Return of the Living Dead Part II (1988)

Written & Directed by: Ken Widerhorn


James Karen ... Ed
Thom Mathews ... Joey
Dana Ashbrook ... Tom Essex
Michael Kenworthy ... Jesse Wilson
Marsha Dietlein ... Lucy Wilson
Philip Bruns ... Doc Mandel
Thor Van Lingen ... Billy

Release Date: Theatrical: January 15, 1988

*Images courtesy at:






A rotting corpse in a toxic barrel that fell out of an army truck underneath a pipeline and a kid Jesse Wilson (Michael Kenworthy) is told by a couple of bullies Billy (Thor Van Lingen) and Johnny (Jason Hogan) that he got accepted into their club as they dare him to go to their fort only to realise that it's a mortuary as they trap him in there. Nearby, Billy and Johnny accidentally release a gas from the barrel they found underneath the bridge when they try to open it. They walk home feeling sick. Meanwhile this revived the corpse as it's hungry for brains.
To top it all off, the gas flows into a graveyard causing a rainstorm and the dead starts to crawl out of the grave and terrorise a neighborhood looking for brains while the army and survivors try to put a stop to the zombies.
The gas also flowed into the mortuary but Jesse has managed to escape while two men Ed (James Karen) and Joey (Thom Matthews) are cutting up corpses in their coffins to take their jewellry. They suddenly get infected by the gas.
Jesse, his sister Lucy (Marsha Dietlein), and a delivery kid Tom Essex (Dana Ashbrook) tries to escape the madness with the zombies invading the neighborhood with the help from a local Doc Mandel (Philip Bruns) but then he finds out that both Ed and Joey have no pulse which can make things more difficult for them along with Billy resurrected into a zombie and still trying to terrorise poor Jesse.


Great shots of the graveyard and the comedic looks at the dead crawling out of the grave too plus has great scenes of the zombies invading the small town.
There's a good shot on a barrel falling from an army truck and landing into the water.
Good shots on the Jesse Wilson being pitted against two bullies telling him he's in the group and insisting him to see their fort which there's good shots on all of them as well as making it look like they're going to trick him.
A good moment with them in a water pipe seeing the barrel as well as good close up shots on the three of them screaming in terror at what they see.
Some good slapstick moments surrounding Ed, Joey and Lucy Wilson
stopping by a mortuary and getting ready to do some dirty work at the mortuary.
Good close up shots on Jesse Wilson
inside the mortuary trying to climb up a window with a coffin springing out as well as him crashing to the floor through the coffin and then a nice shot on him lying on a ground with the corpse next to him.
A nice close up shot on Billy and his friend by trying to figure out how to open the barrel with a good shot of steam spitting out as they react well by coughing. Plus there's a great shot on the steam flowing through the graveyard with nice shots on the gravestone's plus a nice shot on rain falling down on the ground with the mist rising.
A nice comedic moment with Ed looking at a corpse and cutting off some pieces and being sarcastic about it and Joey acting grossed out by it all and almost about to leave.
A good moment with Jesse having a brief discussion with Billy sick in bed as it was well done looking like he was dying and it looked almost gruesome too.
There's a great dark shot with Jesse trying to get a look at the barrel realising that it's empty and then a nice movement on him reflecting a flashlight on Tarman calling out "Brains" to him which looked very creepy as well as him tripping back and trying to get away.
There's perfect shots on the mist in the graveyard with the zombie's rising from the grave as there was the odd slapstick with other zombies falling into the holes of the grave's where they crawled out of which seemed to spice it up a bit with the dark comedy used in the film.
Also a nice shot on a zombie rising up from a coffin in the mortuary with great freaked out reactions by Ed and Joey after spotting it as this showed some nice timing with both the dark comedy and the horror blended in together.
A good outdoor shot on
Lucy waiting outside of the mortuary and then a nice shot on her spotting a zombie calling to her with her acting frightened and then bumping into a pussface zombie with her screaming and then punching through his face with many great close up takes on this.
A great close up shot on Billy's Dad bending down at a female zombie and then her rising up to bite his head which looked gruesomey well shot. There's also a perfect dark camera shot surrounding Ed, Joey and Lucy in the middle of the road with zombie's circling around them.
A great funny moment with Ed, Joe and Lucy freaking out inside of a house with Tom Essex stabbing a zombie head and trying to get rid of it in which this moment
offers a few chuckles with his work on that. Also there's a nice shot on a zombie crashing through a glass door and grabbing Jesse's hair which looked perfect too.
Good shot on a Mom hugging Billy looking lifeless and then a great close up shot on his about to bite her head with a close up shot on her showing a surprised expression which looked quite disturbing.
A nice shot on both Tom struggling against a zombie in the house with them wrestling on the TV and a good close up shot on them hitting a TV clicker with a workout show airing and then good shots on the other zombie's stopping at what they're doing and walking towards the TV.
A great moment with the main people speeding away in a car with a zombie on a car trying to grab at them. There's also funny shots on them battling a cut off hand which is grabbing Ed by the throat as well as a good shot of the hand being thrown out of the car and flipping the bird. The situations on all of this looked entertainingly funny.
We spot a moment with Doc Mandel in a hospital room testing Ed and Joey in which the two of them do well groaning and crying as well as Doc telling the news that they aren't alive which is a cheesy remake on the first one.
A nice moment with a zombie in a hospital with Jesse trying to hide and then a good shot on this zombie smashing through some glass to try and get to him. There's also a nice comedic moment on this living corpse after he is cut in half trying to find his body which can offer the odd laugh for those who are scared of zombie flicks by making up showing the dark comedy here thanks to a good slapstick moment on all of this.
A good shot on
two army soldiers shooting their guns at Ed as well as a nice close up shot on him rising up again with a goofy expression.
A nice scene with Lucy driving in the car and then Joey suddenly showing an evil grin and telling her that he wants to eat her brains with her running away in a cathedral and him trying to convince her for him to eat it and telling her how it would taste which was quite humorous on how it was done. There's also a nice close up shot on him trying to act charming in order to eat her brain. Then there's a good shot on him biting her head with a nice close up shot on her getting a rouse out of it.
There's another good scene with both of the soldiers sitting near their jeep with their weapons in hand firing away at the zombies which was totally energetic.
Nice shots on both Doc and Jesse throwing brains out of a truck with the zombies going for the brains. Plus there's a good close up shot on Billy picking one up and eating it.
Also a great shot on the zombie's behind a metal fence trying to get in with Billy climbing up over the fence and pressing the button to open the metal fence.
There's also good struggling moments between Billy attacking Jesse in a moment of survival.
Bottom line is that this sequel didn't pick up after the first film and was basically a remake of the first flick as well as spoofing many other types of events like Michael Jackson's video "Thriller" as well as Dawn of the Dead. Yet this films lacks big time and not really doing a heck of alot. Since there were good performances and a nice direction it's saved from bombing but at the same time misses by being considered an average zombie flick.
There are nice scenarios though with mean kids picking on another one by trying to trick him that he was accepted into a club and then they discover the barrel with the corpse inside of it. We get to see a cameo by Tarman but that doesn't make up for a bad plotline. Plus, there's some of the same one liners used in this one as well as some of the same actors playing different characters on them slowly turning into zombies like they did in the first film with the same elements on what they're going to do. C'mon!!!! This film should've taken place after the first one and it didn't. So it was totally pointless.
There is I must say, neat special effects with the gore as well as zombies being electrocuted which was worth watching too. Plus there's lots of good dark shots on the zombies trying to attack their victims.
There's another sequel which is a story by itself but it was alot better and more original too.

The acting was very slapstick like in the first film but done in a good fashion. James Karen (Ed) plays another character and really knew how to behave gross and sarcastic. He certainly portrayed a redneck type of role in the film and did it with great style. His timing on his dark comedy was just right. He also really knew how to whine and act childish when the terrors starts to happen like in the first film.
Thom Matthews
(Joey) also returns playing a different character and like in the first film played his sidekick. He still showed some awesome energy and a nice goofiness to his part in the film along with his insecure attitude. Also does well acting grossed out by what he spots in a certain scene. Also knew on how to act sick and crazily out of it. Plus was good when changed into a zombie acting more comedic this time and less wild in which he seems to show it off nicely too.
Dana Ashbrook
(Tom Essex) does well as a geeky type of teen who tries to save the day by showing great characteristics and shocked expressions when he has to get away from the zombies. He brought everything he had on the big screen and was highly energetic too. Probably one of the best supporting actors in the film.
Michael Kenworthy
(Jesse Wilson) had the nice kid like looks and a good imaginative personality who loves action superhero comics and can come across as someone who is into all sorts of excitement. He brings alot out of his personality and knew how to act humerous while trying to fight for his life too. He does well acting scared when he spots a corpse next to him during a certain scene.
Marsha Dietlein (Lucy Wilson) certainly came across well with her screaming and freaked out reactions as the girlfriend in the film in which she does it so much she was truly annoying in which she was supposed to have been and does this all very well. She had the beautiful looks which was a nice plus for a horror film character being the victim of the terrors around her. Shows off a nice freaked out reaction when someone tells her about wanting to eat her brain.
Philip Bruns (Doc Mandel) brought some descent wit as a doctor in the film and shows some nice timing with the comedy used in the film. He knew how to draw attention to the screen as one of the key members in the film. He wasn't overly terrific but still can do the job.
Thor Van Lingen
(Billy) lived to play a school bully like kid in the film as he shows nice mean looks to his part along with his dominating attitude. He certainly reminds you of someone you were picked on for sure and is perfect with his nastiness too. He also looked creepier when he was resurrected into a zombie and brought alot of terror out of him when he performed that way too.

A guy chops up a corpse.
A woman prods her hand through a zombies face.
Zombies bite the tops of people's heads to eat their brains.
Zombies arms are cut off as well as a body blown in half.
Zombies faces are torn off.
Lots of exposed brains.

We hear the odd string plucking and some fine thin violin playing along with some screechy noises. There's also good windy type synthesizer playing too along with the deep aaino playing to top it off when the dead will soon rise as well as great music beats for this situation which sounded very 80's style and not overrated at all which did justice big time. There's also some nice strong classical music sounding light and then really getting into it when the terror happens. Also good synthesizer music as well as chiming sounds that is really out there.

There's a great powerful 80's soundtrack which is better than the first one:
The near beginning before the opening credits there's an army truck carrying stuff as the track Julian Cope with "Space Hopper" is being played which has a fast pace to it sounding 80's cheese but in a good way which shows a nice rhytm to what is happening here.
A nice song by Leatherwolf while there's a vehicle speeding away with their stompin tune "Alone in the Night" as this really gets to the rhythm of things as well as the wailing vocals that we hear too.
Also there's a great metal tune by Anthrax with "
A.D.I./The Horror of It All" during a scene where some of the survivors are throwing brains in the back of a truck when they're trying to get away from them which had a real balls to the wall feel which was a great choice.
Now I've seen this movie a few times and there's a different songtrack to the closing credits so I will review both of them.
First up a nice cover tune during the closing credits with a group called The Big O with "Monster Mash" which has a great tune to it with great synthesizer stompin sounds.
Yet on another version we have Lamont with Flesh to Flesh which is a better one for a closing credits of this kind in my personal opinion as there's insane vocalising really drawing the power in as it is very 80's genre which suits a retro film such as this one. Yes I go for this one instead.

Jesse Wilson: That's why you're dead, asswipe. No brains and a big mouth!

Ed: You're right, there's a chill in the air tonight. Fifty-eight years old, can't be too careful in this weather.
Joey: [Pointing to coffin] Ya, you'll end up in one of those.
Ed: Uh-uh. Not me. You'll never find me in one of these. I'm gonna get me cremated.
Joey: You're just afraid that some old creep like you is gonna come along and steal your head.
Ed: Watch your tongue, boy, if you like this job!
Joey: Like this job?

Doc Mandel: Hey look, its Harvey!... It wasn't my fault Harvey, we ran out of type O!

Joey: I feel like we've been here before. You... Me... Them!


Brenda: Joey, I'm not into dead guys!

Billy: You told, you told, now you die like me.

Lucy Wilson: Look, they're ugly and they're dirty and they're dumb, and I don't even care if they are dead. I hate 'em, there's no way they're touching me!

Joey: Let me eat your braaaiiiiiinnnnn!

Ed: Kiss, kiss.

Zombie Head: Get that damned screwdriver out of my head!