Saturday, April 23, 2016

Review: Bride of the Reanimator (1990)

H P Lovecraft has a fascinating legacy in films. I'm not sure there has ever been a wholly successful adaptation of his work (Wiki lists 33 films based on his work!), but the Re-Animator films give it a good shot.

Produced by Brian Yuzna. directed by Stuart Gordon, and starring Jeffrey Combs as Doctor Herbert West, Re-Animator (1985) was a great little film, chronicling Dr West's experiments with a luminous liquid which could re-animate the dead. Very watchable and entertaining, the film has since gained a cult following as these things do, and spawned two sequels.

After its success, Yuzna and Gordon turned to another Lovecraft tale for their next offering, From Beyond, and after that, Yuzna alone decided to go back and see what Herbert West was up to, the result being Bride of the Re-Animator. That these films were in part based on the old Frankenstein films can be no secret, with even the titles following the order of the old Universal classics.

Bride of the Re-Animator, while not quite as good as the original film, nevertheless has a good stab at being entertaining, crazy and quirky all at the same time. Once again Herbert West wields his glowing serum, but this time it allows him to create all sorts of monstrous creations through the connection together of various body parts. Thus a dog ends up with a human arm and hand, there's a cute little creature made from five fingers and an eyeball, and, as we reach the end of the film, a whole room full of monstrous creations straight from the crazed mind of FX artist Screaming Mad George.

The film is certainly paying respects to The Bride of Frankenstein with the creation of a statuesque female by Dr West from various body parts, including the heart of his assistant's girlfriend! When she rises, it's straight out of the black and white Universal film, with mad hair and jerky movements. And of course she never asked to be created in the first place ...

I really enjoyed the film, and it has a lot going for it. The monstrous creatures at the end are marvellous and I found it all channelling a sort of Freaks or The Sentinel vibe for me, as well as the more obvious Frankenstein influences. What is interesting is how close some of the plot elements are to the original H P Lovecraft story. According to details here, the original work was serialised over six parts, with the first two being used for the original Re-Animator film, and the last two for Bride of the Re-Animator.

Overall the film is part of a very nice offering from Arrow, with the usual selection of documentaries and commentaries.

  • Brand new 2K restorations of the Unrated and R-rated versions of the film, approved by director Brian Yuzna
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original Stereo 2.0 audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
  • Limited Edition Collector’s Booklet
  • Limited Edition Packaging to be revealed

  • Brand new 2K restoration of the Unrated version
  • Brand new audio commentary with Brian Yuzna
  • Audio Commentary with Brian Yuzna, star Jeffrey Combs, visual effects supervisor Tom
  • Rainone and the effects team including John Buechler, Mike Deak, Bob Kurtzman, Howard Berger and Screaming Mad George
  • Audio Commentary with stars Jeffrey Combs and Bruce Abbott
  • Brian Yuzna Remembers Bride of Re-animator – brand new featurette in which the director looks back at the making of the first Re-animator sequel
  • Splatter Masters: The Special Effects Artists of Bride of Re-animator – Brand new FX featurette with a wealth of behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Robert Kurtzman of KNB, Screaming Mad George, Tony Doublin and John Buechler
  • Getting Ahead in Horror – archive making-of featurette
  • Deleted Scenes


  • Brand new 2K restoration of the R-rated version
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