Bride of Re-Animator begins with eminent doctors Herbert West (Jeffrey Combs) and Dan Cain (Bruce Abbott) out and about somewhere unspecified in a war, coming to the end of their tour, volunteering as medics, with West still up to his old tricks with his luminous green liquid that brings anything back to life.
Soldiers are dying and he wants to bring them back, which is very ‘Universal Soldier‘, but rather than reanimating the dead, the madman wants to create life, making this sequel very much like a recreation of Frankenstein’s monster.
I really thought I’d seen the first one before watching this, and then realised I hadn’t, so after this, I went back and watched the original. And since that 1985 film mentions that West had previously worked with Hans Gruber, is that the same one who later turned up in Die Hard? Well, it seems that Hans Gruber to Germans is as common as John Smith to the English, so possibly not. However, it was amusing to hear the name crop up.
Going back to the Miskatonic Medical School in Arkham, Massachussets, this time round, Dan has grown an ’80s mullet and there’s remains from a massacre eight months earlier which aren’t decaying, so the dead are not quite dead, and with that green stuff still hanging around, it doesn’t take much to work out what’s caused it.
In this film, there’s a creature with five fingers and an eye, a snooty Lt sniffing around, a hot chick in Francesca (Fabiana Udenio – best known to me as Alotta Fagina in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery), and I felt so sorry for the bat having its wings cut off, even though it wasn’t real. With films like this and Killer Klowns From Outer Space, it shows just how brilliant real special effects can be, and how lazy modern films have become as they rely on CGI way too often.
In addition, there’s also the return of Dr Hill (David Gale)… but how? His body was toast in the first one and his head was squashed. Pah! Details, details!
Overall, Bride of Re-Animator is a a huge amount of fun and so much more enjoyable than the first one. That seemed to take forever to get going and spent more time teasing at what might come before it finally got to show anything. This sequel just gets on with it. Society‘s Screaming Mad George clearly had a hand in that, not least with the final scene where all hell breaks loose and random limbs are being meshed together in a quite disgusting fashion. There’s also a lot more humour in this sequel and a lot more played for laughs, and the Frankenstein-style creation really did look like it could’ve been made exactly how it came across.
Go to page 2 for the presentation and the extras.
The film is presented in 16:9 and in 1080p high definition. IMDB states the original widescreen ratio is 1.85:1, so I’m not sure why this gives us slightly less at 16:9, but it’s not a huge issue. It’s also the same ratio that’s been released in the US, so it looks to be the only one available. There’s also some slight grain on the print early on, but nothing beyond that. I’m watching on my Panasonic 50″ Plasma TV with a Playstation 4.
When it comes to the audio, the film was originally shot in stereo, and what’s here is clear but while it’s a shame there’s no DTS 5.1 soundtrack – as that would’ve been fantastic, stereo is how the film was made.
Taken from the Collector’s booklet about the video and audio transfer:
- “Bride of Re-Animator was restored in 2013/2014 using the best elements available to achieve complete presentations of both the R-Rated and Unrated versions of the film.
For the R-Rated version, a second generation Intermediate Interpositive was used. For the Unrated version, locating a 35mm element that was suitable for the restoration involved a near year-long search until a DeLuxe® Composite Master Positive Print with the cut sequences intact was eventually found. Though the quality of this element was generally high, the definition it exhibited in two of the cut sequences differed in colour rendition and density due to photochemical imbalance during the copying process that could not be matched exactly to the higher quality IP materials. The colour palette of the film was re-timed precisely to the photochemical attributes preserving the DeLuxe® presentations at the time of original theatrical release.
Both the 35mm Intermediate Positive and the 35mm Composite Master Positive Print elements were scanned in 2K resolution at 16-bit colour depth on a pinregisteredIMAGICA Imager XE Advanced Plus for maximum yield of quality at TLEFilms Film Restoration & Preservation Services, Germany. The colour grading was performed on a Baselight by TLEFilms FRPS using the facilities of PostFactory GmbH, Berlin, Germany.
Thousands of instances of dirt, debris and light scratches were removed through a combination of digital restoration tools. Image stability was also improved in shots where prior analysis confirmed that these instabilities were the result of duplication or copying errors during the original photochemical processing.
The film’s stereo soundtrack was mastered at 24-bit/48 kHz from a Digital Betacam broadcast tape, the best existing source for the original stereo mix. The final mix on this tape was recorded well below standard average and peak levels, which resulted in inherent digital noise. The soundtrack, which also exhibited several mixing errors, was restored with great care to present it as originally intended.
This project was supervised by Torsten Kaiser on behalf of TLEFilms FRPS, with all work performed at TLEFilms FRPS, Berlin and Birkenwerder, Germany.
Special thanks to colourist Roland Fliß and Gunter Puszkar at PostFactory GmbH.
This restoration has been approved by director Brian Yuzna.”
(click on the image for the full-size version)
The extras are as follows:
- Brian Yuzna remembers Bride (9:37): The director talks about how the sequel came to be, alternate ideas for storylines and how there were original intentions to make another HP Lovecraft novel into a film, but the studio wanted a Re-Animator sequel.
- Splatter Masters (14:39): A special effects featurette featuring interviews with Robert Kurtzman from KNB, Tony Doublin, John Buechler and the one and only Screaming Mad George.
- Getting Ahead In Horror (23:50): Behind-the-scenes footage aplenty.
- Deleted scenes: Not in the traditional sense, this time. The first is a deleted scene plus its own ‘making of’, and which is based as if following on from the end of the first movie (8:04), and a Carnival sequence (2:03) involving Hill’s head.
- Trailer (1:53): In 16:9.
- Digipak packaging: featuring newly commissioned artwork by Gary Pullin
- Collector’s Booklet: A 20-page booklet containing new writing on the film from Michael Blyth, journalist and film programmer for both the BFI London Film Festival and the BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, plus lots of poster and set photos.
- Re-Animator: Dawn of the Re-Animator: The official 1992 comic prequel to Stuart Gordon’s original Re-Animator, reprinted in its entirety. I didn’t get to see this or the digipak packaging myself, but it all looks very lovely indeed from the picture below.
- Audio commentary: There’s three on this disc. One from Brian Yuzna, one from the cast and crew and one with Jeffrey Combs and Bruce Abbott.
The package contains two Blu-ray discs – one with the R-rated version of the film, and one with the Unrated version which is where the extras are, and this was the disc I reviewed. There’s also a DVD of the Unrated version.
As I type, the package is £17.99 on Amazon. I’d say, at that price, you should snap their hand off, but then you might want to reattach it with some of that green liquid…
The main menu features a short piece of the Psycho-esque theme tune. Subtitles are in English, and there are a bog-standard 12 chapters to the film.
Bride of Re-Animator is out tomorrow on Blu-ray/DVD Double Pack Limited Edition and check out the full-size cover by clicking on the packshot.
(click on the image for the full-size version)
Running time: 97 minutes
Distributor: Arrow Films
Released: April 11th 2016
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio (Stereo)
Widescreen: 1.85:1 (35mm)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Brian Yuzna
Producer: Brian Yuzna
Screenplay: Rick Fry and Woody Keith (based on characters by HP Lovecraft)
Music: Richard Band
Dr Herbert West: Jeffrey Combs
Dr Dan Cain: Bruce Abbott
Lt. Leslie Chapham: Claude Earl Jones
Francesca Danelli: Fabiana Udenio
Dr Carl Hill: David Gale
Gloria: Kathleen Kinmont
Dr Graves: Mel Stewart
Nurse Shelley: Irene Forrest
Ernest: Michael Strasser
Meg Halsey: Mary Sheldon
The Re-Animated Elizabeth Chapham: Marge Turner
The Re-Animated Skinny Corpse: Johnny Legend
The Re-Animated: Black Corpse: David Bynum
The Re-Animated Crypt Creature: Noble Craig
The Re-Animated Crypt Creature: Kim Parker
The Re-Animated Crypt Creature: Charles Schneider
The Re-Animated Crypt Creature: Rebeca Recio
The Re-Animated Crypt Creature: Jay Evans
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.
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