A corpse. A syringe full of day-glo green re-animating fluid. And Herbert West. What could possibly go wrong...?
Plenty, if this wildly funny and extremely gory film is anything to go by. RE-ANIMATOR is a classic example of comedy and horror combining to shred the usual expectations by thrusting us headlong into altogether crazier dimensions - and that still applies now, 22 years after it first eviscerated onto our cinema screens. It sure still feels fresh to me, with evidence in almost every scene of the excitement and adrenaline that must have permeated the whole production at the time. (Not difficult either to imagine the producer and director donning their protective splash-suits and saying to each other on a daily basis: "go for it!").
I love the 'teaser' (pre-titles sequence), the titles themselves - including a wonderful musical nod to Hitchcock's PSYCHO - and the remaining 80-odd minutes. Yes, if you're in the right mood, there's not a single wrong-footed moment to spoil this show.
And what a show. Watch in slack-jawed amazement Herbert West's obsessive experiments to bring back to life that which has expired, including a distinctly pissed off cat. Stare in wide-eyed disbelief as a severed head plumbs depths hitherto unexplored by your average movie severed head. Pray in silent torment that the final re-animation of a central character justifies the whole catalogue of horror that has preceded this moment.
So why doesn't all this excess leave a nasty taste in the mouth? Because there's a directorial tongue firmly planted in everyone's cheek, that's why. Thank you STUART GORDON and BRIAN YUZNA. Oh, and if you're still not sure, check out JEFFREY COMBS'/HERBERT WEST'S delivery of the classic line: "Of course he's dead, the dosage was too large", it'll make your eyes pop out. And on that bombshell, I rest my surgical case.
Boasting some great packaging, a pristine picture and sound transfer, it's easy to say I wish there were more films like this, but something inside is glad it's a one-off. Forget the sequels, although you might consider FROM BEYOND. H.P. Lovecraft's RE-ANIMATOR has now been passed uncut by the BBFC, so buy it - and appreciate a truly great film from a decade of considerable dross.
BLOODY WELL RECOMMENDED
Re-Animator is a classic horror and the special effects are outrageous, and the headless body was so funny.
The 'Unrated Version has a brand new 4K restoration, and hopefully we will see a 4K UHD Release soon. And the 'Integral version is exclusive to Blu-ray.
Now for me the Blu-ray is beautiful on both versions they get a 5/5 from me
Video: 1.78:1, 1080p / 23.98: Audio DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 / LPCM Stereo.
The 'Unrated version does have English Subtitles but sadly the Intergral doesn't.
You do get a nice revisable sleeve. Blu-ray is region B.
Their are loads of Bonus Features.
on 31 March 2012
When Herbert West, a medical student who was working in Switzerland with the late Dr. Gruber, starts at the Miskatonic Medical School in Massachusetts, he is quickly introduced to a promising young student called Dan Cain and the world renowned brain surgeon Dr. Hill. Upon meeting Dr. Hill, West makes it very clear that he feels Dr. Hill's work is useless and outdated. Soon after his introduction, Herbert moves into Dan's spare room where he discovers that Dan is seeing the school Dean's daughter Megan. Megan seems instantly creeped out by West and his strange behaviour, and for good reason as it isn't long before Dan gets dragged into West's bizarre experiments aimed at reanimating the dead. The two break into the school and begin their experiments which accidentally leads to the death of Megan's father, soon after Dr. Hill discovers exactly what they've been upto and tries to steal their work, leading to a gory, grotesque and often hilarious battle between West and Hill.
Horror legend Jeffrey Combs is a joy to watch as Herbert West, he plays the role with such sinister relish that it's impossible not to like him. A lot of the films comedy comes from how straight Combs plays the role, and along with From Beyond, Castle Freak and The Frighteners, this is his best work. The other real standout performance comes from the late David Gale as Dr. Carl Hill, Herbert West's nemesis. He died aged just 54 and I haven't seen anything else he made apart from the sequel, a shame he appeared in so little as he's wonderful in Re-Animator. Barbara Crampton is very pretty and played her role as Megan well, she later teamed up again with Combs in Castle Freak. Bruce Abbot and Robert Sampson round off the main cast as Dan Cain and the Dean Alan Halsey, but Combs and Gale are what make this film so endlessly enjoyable. I love the direction from Stuart Gordon and i'm sure the actors loved it too, this was his first proper film and to this day it's his best. He quickly followed it up a few years later with the excellent From Beyond and Dolls, after the 80's his films have been a little bit more hit and miss, but Fortress, Castle Freak, Dagon and Stuck are all very watchable. Re-Animator virtually steals Bernard Herrmann's fantastic Psycho score, but it fits the film so well that I can't imagine the film without it. There's some nudity, and lots and lots of over the top gratuitous gore. The effects and gore are brilliant considering this 1985 classic was made for under $1,000,000, it's probably the bloodiest over the top film i've seen along with Evil Dead 2 and Braindead.
This 2 disc special edition is packed with extras, especially when compared to the near barebones dvd I owned previously. On disc 1 there's what appears to be a cleaned up version of the film as it looks better than my old copy, there's a commentary from director Stuart Gordon and a second commentary from producer Brian Yuzna (later a director himself and director of the sequels), and actors Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton and Robert Sampson. Of course it would have been even better with David Gale. Disc 2 is just as good, a brilliant 70 minute making of, interviews with Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna, further interviews with writer Dennis Paoli, composer Richard Band and Fangoria editor Tony Timpone. A music discussion with Richard Band, deleted scenes, extended scenes, trailer, tv spots, production stills gallery, behind the scenes still gallery, fun on the set gallery, posters and advertising gallery, storyboard gallery, Stuart Gordon biography, the screenplay and finally Herbert West, Reanimator by H.P. Lovecraft from which the film is based. It's a great dvd and what all special editions should be like, check out the Poltergeist "special edition" to see how little is on some. Considering how much is on the discs, it seems crazy that there's no subtitles which would obviously be a big problem for some.
Re-Animator is a great film and now has a great special edition, one of the best horror comedies ever made and if you're not too squeamish and aren't bothered by the perverted, gratuitous tone, you should love it.
on 5 July 2014
I first saw Re-Animator many years ago via the cut VHS rental tape. Even though the film suffered from BBFC censor cuts to the gore and 'head giving head' scene, I still thought the film was very entertaining and original. I'm glad to say the film is now available in HD with all the cuts restored, and is presented in a lovely steelbook package. The two stand out actors for me in this film are Jeffrey Combs as Herbert West, and the late David Gale as Dr Carl Hill. David Gale, in particular, seems to relish his role as the decapitated head of the lecherous Dr Hill. There's some juicy splatter to sate the gorehounds (popping eyeballs, bonesaw mutilation, finger biting, beheading by shovel, etc), and some terrific make-up FX for the creepy looking zombies in the climactic mortuary scenes. If you want to add some classic 80s horror to your Blu-ray collection, I'd recommend you buy Re-Animator and give it a spin.
on 8 August 2014
The German steelbook edition of Re-Animator / Bride of Re-Animator is perfect. Picture quality / considering the age of the movies and low budget level of the production / is astonishing. Sound is great and there's a lot of bonus material about the movies.I think that's the uncut versions of both films and I don't know if there's any other blu-ray edition of the second part. It's worth the price for two classic horror flicks presented with respect and loyalty.
on 17 March 2016
Based loosely on the 1922 H. P. Lovecraft novella “Herbert West–Reanimator”, this classic mid-80s horror is both old-fashioned and new. It takes a work of period literature – about a grave-robbing doctor restarting dead human beings as if they were machines – and transplants it to a modern-day mad scientist workshop, effectively reinvigorating the zombie genre.
With its unnatural lighting, crooked angles and melodramatic outbursts, Re-Animator has the style of cautionary 50s sci-fi. Except much, much gorier.
Jeffrey Combs plays West, whom we meet grappling with one Dr Hans Gruber (that’s right). It turns out that West wasn’t killing Gruber; he was bringing him back to life with the help of a special serum. West flees to New England, where he moves in with Dan (Bruce Abbott), a trainee surgeon, and his girlfriend Megan (scream queen Barbara Crampton). West soon gets to work resurrecting dead animals, but his sights are set on human reanimation. Appealing to his curiosity and his ego – and despite the warnings of Megan – West convinces Dan to assist him, gaining access to the morgue. Meanwhile, the scheming Dr Hill (David Gale) seeks to steal the serum and create a zombie army of his own.
The movie is based mostly in a single set, the morgue, meaning most of the sub-$1m budget goes on spectacularly gruesome special makeup effects. This release is the “Unrated” version, meaning all the beheadings and disembowellings are here in all their 4K glory. It’s safe to say Re-Animator features some of the most impressive and memorable gore effects of the decade. Tony Doublin’s design for the headless Dr Hill is masterful. The scenes where Hill’s disembodied head is psychically controlling his stumbling body are eye-poppingly gross and funny.
The script is sharp, the plotting is tight, and the characters are well-rounded. Sure, the goodies aren’t nearly as fun as the plotting puppeteers. But then, this isn’t the kind of movie where you’re expecting to feel fuzzy and consoled come the final freeze-frame.
More satirical than David Cronenberg’s The Fly but straighter than Frank Henenlotter’s Frankenhooker, Re-Animator successfully finds the sweet spot between comedy and horror. This is thanks in large part to the universally good performances, chief of which is the possessed Combs, whose deranged scientist is hilarious and unique.
There’s talent on the other side of the camera, too. Richard Band’s wonderful music is pure Psycho-era Bernard Herrman. And the producer is Brian Yuzna, whose directorial debut would be the fantastically grotesque Society, and who would direct the Re-Animator sequel in 1990.
Bold characterisation, barking performances, timeless practical effects, efficient plotting and jet-black humour – not to mention considerable after-the-event reassessment – leaves Re-Animator a shoe-in for cult status. It even dares to ask big questions: What is medical science for? Should we seek to cheat death entirely? And then it drowns such lofty concerns in a bucket of offal.
Herbert West is an amoral and rather eccentric Doctor studying at the Miskatonic University (the very institution which sent a doomed expedition to the Mountains of Madness) in Arkham, Massachusetts. He has created a serum which can bring the dead back to life. Only there's a problem - the longer the subject has been dead, the more violent and murderous their resurrection will be.
Teaming up with a reluctant fellow student they experiment on twice dead cats and then onto real people. But the sleazy Doctor Hill finds out and muscles in on the action only to be slaughtered by West, who decapitates him with a spade. Out of pure curiosity, West brings the head and body back to life as two separate entities. And Hill continues to screw with West's work, despite having to carry around his own head most of the time.
Despite being very well made for the budget it was made on, Re-Animator doesn't have much going for it outside of energetic performances and a real enthusiasm for horror too rarely seen these days. There is no plot and events in the film only seem to happen to shock us or lead into yet another gore scene.
And there lies another problem - the filmmakers are keen to give us loads of gore and entrails and while they may be gross the first time round, by the second viewing you'll be disappointed at how tame it really is. No horror is implied or suggested. The only horror there is is that which is shown on screen. The indignity of not being able to rest in peace is never once considered and the murderous corpses are not all that scary.
Richard Band's score is nothing more than just alright too. It has an urgent sound to it but doesn't do much for the film and is completely free of melody or theme. In fact I'd argue that it's just the same cue played over and over. The lighting is flat and bland with barely an ounce of atmosphere, and the porn movie sets don't help much.
Gordon and Yuzna were obviously keen to make Re-Animator as best as they can and you can tell that they had a blast making it, but it's just not even up to standards the genre set by films like Evil Dead. And, speaking of Evil Dead, the Necronomicon (according to H.P. Lovecraft) is located in the library of Miskatonic University. Why didn't Doctor West just use that to bring the dead back to life?
West himself would go onto star in two sequels and feature as the primary antagonist in the Splatterhouse video games. He's a great character and the film soars whenever he is onscreen. I just wish it was more ambitious.
The Blu-ray looks good in 1.78:1 1080p from a 4k restoration. The sounds is in DTS HD-MA and there are loads of extras as well as a 104-minute "Integral Cut" of the film which has serious pacing issues. The inside of the Steelbook is blank.
on 30 January 2016
Second sight films are reissuing Re-animator again i guess because the steelbook is out of print now
and also cause Arrowfilms are reissuing Bride of re-animator as 3 Disc blu-ray edition in April this year
with both versions of the film Theatrical & Unrated with new 2k restoration transfers
Hopefully arrowfilms will do an excellent Job giving the 2 versions new 2k transfers, meaning No Grain or Dirt if possible
which is what a blu-ray transfer should look like
cause Arrow did such a poor job on the 2k transfers on the Hellraiser blu-ray trilogy
you can only Hope i guess, wait and see.
i already own the steelbook version myself
but this new reissue of Re-animator packaged in standard black coloured blu-ray case with 2 Blu-ray Discs
have the exact same content as the steelbook blu-ray
cause i already own the steelbook version i can say this
the reissue has both versions of the film, the Unrated cut which has a new 4k restoration HD transfer in 1:78:1 ratio
with 2 audio options 2.0 stereo mix & 5.1 master audio mix
the 4k does look excellent, not much Grain or Dirt if any, so secondsight really did make an effort to clean up the film
the other version which is called the Integral version is basically the Extended cut version
which is the original Unrated cut with the Deleted scenes inserted back in the film making the runtime 104mins
the Deleted footage is for the storyline, not more blood & Gore footage
this so called Integral version is a standard HD transfer in the same 1:78:1 ratio, not a 4k restoration transfer
so the picture quality of the Deleted scenes match the Unrated scenes
the Difference between the 104min & the 90mins version is the storyline that's all
the Deleted footage inserted back is to make the plot thicker, explains more detail of the story
the 90min version has more blood & Gore but has cut some of the story out for pacing reasons, understand
personally i like both versions anyway.
about the special features, all the extras from the steelbook are on this new reissue nothing is Different
and there's so many special features to all of them carried over from the U.S. Anchor bay collectors dvd
you get the RESURRECTUS Documentary, Audio commentaries, Deleted scenes
even some older archive interviews recorded back from the first Re-animator dvd release, incredible!
all the extras are spread over 2 Discs
so if you don't have the steelbook, then just buy this new reissue from second sight films coming out in March
5 stars i give it worth the money
on 30 April 2014
I found this german import blu ray by chance and being a massive fan of the re-animator movies I thought it was a no brainer. I went for this version as I knew that the American release was region a locked and I was gutted that I don't have a region free blu ray player, so I started to investigate and found this german region b import and I ordered it right away.
First of all this german import has English language option and no forced subtitles and secondly, the picture is really impressive. Don't get me wrong it won't be mistaken for a demo worthy blu ray but, it is leaps and bounds ahead of any previous release. I found the picture to be strong and clarity and detail were very good the colours were excellent and it was like I was watching the movie for the very first time. The sound was good also.
I am so glad that I ordered this movie and was so impressed with it that I have just ordered the re-animator and bride of re-animator german import blu ray steel book from amazon, as I found that this was the cheapest way to get bride of re-animator on blu ray as the single release of bride on blu ray was twice the price that this double feature steel book cost me. If you're a fan of re-animator then I urge you to give this blu ray a go.
All in all an excellent blu ray release of a top notch horror film, all I need to get now is beyond re-animator on blu ray, so I hope there is a blu ray release soon.