Arrow, 3 Disc Blu-ray/DVD Limited Edition, out now
Here comes the Bride…
Having recently reviewed Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator, it’s now the turn of Brian Yuzna’s solid follow-up – this time brought to you by the dedicated Arrow team (they of the Hellraiser Scarlet Box set fame). Presenting us with 2k restorations of the Unrated and R-Rated cuts, approved by the director himself, as well as a whole host of extras, this one comes complete in a brilliant limited edition steelbook with artwork Gary Pullin
It’s been eight months since the events at the end of the first movie, and Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs, back in probably his most famous role) is up to his old tricks again, with Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) in tow. This time West’s conducting his experiments against the backdrop of a bloody Peruvian civil war – where Dan meets the beautiful Francesca (Fabiana Udenio). When things get a little hairy, they return to the scene of their original crime at Arkham Hospital and promptly move in to a house at the local cemetery – thus giving West access to loads of body parts to practise his ‘morbid doodlings’, as Dan calls them. But Lt Chapham (Claude Earl Jones), whose wife was a victim of the original experiments, is on to the pair…
Meanwhile, Dr Graves (Mel Stewart) is conducting his own tests using re-animator juice that was left behind by West the first time around. These take a bizarre turn when Dr Hill’s head crops up (David Gale, returning as West’s nemesis), discovered in a sideshow carnival… a nod to one of the best gags in the first movie. Soon Hill’s up and running again – or should that be flying? – looking for revenge on Herbert for what he did to him.
The good doctor is occupied, however, building a woman out of some of those body parts he’s so fond of – constructed around the heart of Meg, Dan’s girlfriend from the original. All that’s needed is yet another head, and it just so happens that one of Dan’s patients, Gloria (Kathleen Kinmont), really isn’t well at all…
A producer on the first Re-Animator, Yuzna admits himself that the whole thing was put together incredibly quickly – the script was written in just a couple of months by Rick Fry and Woody Keith when Gordon and Dennis Paoli had to back out due to work commitments (their original idea of taking West to the Whitehouse would have resulted in a very different movie altogether!). It’s a testament to the sheer enthusiasm of everyone involved that this doesn’t show more, and even when the film sags in places it’s never less than entertaining. As with its predecessor, the gore and effects here are definite highlights: the finger/eye creature and the Bride herself being the crowning glories.
In addition to the gorgeous restoration, Arrow have put together an attractive package of material – which includes a brand new audio commentary and interview with Yuzna, a new featurette looking back at the making of the movie, another one focussing on the FX with contributions from the likes of Robert Kurtzman and Screaming Mad George, behind the scenes footage and deleted scenes – plus you get Dawn of the Re-Animator, the 1992 comic prequel to the original movie. A wonderful must have set for any fan of the series or the genre.
Verdict: Go West! 9/10