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'Zombieland 2' raises the stakes with Terminator zombies, Obama's 'Beast' limo and Elvis

Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY

LOS ANGELES – There are times you need to nut up or shut up.

If you're bringing back the beloved "Zombieland" to theaters, you'd better amp up what we didn't know we needed in an undead action comedy: President Barack Obama's killer "Beast" limousine, Elvis and Terminator zombies. (And Bill Murray somehow rising from the dead after his tragic death in the original would be cool, too).

Director Ruben Fleischer conjures all that with the return of the most dysfunctional family to roam the zombie apocalypse – Woody Harrelson's Tallahassee, Emma Stone's Wichita, Jesse Eisenberg's Columbus and Abigail Breslin's Little Rock – in "Zombieland: Double Tap" (now in theaters).

"Raising the stakes is always a good thing for a sequel," says Fleischer.

The original 2019 movie depicted a devastating viral outbreak that brought zombie global domination and four bickering survivors together, bonding over great kills. But the virus has mutated over the decade, to create stronger, more oppressive zombies who earn the Terminator-inspired moniker T-800s. 

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Zombie killing hits the White House: 'Zombieland: Double Tap' first trailer

"They are harder-to-kill, relentless zombies that stop at nothing. And it causes everyone concern as they learn how to meet the new threat," says Fleischer. 

This required better zombie thespians, well above the typical drooling norm for shambling undead types in lesser productions.

"Our first T-800 was a dancer stunt guy who had strong physical control of his body (and was) able to do those movements that seemed inhuman," says Fleischer

But the T-800s aren't the only new creatures roaming the land. The evolving disease has created whole other undead categories, include "The Homer" (moronic even by zombie standards), "The Ninja" (skilled at moving and fighting) and "The Hawking" (dangerously smart). "All of this makes the zombie landscape more compelling," says Fleischer.

With the greater threat comes the need for greater vehicles, including the original "Beast": Tallahassee gets his hands on the monster Cadillac limousine that protected President Obama with a 5-inch thick armor plating of steel and bulletproof glass. 

The neglected "Beast" comes with the group's new home, a deserted White House. Tallahassee's upgrades include a zombie-clearing plow, machine-gun mount and decorative bullhorns.

"It resembles Obama's car to a T but it turns into the ultimate 'Mad Max' zombie-killing machine," says Fleischer. "It's one of the perks of moving into the White House."

President Obama's actual Cadillac limousine, called

Fun fact: The filmmakers actually took over two leftover presidential limos from the 2013 White House action flick "Olympus Has Fallen," then promptly destroyed the cars while filming "Zombieland 2." One was gloriously finished off by the monster truck Big Fat Death, which rolls up on the limousine during a righteous, random moment of carnage.

"We've killed this 'Beast' from future movies, unless there's a true post-apocalyptic movie needing detritus," says Fleischer.  

Amid the other film's disturbing revelations, "Zombieland 2" goes for full heartbreak. Brace yourself. 

Elvis Presley's famed Graceland has been torched.

On the bright side, many of The King's artifacts, right down to his blue suede shoes, are on display at the Hound Dog Hotel, run by newcomer Nevada (Rosario Dawson). 

Elvis lore and the undead are a heaven-sent match, enhanced by a zombie bludgeoned by guitar and Harrelson's character riffing about his love of the icon in a moment of real-life truth. Tallahassee dresses the part, does a right-on impression and even sings "Burning Love." Mercy.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Zombieland 2': Obama's 'Beast' limousine kills Terminator undead