MPAA Rating: Unrated
Director: Brian Yuzna
Starring: Jeffrey Coombs, Bruce Abbott, Claude Earl Jones, Fabiana Udenio, David Gale, Mel Stewart
Four years after the Miskatonic Massacre that saw the re-animated corpses from the hospital morgue go on a murderous rampage, Dr. Herbert West is back and more obsessive than ever. Arrow Video has been happy to help Dr. West with that obsession in the form of a newly packaged release with some great extras packed in for good measure.
It’s been a long time since I read the original source material, Herbert West – Reanimator, written by the master of weird tales, H. P. Lovecraft, so I took the time to re-read the short story. Lovecraft is great to read although he wrote very few novels as most of his works are short stories with a few longer pieces. Herbert West – Reanimator is about novella length and spans 16 years over the course of the story. The first Re-Animator movie takes up events occurring early on in the story and this sequel concerns itself with events that happened in the later parts of the story. The films don’t follow closely to the original story at all but certainly there are major milestones in the films you will find in the text interspersed with some of the best practical gore and body effects you’ll see from the era.
Let’s be honest – this movie is crazy from the get go. Dr. West (Jeffrey Combs) and his assistant Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) are injecting any living tissue they can find with some phosphorescent green liquid of apparently unending supply. They have a goal – to resurrect Megan, Dr. Cain’s love interest from the first movie, but the problem is her body was destroyed. Adding further items into this bag of lunacy, at the hospital where the first movie ended, the store room where the specimens are kept has a section taped off by that impenetrable police tape that contains the remnants of Dr. West’s experiments. Despite the whole nonsense of the first movie, Dr. West still has a job at the hospital to come back to and somehow he finds Megan’s heart in the freezer. Also in the freezer is his old nemesis Dr. Hill’s head and very soon Dr. West starts collecting various body parts, including Megan’s heart, to assemble a body. He has been injecting his reagent formula into anything and everyone, causing the FX teams on the film to create some magical, amazing puppets and special effects; this movie is a showcase for practical effects. Given the predilections of Dr. West, imagine if he had seen Bad Biology!
Concurrent with body assembly, hospital pathologist Dr. Graves (Mel Stewart), finds a vial of the reagent and injects it into the head of Dr. Hill (David Gale). I don’t know why he did it, but he did and, you guessed it, the head wakes up and somehow convinces the good doctor to graft bat wings onto the side of his head; bat wings, people, bat wings! Flying head, re-animating a body – it’s all here in this crazy mess of a film. It is precisely this mess that makes it such a classic movie, just like the first film. It is so over the top and so much fun at the same time, a classic example of horror comedy done well. The cast functions so well together, swinging from over-acting to playing their parts perfectly with ease in a really remarkable fashion. Couple this to the fantastic effects work and this mess comes out as a fun, laugh-along, brilliant little film. I always give a laugh and yell “Hell yes!” when those bat wings get sewn onto that head – I mean, who wouldn’t give that a cheer?
Arrow Video have scored another goal with this one. First and foremost we have a fantastic director-approved 2K restoration. They also pack in some new interviews with director Brian Yuzna and members of the special effects team into this disc giving us a fantastic package. This three-disc Blu-ray/DVD set comprises both the original US R-rated cut and the unrated version, all getting that 2K restoration treatment mentioned above, and the new artwork is really the icing on the cake.
Story? Not really. Coherent plot? Never, but who really cares? This movie floats on a river of gore and laughter that sort of comes together in a linear type of plot-ish thing. It’s goofy, it’s fun and it’s great. I will leave you to sort our the final ending of the film – it wont disappoint. Take my word for it, this one is worth it.
Special Features: Brand new audio commentary with Brian Yuzna, audio commentary with Brian Yuzna, star Jeffrey Combs, visual effects supervisor Tom Rainone and the effects team including John Buechler, Mike Deak, Bob Kurtzman, Howard Berger and Screaming Mad George, audio commentary with stars Jeffrey Combs and Bruce Abbott, Brian Yuzna Remembers Bride of Re-Animator featurette, Splatter Masters: The Special Effects Artists of Bride of Re-Animator featurette, Getting Ahead in Horror archive featurette, deleted scenes and collector’s booklet.
US Release Date: 11th April 2016
Read what Horrorsmith thought of Bride of Re-Animator here.