dinsdag 24 januari 2012

Brian Yuzna - Old vs New

In this new segment I'd like to take a look at a directors' work from the past and the present, compare them and find out what has changed over the years. Has he (or she) lost it, or are the good old times still alive and kicking in their weird artist-mind. As the title, clearly, has given away already: Bian Yuzna is the first to be examined. The guy behind the sequels to Re-animator, the start of everyones true horror with 'the Dentist' and of course the guy behind the third 'Return of the Living Dead' film.

The New- Amphibious 3D

The last decade has done a lot of damage to his name, with flops such as 'Faust' and 'Rottweilier' he seemed to have lost his touch. His latest project, Amphibious 3D, had been announced a few years back and was supposed to be an ambitious horrorfilm shot in 3D. The film, however, wasn't picked up by investors which lead to a whole bunch of financial problems when they were already halfway through. Now it's finally there to be seen by us, the fans of his true cult hits.

A film being on the shelves for such a period of time is not necessarily a bad thing. We all remember the amazing 'Trick 'R Treat' which took over 3 years to finally get a release. Anyhow, Amphibious 3D tells the story about marine biologist Skylar Shane who hires an expat charter boat captain, Jack Bowman, to help her find prehistoric life form samples in the north Sumatran Sea. During the expedition, they run into some of Jack's 'friends', a gang of smugglers headquartered on a fishing platform in the middle of the sea. Tamal, an orphan sold into servitude, begs Skylar to take him away. She empathizes with the boy, who reminds her of her lost daughter, Rebecca, and is determined to help him, not knowing what lurks beneath the dark inky water, waiting to surface.

It's not the worst of his kind. It has a true 'SyFy' feeling to it which means a couple of positive things, but it can turn out rather poorly very quickly. I couldn't help but feel that Yuzna had already given up on the film after the first few days of shooting the bastard. It has no 'energy', as if he was forced to work on it. The SMFX are done pretty nicely and it often saves his butt, to be honest. In the end, it's just painfull to watch such an awesome director become complete clueless on what to do next.

The Old -Return of the Living Dead Part III

So let's forget about the new and dive back into the nineties. The third part in a -so far- fun horror series isn't always the one you'd be looking forward to. The nineties were all about the sequels, some of them were bad and some of them were good. Oh, and some of them were brilliant. And yes, Yuzna's zombie madness is nothing less than brilliant. 

Colonel Reynolds and his group of government scientists continue their work on re-animating the dead for military use. His son Curt and his girlfriend Julie use Dad's security pass to sneak in and watch the proceedings. Later when father and son have a disagreement, Curt and Julie take off on a motorcycle and Julie is killed in an accident. Grief-stricken, Curt takes her body to the lab and brings her back to life. Curt must help Julie deal with her new existence as military agents and local gang members try to find them

What's most surprising is the fact that, even though it has a teen-love-story, it still feels exciting and fresh. The military base is a perfect location and the slow transformation of Melinda Clarke as Julie works like a charm. The main reason why I'd prefer this over the second, and quite possibly the first (oh my...), is because of the mind blowing special effects. The ending brought forth some of the best gore-moments in horror history. Yuzna has proven himself to be a worthy director to succesfully capture such fenomenal ideas on film.


Yuzna isn't the director he used to be. There's no excitement to be spotted and no cool ideas to be exploited. It doesn't have the fresh and wild approach. He's constantly struggling with boundaries, which didn't seem to excist in ROTLD Part III. I can't say it was a lucky shot back then, but sometimes you have your doubts..


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