Blu-ray Review: BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR

by Joshua Lightfoot on May 4, 2016
Movies
Overview
Item Reviewed

Bride of Re-animator Blu-ray

Author
May 4, 2016
Distributor

Arrow Video

Format

1:78:1

Region

A

Audio

English: LPCM 2.0

Subtitles

English

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All images in this post are taken from the DVD from this Arrow Video Release.

THE MOVIE

Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator is one of the greatest ‘80s horror movies of all time. No other horror flick up until that point successfully combined gore, horror, and humor quite like that movie did. There were horror movies that were intentionally funny (like Motel Hell for example), but what made Re-Animator special and original is that it took the fear of death and poked fun at it. Blood and guts are now funny thanks to director Stuart Gordon. The idea that something disturbing like a severed limb or a dead body could actually be funny still fascinates me. I have Re-Animator to thank for that.

Bride of Re-Animator has a cult fan base; if it didn’t, Arrow Video would not have wasted their time releasing it on Blu-ray. Unfortunately, the movie isn’t as good as the first. This is typical among most horror sequels. The thing that bugs me the most about Bride is the number of plot holes the filmmakers didn’t even try filling. What the sequel gets right is the gory goods that definitely deliver. What the sequel gets wrong is the story details.

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Eight months after the events that took place in the previous movie, Herbert West (played by Jeffrey Combs) and Dan Cain (played by Bruce Abbott who now has a mid-90s Bruce Campbell styled haircut) are now doctors at the Miskatonic University Hospital where they are secretly still doing reanimation experiments. How both men are now employed as doctors at the same hospital in the previous movie makes no sense to me after everything that happened, not to mention Herbert West’s death scene. Both men (especially Herbert) are now more focused on reanimating body parts stolen from the Hospital’s morgue and combining these parts to create living freaks.

Dr. Hill (whose head is clearly seen crushed to the size of a grapefruit in the previous movie) is now back and reanimated to get his revenge on Herbert and Dan while they are in the process of completing a huge experiment. Using the body parts from the morgue and Dan’s dead girlfriend’s heart, Herbert and Dan create a whole living female. Other complications take place that jeopardize the experiment such as a detective who becomes suspicious of the missing body parts and Dan’s 2 love interests.

Not every movie needs a sequel. Re-Animator is perfect the way it is. If you feel you absolutely must see these characters again for one more movie, then here it is. Not everything about the movie is disappointing however. The special make-up effects from KNB EFX GROUP and Screaming Mad George (just to name a few) make up for the plot holes and are definitely worth checking out. I really feel that Bride of Re-animator is a success as a gory FX freak show, but a failure as a story. Sorry horror fans.

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AUDIO/VIDEO

Arrow Video brings Bride of Re-Animator to Blu-ray for the very first time in America, and the results are satisfying. For this 3 Disc Limited Edition release, both R-rated and Unrated cuts of the film are offered in 1080p with a 1:78:1 Aspect Ratio. The transfers for both cuts look identical except the brief scenes added in the Unrated cut take a bit of a noticeable dip in quality. Added shots in the Unrated cut appear darker than the rest of the movie and show much less detail. The rest of the image however looks great and feels like a lot of time and care went into this restoration. A fine looking image that I feel fans will be pleased with. The LPCM 2.0 Audio Track offers some real kick, especially during the final showdown. Dialogue is clear and the gooey sound effects are top notch.

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SPECIAL FEATURES

Disc 1 (Blu-ray) & Disc 2 (DVD)

Unrated Version of the film.

Director’s Commentary – Director Brian Yuzna discusses getting the cast to come back for the sequel, shooting on a short schedule, the make-up effects, low budget challenges, and comparisons to the first movie. Moderated by David Gregory.

Cast & Crew Commentary – Brian Yuzna, Jeffrey Combs, Howard Berger, Robert Kurtzman, Tom Rainone, Mike Deak, Screaming Mad George, & John Buechler all participate in this commentary. An FX heavy commentary with each artist detailing their work on the film during their scenes and the challenges of working under strict time constraints.

Cast Commentary – Actors Jeffrey Combs & Bruce Abbott deliver a funny and amusing commentary here. They spend most of the time making fun of the movie MST3K style. Pretty entertaining stuff.

Brian Yuzna Remembers Bride of Re-animator (10 minutes) – A lot that’s covered here is already covered in Yuzna’s Audio Commentary.

Splatter Masters: The Special Effects Artists of Bride of Re-animator (15 minutes) – FX artists Robert Kurtzman, Screaming Mad George, Tony Doublin, and John Buechler look back on the work they did on Bride. Pretty sweet stuff with some behind-the-scenes home video footage.

Getting Ahead in Horror (24 minutes) – An archive making-of piece composed of behind-the-scenes footage. Here, we get a great look at almost all of the special effects in the movie. My favorite extra on the disc.

Deleted Scenes:
Meg is Re-animated (8 minutes) – Probably came from the workprint. We also see some behind-the-scenes footage on the making of this scene. Interesting to note that this deleted scene fixes one plot hole.
Carnival Sequence (2 minutes) – Only shown in still photos with a filmmakers commentary.

Theatrical Trailer (2 minutes)

Disc 3 (Limited Edition Exclusive)

R-rated version of the film.

Behind-the-Scenes Reel (14 ½ minutes) – More home video footage of the special effects scenes and make-up

Other Goodies:

24 Page BookletIncludes new writing by Michael Blyth and a few color photos.

Re-animator: Dawn of the Re-animator (Limited Edition Exclusive)Full 1992 comic prequel to the original Re-animator. Booklet is glorious and thick!

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The Score
Our Rating
Movie
Presentation
Special Features
Bottom Line

I'm not saying that Bride of Re-animator isn't a fun movie. It IS a fun movie, but I feel it could have been better. This Limited Edition set is a thing of beauty though. Arrow Video has spoiled fans with this release offering excellent picture quality, audio, features, and definitely the packaging. This box set looks amazing displayed on my self. Please get your copies of this Limited Edition while you can! Even if you miss out, it's still worth paying an even higher price.

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