Return of the Living Dead Part II

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Return of the Living Dead
Part II
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ken Wiederhorn
Produced by
  • Eugene C. Cashman
  • Tom Fox
  • William S. Gilmore
Written by Ken Wiederhorn
Music by J. Peter Robinson
Cinematography Robert Elswit
Edited by Charles Bornstein
Distributed by Lorimar Motion Pictures
Release date
  • January 15, 1988 (1988-01-15)
Running time
89 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6.2 million
Box office $9.2 million[2]

Return of the Living Dead Part II is a 1988[3] American comedy horror film written and directed by Ken Wiederhorn. The film was released by Lorimar Motion Pictures on January 8, 1988, and was a minor box office success, making over $9 million at the box office in the United States against its $6.2 million budget.

It is the first of four sequels to The Return of the Living Dead. The film was generally panned and currently holds a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes.[4]


A military truck is transporting barrels of Trioxin, when one breaks loose and falls into a river without the driver noticing. The next morning, a group of boys Jesse Wilson, Billy, and Johnny go to a mausoleum in a cemetery, where they try to initiate Jesse, but he's able to break free and runaway to hide in the sewer.

They find a Trioxin barrel and open it and gas leaks out. They see a corpse in the barrel and run away screaming. When Jesse says he's going to call the Army from a number on the barrel, the bullies trap him in derelict mausoleum and leave him. A van pulls up to the cemetery with Ed, Joey, and Brenda. Ed explains to Joey that they are there to rob graves; Brenda is creeped out by cemeteries and stays behind in the van. Ed and Joey go into the cemetery where they start to loot the tombs in the mausoleum where Jesse is. When they enter it, Jesse is able to break free and run home.

Billy and Johnny return to the sewer and open barrel, releasing the toxic gas, which permeates the whole cemetery, and the rain that evening makes the Trioxin seep into the ground. Jesse was ordered to do his homework by his older sister, Lucy, but sneaks out of the house when a cable guy, Tom, distracts her. He goes to Billy's house to see him, but he is ill, so he makes up an excuse and Billy's Mom allows him in for a brief visit. Jesse sees the effects of the Trioxin, which has made Billy ill. Billy warns Jesse not to tell anyone what they've found. Jesse returns to the sewer to further examine the barrel. He sees a tar-covered zombie and he flees to the cemetery. He sees a hand coming up through the ground near one of the graves and runs away.

Brenda goes to check on the guys and encounters a zombie, but is able to get away. Ed and Joey are still inside the Mausoleum when a corpse comes to life. Joey smashes his head with a crowbar, and they flee the building. They are running through a mob of zombies when they run into Brenda, who is hysterical.

Jesse gets home and tries to tell Lucy about the zombie uprising, but she dismisses him and locks him in his room. Elsewhere, Ed, Joey, and Brenda show up at Billy's house to get help but they run away when Billy's dad pulls a shotgun on them. Meanwhile, Jesse starts a fire outside his door to set off the smoke alarms, to distract Lucy so he can escape. Jesse calls the Army and gets through to a Colonel, but the call gets disconnected. Ed, Joey, and Brenda steal Tom's van but are unable to get through the mob, so they barge into Jesse's house.

Joey is becoming ill from exposure to the Trioxin, and Jesse is attacked by a zombie. As the zombies close in on the house, the group attempts to find a getaway car. At Billy's house, his condition worsens and his dad went to get a doctor, but Billy's mother sees him being attacked and eaten by a group of zombies. Billy attacks his mother. Elsewhere, the group breaks into Dr. Mandel's house, where they convince him to let them use his car, and they drive to an emergency room that appears to be deserted.

Tom, Lucy, and Jesse escape a group of zombies and take the car to look around town. They make it to Lucy and Jesse's grandfather's house and break into his gun safe to get weapons and ammo. They go back to the hospital where Ed and Joey are experiencing symptoms of rigormortis. Jesse is attacked by a zombie that both he and Tom shot multiple times. Brenda is upset about the diagnosis for Joey, and they try to leave in the car, but Ed follows them and gets in the car. They are stopped at gun point by three military men Sarge, Les, and Frank. Ed attacks and kills Les, so Sarge and Frank leave. Brenda drives away with Joey, leaving Ed behind.

The remainder of the group leaves in an ambulance from the hospital. Brenda is attacked by Joey who is now fully a zombie. Because they love each other, Brenda lets him eat her brain. The group comes to a roadblock, and the Army mistakenly opens fire on them, thinking they are zombies. They realize that the whole town had been evacuated. Tom thinks of a new strategy to give the zombies what they want, and they drive to a meat packing plant. They take a truck and distribute brains out of the back as they drive to a power plant intending electrocute them all. Billy opens the gate and zombies corner them into the truck.

Jesse is attacked by Billy and stabs him with a screwdriver, and then activates the power, killing all of the zombies. Billy walks in, holding the screwdriver, and Jesse pushes him into a large transformer that falls through the roof. The Army arrives and contains the scene as the group walks away.



Released on Island Records in 1988.

  1. "Space Hopper" by Julian Cope
  2. "High Priest of Love" by Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction
  3. "I'm the Man (Def Uncensored version)" by Anthrax
  4. "Big Band B-Boy" by Mantronix
  5. "Monster Mash" by The Big O
  6. "Alone in the Night" by Leatherwolf
  7. "A.D.I./Horror of It All" by Anthrax
  8. "Flesh to Flesh" by Joe Lamont
  9. "The Dead Return" by J. Peter Robinson
  • Although not included on the soundtrack, "Bad Case of Loving You" by Robert Palmer is also featured in the movie.

DVD release[edit]

The film was released on DVD in 2004, containing a heavily altered soundtrack. Scream Factory released the film for the first time on Blu-ray in 2018 with the original soundtrack reinstated, with the DVD soundtrack included as an alternative audio track.

Actress Marsha Dietlein was asked in an August 2012 interview if the film would receive a newer and perhaps "special" DVD release, as was recently done for the first installment in the franchise. "I wish they would do a retrospective, but I haven't heard anything about it," she said.[5]


  1. ^ "Return of the Living Dead Part II (18)". British Board of Film Classification. January 12, 1988. Retrieved October 9, 2016. 
  2. ^ Return of the Living Dead Part II at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ J.C. Maçek III (2012-06-15). "The Zombification Family Tree: Legacy of the Living Dead". PopMatters. 
  4. ^ "Return of the Living Dead Part II". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 3, 2016. 
  5. ^ "ReLiving the Living Dead: An Interview with Marsha Dietlein" on the Cheerleaders vs. Redneck Zombies website (

External links[edit]