly held by the monstrosity that is 'Raiders of the Living Dead' (a film that you should not go near under any circumstances - you have been warned, steer clear of the Image special edition). The problem with ROTLD part 2 is that it makes no effort whatsoever to elaborate or expand on the excellence of the first movie and simply seeks to haplessly ride on the wave of the first films success, but does so with no originality, substance or style. Why on earth did they choose to bring back James Karen and Thom Mathews if not to try cash in on their popularity from the first feature, where's the plot gone as there simply isn't one here and this normally wouldn't be such a bad thing in a zombie movie (see 'Nights of Terror' or 'Nightmare City' for true no plot entertainment value) but this film is lifeless and devoid of what we call 'fun'. Where's the gore? Mashing up the odd zombie head doesn't constitute gore in a zombie film, what is a zombie film without lashings of flesh eating gore? Sure minimal gore is something we could possibly live with if it had some atmosphere but this soulless plodder has nothing really to offer whatsoever, in fact it's look a poor mans Michael Jackson 'Thriller'.
So I ain't a big fan of this clunker but does this release have anything redeeming to offer the casual horror movie lover? Well, if you know this film and are one of those strange breed that think it has something to enjoy then you'll just be happy to see it unleashed on DVD at long last. Like the film itself though this DVD is similarly lacking in presentation…this release is from a label called Shark Entertainment and contains the film along with audio options in English, Spanish and German. The full screen image is stable and colourful throughout though suffers from soft grain no doubt from a straight NTSC to PAL transfer, the audio tracks are fine and clear throughout also. But other than the film there's no additional features whatsoever, not that I mind but at least a trailer for the film would have been welcome (the trailer's all I ever really need!)
Checking out ROTLD 2 again after so many years simply reminded me just how awful a film it really is, but if you actually like this stinker or are a living dead completist with more money than sense then perhaps this bare bones release will be for you.
Review by Alan Simpson
|Released by Shark Entertainment|
|Region 2 - Pal|
|Audio - Optional Spanish, English or German|