Curious kids unearth the barrels that helped revive the dead of the first film, which proves the second time’s an undead charm.
After the success of the first film it was no shock to see a sequel, even though the ending didn’t leave much option for one. But as we all know that never stops Hollywood, they always find a way and it’s rare that it turns out well.
This film may say Part 2 but it’s more like a cheap, badly made remake. The film has nothing to do with the first film, except for the presence of the chemical 245 Trioxin which makes them the living dead. The script was not originally written as a sequel in the “Living Dead” franchise but Producer Tom Fox would only finance Ken Wiederhorn’s story it if he agreed to make it a part of the series.
Despite having directed several horror pictures, director Ken Wiederhorn was not a fan of the horror genre. Many of the cast and crew members have expressed in interviews that they were displeased with his lack of enthusiasm towards the project. That lack of enthusiasm really shows through on screen, even the presence of a reinvented Tarman doesn’t save this stink of a film. There’s no laughs, no scares and horrible effects nothing that made the original so great.
For you eagle eyed viewers you’ll notice that Thom Mathews and James Karen nearly duplicate their roles from “The Return of the Living Dead” as a pair who are sickened by zombie gas. In both films they have the exchange, “Listen kid, if you like this job…” “Like this job? Like this job!” Also the dialogue from the operator on the Special Army Emergencies telephone line is word for word exactly the same as in “The Return of the Living Dead”, complete with “Hold the line Mr Wilson, you are being transferred”.
It’s hard to believe that this film had over triple the budget of the first film, it doesn’t show at all, you wonder what the budget went on?! Also the Michael Jackson zombie cameo is just embarrassing to witness and the ending is just a big anti-climax. I wish I could give this a good review but the films an insult to it’s fans and is just cringe worthy to watch.
Sequels can be a hit and miss, this was a huge miss which is such a shame as it had so much potential to work with. Luckily things do get better in the next film.
Miscellaneous facts about the film:
The music score on the DVD release is almost completely different to the original theater, laserdisc and VHS versions. This is widely said to be because of difficulties obtaining the rights to use the original score. However, the original score can be heard on the French audio track.
Writer/Director Ken Wiederhorn was trying to get out of the horror genre at the time Lorimar Productions bought his script. Once the film was released he received nothing but horror-comedy directing opportunities.
The cemetery and storm drain were complete outdoor sets. The mausoleum, hospital, meat packing factory, and interior houses were also purpose-built sets.
The set for Jesse’s bedroom is the same one used for Billy’s. Posters and furniture were re-arranged to change the look.
The street where Jesse and his family live was in fact a tract housing development still under construction.
The fictional town the film is set in is called Westvale.
The MPAA would have granted this film a PG-13, if the scene at the hospital where the zombie is shot in half was toned down.
The blue electrocution lines in the final sequence were all hand-drawn frame by frame and cost over $50,000.
Near the very end of the electrocution scene, a Michael Jackson impersonator zombie can be seen – a direct reference to his Thriller music video.
Thor Van Lingen (who plays trouble maker Billy) originally auditioned for the main role of Jesse.
At the end of the original VHS tape, there is a commercial for a number that you can call to order clothing from the movie. This was a limited time offer from the company Movie Tees. You could order a white tank top, a black or white t-shirt, and a black and white sweatshirt with 3-4 different designs.
‘Brian Peck’ is the only person to have a role in the first 3 movies in the ‘Return of the Living Dead’ franchise. Playing the role of ‘Scuz’ in the first, many of the closeup zombies in the second (‘Pussface’, ”Thriller’, ‘Jaw’, ‘Eye-Pop’, ‘Zombie on Car Roof’) and finally ‘Ballistics Technician’ in the third.
James Karen’s character, Ed, says “I’m gonna get me cremated.” This is how his character eventually dies in the previous film, The Return of the Living Dead.
The issue of “Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man” that Jesse takes out of his comic-book box at the beginning of the movie is number 53, from April 1981.
Thom Mathews disliked the sequel so much that he said the best part about making the film was the outstanding craft services.
The Michael Jackson zombie was improvised on the spot.
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