Review for Re-Animator
That really is the best way to sum up the plot of this 1985 Horror film which is gracing Blu-ray with a wonderful two disk special edition release.
Hebert West is a young medical student who has discovered the secret to bring someone back from the dead. Moving in with fellow student Dan he proves his ability by bringing a dead cat back to life. However, his tutor Dr Hill finds out what West has been able to do and tries to steal it. This leads to death, then life, then death again for many of the characters in the gore-filled take on HP Lovecraft's 'Herbert West, Re-Animator' story.
Now, I should start by saying that if you have a weak stomach, hate gore or horror, then you will probably hate this film. If you are someone who likes their horror serious and dark, then you also may hate this film. Hoever, if you love your horror over the top with a dashing of wonderful comedy then this is the film for you. This film is just a blast. From the first gore-filled scene to the last it is just wonderful to watch this film and it is certainly one to watch with a sense of humour.
Extreme is a great way to describe this film. In every way this film cranks everything up to 11. There is massive amounts of nudity from the gorgeous Barbara Crampton as Megan who has possibly one of the creepiest sexual scenes I have ever seen. What makes this even more creepy is simply on a technical level I have no idea how they did it. When you watch the film you will understand and even when listening to the Commentaries and the rest of the Features it's never really explained how Director Stuart Gordon did it.
Jeffrey Combs' performance as Herbert West is just wonderful throughout. His mixture of creepy and comedy made watching him so enjoyable. Every line he delivers made me either go 'Oh creepy' or laugh out loud 'What would a note say, Dan? Cat dead, details later?' It is not surprising that Combs went on to appear in many other films.
It is actually surprising how well the effects still hold up. This is the kind of film that could only be made on a low budget, because you can tell that many of the shots were make up and special effects experts using old tricks to do it. This is later confirmed in the documentaries and I feel like if they ever tried to remake this film it would be awash with a mess of CGI and lose all of the charm that this film has.
If you are a fan of this film then this Blu-ray set will be like gold to you. Over the Unrated Version there are two commentaries one by Director Stuart Gordon on his own and the other featuring Producer Brian Yuzna and Actors Jeffrey Combs, Robert Sampson, Barbara Crampton and Bruce Abbott. As you can guess, this is far too many people for a Commentary and sadly the more I tried to listen to the second the more I felt like one or more could have been better alongside Gordon who seems a little dry without someone to react or speak to.
There is also another version included called the 'Integral' cut which is 18 minutes longer than the unrated version. I would be lying if I said I knew what was added, but both versions are hugely entertaining with (what I can tell) just a lot more exposition and dialogue in the longer version. I think the Unrated version is a lot punchier, trimming away some of the fat that this other version kept in.
The centre piece of the set is Re-Animator Resurrectus, which is a documentary on the making of the film. Everyone who worked on the film is interviewed and it is fascinating how this film was made. This film wasn't just an excuse to throw blood at the wall and be disgusting, but instead a wonderful creation from everyone involved.
There are a number of interviews on the Blu-ray. One is a conversation between Producer Brian Yuzna and Director Stuart Gordon which is interesting to see how the two came together to make this film.
Composer Richard Band gives an interview in which he spends most of the time trying to defend his use of Bernard Hermann's score for Psycho. This is fine, as he at least explains what he was trying to do. Another section has him explain music playing over certain scenes which could have been good as an alternative Commentary with him explaining the music as it plays.
Writer Dennis Paoli gives a great interview about the creation of the film's script and again it is a shame he didn't contribute to any of the Commentaries. The final interview is with Tony Timpone, who is the editor of Horror magazine Fangoria. This is a nice 'fanboy' interview discussing
Also includes a number of deleted and extended scenes which really would have benefited from someone explaining why they were cut, or what they were supposed to contribute in the first place. The set is finished off with two Photo Galleries and Trailers. All of these features, particularly the documentary and interviews are fascinating and the only thing I wish I had got more of was some more from those who created the effects.
Re-Animator is a wonderful film that despite being nearly thirty years old still can create the same effect that it did in 1985. This film will not be for everyone, but if you like our horror with a smile on its face and a lot of gore over it too, then Stuart Gordon's film is a wonderful film that will re-animate your love for cheesy over the top cinema.