Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Return of the Living Dead 5: Rave to the Grave (2005)

Bloody Sci Fi channel, what the hell did Dan O'Bannon ever do to them that caused them to make Return of the Living Dead 4 and 5, two of the most unwelcome sequels of all time.

Rave to the Grave starts off by completely ignoring any backstory present in it's predecessor Necropolis by giving every returning main character a case of selective amnesia; I won't go into that though, as I've yet to see Necropolis. Peter Coyote, also returns from the previous film, cashing his cheque in what's basically an extended cameo. Coyote plays Charles Garrison, some guy who, for some reason has several canisters of Trioxin on his hands. He tries to sell it to people who are-unbeknowest to him-undercover Interpol agents, and becomes zombie chow while testing out the chemical on stolen corpses. You'd think that for someone who knows as much about the chemical as he did, that he wouldn't gas up several corpses and not bother to assume that they'd come back to life behind him. Well that's exactly what happens and Coyote and the re-animated bodies are all killed by the Interpol agents (more on them later).

Meanwhile a College student, Julian is rifling about his dead uncle's (Coyote) house and comes across a secret compartment that leads him to the remaining Trioxin canisters. After taking a canister to school to have it tested by his science geek friend Cody, Cody, along with two other friends decides to sell the Trioxin as a drug to other students on campus behind Julian's back and reap on the profits. The drug soon starts to take effect on people though, and before long, it starts to slowly turning them into zombies.

After the Trioxin canisters is the two Interpol agents mentioned before, Gino and Aldo. They are bar none the best part of the movie. They can't act, probably don't speak a word of English, and are part of a running joke that doesn't work at all (they love crispy cremes and EuroDisney), and is in fact so bad, it actually becomes entertaining.

Acting aside, Gino and Aldo are fun, entertaining and they're two of the best zombie slayers I've ever seen in movies like this. The zombies have started to infest the campus, and you're under the impression that this outbreak cannot be stopped by any means, that all hell is about to break loose-well, armed with a couple of machine guns, the two agents defuse the whole situation in a way that is completely unheard of in any zombie film...actually killing all of the zombies! They literally stop the outbreak with a few bullets, and an unexpected rocket launcher-the only reason that the movie is still going is that we've still got the rave to get to. As for the rocket launcher, it's one of the more unexpected moments in the film. Two hippies are driving with two zombies in the back (put in there by guys who thought that they were just high) and get attacked, etc. The two agents were following the car, and when it comes to a halt, they get out of their car and these two Interpol agents just happen to travel with high-grade military artillery in their car boot and totally obliterate the car while operatic music plays in the background.

The campus where the film is set is strangely adult-less. There are no teachers present, students hold massive raves, sell and take hard drugs, stand around in broad daylight tripping out, and wear super skimpy tops that a porn star would be proud of. That and students can walk around campus casually while carting a military chemical containment canister around!

The acting is uniformally terrible, the only actors of note being Maria Dinulescu (a Romanian actress, decent in her own right but doesn't get to do much here) and Sorin Cocis and Claudiu Bleont as the two Interpol agents. Some of the dialogue is pretty bad too, "Come on Chucky, we're frat brothers, we're supposed to share everything, especially when it comes to internal organs".

The gore effects are decent, ranging from eyeball trauma with drumsticks...

...to guitar decapitation!

The climax of the film is the titular rave, where everyone starts turning into zombies thanks to the drug and the place turns into a bloodbath. Never fear however, because we have two Italian Interpol agents dressed as Viking Valkyries, armed with machine guns to save the day!

Yeah, this movie exists!!!

And the movie ends with a cameo by Tarman, who's hitchhiking for the rave. No one picks him up and he walks off into the distance forlornly yelling 'BRAINS' as some sad folk music plays.

Overall, the film is a bearable zombie flick if you disregard its sequel-status to Return of the Living Dead and the only thing saving it from being just another tedious zombie movie are the aforementioned actors. Regarding that sequel-status though, this and Necropolis are bound to drive any ROTLD fans into a complete murderous frenzy.


  1. I have one word: UGH. I will review 3, 4, and 5 hopefully before the year is out. But 4 and 5 are just terrible films that shouldn't have been made. Great review!

  2. I still haven't seen 3, but I really think I should, given that it's directed by Brian Yuzna and contains that awesome transformation/gearing-up scene!

  3. There are occasions that I've watched 4 and 5 out of some At-The-Completionist's-Altar meandering, but they've never done a thing for me. Their rewatchability factor seems based on their apparently inability to make me remember ANYTHING about them. 1 and 2 are the only ones I'll voluntarily rewatch.