Review: Bride of & Beyond Re-Animator

Blu-ray: Bride of Re-Animator & Beyond Re-Animator (1989 & 2003)

Following on from Tina’s review of Re-Animator (a fantastic 1st entry in Umbrella Entertainment’s new ‘Beyond Genres’ series of releases) it is now my pleasure to dip into Volume 2 of Beyond Genres and the wild and wacky happenings in the double bill of Bride of Re-Animator and Beyond Re-Animator.

After the success of Re-Animator, a sequel was always wanted by fans, and they had only a 4 year wait until ‘Bride of’ arrived and allowed us all to catch-up on what had been happening with Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs), Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) and Carl Hill (David Gale) since we last saw them.

If you thought that the original Re-Animator was batshit crazy, then this sequel ramps things up to a whole new level. Dr Hill even has bat ears stitched to his decapitated head so that he can fly around! Add to that scenes where fingers with an eye stitched to them decide to have an impromptu walk around while a police officer is present, a ‘bride’ made of various cannibalised body parts gets confused at her existence, and Herbert West fighting with an arm and a leg that have been stitched together, and you have a movie, while not quite getting the critical and fan acclaim of the original, still delivers laughs, gore and plenty of jaw dropping moments.

The story begins with West and Cain working in a medical tent during a civil war, and of course still practising with that infamous day-glo green re-animation fluid.

Returning to Miskatonic Hospital (for reasons which I’ll leave you to discover if you’ve never watched the movie before), Cain falls in love with a terminally ill woman, and you just know that this relationship is going to cause trouble.

More trouble arrives when the head of Dr Hill is found (David Gale tragically passed away just 2 years after the release of this movie at an all too young age) and is re-animated. Hill takes little time to want revenge for all that has happened to him, and the aforementioned bat wing appendages have him flying around (in a none to convincing, yet utterly charming green screen effect) screaming at all before him.

Part Re-Animator, part Bride of Frankenstein, part Frankenhooker, and part Basket Case 3, Bride of Re-Animator adds up to more than the sum of it’s (bloody) parts and is a hugely enjoyable sequel which keeps elements from the original, while adding its own little touches here and there.

14 long years then passed by until the 3rd entry into the Re-Animator series, and Beyond Re-Animator gave us yet another update on the life of Herbert West, with no return for either Dan Cain or Dr Hill.

Brian Yuzna is once again the director (as he was with the sequel after taking over from Stuart Gordon from the original) and knows the fanbase well enough to deliver what is expected. Though this 3rd entry in the series is definitely the weakest, that in no way makes it a bad movie, it is just that the bar has been set so high by previous entries into the saga of Herbert West.

West is in jail and of course is still able to practice his specialist knowledge of re-animation…it wouldn’t be a ‘Re-Animator’ movie if he wasn’t!

Dr Howard Phillips (Jason Barry) takes over the role of Dr Cain as West’s assistant, and it doesn’t need me to explain that things once again get horribly out of control.

Adding a fresh twist to the re-animation process set up an interesting proposition into a 4th Re-Animator movie, which sadly hasn’t happened yet. Is this series past being re-animated?

Heavier on the humour than the previous instalments, ‘Beyond’ suffers from being a comedy/horror movie, rather than a horror movie with elements of humour, which made the original such a fan favourite.

Looking great and with a wealth of special features, this 2nd entry into Umbrella Entertainments ‘Beyond Genres’ series makes it yet another essential purchase.

Make sure to make some room on your movie shelves, as it looks like you’re going to enjoy making a ‘Beyond Genres’ section on it as more titles are released…the packaging looks sexy as hell too!

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Bride of Re-Animator

  • Presented in both R-Rated and uncut versions
  • Audio commentary by Brian Yuzna
  • Audio commentary by Brian Yuzna, Jeffrey Combs, Tom Rainone, John Carl Buechler, Mike Deak, Robert Kurtzman, Howard Berger and Screaming Mad George
  • Audio commentary by Jeffrey Combs and Bruce Abbott
  • Featurette: Brian Yuzna remembers Bride of Re-Animator
  • Splatter Masters: The special effects artists of Bride of Re-Animator
  • Featurette: Getting ahead in horror
  • Behind the scenes: Special effects artists
  • Dark Adventures Radio Presents: Herbert West: Re-Animator
  • Deleted scenes
  • Trailer

Beyond Re-Animator

  • Audio commentary by Brian Yuzna
  • The making of Beyond Re-Animator
  • Music Video: Dr. Re-Animator – Move Your Dead Bones
  • Interviews with: Brian Yuzna, Jeffrey Combs, Jason Barry, Elsa Pataky, Santiago Segura, Simón Andreu
  • Behind the scenes
  • Trailer

Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Umbrella Entertainment.