Bride of Re-Animator / Beyond Re-Animator (Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray Review)

Bride of Re-Animator / Beyond Re-Animator (Umbrella Entertainment Blu-ray Review)
Rated: MA/Region: B (Will play in A)/1:85/1080p/Number of disc: 2
Available from Umbrella Entertainment

Bride of Re-Animator (1989)
Director: Brian Yuzna
Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Claude Earl Jones, Fabiana Udenio

The mad Dr. Herbert (Jeffrey Combs), the tormented Dr. Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) and the beheaded Dr. Carl Hill (David Gale) return in this terrifying sequel to Re-Animator. It’s been eight months since the Miskatonic Massacre stained the halls with blood – and Dr. West and Dr. Cain’s experiments have taken a bizarre turn. Now they have gone beyond re-animating the dead… into the realm of creating new life. The legs of a hooker and the womb of a virgin are joined to the heart of Dr. Cain’s dead girlfriend – and the bride is unleashed upon her mate in a climax of sensual horror.

My first dip into the sequel of a movie I found near perfect was a bit of an odd one. Up until now, I’m sad to say my only experience with this movie came in the form of that awful version you got with that Lionsgate DVD release a few years back. That pretty much was a VHS rip they slapped on there, but at the time I didn’t see any other way of seeing it (I think I looked over a Pioneer DVD) so I accepted it. That’s why I was so stoked to see it coming from Umbrella. They did such a great job with the Re-Animator Beyond Genres, I just knew they’d do the same with this here. We’ll get back to that later in this review, but for now, I want to talk a bit about the movie in general. While having a different director handle a sequel can be risky, I’m happy with what Brian Yuzna did with this film overall. While not as good as its original predecessor (Still not falling short by much), Bride of Re-Animator does, at least, feel like a Re-Animator film, which I’m not sure I can always say that about the other sequel the movie got. That alone is really all you need to be considered a win for some films that get sequels years after the original. Of course, one of the main things that make this possible is our good Dr. Herbert West. West is of course once again played by Jeffery Combs. I think West is a classic character and Combs is the only man that could do it since he did such a great job in the original. And if you want to know how well he did his job, I think West is one of the more iconic horror movie characters you’ll find. Maybe not Top 10, but Top 15 for sure. What he does again with the character here is all the more reason to keep him in the conversation about the great regardless.

Now the film gives us some gruesome characters and re-animated beings, more so if you are watching this in the unrated version (I suggest you do that actually). It also gives us some cool gore to watch on screen (again, more so if you watch the unrated version of the movie). There is, however, some issues with the plot. Some things just seem to not get enough attention or rushed through. And I do admit that I believe the story is hurt without Barbara Crampton back as Megan Halsey. Meg plays a big part in West’s manipulation of Dan’s emotions. But only Meg’s heart makes an appearance here this time with Fabiana Udenio (of Freddy’s Nightmares fame) as Francesca Danelli handling the female side of things. Overall it’s fun, but somewhat rushed and does feel a little incomplete. Still, it’s pretty good for a follow-up to the original classic and miles ahead of its time and of a lot of what we saw coming out around this very same time. And if you liked Re-Animator, you’ll dig this. You’ll also dig how either version of this movie looks here, as I think we get enough detail and clean-up job on it that everyone will be very pleased with just how much detail you can find in it. Add that in with the other list of extras they were nice enough to give us and we have a release that could contend with any other horror Blu-ray for best of the year once all is said and done.

Extras

– AUDIO COMMENTARY WITH BRIAN YUZNA
– AUDIO COMMENTARY WITH BRIAN YUZNA, JEFFREY COMBS, TOM RAINONE, JOHN CARL BUECHLER, MIKE DEAK, ROBERT KURTZMAN, HOWARD BERGER AND SCREAMING MAD GEORGE
– AUDIO COMMENTARY WITH JEFFREY COMBS AND BRUCE ABBOTT
– BRIAN YUZNA REMEMBERS BRIDE OF REANIMATOR FEATURETTE
– SPLATTER MASTERS: THE SPECIAL EFFECTS ARTISTS OF BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR
– GETTING AHEAD IN HORROR FEATURETTE
– BEHIND THE SCENES: SPECIAL EFFECTS ARTISTS
– DELETED SCENES
– DARK ADVENTURES RADIO PRESENTS: HERBERT WEST: RE-ANIMATOR
– TRAILER

QUALITY OF TRANSFER: 97%

 

Beyond Re-Animator (2003)
Director: Brian Yuzna
Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Jason Barry, Elsa Pataky

When he was young, Howard Phillips (Jason Barry) watched his sister get torn apart by one of Dr. Herbert West’s (Jeffrey Combs) reanimated corpses. Phillips, now a doctor, is so eager to learn more about the mad doctor’s attempts to bring back the dead that he accepts a position at the prison where West is being held. Phillips delves further into West’s gruesome research, which attracts the attention of a local reporter (Elsa Pataky) and the cruel prison warden (Simón Andreu).

Thirteen years after Bride of Re-Animator we join Dr. West once again! This time he is spending some hard time behind bars but still catching time for some experiments. But lucky for West, a new doctor in the prison has seen some of his work first hand and wants to help him out. This leads to a strong but kind of bland plot that does deliver on the gore if nothing else. My main issue is at times it seemed like Jeffery Combs was a little off in his Dr. West performance. Sure, he gives us the great character at times, but there are also times where it just doesn’t seem like we are watching the good (sorta good) doctor we know and love in Re-Animator films.

I guess one could say that at times this film doesn’t feel like a Re-Animator film. Also with it being a new era for filmmaking, some nasty CGI does make it into the mix with the natural effects. But those issues aside, it’s not an overall bad film. We see some interesting and some funny stuff from time to time. Dan (who is just mentioned but not seen) is missed overall, but West does get in stride by the film’s clever-ish end. It’s not a movie that is as good as the previous films in the franchise, but it’s not a bad film overall. You’ll be happy if you go into it looking for some funny moments and some gore. Just don’t go in expecting much else.

Extras

– THE MAKING OF BEYOND RE-ANIMATOR
– DR. RE-ANIMATOR: Move Your Dead Bones
– INTERVIEWS (BRIAN YUZNA, JEFFREY COMBS, JASON BARRY, ELSA PATAKY, SANTIAGO SEGURA AND SIMON ANDREU)
– BEHIND THE SCENES
– TRAILER

QUALITY OF TRANSFER: 95%