Director: Brian Yuzna
Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Fabiana Udenio
Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and his colleague Dan Cain (Bruce Abbot) continue their experiments with re-animating the dead in this follow-up to Re-Animator. Fortunately for the special effects department, Dr. West has figured out that his reagent can re-animate tissue on a cellular level, allowing him to create all types of horrific oddities. Imagine if Sid, from Toy Story got his act together, and became a doctor instead of a trash collector, and you’ll have a good idea of the monstrosities that Dr. West is coming up with.
As a fan of the original Re-Animator, which was released in 1985, I was on the watch for this movie before its theatrical release back in 1990. Re-Animator had quickly become a cult classic due to its excessive gore, and Combs bizarre portrayal as Dr. West. There was also a great sequel set-up involving Dr. Cain that was just begging for resolution.
Sadly, Bride of Re-Animator picks months from the end of the original, so the consequences of Dr. Cain’s decision are not seen on screen. But what we get is almost as good. It’s a nearly coherent story, filled with over the top acting, and a menagerie of bits of body parts being jammed together and walking around.
This movie, like its predecessor, is loosely based on H. P. Lovecraft’s serialized novella “Herbert West – Reanimator.” As a person who has a passing interest in the gaming franchise that has been built around Lovecraft’s work and the Cthulhu Mythos, I can’t help but think of Jeffery Combs as Dr. Herbert West when the character makes an appearance in the Lovecraft universe. While I used think that Combs overplayed the character, this viewing corrected that view, because Combs plays Dr. West perfectly for the splat-stick style of humor the movie owns. Then there is Bruce Abbott’s Dr. Cain. If you’ve watch any kind of medical drama from the past few years, you know what Abbot is going for here. He’s the doctor that just cares too… damn… much. And he really goes for it. Cain’s love interest is played by Fabiana Udenio, who loyal pop culture fans will recognize as the village bicycle, Allotta Fagina, from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.
So while the movie holds up well enough, its not for the squeamish, and sometime the story is brushed aside for what feels like a special effects tech demo. It feels like it’s trying to follow in the horror-comedy footsteps of Evil Dead 2, but has too many missteps to be more than slightly above average.
Both the Unrated and R-rated versions of the film were restored in 2013/2014. The quality of the Unrated Blu-ray is great overall, with nice levels of detail.
Featuring LPCM 2.0 tracks, the sound quality is consistently good. You won’t have any issues telling that the movie’s main orchestral overture owes more than a tip of the hat to Psycho.
A bounty of bonus features are included with this release. Three audio commentaries are available, one with stars Jeffery Combs and Bruce Abbott. There’s a short retrospective on how the film got green lit with director Brian Yuzna, and a featurette on the special effects artist from the film. The theatrical trailer is included, and a couple of deleted scenes are available. To my delight, one of the deleted scenes was what I had always wanted from this movie, at direct pickup from the end of Re-Animator! This is the type of bonus feature content that drives me to by physical media. A director approved limited edition contains both the Unrated and R-Rated versions of the film.
Bride of Re-Animator is a super gore fest with some fun bad acting. Worth a look for gore hounds, all others will probably want to pass.