Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Bride of Re-Animator (1990)
"This is no longer about re-animating the dead. We will create new life!"- Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs)
Stars: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Fabiana Udenio
Other Stars: Claude Earl Jones, David Gale, Kathleen Kinmont, Mel Stewart, Mary Sheldon
Director: Brian Yuzna
MPAA Rating: R for (nudity, gore)
Run Time: 01h:36m:42s
Release Date: 2003-08-19
DVD ReviewHorror sequels are always iffy propositions, and even without the involvement of Stuart Gordon, Bride of Re-Animator manages to work pretty well, though still miles away from the greatness of the original. Picking up eight months following the events of Re-Animator, after the so-called Miskatonic Massacre, we find returning characters Dr. Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and Dr. Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) working in a field hospital in war-torn Peru. West is still attempting to perfect and refine his familiar glowing green re-agent that will re-animate dead tissue, and the supply of fresh war victims provides an ideal setting for their work. The pair eventually return to Miskatonic, and this time, using amniotic fluids from a rare iguana, take part in a gory and comic twist on the great Bride of Frankenstein as they attempt to go one step further and cobble together a new version of Dan's dead girlfriend Meg (from the first film), starting with all that's left: her heart.
Like Re-Animator, this followup also uses a steady blend of gooey gore and offbeat humor, and even reintroduces the severed head of the villainous Dr. Hill (David Gale) from the first film, now exhibiting some sort of mind control over pathologist Dr. Graves (Mel Stewart), and at one point features the body-less noggin with a pair of bat wings surgically attached so that it can fly around. You have to admit that you just don't see a head with bat wings attached to it every day, now do you? That's the kind of general weirdness that permeates Bride of Re-Animator, and even when the story veers into by-the-number dull areas, as when Dr. Cain woos the sexy Francesca (Fabiana Udenio), you know that you won't be too far from Dr. West attaching a wriggling hand to an equally wriggling leg.
To director Brian Yuzna's credit (he produced Re-Animator), there is a notched-up air of the familiar about all this, and of course Combs does one of the best mad scientist acts around. But the notable absence of Stuart Gordon is really felt here, with some of the potentially clever comic moments (for example, the re-animated eyeball with severed fingers for legs) fall flat without a suitably worthwhile payoff. The Rick Fry/Woody Keith screenplay borrows liberally from the Bride of Frankenstein playbook (obviously), and even throws in a couple of subtle and clever nods to The Island of Dr. Moreau and Night of the Living Dead as well, but it is the sequences where West and Cain are up to their elbows in blood in the lab that really come closest to ringing with the same quirky vibe found in Re-Animator.
Combs, Abbott, and Gale are the only returning cast members from the original, and their new nemesis is a nosy Miskatonic police lieutenant with a secret agenda, played by Claude Earl Jones, here doing his best M. Emmet Walsh impression. Sadly, the only part of the B-movie-tastic babe Barbara Crampton, who played doomed but faithful gal pal Meg in Re-Animator, returning is her heart, which eventually ends up in the body of Kathleen Kinmont, who here takes on the re-animated title character role.
Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B-
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||no|
Image Transfer Review: Artisan delivers a truly hideous, nicked-up 1.33:1 full-frame transfer on this one. The biggest problem is the horrendous black levels that swallow up all manner of image detail like a vacuum; poor Mel Stewart ends up looking like a faceless, walking shadow most of the time. It's criminal, I tell you. Colors are smeary and fleshtones look far too red most of the time. Considering the royal treatment that Re-Animator received (twice!), it is damn shame that Artisan could not have cleaned up this print better.
Image Transfer Grade: C-
Audio Transfer Review: The packaging lists the audio transfer as 2.0 Dolby Stereo Surround, but you could have fooled me, because this one doesn't sound any better than a mediocre mono track. Voices are flat, with a hint of clipping during louder moments, and the only time the presentation sounds halfway decent is during the opening credit sequence where Richard Band's score reveals a modicum of depth. Otherwise, the audio has a very compressed feel to it, which only adds to the generally shoddy packaging of this film.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Extras Review: No extras here, not even a trailer.
The disc is cut into 24 chapters, and does not feature any subtitles.
Extras Grade: F
Final CommentsBride of Re-Animator (1989) was originally issued on DVD as a special edition in 1999, including both the R and Unrated versions, in addition to a healthy stock of hip supplements. This time around, Artisan has slapped together this rather unkempt, ugly barebones edition, containing just a nasty-looking full-frame transfer of the film. That indignity aside, this Brian Yuzna-directed sequel to the classic Re-Animator is still a gory good time, though I would recommend seeking out the special edition if you can.
Rich Rosell 2003-09-17